500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Another great day in Romania!

First thing we had to do yesterday morning was to return our rental car. We had picked it up at 10:00am, and so we had to return it at the same time. But, the car rental company had also specified that it was our obligation to return it clean and washed, and of course full of gas...just the way we had picked it up.

So the first thing we did was to go to a Romanian gas station for the first time.

We had done a lot of driving over the four days that we had the car, and yet the fuel gauge still read just under half a tank. And so, I had figured that it was either a really big fuel tank, or the car was extremely fuel efficient.

It turned out to be a combination of the two.

It took 36.1 litres (9.6 gallons) to refill the tank. That cost 184 lei ($62.70 CAD, $46 USD).

This car we had is rated at 4.6 l/100 kms (51 mpg) and I would say that's pretty accurate! Great fuel mileage!

Turned out it was easy to fill the car. The attendant came out, I pointed at the type of fuel I wanted, he asked "full"?, and I nodded my head. Simple.

Next up was to find a car wash. Our host at the guesthouse had given us directions to one nearby and we went there. You pull your car in, and a guy washes it. They do a good job, including cleaning the interior floor mats. Including the tip, the cost was 17 lei ($6.46 CAD, $4.35 USD).

With that done, we went back to the car rental place, conveniently located right across the street from the guesthouse. We had used a Romanian company at http://rentacarbrasov.ro/. They were good to deal with, but there sure was a lot of paperwork. The girl came out and inspected the car, and we went back inside where she refunded our 400 Euro deposit.

Done deal, and we're glad we had a car for the four days. We'll probably rent again as our journey here continues.

We went back to the guesthouse for the rest of the morning and relaxed and had some lunch. After lunch, we walked to the bus station at the end of the road and figured out how to take a local bus to nearby Râşnov (pop 15,000).

It was easy, and the bus driver came by to collect the fare which was only 4 lei ($1.35 CAD, $1 USD) each for the 20 km (12 mile) trip.

The main street in Râşnov.

As you can see in the photo above, Râşnov also has a citadel. It is fully restored, and a popular tourist attraction high above town. It is said to have been built between 1211 and 1225. 

We headed that way.

The central plaza in Râşnov.

Some of you have mentioned about the lack of people. Yes, it's low season for tourism in Romania, and it's a Friday. And despite it being a nice sunny day, it was a little bit chilly, but there was no wind.

Most people are probably working, I guess.

The "cable lift".

This lift looked very new, but it was closed while we were there. We wouldn't have taken it anyhow, preferring the exercise we get from climbing up ourselves.

So, in typical Kevin and Ruth style, we headed up the stairs!

More uphill.

A view at the top.

There was another view at the top looking back towards town, but I didn't take a photo, figuring that we would get a view from the platform inside the citadel wall.

This is where the top of the stairs ended.

A kitty enjoying the sun.

Pretty colors.

We got to the entrance gate and it was a zoo of people. Mostly children, and a few adults, but there was a lineup to get tickets. We decided against spending the 12 lei ($4.08 CAD, $2.95 USD) each ticket price. Not because of the money, but because we had done two different citadels yesterday and had been the only ones there. We didn't look forward to seeing it with a bunch of people running around, so we decided to go for a hike instead.

So I never did get a photo looking back towards town.

Râşnov Citadel.

We made it to a marked trail that looked to wind it's way through the forest about 3 kms (1.8 miles) before heading back to the far end of town.

Mud!

Only problem was that they've had a lot of rain in this area the last few days, and the trail was very muddy. We persevered though, and after trying various options walking beside the path, and through the forest, we managed to get through.

Ruth in the forest.

The trees!

But, we took one wrong turn. I was trying to follow the trail on the GPS map on the iPhone, but we were slightly off course...

Here's where we ended up! No more trail!

But we found our way through, and sure enough we came out on the other side of town.

Another old church.

And another.

We walked back through the central plaza and to the bus stop where we had gotten off the bus earlier. As we were waiting for the bus, a car drove up behind us and honked it's horn. We turned around, and the older guy driving was waiving us over, asking "Brasov?". There was a younger guy in the front seat, and a younger girl in the back seat. We quickly figured out that the guy was offering us a ride to Brasov.

So we hopped in the back!

The younger girl in the back spoke some English, but the older jovial guy driving spoke none. He was laughing and joking though, and we got across to him that we were from Canada. He laughed again and said that he's a "Polack". Too funny.

We watched as two others got out and paid him the same price that we had paid for the bus. I guess this is just a private driver who takes people back and forth between Râşnov and Brasov.

He asked if we wanted to go the the central area, but we told him we wanted bus station number 2. Amazing how we could communicate like this after only 10 days in Romania!

He dropped us near the bus station and we paid him 10 lei ($3.40 CAD, $2.50 USD).

Another great day in Romania!

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And in Canada...






14 comments:

  1. You are enjoying the locals, best way to tour a country.

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  2. A great day indeed. Such pretty villages.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, another good one under the belt! :-)

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  3. Where are all the Unitarian churches?

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    1. Haven't seen any...it's not a popular religion here!

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  4. Love the photos of the trees in the forest especially! There is something special about tall deciduous trees with all the leaves off. Enchanting to me. Glad to see blue skies; I almost asked on your last post if the sun ever shines there! I see that it does. :)

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    1. Love that picture too! I was so cool looking in there with all those trees, such a neat feeling.

      We haven't seen the sun much but every once in a while it pokes it's head out for us. It's snowing this morning!

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  5. Oh ho! We've ended up like you guys did: No trail! Eventually, after wandering around, we've made it back to our start point. It is a bit disconcerting to discover you're, uh, kinda lost. All's well that ends well, so no biggie. Looks like you're having a blast!

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    1. We weren't lost, just slightly off our trail. We were following our route on the maps.me app but it doesn't tell you the the altitude so we were hiking just a little lower than the actual trail because we were following some red marks on the trees but after realized that there were red marks on a number of different trees. It didn't take us long to realize that we needed to be a little higher up.

      We are having a great time. :-)

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  6. That marked trail and those trees looked like an awesome place to boondocks. Lol. Love watching your adventure !

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    1. Trust me, there is no way you could have boondocked in the forest among those trees, especially when we were there! You would have been stuck in the mud as soon as you drove off the road.

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  7. hitchhiking is popular in Romania and it is common to pay for it, that is why many drivers are keen on taking "passengers", to get back some money they spend on fuel. The most common way is to pay less than the bus ticket, but as tipping is a tradition and 2RON is really not a lot of money, so the young people probably paid the driver the same amount as would have been the bus, but they got to town comfortably in a private car. If you are passing by the big roads heading out of town at the time when the working day ends, you see a lot of people hitchhiking and a lot of cars stop, because if you have some "passengers" on your car every day, you kind of do not pay for fuel any more. It´s like blablacar, but unofficial. We´ve taken some people sometimes as well when we had an empty back seat and went to another town, we did not ask for money and they also did not ask how much, but in the end just said thanks and left some money on the seat, let´s say half of the bus ticket price and everyone was happy. I´ve been trying to explain this to fellow estonians who have written to me that they will come to Romania hitchhiking, as in most countries, as well as in Estonia, hitchhiking is free, for instance, but not so many people stop, in Romania many cars stop, but the drivers might get mad if you do not give them anything.

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    1. Thank you for the explanation Anu, it is very helpful. We didn't mind giving the driver the 10 lei instead of 8, as you said you arrive more quickly and in a much more comfortable way, plus we didn't have to stand and wait for the bus. I think this way of doing things makes lots of sense and it helps to keep more cars off of the road. When we had rented the car for 4 days we also picked up an elderly woman and gave her a lift to the next town but we didn't ask or expect any money in return, we were just happy to help her out.

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