Yesterday, was our first full day in Romania—and it was quite full. We woke up about 6:30 and were on the road by about 7. Ronella, her dad and I drove a few hours to Brasov, a big city up in the mountains. We met up with Joey and Ramona and walked around the city a bit before hitting the road again. All of this was my first real intake of Romania—driving through the country side up into the Carpathian Mountains. Everything was absolutely beautiful—particularly those huge, dramatic mountains.
From Brasov we drove another few hours to what Jon continually described as the “best village in the world”, Poiana Marului. It turned out he was right. Apparently this place up in the hills of the mountains has been elected the least polluted and least densely populated village in Europe. Each hill has its own house/ farm. There are no paved roads, no tvs, no radios, no internet, and no newspapers. Everyone has a large garden surrounded by fields of hay and meadows of flowers. The people were busy turning over or stacking their freshly cut hay with their pitchforks and horses. The sun shined warmly but the cold mountain breeze kept us cool and blew the scent of the flowers and grass right into our face. The flowers at our feet, the meadows around us, the hills in the distance and the stark mountains beyond that made it one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I’ve ever been. I told Jon’s friend hosting us—“daka vrei predicator allich, call me” (if you ever need a preacher here, call me.)
From there we drove another few hours to the mountains, eating at a trout restaurant with its own trout hatchery on the way. “What you are about to see, you do not even imagine it now,” Jon told us. Again, he was right. We drove up the famous Transfagarasan Pass, featured in the Romanian episode of the show “Top Gear”. Easily one of the most beautiful (and most dangerous) drives I’ve ever been on. I’ll leave this to the pictures.
After driving through with repeated stops and taking in all the beauty, we finally headed home, not wanting to drive back down that pass in the dark. From there it was a four hour drive back home, getting us back in our cozy beds about 1 or 1:30 a.m. Quite a long day.