25 June 2013

Going to Brasov
Houses in North Romania

H43postdetail4Today is another travel day.  We are leaving Suceava for Brasov.  Suceava is, as said before, not much of a city and in trouble, but it has its own charm.
This morning we were awake ridiculously early, as all the dogs in the block were going ballistic at the cats, and the cats were not quiet either!
Back at the bus station, we had to wait a while for the bus, but it came eventually, and we set off.  The (7.00!!) bus is a direct bus to Brasov, and we expected it to go down the eastern side of the mountains before crossing over, and we would be able to see a different side of Romania.  This was not to be.  The bus ended up going the same way we had come.  Through Pietra Neamt, over Bicaz Gorge, and almost all the way back to Turga Mures before heading south.  This made for an extremely long bus trip that was mostly backtracking. but still we made it to Brasov.
Being dumped near the train station we were luck to already have a map of town.  Going across the road to a little park, we got our bearings.  We had even done research and knew a couple of Pensions we wanted to stay at.  While we were working out the best way to get to the first one, a helpful Romanian came up asking if we needed help.  I love this!  He also let us in on as trange fact for Brasov.  The town centre is on the side of town!  It was built originally between a mountain and a hill.  The fortress is on the hill, and the mountain provided extra protection for the city (which is also fortified!)  As there was no room to expand in these directions, it spread out on the plains to the east, leaving the old town centre fairly isolated from the rest of the city.

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H42postdetail3We walked all the way to the street of the first pension.  With a map this was not hard at all, but finding it was.  We walked all the way up the street without finding it.  We did find another pension that looked good though.  Until we found out that it was fully booked!  Typical.  They said there were a few other pensions further along so we kept walking.  After a long time, there were no other pensions and we were now miles from down town, so we turned around and made for our second option.  This is almost in the centre, so we dragged our bags all the way back, found that street.  It is the main walking street in town, going from the main road to the church.  Finding the number of that pension, only to discover that it also no longer existed.  H41postdetail2By now we were exhausted and depressed.  Sitting there trying to work out what to do, we were discussing staying at the hostel (more expensive than pensions most of the time) when a lady came up and asked if we needed a place to stay.  Her Aunt has a couple of spare rooms, and is using them as a small pension.  It would be the same price as the hostel, but private room and bathroom.  Going to check it out, it was fine.  Even the mattresses were pretty good.  This has been a problem in Romania, as the springs from old mattresses stick into your back and don’t give you a good nights sleep.  Most mattresses are this way.
Still we had tried to prepare, and even though it took hours, we are in a good spot in town, and have a good place to stay.  Terresa, the lady that picked us up was very chatty and helpful.  She is Hungarian, and her Husband German (No big surprise in Brasov).  She did everything she could to make our stay pleasant and provided us with everything we could want.

H40postdetailTravelling the last week or so, we have fallen in love with the Romanian houses is the Bocuvina region. There is amazing detail in the metal roofs, wood work and guttering. Little towers decorating the roofs topped off with metal ornaments. Some very neglected looking houses sometimes still have amazing roofs. Even the sheds, wells and  doghouses have ornate roofs!  Every house has its own well, immaculately maintained and by the look of them, still in use.
And it is nice to see that even new modern houses keep the old ways going and adjust the wood shingles or the metal decorations to fit a new era.

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