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!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Now, *this* is a castle!

But before we get to that, I have to tell you our decision on yesterday's travel choice from Alba Iulia to Iasi. We decided to buy the first class sleeper tickets at $71 each.

After the fact, reader "iwasthere" suggested that we could fly from Cluj to Iasi for about $40 each. I looked it up, and that is partly correct. But the best I could find was actually $54 each, plus the cost of one bag at $32. So, approximately the same amount of money as the sleeper berth on the train.

But then we would have also needed to take the bus from Alba Iulia to Cluj airport, and we would have had to arrange another night's accommodation. So, while flying would have been a decent option, it wasn't really as easy or cheap as it sounds.

Anyhow, I've bought the tickets for the first class sleeper berth, so it's a done deal.

Yesterday's adventure? We hopped in the car and drove about 5 kms to Corvin Castle. One of the best castles we have ever seen, in our opinion!

Our first view of Corvin Castle in a light fog. 

The area around the castle isn't the nicest. The town of Hunedoara is a kind of run down industrial town, and the castle is it's only saving grace. There are a lot of steel mills, some working, and some abandoned and it's really not a very nice area.

But the castle itself is magnificent! 

Built between 1446 and 1480.

And of course it's been renovated and added on to over the years. There was a major fire sometime in the 1800's, and it was neglected for several decades after that. The current owners did some renovations about 5 years ago.

Ruth, in the chapel.

The castle courtyard.

Entry fee at this time of year is 20 lei ($6.60 CAD, $4.75 USD) although it is higher in the busy summer season. You can hire a guide, or you can feel free to wander about and explore on your own.

There were a few school groups that came through, but we stayed away from them and most of the time we were the only ones in any particular area.

Inside the Knights Hall.


Here's a short video clip...



Not much of a view because of the fog!

Exploring.

Kevin.

Ruth, directly across from where I was standing.

A good depiction of the castle.

Corvin Castle, Hunedoara, Romania.

We were there for about two hours. Really love those old castles and trying to get a feel for what it was like 600 years or so ago!

From there, we drove to the nearby city of Deva (pop 61,000). There is an old fortress high above the city, plus the downtown area was supposed to be quite pleasant.

Hiking up to the fortress.

Almost there.

Ruth, enjoying the view. The fog never really disappeared.

The exterior walls and walkways have all been restored, but the interior is blocked off and in pretty rough shape.

A glimpse of the interior.

Deva Fortress.

A view of the fortress from town.

We walked around town for a bit.

Church in Deva.

Another great day in Romania!

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18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. One of the est castle that we have seen yet. Really enjoyed our time exploring all the nooks and crannies in it.

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  2. The Castle and the fortress are amazing. What an awesome photo of Ruth overlooking the landscape. Beautiful

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    1. The castle was fantastic, we really had fun checking out all the places that we were allowed to enter. The fortress was good but not exceptional, although we still enjoyed our time there and the hike up. I like that photo as well.

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  3. A beautiful castle. A good day. I think the rail tickets you bought are the right choice. You now have an option; enjoy the scenery or get some sleep. This journey has been amazing so far!

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    1. It was a beautiful castle and we had a good time there.

      Not much of a choice because the train is a night train so we wouldn't be seeing any scenery! :-(

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  4. Castle looked interesting! Glad you made a decision on your train travel plans! Enjoy!

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    1. It was a very interesting castle and we were happy to be able to do a self guided tour.

      We are glad that we finally made a decision as well, just not sure if it was the right one. ;-)

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  5. I love the history surrounding these great structures.

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    1. Yep, lots of history here, that is for sure.

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  6. Who's buried in the castle? I started to check airlines yesterday and I didn't thinking you had probably done that. I didn't check the distance either.

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    1. Chris, I did a quick check on the internet and I can't find out who was buried there. I will have to do further research into that when I have more time.

      No, Kevin had checked into that and the buses and for this particular trip we felt that the night train was our best option. I guess we will find out whether it was or not after the journey. The distance is about 500kms (310 miles) but takes a minimum of 7 hours to drive it.

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  7. You have a knack for finding the most amazing sights and your pictures are so… well picture-perfect! You should look to freelance for travel agencies or magazines. Iasi will keep you busy for a couple of days, I would forget about driving to the monasteries – too far away, it will take the better part of the day to get there and back. The scenic way toward Bucovina (the monasteries region) would be over the mountains from Cluj to Vatra Dornei, really beautiful. I guess you’ll have to plan to come back for that in the summer :-)

    We have been following you guys closely, as we are a couple of years away from being empty nesters and full time RV-ing seems like a nice lifestyle. We are on the lookout for destinations that are SAFE, cheap and interesting. Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Panama, Costa Rica have made the cut so far, although we have yet to explore Mexico, Portugal and a few other Eastern European countries. We’re off to Thailand soon to see how affordable it would be as a winter destination. In the meanwhile, I can’t wait for you to travel to Moldova – really very little info available about the country and its friendliness toward foreigners.

    Good choice for your train travel; just lower your expectation as to what “first class” really is on a communist-era train. By the way, I think all train tickets are refundable - if you change your mind and decide to fly instead. Although the train trip is an experience in itself!

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    Replies
    1. Kevin is very picky about things or angles that he will take pictures of and he is also very fussy about what ones we will post on the blog. He doesn't want to put up just any photo, especially if it isn't in focus or has too many wires or obstacles in it, he doesn't like a messy kind of picture. He does not photo shop out any of these objects/items or people either. He may touch up some by cropping/straightening the picture and adjusting the contrast but that is it.

      I guess we will decide on what to do once we get to Isai. Another trip is definitely needed, there is still so much that we would have loved to have seen but have just run out of time. Maybe next time we can come will be in late spring or early fall and in an RV! :-)

      South East Asia is on our list of places to visit. One of these days we will make it there. I am sure you will love your time in Thailand. We are also excited to see Moldova, as you mentioned there is not a lot of information on the internet about this country.

      We are pretty sure we know what to expect on the train. Kevin has read many blog posts form other people and we do not have high exceptions. In fact we have read that there is very little difference between 1st and 2nd class but at least this way we have a place of our own and won't have to worry about our bags if we fall asleep, which we doubt we will be able to do in the first place but at least we can stretch out.

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  8. That is an amazing castle. Did you put in a purchase offer? ;c)

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    1. I doubt we could even afford the down payment let alone the cost of upkeep! Plus there is just too much space for us, we are so used to living in such a tiny space in the motorhome, we would probably get lost in it. That and the fact I wouldn't want to have to clean it! ;-P

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