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Sibiu and the Transfagarasan Highway, Romania

From a colorful city center to old world Romania

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Before I start recounting our last few days, I have to describe where I am as I write this. We are staying at a little pension in a tiny village along the southern part of the Transfagarasan Highway. A carriage pulled by a horse and a foal just drove by. There are chickens and roosters by the bus stop. Free range dogs cross the street. The tiny mini market across the street is the social hub of the town. Locals are visiting outside while tourists like me and others pass through. Tractors pass by with multiple passengers and equipment. I am 100% fascinated sitting outside on my little patio table watching the action. And here I thought this would be the most boring night of the trip!
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Day 19 - Corvins' Castle & Sibiu, Romania

We left Timisoara as late as possible taking advantage of the 11am check out time. We all wished we had one more night in this very real Romanian city. We have several one night stays during our time in Romania. I never enjoy just one night but it seemed the best way to experience as much as Romania as possible given we have to come home eventually. Romania is pretty far out of the way and realistically, we might not make it here again.

Our first stop today was Corvins' Castle located in a small town between Timisoara and Sibiu. The castle had a long bridge over the old moat to its grand entrance. The exterior was what many people would call the perfect castle. We enjoyed the many staircases, rooms, and passages to other parts of the castle. We were allowed to explore most parts of the castle. There were so many stairs up and down to the various levels. What a great stop!
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We traveled another hour or so to the cute town of Sibiu. This town is known for its many building with "eyes". The eye windows provided ventilation back in the day. I had fun taking pictures of the many "eyes" around town.
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This time, our apartment was two bedrooms with a giant kitchen and living room. Here is what just over $60 gets you in Sibiu. Good air conditioning too!
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We wandered the town, took loads of pictures, had some gelato, and climbed a couple of old watch towers along a portion of a remaining city wall.
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Dinner was at a cute place right outside of our apartment. We enjoyed drinks, a couple pasta dishes and a curry dish. Very yummy!
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I went for another walk around the town as the sun set and admired the architecture and the busy crowds who always seem to come out to wander during the cool nights.
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Day 20 - Sibiu, Balea Lake, and the Transfagarasan Highway

We had a fancy breakfast in the main part of Sibiu. Yummy poached eggs on toast with various toppings. We are really enjoying how affordable the restaurants are in eastern Europe.
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I climbed the Council Tower and had our last looks at this cute town.
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We hit the road and made it to the famous Transfagarasan Highway. This road is known for being one of the top driving roads in the world and was a big bucket list destination for DH. The curves were incredible as we made our way to Balea Lake at the top.
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Balea Lake was beautiful in a very unique way. We spent about an hour hiking around and taking pictures.
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Local cheese and meats being sold all along the highway.
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The fog cleared on the other side of the mountain and we were still pleased with the 70 degree temperatures. Felt so good to be relatively cool! The drive became more rough and bumpy and we traveled down the mountain. The landscape looked an awful lot like Oregon! We stopped again at an impressive dam.
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The kids still manage to sleep even in the most curvy and rough road conditions.
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Our last stop was our pension near the end of the highway. This was a nicely appointed family room for just over $60.
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We drove a couple of minutes to a nice restaurant where we shared a Bulgarian salad, some spicy pork, bean and smoked ham soup, and fried cheese. Serious stick-to-your-ribs kind of food!
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My favorite part of the day was sitting at the table outside of the pension and watching the action on the Transfagarasan Highway in our small village. I was completely entertained watching horse-drawn trailers hauling hay, tractors, cows crossing the highway lead by locals with sticks, and folks chatting across the highway at the convenience store. Romania is such a mix of old and new. I watched a teenage girl helping move her cows home. She had a stick to guide them in one hand and was staring at her smart phone in the other hand. Amazing!
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Day 21 - Curtea de Argos, Bran Castle, and Brasov

A few observations about Romania. The difference between the cute, touristy city centers and the rural villages is vast. In the countryside there are tons of old disused factories (such as old nuclear plants), old abandoned cars, exposed water pipes and electrical wiring, wandering dogs and livestock, and people farming without modern equipment. This is in stark contrast to the trendy city center restaurants, boutique stores, bakeries, and bars. Folks in the country don't seem to have much. Road conditions are poor and people are working hard. The outskirts of the cities are a bit rough too. Buildings are often concrete apartment blocks from communist times and everything seems to need a coat of paint. I haven't been bored for a minute as I try to wrap my mind around all that I am seeing.
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We checked out of our pension and drove about 25 minutes to the town of Curtea de Argos. We found a fancy-ish place for breakfast where we had six drinks (DH and I had two coffees each) and 4 omelettes. It was around $20. We were fueled for the day.
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We stopped at the beautiful monastery in the town. The Romanian people seem deeply religious. Many were lighting candles, praying, and kissing the famous relic in the church.
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The drive ahead was long, curvy, and rough. We bumped along and saw more horse-drawn farm equipment and sheep and cows in the road. The scenery was gorgeous! We traveled up and down significant mountains and everything was so green and dramatic. A beautiful drive!
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We stopped at the very touristy Bran Castle made famous by the Dracula legend. The castle was stunning set up on a rocky hilltop but mobbed with tourists. It was most claustrophobic and touristy thing we have done so far. A bit overrated, in my opinion. I'm sure it would have been a different experience outside of the busy summer months.
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After a grocery store stop, we found our home in Brasov for the next three nights. This two bedroom apartment costs just over $50 per night.
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We found a Transylvanian place for dinner, wandered the old town, and looked forward to three nights in Brasov, Romania.
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More from Brasov next time!

Posted by familyineurope 15:21 Archived in Romania Tagged castle de sibiu bran transfăgărăşan curtea arges Comments (0)

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