Skip to content

Welcome to Transylvania: Stumbling Around Brasov, Romania

Nothing like a great sleep on a 13-hour overnight train, until Hungarian Border Police find a problem with our passport. Someone stamped it incorrectly along the way, but they let us out anyway. We must not resemble refugees. Our only vow today is to not get ripped off by a taxi driver, like back in Budapest! That translates here in Transylvania into lugging heavy backpacks for over two miles traversing snow and ice-covered sidewalks. It’s not about the money, it’s the principle (and a sore back).


Room with a view and de facto fridge

After another nineteen cups of espresso at a coffee shop where we also get directions, Viola! We splurge on a room with a view (US60) at the “Casa Wagner,” smack in the middle of Piata Sfatului, the old town square.


Piata Sfatului – The old town square

Off to a pub! It’s almost noon. We get better tourist information at pubs that at info centers. Silviu, the barkeep at the “Old Firm Beer House,” tells us his favorite local restaurants and his impressions of Americans. “When I worked in Constanta on the Black Sea, American soldiers would come to the bar and drink like maniacs,” he says. “They couldn’t pronounce my name, so they called me ‘Dude’ but I didn’t mind.”


The pedestrian street

We roam around yet another fantasy land of cobbled streets, bohemian cafes, statues, medieval spires, and a Gothic black church, so named due to fire damage.


Note the “Hollywood style” Brasov sign above

We take the cable car up Mt. Tampa for inspiring views of the city and take note of the Hollywood style sign near the viewing platform. Really liking this place.


Brasov from the cable car up Mt. Tampa

Off to the first of Silviu’s recommended restaurants, “Gaura Dulce” (sweet hole) which has historical roots as a brothel. Let’s get Romanian, with an order of pork liver, fried brains, bounce enticed beef tongue, and blood sausage. Delicious. We even took leftovers and ate our brains out for breakfast the next morning!


Liver, brains, and tongue – oh my!

Vasile, from the hotel, agrees to drive us to Bran Castle, often referred to as “Dracula’s Castle,” about 20 miles away. Built around 1380, this spectacular castle imprisoned Vlad the Impaler for about two months.


Bran Castle

It became associated with Dracula because of appearance rather than Vlad’s brief stay. Mainly furnished and lived in by Queen Marie around the 1920’s, the antiques and secret passages add to the Dracula mystique. A deep shaft leads to a stream on the village level for sneaky ins and outs.


Welcome to Bran Castle

Some locals believe in “Strigoi,” whose souls leave their body at night and torment people. They hunt prey until daylight when they lose their power. Dracula derives from these myths.


The King’s bed inside Bran Castle

Roaming around the hilltop ruins of Rasnov Fortress, a short driving distance away, you could almost see fur donning peasants walking around. Stone vaults held food and supplies for villagers to survive in the event of an invasion by nomadic tribes and armies.


Rasnov Fortress

Back at our haven, we waste no time trying another of Silviu’s restaurant recommendations, “Sergiana,” for some more Romanian fare. Subterranean tables greet you with breaded, fried chunks of pork belly. I order the Sarmale (cabbage rolls that originated in Romania) accompanied by pork chop sized hunks of bacon, and Marilynn orders the Ciorba (Transylvanian sour soup with smoked gammon, tarragon, sour cream, and lemon juice or vinegar). This is perhaps one of our best meals ever.


Sergiana, our favorite restaurant in Brasov

Struggling to make forward plans forces us to extend our stay in this lovely city. I guess we’ll need to visit Sergiana one more time before lugging those backpacks again.

Ron Mitchell

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Skip #


    January 30, 2017
  2. Sally Iadarola #


    Sent from my iPhone


    January 30, 2017
  3. Ma & Pa #


    January 30, 2017
  4. Looks like a wonderful place! Years ago I read a book by Robert D. Kaplan about travelling in Romania/Transylvania (among other places) and really pulled at me. Loving the photos, prose. But I don’t know that I could eat all that liver and brains….sorry about the Budapest rip-off. Safe travels! BTW does Silvie speak English?

    January 30, 2017
    • Jill, We are really enjoying Romania. And yes, Silviu spoke English. Most everyone does, except for the older folks. But you don’t see many of them. I figured they have all died early from heart disease. I have now eaten more meat in 3 weeks than I probably have in the last 3 years. But when in Eastern Europe…well you know. Thanks for traveling along with us. Marilynn

      January 30, 2017
  5. Kim Barnes #

    Loving these blogs and pics! The brains, tongue, and liver meal is a bit disturbing, but obviously, nothing is wasted. Yikes! What a beautiful village! And the Dracula Castle, oh, yeah. I’m all about following you two to Romania. Continued safe travels, and here’s to no mas crooked cabbies!

    February 1, 2017
    • Kim, lots of walking to burn off that tender, tasty pork fat! I’ll walk miles and miles for more pork fat.

      February 1, 2017
  6. Once I came really close to visit Romania. Seeing your pictures I wish I had done it.

    February 2, 2017
    • Hello, Cecilia. Yes, hopefully you will have another opportunity for a visit. We are here in the winter off-season which is very affordable and not crowded. The amazing sites and culture/food is calling you!

      February 2, 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: