I’m actually a bit disappointed it’s not -14 here anymore, as I’d stocked up on layers and now I can’t try any of them out because I just get way too warm. It’s supposed to snow again later today though so that might make my clothing feel a bit more appropriate. And I might get to make a snowman before it all gets cleared away!
I’ve not decided what to see today yet, but I’ve got lots of recommendations to go on. I might see how many things I can find that remind me of other places. For a start, the old town, which I had a wander through last night, reminds me of a large-ish English market town, complete with cobbled streets. But much better Christmas lights. Walking past the railway station, I was reminded of Krakow’s railway station approach, with its grand entrance and square outside.
Strangest of all though was the airport entrance. Airside looks much like any other airport, all glass panels and dull metal girders; endless staircases, corridors and barriers, but if you approach from the street, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were about to embark on a long steam-hauled train journey.
There are intricate cornices and plasterwork, balconies, chandeliers, a refreshing absence of advertising and billboards, and a definite golden age of steam atmosphere. Which will make getting on a plasticky Ryanair plane home even more disappointing. Maybe I’ll take the train instead…
Towards Tampa Hill
So after a long and not particularly sleepy overnight journey on the Romanian sleeper (why the train had to honk it’s horn every 3-4 mins throughout the night is beyond me), we have arrived in Brasov, one of the “capitals” of Transylvania. It’s an odd mixture of stark and mainly grubby 50s and 60s communist style blocks at the new end of town (where the station is) and colourful quaint and quirky mediaeval buildings in the old part, where we are staying. Already we’ve seen a bright green 50s chalet-style set of apartment blocks set at the top of the hill above the town, and the bizarre white lettered BRASOV sign at the top of the almost-alpine Tampa Hill that overlooks the houses.
There’s a really lovely atmosphere here, people seem laid back and friendly, and we’re also back in the territory of a vaguely familiar language! Romanian is closely related to Italian and Spanish, despite Romania being surrounded by Slavic nations. OK I don’t speak Italian or Spanish, but nonetheless, somehow it all seems just a bit less other-worldly.
Our hostel is one of the old mediaeval-looking buildings, all higgledey piggledey stairs and roofs on the outside, but with modern facilities on the inside – again as it’s low season we have a dorm to ourselves.
And on top of this it’s snowing today. I don’t know if anything could be more picturesque!
Days since leaving the UK: 6
Kilometres travelled so far by main train journeys: 1911+675 = 2586
Countries travelled through so far: 7
Cities visited: 6
Weather: snowy but sunny!