The room where the couple spent their last nights, from 21 to 25 December 1989
Military Barracks where former Romanian dictator and his wife were tried and executed by firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989.
The wall where the couple were shot
Camping Dracula north of Curtea de Argeș
Celebrating the news that we will be grand-parents for the second time!
A sweet little curious cat at our camping site
Our climb up to Poienari Citadel (1480 steps) with 2 policemen, since there are bears around
Passing again unfinished gypsy mansions (last time, and more sophisticated was in Huedin)
Cathedral and Monastery
You can find everything down there: restaurant, bar, tennis, billiard, soccer/football, basketball, badminton, ping-pong etc.
On our way further west we saw many houses with their hey barn
Bizarre geological formations are found at this place
A smart kitten who ate all our leftovers
An abandoned cub, less than 10 days old
We found a dog shelter in Frâncești and we were lucky to find someone to attend us on Sunday.
Lunch at the Cabana Cascada across our site
Our aire across Cabana Codrin with the very nice hosts Johann and his wife
Bridge over the Pietrele Creek
Cabana Pietrele - not so nice and closed
First thing: a good lunch with huge deserts at Casa Bunicii
A golden Cadillac with California number
Beautiful art nouveau buildings can be seen in town, some still need a facelift. Too many doves too that are fed with bread!
A Mariachi who tries to sing, but he is really bad, so he is not earning any money
The Serbian Orthodox Bishop's Residence -much larger than the church next to it!
The "Deutsches Staatstheater" where we got tickets for tonight to watch Das Maß der Dinge (The State of Things)
Camping International - very well secured.
Taverna Pecicana near Arad. Good food, strange service
Friday 07.09.2018: Bucharest - Târgoviște - Curtea de Argeș/Poienari Citadel (alt 642 m): 228 km, 28ºC during the day, cool in the evening
Drive from Bucharest to Târgoviște where we parked in the centre (no fee). We had some problems finding the Military Barracks where Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were tried and executed bu firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989 (8 RON/pax + 10 RON for audio guide). We were surprised that we were the only visitors. After the visit we walked to the Princely Court and the Sunset Tower through a nice park, which on this weekend has some kind of festival and we had lunch with pig leg and sausage and beer (90 RON). Drive to Curtea de Argeș and further north to the Camping Dracula (40 RON without electricity) next to the stairs going up to Poienari Citadel (1480 steps!). We got the fabulous news that we would become grand-parents for the second time and celebrated it with a good gin tonic on the terrace of the campground. N45º21'0" E24º37'59"
Saturday 08.09.2018: Poienari Citadel/Curtea de Argeș - Ocnele Mari Salt Mine - Muzeul Trovanților - Bistrița - Măldărești (alt 494 m): 115 km - 26ºC, cool in the mine
Walk up to the citadel (2480 steps) at 10:00 am with two policemen who took our group to prevent meeting a bear (6 RON/pax). During the night we were told there was a bear with two cubs along the campsite. And, of course, we didn't see them! The next group of visitors would go up at 15:00. After the tour we drove to the Ocnele Mari Salt Mine, which is an underground leisure park (22 RON/pax on weekend). A bus took us down and later up again. We played ping-pong (10 RON for 1/2 hour). We tried to go to the Bistrița Monastery but it was super-crowded and people were still arriving. We saw that there was a festival of some kind. Further we went to the Muzeul Trovanților, a strange complex of bolder formation. Then we decided to go to the Camping Trei Stejari (30 RON/night without electricity) where we had dinner with a kitten and a cub who I adopted for the night. I nurtured him on instructions from my daughter and also cared for his after-food hygiene (!). He slept quietly rolled in two towels in a sort of cave I built with the pillows. N45º8'22" E23º58'50"
Sunday 9.9.2018: Măldărești - Frâncești (dog shelter) - Cârnic/Retezat National Park (actually back in Transylvania!) (alt 1020 m): 246 km - 24ºC cloudy warm
Today we reached 200.000 km with our camper! First we drove 30 km south (which took us more than an hour) to Frâncești to deliver the little dog to the shelter. How lucky we were that we found it and that there was a person to welcome our cub. I was crying afterwards but actually that was the best we could do for him. Maybe he will have a chance for a good life. Drive to to the Retezat National Park where we settled at the camping site of Cârnic. Lunch at the Cabana Cascada (45 RON with a fixed menu -good, so we didn't have to chose anything). Volker tried to go down to the river but the path is narrow and steep. So he went to the Cascade Lolaia (2,60 km, 45 min) while Julia relaxed. N45º26'4" E22º53'36"
Monday 10.09.2018: Cârnic/Retezat National Park: Hike up to Pietrele Lake - 18ºC cool
Hike up to Cabană Gențiana where I had a real good coffee and Volker a hot chocolate (7 RON! and everything has to be brought hiking up!). Volker continued up to Lacul Pietrele (1000 m ascent, 7 hours, 16,5 km) and back passing the Cabana Pietrele, which was closed and not nice anyway. Dinner at home with steaks BBQ.
Tuesday 11.09.2018: Cârnic/Retezat National Park - Timișoara (alt 98 m): 224 km - 27ºC nice warm
Drive to Timișoara, 136 km of which on narrow and in bad condition before getting on the A1 to Timișoara. Timișoara has been named European Capital of Culture 2021. It is also called The First Free City, for it was here that anti-Ceaușescu protests first exceeded the Securitate's capacity for violent suppression in 1989. Settled at the Camping International (100 RON/night with electricity). We took an Uber into town and had lunch at the Casa Bunicii (very good, also delicious deserts 114 RON). Visit of the Communist Consumers Museum (more a bar than a museum, very small and crampy -free of charge though) Ice cream at Il Gelato di Bruno (4 RON/scoop) Walk to the Piata Victorei and Piata Unirii. Next to the information centre we bought tickets for a theatre performance in German tonight at 19:30 at the German National Theatre Timișoara: Das Maß der Dinge (The Shape of Things in the original English version) from Neil LaBute, an American author and playwright. We enjoyed it, especially that it was a mix of "real" theatre and videos on 6 different screens of various shapes. We did all our trips into town and back to the camping site with Uber or a taxi (± 13 RON). N45º46'10" E21º16'2"
Wednesday 12.09.2018: Timișoara (Romania) - Podersdorf am See/Neusiedler See (alt 110 m): 510 km, 31ºC hot, especially in the car
We tried to visit of the Museum of the 1989 Revolution, but we didn't find any parking place for our camper, so we continued our way to Austria, crossing Hungary. Near Arad we had lunch at the Taberna Pecicana (good food but the waitress wouldn't even say hello). After crossing to Austria we were able to buy our Go-box, after having tried to do so before the border and have it charged with 145€ + 5€ rent for the box. We have to give it back before leaving the country. We drove to Podersdorf am See at the Neusiedler See and settled at the Winery Fabian Sloboda (12,50 €/night with everything). After a reinvigorating shower we did the 20 steps over to the heuriger and had a sampling of white wines with delicious meats and cheeses (44 €). N47º51'1" E16º49'50"
Specific things I felt in Romania:
- Romania has the currency Leu/Lei in the plural (1 Romanian Leu equals 0,22 Euro) and is as an expensive country.
- Restaurants are usually open without interruption from lunch to dinner
- Napkins are good, not like in Poland or Portugal
- Restaurant toilets are mostly clean
- Romania has more contrast than Poland with rich and poor than Poland
- Any nice spot you find in Romania is full of rubbish
- Crazy huge gypsy palaces in Huedin and Hunedoara