Monday night, a midnight train took us to Stansted airport, where we spent the night dozing on the floor. At daybreak, we hopped onto a plane and set off on a 3 hour journey to Romania, where we enjoyed sunny weather, cheap food and good company for 5 days.
Day 1: Cismigiu Gardens, Central Bucharest
Rowing merrily along, occassionally displacing frogs from their algae patches, and getting our oars tangled in a slimy mess in the process. After completing our water expedition, we proceeded to romp and bounce around the children’s playground.
Day 2: Palace of the Parliament
Monstrous in its extravagance and dazzlingly surreal, this controversial building is one of the most massive in the world, second only to the Pentagon. Even now, we’re all still wandering through its halls of white marble and rose marble, crystal chandeliers and rooms of gold in our minds. In the evening, we headed to the old town of Bucharest for a good meal.
Day 3: Road to Brasov and Bran
A long train ride took us to the quiet city of Brasov. From there we headed to Bran castle of Transylvania, from which the story of Dracula was said to have been inspired.
Day 4 part 1: Climbing Mount Tampa
In the chilly early morning rain, we took a gentle trek up the 940m tall Mount Tampa. A shaky little cable car took us back to ground, and we took a short stroll to the old town of Brasov, where we met a kind old woman feeding pigeons from her window.
Day 4 part 2: Sinaia
Another bus ride through the hills took us to the town of Sinaia, where we walked through the rooms of the castles of the first 2 Kings of Romania, drinking in the ornate beauty of the first and the quaint comfort of the second. One of my favourite rooms was the music room of the first queen of Romania, original instruments still in place.
Day 5: Homebound
With our spare change, we got ourselves a few bread rolls each, and set off on the long journey back to London, where with the usual post-adventure mixture of wistful longing and relief, we breathed the air of our second island home again.