Transylvania: Plenty of vamps but no vampires.

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Romania  ,
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

He Said:

Yesterday afternoon we rode a train north out of Bucharest into the province of Transylvania. The city rapidly turned into flat farmland, which then quickly gave way to expansive forests, jagged peaks, and villages that looked like they could be Bavarian. We arrived in the town of Brasov in the late afternoon. It is a large city (population: 300,000) but has a really delightful and historic downtown, which is where we are staying. The town square is unbelievably cute and authentic. What a change from Bucharest! I'm happy we chose to spend more time here than in the big city. Brasov is quite a popular tourist destination, but most seem to be Romanian or Eastern European. In the course of my travels I find it fun and illuminating to go to places where locals actually take their vacations.

This morning we took a gondola type lift to the top of a mountain that looks over the old town. Absolutely breathtaking vistas! The rest of the day was spent lounging in street cafes and enjoying this beautiful town. We are planning on spending four or five days here before heading back to Istanbul on the 19th. Other than taking a day trip to Bran to see the castle of Vlad Tepes (the real Dracula), we probably won't be doing too much other than soaking up the atmosphere. We'll try to get another update out before we head back to Turkey.

She Said:

We are "blending in" here a lot more than any place we have visited thus far. People actually walk up to both of us and ask us for directions and other questions in Romanian. After one month of being very different from the majority of people, it feels good to be a bit more anonymous. Everyone we have interacted with so far has been very pleasant and has really tried to help us. Except for the mean girls...

Some teenage girls made fun of me yesterday at a restaurant. They were laughing and staring at me all the way to the bathroom, in the bathroom line, and while we washed our hands at the sink. And I'm not really even sure why. My hair wasn't sticking up, and there was nothing hanging out of my nose. I was wearing jeans and black t-shirt (not a lot of material there), and flip-flops (like most other people). I'm guessing it is because I had my jeans rolled up a bit so they wouldn't drag on the ground in wide cuffs, which by the way, isn't a fashion crime in NYC!! But I guess Brasov, Romania is the fashion capital of the world. I wanted to tell them that I should be the one pointing and laughing since they both had mullet haircuts. Oh, and that I would ensure that neither of them would ever have a chance to be in an Eastern European CLEAN & CLEAR commercial. But I didn't since I am an adult, and more likely because I don't speak Romanian.

It's so cute in this town (see pics) that we have decided to stay here for the next 5 days. We are staying in a SERIOUS budget hotel (yucky showers down the hall), beds that redefine hard (even hard thinks it is hard), and pillows that seem to be stuffed with some dog food type material. I told Todd that I think camping has to be better than this.

So, I spent all morning online trying to find a better alternative since we are staying a bit longer than we originally planned. I found a few apartments with kitchens and living rooms and I am anxiously awaiting the owners' reply. If it works out, we are going to do something really exciting - go to Carrefour (similar to a Wal-Mart Supercenter) and buy groceries because we will have a fridge!! Yahoo!! It's the little things really that are the most exciting.

We Said:

So far on the trip, a constant source of free entertainment for us is local fashion trends. Now obviously in Muslim countries due to religious obligations there isn't quite as much variety in styles. Eastern Europe though has given us plenty of raised eyebrows. Granted we are generally talking about exceptions, for the most part 95% of people dress exactly like an average person we'd encounter in the US. However especially amongst hipsters in their twenties and thirties we have noticed enough to create a list of current Eastern European fashion truths:

#1 The mullet haircut never went out of style for men and women!
#2 For guys, 1970-80's heavy metal (or at least the T-shirts) are all the rage.
#3 Gals, the lower your jeans, and wider your bare midriff, the more "in" you are!
#4 Women, 7" stilettos work great for walking on cobblestone streets or even hiking!
#5 Ladies, the more unnatural yellow or red you can color your hair, the hotter you are.
#6 Why have only one buckle on a shoe when you could have fourteen!
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hathor on

Black Church?
Did you visit the Black Church? and Ecaterina's Gate? Did you go up to Poiana Brasov (ski resort).
Did you lunch at Cetate Restaurant?

There you go... a few thigs to see...

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