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!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Blizzard...but what an adventure!

Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from the blablacars driver we had booked, saying that he was ahead of schedule and could we meet him a half an hour early. We had to rush a bit, but it was no problem.

There had been some snow flurries early this morning, and it was gradually getting worse. By the time we left at about 11:15am, it was actually snowing quite heavily!

Fortunately, our guest house host Daniel offered to drive us to the train station where we were meeting the driver.

Oh, and we can't say enough good things about La Despani Guesthouse in Brasov. Daniel and his wife Anu really make sure their guests are well looked after. It's not a five star resort, but it is excellent value for your money.

Our room.

There are only four rooms in the guesthouse, so it's never crowded.

Our private bathroom.

The well equipped kitchen.

The common room.

For four nights of our one week stay, we were the only ones there. It's only busy on weekends at this time of year, despite it's #1 rating on tripadvisor. It felt like we had a big house all to ourselves!

Excellent value for the 125 lei ($41 CAD, $31 USD) per night cost.

View from the porch of La Despani as we were leaving.

Looking back at the guesthouse.

Thanks Daniel and Anu...we totally enjoyed our stay!

Daniel drove us to the train station. The snow was really coming down, and the wind had picked up. We used our phone to call the driver, and Johny answered right away saying he had just pulled in. Funny enough, he was right across from us! The internet is amazing, isn't it? We book a ride with a guy we've never met before, and there we were...right beside each other!

We headed out of the city. Traffic was slow because of the road conditions.

Yikes. It's turning into a blizzard.
Check out the poor girl waiting for the bus!

Once we got on the highway, traffic slowed to a crawl. Sure enough, there was a car off the road up ahead.

Not fun.

Glad I wasn't driving. Johnny said that he put his snow tires on just yesterday, and you could tell that many people hadn't.

Making small talk, we learned that Johnny is in the Romanian military. 32 years old, and had been in Afghanistan for a tour of duty. He reminded me of Dolph Lundgren when he was in the Rocky movie. Big guy, in great shape. He also reminded me of the type of guy who was specially trained in the military. Like some kind of special forces guy.

And what a driver.

He was in a rush, and was pretty aggressive. Considering the conditions, he was passing people whenever he could. But for some reason, I had total confidence in him. Almost like he had been trained for this type of driving.

When we got there, I told Ruth she could open her eyes! What an adventure!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

By the time we got to Sibiu, the snow was starting to taper off. 
But it was still very windy, with the temperature just below freezing. It felt much colder!

He dropped us off at a downtown hotel where we were to meet our AirBnb host. We paid him the 40 lei ($13.50 CAD, $10 USD) agreed upon fee, and struggled into the lobby, glad to be out of the wind. I sent a message to Andrei, our AirBnb host, and he met us there about 10 minutes later. We walked about two minutes from there to his apartment.

We got ourselves settled, but didn't have much time because we wanted to see old Sibiu and we're only here for one night. We bundled up with all the outerwear and sweaters that we brought, and Andrei walked to the downtown with us, only about 10 minutes away. Along the way, he pointed out the bus stops and even bought our tickets for us for today's ride on the Sibiu local bus. 

Thanks Andrei!

City bus here in Sibiu is very cheap...only 2 lei ($0.68 CAD, $0.50 USD) per ride. We will need to take the city bus from here to the long distance bus station around noon today.

Sibiu old town. 
They didn't get as much snow here as there had been on our drive.

We made our way to the Council Tower where Andrei said that we could climb to the top for a view. And it cost only 2 lei each for that as well. There are several different displays on some of the floors along the way...

Here's Ruth, doing her best "Game of Thrones" impression.

Nice view of Sibiu.

Sibiu, with the sun trying to break through in the distance.

We wandered around, and stopped in to some of the old town churches. 

The Council Tower, built between 1224 and 1241.

The clock mechanism was installed in 1494, and was built by a Swiss company. It still keeps perfect time today.

The Evangelical Cathedral.

It has a beautiful pipe organ.

It costs 5 lei each to go in the Evangelical cathedral. It's a big structure, and we thought the interior might be interesting, but other than the pipe organ, it's not the best. Better to go inside the Orthodox church or the Lutheran church, both of which are free.

The Evangelical Cathedral in Sibiu.

What they call "lower town".

The stairs to "upper town"

Stained glass in the Orthodox church.

We were getting hungry, and we decide it was easiest to go out for dinner again. Andrei didn't join us, but he led us to a good Romanian restaurant where we had a good meal.

I had cabbage rolls and polenta.

Ruth had fish.

And we shared a delicious bowl of vegetable soup before our meals arrived, just to warm us up!

Total cost, including a litre of house wine and the tip was 93 lei ($31.50 CAD, $23 USD) for the two of us.

We're going out for a walk this morning again, but we'll be taking the bus (about an hour's ride) to Alba Iulia this afternoon. Temperature at 9:00am Monday morning is around freezing, but the wind has disappeared. Supposed to warm up as the week goes along.

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28 comments:

  1. Hm, that white stuff doesn't look very appealing. We seem to get it every year. Can't say I'm looking forward to it either. Nice that you have a positive attitude, and your driver was straight out of a Rocky movie. Hope you're having a great day.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think Kevin forgot to look at the weather for Romania at this time of year before he booked our tickets here ;-)

      I looks like this will only be temporary, the rest of the week is suppose to be nice and getting nicer by the day.

      Delete
  2. Do you get an opportunity to check out the nightlife? After a long day sightseeing I'm sure you're pretty tired but it would be interesting to see how the people enjoy themselves after a long week of work! Much like here at home I bet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We aren't really nightlife kind of people, we rarely ever go out to bars or pubs. As you mentioned, when we are out all day we are generally tired by the time we come back and just want to relax. If we get the opportunity though, we do like to wander around in the evening and look at the buildings lite up at night.

      Delete
  3. The cabbage rolls look excellent.

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  4. Love the Game of Thrones shot of Ruth. Don't get any ideas Kevin .

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just can't believe how cheap it is to leave there. Well, cheap compared to living in the USA.
    I am with Ruth...eyes closed, hands in prayer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheap compared to our prices but everything is relative, many Romanians would find the prices high.

      I actually kept my eyes open but there were a number of times when I would just look out the side window rather than the front window. ;-)

      Delete
  6. Looks like you are really enjoying you time there, other than the cold and snow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even with the cold and the snow, we are enjoying ourselves.

      Delete
  7. I noticed in today's paper it will be cold today and tomorrow in Bucharest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The weather in Bucharest won't necessarily be the same as it is where we are now. It is suppose to get nicer from today onward, at least to the weekend.

      Delete
  8. Sounds like these Air BNB hosts are really great, even helping you buy bus tickets and giving you a ride. Stay warm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far we have had great experiences with the locals. Andrei, only bought our city bus tickets, which was very nice of him. And the guy who gave us a ride was from Blablacars, a ride share website, which we only just used for the first time. We will now look for a ride this way first before looking at buses or trains. There are so many helpful websites out there that make a trip more economical and also give you more of a taste of the local life and culture.

      Delete
  9. I can't get over your photos! Today's header is my absolute favorite! Wow! Just beautiful. A couple of years ago we traveled to Glacier Park the first week of September and there was a surprise "blizzard". Luckily the skies cleared within a day and we were able to see the mountains with a beautiful layer of new snow just like in your photos. It really is a beautiful sight when everything is covered with the first powdered sugar snow of the season. I love how you travel with open minds and take each day as it comes. So much to see and experience and be grateful for that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lori! That header picture is now one of my favourites as well, the sunshine just poked out at the right time. Have to agree with you, the snow does add a new dimension to the photos, just a light dusting though, we don't need to have a huge snowfall. ;-)

      Delete
  10. Beautiful photos...thank you so much for sharing travel info...loved your stay the hostel, the mode of local travel, and things to do. I now want to plan a trip to Europe but more in Italy, France and maybe Germany. I'd love to visit Ireland, England, Scotland at a later date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rita! Have to correct you just a little though, our stay in Brasov was in a Guesthouse not a hostel. It is similar to a hostel but much smaller and more private. It also doesn't have dorms only private rooms and bathrooms normally.

      You better start planning then! Sounds like it will be a wonderful trip. One day we will make it to France, Italy and Germany as well as Ireland.

      Delete
  11. What an interesting trip but sounds nice enough. Enjoy your day!

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    1. Yes, it is definitely interesting, there never seems to be any dull moments. :-)

      Delete
  12. A lot of Americans don't take into account the countries that are allies and fight along side of them. You hardly ever hear about Canadian soldiers not to mention the Romanians.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You are right Chris, many countries have stood at the side of the Americans during times of war.

      Delete
  13. My eyes would still be closed Ruth. The pipe organ would have had Lornes heart pumping fast...he loves those...and I love all that stained glass. Oh oh oh. And the food. Mmmmmmmm

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I actually had them open for the whole trip, I just wasn't watching at the road some of the time! ;-)

      The pipe organ was a beauty and so were the stained glass windows.

      The food has been delicious and it is very cheap compared to prices back home.

      Delete
  14. I can only think of one word for this post. Brrrrrrrr !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that pretty much summed up the weather that day!

      Delete

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