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!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Around the medieval city wall, and a good dinner out!

We relaxed yesterday morning, and planned our travel for the next couple of days. We had been heading to Sibiu for a few days, about 2 1/2 hours west of Brasov. But we received an email from the Mayors office of the nearby city of Alba Iulia asking if we would visit their city, so that's what we're going to do! We're still going to Sibiu first though, but only for one night.

We were going to take the bus to Sibiu but Daniel (our host here at the guesthouse) asked if we had tried blablacars yet. I had heard of it, but no...we hadn't tried it.

Blablacars is a ride sharing website that operates in Europe. Very popular, and I can see why. Drivers with empty seats offer them for a price that is cheaper than the bus or train, and passengers needing a ride can search for a suitable driver.

Of course there are lots of options including the type of car that you'll be in, the age of the driver, smoking or not, etc.

So we got our account set up, and found a suitable ride for 20 lei ($6.80 CAD, $4.90 USD) each. The bus or train would have cost about 35 each. The contact was mostly in Romanian and so Daniel helped us with that, although the driver says he speaks some English.

We'll do fine.

With our ride in place, we now had to find somewhere to stay. The private rooms in the hostels here are not what you'd call "cheap", so we found a nice room at an AirBnb for $24 CAD ($18 USD) per night. It's a new listing, without any reviews, but the host seems really enthusiastic and the communication has been excellent. And, its close to the old center, so if we're only staying one night it will be a good location.

On Monday, we will find a way to travel to Alba Iulia where we'll stay with a couchsurfing host for a few days. We'll probably rent a car there again. After that...no further plans yet!

After lunch, the sun was out and the temperature was a comfortable 10C (50F). So we went for a walk in the central area at the old town wall.

The old wall of the fortified city of Brasov.

The Drapers Bastion. The walls of the bastion are 2 meters (over 6 feet) thick!

The wall used to surround the entire city.

There are informational signs in four languages.

This wall is about 600 years old.

The Black Church, built between 1385 and 1476.

The Linen Weavers Bastion.

The Linen Weavers Bastion is the most spectacular and best preserved section of the defensive architecture of Medieval Brasov. It was built between 1421 and 1432. The wall at the bottom is 4.3 meters (14 feet) thick! It is recorded that the building has been restored four times... in 1634, 1827, 1910, and 2004.

Schei Gate. It was built in 1828 to allow for heightened traffic through the wall.

Catherine's Gate. Built in 1559 to replace an old gate destroyed by flood.

Now that's a beautiful church!

The Saint Nicholas Orthodox church. 

The church on the above property was established in 1292! But the current structure above was rebuilt by stone in 1495.

There was a wedding going on so we didn't see inside.

Ruth, on the narrowest "street" in Romania!

We wanted to go for dinner downtown, but it was only about 3:30pm, so we had some time to waste. We went to the central plaza and people watched for half an hour, but the sun was disappearing behind clouds, and the wind was picking up. 

Brasov central plaza.

So we had to find something indoors to do and so we paid the 6 lei ($2 CAD, $1.50 USD) each to go in the Brasov history museum.

Not bad, looking at a bunch of old items, but there was a special exposition about the Romanian participation in the first World War that was quite interesting. A good way to waste an hour.

This is a neat building. Now a bank.

Then we went for dinner. Several of our readers had recommended the Sergiana restaurant in the cellar of an old building right downtown. Even at 5:00pm it was busy, and we had to wait a short time for a table.

Kevin, in the cellar of the Sergiana restaurant.

Kevin's dinner.

Ruth's dinner.

Ruth had pork loin, stuffed with sausage, pastrami, and cheese sauce, and a potato ball. I had turkey breast stuffed with spinach and cheese. With a side salad, and roasted vegetables. They also brought a complimentary appetizer of some kind of pork rind and bread. And a half litre of white wine, and a half litre glass of beer. Total bill for the two of us including tip was 120 lei ($40.80 CAD, $30 USD).

The pork loin was stuffed, and the turkey breast was stuffed, and now we were stuffed! It was a good meal.

Snowing out this morning! Next stop, Sibiu.

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Really nice little Lenovo Chromebook on deal of the day today!


And in Canada, the Miracle-Grow indoor garden is on sale...





24 comments:

  1. I have never seen such beautiful plates of food like those two. Glad it tasted good too.

    I just love seeing all these photos. I would never have guess how lovely Romania is. The churches are fantastic.

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    1. The food was delicious and well presented and we left stuffed!

      So happy you are enjoying our photos of Romania. It is a beautiful country so far and I am sure that it is going to get even more beautiful as we travel through the country. The history and the buildings are fantastic and we hope to get in some good hiking to show you what the countryside looks like.

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  2. Do you ever seek out the local musicians? I wonder what Romanian music is. Perhaps very different from ours!

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    1. No, we don't seek them out but we have come across a few people that have been playing instruments on the street and yesterday we walk by the opera house and could hear them practicing their singing, more like screeching to us ;-), not our type of music.

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  3. What a beautiful country and stunning villages. You pictures are great and my bucket list is longer again.

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    1. Yes, it is really gorgeous here and we can't wait to get out into the countryside and get some hiking in and see all the pretty scenery as well. I think Romania should be on everyone's bucket list. Not sure why more people don't head this way, compared to Western Europe, just as beautiful, full of history, less tourists and better prices.

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  4. Looks like another interesting day! You are true travelers!

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  5. Great photos. Brasov was one of our favourite places to visit in Romania. The area is beautiful in the summer time and there are lots of patios open to enjoy a good local beer and people watch. Other cities we liked are Sibiu, Cluj (don't miss a day trip to the salt mine in Turda, easy to get there by bus, very different and amazing), and Iasi. Hiking the Carpathians in Bucovina is superb and there are numerous well marked trails. There are hot springs in Felix (we did not have enough time) and Maramures seems unique too (again, we did not have the time). We are enjoying your postings very much - wish we could be there too! Wishing you lots of sunshine and warm days ahead.

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    1. Not sure I would want to head to Brasov in the height of the summer but I think June and September would be more to our liking. It really is a beautiful city and a gorgeous area with so much to do and see, especially at that time of year.

      We wandered around Sibiu yesterday, late afternoon and we will be going out again this morning before heading on to our next destination and yes, another wonderful city to explore.

      We do have Tundra Salt Mine on our list, so we are hoping to make it there while we are in the area. We will have to look up where Felix is, I don't have that on our list but Maramures area is definitely there and we will be stopping in Iasi before crossing into the Republic of Moldova so hopefully you will get to see some good photos from some of the places that you haven't managed to get to our your visit here.

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  6. Very interesting tour. I'm amazed at the number of citadel, fortresses, walls. Shows how long the human race has been fighting each other...sad but true. I thought the main staple would be potatoes and sausages...guess I might be wrong. I'm a meat and potato type of person most of the time but I also love vegetables...lately I've been enjoying veggie burgers, cheeses and pasta. Wow I was impressed the mayor asked you to visit his city Alba Lulia. So much history...I love it.

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    1. We are totally amazed too, there are a lot of them. Transylvania is also well known for their fortified churches which many are UNESCO sites. Pretty bad when fighting armies even attack churches!

      I think the main staple is pork, in all manner, this include sausages, which there is a lot of, plus chicken and fish. I think potatoes are quite popular as well but maybe not as much as polenta which is a "pudding" type of dish made from maize (corn) and served with most meals.

      The mayor didn't ask us personally, it was the mayor's office that contacted us.

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  7. Such a beautiful picture of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, named after a Greek Orthodox Bishop who lived in the 4th century in Asia Minor and known for his many miracles and gift-giving; he was the forerunner of present day Santa Claus.

    Dee

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    1. We can't say for certain that this is the St. Nicholas that the church was named after but it could very well be. It was a beautiful church, though.

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  8. "A bunch of old items", it's history man! :)

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    1. We know it is history Chris but there wasn't a lot there that we haven't already seen before and it was a very small collect. We did enjoy the special exhibit on the Romanians and their participation in World War I, however.

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  9. Beautiful photos and what a lovely city it is. The dinner looked scrumptious, and quite a deal. In the US you'd pay double (at least) for that. I'm drooling!

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    1. Brasov is definitely on the must see places in Romania for sure. We figure a meal like that in either Canada or the USA would probably be about double the price, a great deal indeed. :-)

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  10. I'm enjoying your Romanian adventure. Wonder how the mayor knew to call you ...?

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    1. Happy to hear that you are enjoying our adventures. :-)

      Not the Mayor but the Mayor's office. Apparently the woman that we have been in connect with found us on facebook, which lead her to our blog and when she saw that we were headed to Sibiu, she asked if we were also going to be going to Alba Iulia and then proceeded to tell us what Alba Iulia had to offer. So we changed our plans and will spend more time there rather than Sibiu, it is also a slightly smaller city which is more to our liking. Apparently Alba Iulia is trying hard to attract more tourists to the city and I guess the Mayor's Office though that maybe we could be of some help.

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  11. Love all the old buildings. Keep the pictures coming !

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    1. Thank you Barry, we are enjoying the old buildings too!

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