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!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Travel day...and some choices to make!

Yesterday was a travel day. We were driving 164 kms (102 miles) from Apuseni National Park to the village of Teliucu Inferior, which is located about 5 kms (3 miles) south of the famous Corvin Castle which we will be visiting at some point over the next few days.

Having a rental car has made our time here in Romania quite a lot more expensive than we originally planned, but it sure is convenient and we now think it's worth the extra expense for this particular country. We think if we had to do it all over again, we would have booked a rental for the entire month. Rentals for more than 2 weeks at a time get considerably cheaper on a "per day" basis.

But, we live and learn and try to adapt our travel style just a little bit every year depending on the country we're in. You're never sure if something is going to work out until you actually try it!

We set out just before 10:00am. Another beautiful sunny day, calling for a high of 12C (54F).

Traveling by car in Romania is similar to Mexico. Sometimes it takes forever to get anywhere. Which is okay...we're certainly in no rush.

And, we like to stop and take photos along the way!

The first part of our drive was on a very curvy mountain road. Lots of fun to drive, and especially with hardly any cars around. Ruth took a video for you...


But after that, we hit a long stretch of road construction that was pretty rough at times.

Road construction.

For about 10 kms (6 miles).

We went through several small towns. Again, Ruth took a video for you...


We stopped in the small city of Deva (pop 61,000) to do some grocery shopping. We're going to be staying at this next guest house for six nights, and they have kitchen facilities for us to use so we're going to be doing our own meals during our time there.

It takes us forever to do grocery shopping! But, it's kind of fun. The guy at the deli counter spoke quite good English so that was very helpful for buying cheese and sandwich meats.

With that done, we headed for the Casa Craciun Guesthouse in the village of Teliucu Inferior. We passed by fabulous Corvin Castle (we'll have photos another day) and five minutes south of that, we arrived.

For some reason, there is no sign. The owner said it's because he's renovating, but previous reviews complained of the same problem. But, I had figured out exactly where it was, so not a real issue.

The owner Petre was there to greet us and show us around. Very rustic, typical Romanian old country house. The kitchen equipment was not bad, but missing some simple things...like a can opener!

But, it'll do for our time here.

Our room.

The attached bathroom. I'm going to have to watch my head!

Especially good for the price though...only 72 lei ($24 CAD, $18 US) per night.

Now, I mentioned we had some choices to make. 

Early next week, we will be taking the train from Alba Iulia to Iasi...a nine hour overnight trip. Here are the pricing options...

2nd class seats $30 each
6 berth bed $40 each
4 berth bed $45 each
1st class, 2 berth bed...$71 each

Obviously, if money were no object we would choose the first class option.

But given that we are highly unlikely to sleep at all, why spend the extra money to be lying down awake? And if we are in a 4 or 6 berth, you don't know who you're going to be with. Snorers?
Hmm, the decisions of a traveler...

We're leaning towards either the cheapest option...or the most expensive!

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Thanks for remembering to come back here prior to doing any of your Black Friday shopping.

The Black and Decker Lithium Dustbuster is half price today!


And in Canada, the top quality Breville juice extractor is on at a great price...






21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Well you were a lot of help with our choices, George! ;-)

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  2. Almost no choice really, first class is steep for a bus ride - but that way you might be in better shape. I would likely just go for the cheapest option

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    1. It's not a bus ride but a train ride so for that price we would get berths. We really kept tossing it around and then ended up going with the private berths partly because it is an overnight ride and if we should happen to fall asleep we don't want to worry about the safety of our bags, not that we are too worried about it but at least that way they are with us.

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  3. Beautiful. Thanks for the videos! Awesome scenery.

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  4. Depends on whether you are the sort that can get any sleep in chairs, I guess. There was an overnight train ride from Sicily to the Italian mainland that we tried to get away with only purchasing seats, but they kicked us off the train along the way (midnight? 2 am?), along with the other seat sitters. Apparently to go all the way through on that train, you had to have a berth reservation.

    That bathroom is interesting. Usually when I've seen these open showers/wet bathrooms, the whole room is tiled.

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    1. No we aren't the best chair sleepers but we have also had a berth on a train before and found we didn't get a whole lot of sleep that way either but at least we were more comfortable. That's crazy that they could just kick you off the train for just having seats, especially if your ticket said that you had paid for the entire trip from Sicily to the mainland.

      Yes, the bathroom is a little interesting but it works fine. Kevin really has to remember to watch his head. We feel a little weird using these "wet bathrooms" guess it is just because we are so accustomed to keeping water contained in a shower. I think our room and another room plus the kitchen area are in what used to be an old barn/stable many years ago.

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  5. Why going with the train? I think the train you are mentioning is going from Timisoara to Iasi (called "the hunger train" LOL, not sure why). I took a trip with it in early 2000's and it took forever. I didn't mind because I spent my time with friends having a drink and a laugh, but it's a loooong journey.
    I'm sure there's a coach that can take you there faster and in better conditions.

    Also if you are in the area you might want to pop on see this dam https://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barajul_Gura_Apelor . I'm sure you guys would really like the area.

    P.S. I'm happy to see you enjoying it so far.

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    Replies
    1. We aren't sure of the actual route for the train but we decided to go this way just because it seemed to be one of the easiest ways to get there rather thank changing buses all the time. We also don't normally take transportation at night because we loved to watch the scenery go by but in this case by going at night we will have 2 days in Iasi and then be able to rent a car for at least one of those days to explore the painted monasteries just north of there.

      Thank you also for your suggestion of the Gura Apelor Dam, if we have time we will try to make it there.

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  6. Sounds so exciting especially the train trip. Hope all works out for the best!

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    Replies
    1. The only thing that we will miss by taking a night train is the scenery which we really love to watch as we are traveling through a country, either on a bus or on a train. :-(

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  7. OK what's up with the shower? Is it as I see it? I'm all about the small stuff.
    Looks like a fun place. Enjoy, We will be eating Turkey all day tomorrow.

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    1. Pretty much as you see it. They call them "wet showers" similar to what you would see in some small camper vans or truck campers. There is actually almost the same size of space from where the picture was taken so the bathroom is roomy enough just have to watch your head on that slanted ceiling.

      Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your turkey dinner!

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  8. Hmmm... Looks like you are going to miss some of our favourite Romanian spots (the Northern part of the country). The train will be uncomfortable for such a long ride (forget sleeping, it's way too loud and screechy - been there done that). If you do go for the overnight trip, you will want to lie down for sure. Or you can fly from Cluj to Iasi - it is only $40CAD per ticket, cheaper than the train! Do a search on momondo.ca and you'll see.

    Perhaps you could break up the trip and take a day to visit another area half way to Iasi? You could visit Cluj and the salt mine nearby (very cool and somewhat off the beaten path) and/or the area around the monasteries in the North (with good hiking nearby)?... Looking forward to vicariously travel along.

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    1. Yes, unfortunately we are going to miss the Maramureș area which is one of the areas that I would love to have seen. We have way too many places to see and just not enough time. When we get Iasi we will have a couple of days to explore the area so we are hoping to rent a car and drive up to see some of the painted monasteries there so we won't be totally missing out on the north. I think we will have to return again and finish seeing what we missed the first time.

      I think Kevin will be explaining a bit about our choices in our next post.

      We were going to visit Turda Salt Mine because yes, it looks very interesting but when we were in the area we had such beautiful weather after having some many very cool and overcast days that we didn't want to waste that beautiful blue sky by going underground.

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  9. Excellent videos. That's what I wanted to see. Looks like my kind of fall or winter season, just the way I like it. BTW, any news on rvers or gypsies? There are over half a million in the country.

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    1. Half a million RVers?... The gypsies are all in Barcelona ;-)

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    2. I know, I was being facetious. We saw very few gypsies when we traveled through the country a couple of years ago (we saw a few women with their typical puffy skirts and headscarves). Our hosts told us that many went abroad for better opportunities; then a Romanian colleague was almost pick pocketed in Barcelona by a group of gypsies speaking Romanian - true story. Kevin and Ruth are going to Spain next, I would not be surprised if they saw more gypsies there.

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    3. Thanks Chris! The gypsies are pretty much like what iwasthere has said. We really haven't seen very many. The women are normally easy to spot with their flowery, puffy skirts but not so easy with the men. We have asked a bit about them and what we hear back isn't always very favourable. We would love to meet some and talk to them but that hasn't been the case. They are not like what you might envision from the TV shows. By the way they are not indigenous to Romania and are actually from India decent and that area and then migrated here many, many years ago. You can read about them in wikipedia, just google "Romani people".

      As for RVer's it really isn't the time of year for them here as it is getting too cold to RV but we have seen many small caravans and small motorhomes around and we saw at least one RV park and one small motorhome from Italy that was parked on the side of the street in downtown Brasov.

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