This past weekend was spent traveling around Romania with my friends, Dima and Logan. It was our first time out of Greece since arriving in September.
Shoutout to multi-entry student visas.
We flew from Athens to Bucharest on Friday, spent Saturday traveling to and from Brasov, Sunday exploring the old city and then a flight back to Athens.
So much passport control, but so many new stamps!
Dima, Logan, and I stayed at an Airbnb in the center of Bucharest. It was a nice little place with a full size bed, pull out couch, kitchen (with a trash-shoot to outside), and bathroom.
Best shower in the world.
I mean the place was in a pretty sketchy neighborhood and it could have been a little cleaner. But it’s all about the experience, right?
Def made us wonder when the last time the sheets were washed tho.
Overall, our Airbnb stay was a good experience. The apartment studio owner and his girlfriend were super nice and helpful when we asked questions about the area, public transportation, and places to eat nearby.
The first night of our weekend adventure we just chilled in our apartment. You could say we were pretty exhausted from our 1 hour and 35 minutes airplane ride and 30 minute (and super sketchy) Uber ride from the airport to downtown and our Airbnb.
Speaking of our flight though.
The flight was one of the worst ever. I’ve been trying to kick a cold lately, and my sinuses were not having it with the high altitude. My ears were in so much pain I thought I was going to pass out.
I’m cringing just thinking about it.
The one thing that made it better was I packed Nutella sandwiches.
Nutella is life.
Saturday morning we got up early to catch the train to the city of Brasov. We missed the first one though and had to hop on a later, and longer, train. That meant we could get a ‘lil breakfast first though.
Yummy cappuccino and croissant.
The currency in Romania is the Lei. The economy is pretty terrible, but the exchange rate was great for us so we didn’t really mind. At the airport, once we arrived in Romania, I exchanged 50 U.S. Dollars for 200 Romanian Leis.
Let that sink in.
An average price of a coffee is like 9 Leis though and my croissant was 3 leis. Where as I could probably get the same breakfast in Greece for 5 Euros vs. 12 in Leis.
Back to the train ride. We took the 8:50am train to Brasov. It would have been a lovely trip, but they over sold seats. We ended up sitting on the cement floor of a shaky, cold, crowded train for 4 hours.
4 hours of our butts falling asleep.
Anyway, we arrived at our destination a little before 1:00pm, and having to use the restroom quite badly to say the least. So we caved and paid 1.50 Leis.
Yes, we paid to use the restroom. Welcome to the EU.
You’re probably wondering at this point why we took a 4 hour train ride to Brasov in the first place. Well, there’s this thing called Dracula’s Castle. That’s right, I went to a castle. It was pretty awesome and pretty spooky.
And now I want one.
Even though I’m quite unfamiliar with the story of Dracula, the tour of the castle, and the town of Bran (near Brasov), was exciting.
Below are a few photos from the tour.
It was pretty crowded, but we had a great time. My favorite part was photobombing the other tourists’ pictures. Pretty sure my face is all over Facebook by now.
After the our castle adventure…
Unfortunately none of us were bitten by a vampire or saw Dracula himself.
… we explored the little town and shops. Even had lunch at a local restaurant.
I also picked up a postcard of the area.
I’ve been buying post cards wherever I travel while I’m abroad. Happy to say I have quite the collection going.
We spent a few hours in the area and then Uber-ed back to Brasov. The drive was beautiful both ways. We saw the small community, snow covered mountains, herds of sheep, and gypsies selling wild berries on the side of the road.
Fun fact: Our Uber driver was a ski instructor in the winter months and tennis coach in the summer.
We caught the 6:30pm train to back Bucharest and arrived around 9:17pm. I am thankful to say we did not have to sit on the floor this time.
We actually snuck into 1st class…
That night we had plans to go out and experience the night life of Bucharest. But once we got back our exhaustion hit and none of us wanted to leave our Airbnb. So, instead, we hungout watching Romanian soap operas and reminiscing over old Snapchat videos.
The next morning we slept in. Okay, so Dima and Logan slept in while I planned our itinerary for our last day.
I even made a google maps chart.
After getting ready for the day and checking out of our Aribnb, we started the tour of Bucharest by making our way to the Romanian Palace of Parliament building. One word. Wow.
Apparently, its World’s largest civilian building with an administrative function, World’s most expensive administrative building, and World’s heaviest building.
It’s also got something like 1,100 rooms.
A few other spots we wandered around to were the Macca – Vilacrosse Passge, National Musem of History, CEC Palace, Danube-Bucharest Canal, and the Arcul de Triumf. I had much more on the list, but we ran out of time.
While wondering around the city, with our backpacks I might add, we got a little hungry and stopped for lunch.
A lotta hungry.
We enjoyed lunch and people watching at an Irish Pub on one of the quite side streets. It was beautiful day. The sun was shining and St. Patrick’s had coffee on their menu.
I ordered a Cappuccino. It was delicious and simply gorgeous.
We had food too. Logan and I ordered the Quesadilla’s and Dima had the pork and mashed potatoes.
The white sauce was so good. Though I couldn’t pin-point the ingredients.
We also split mozzarella sticks.
Lunch ended our time in Bucharest and we made our way back to the airport.
Thankfully the flight back was much easier on the sinuses. Unfortunately, once we arrived back in Greece, I had a boat-load of homework due.
I had full intentions of working on it over the weekend, really. Even brought my laptop with me…
Midterms are in full-swing. So much to do, so little time.
Dima and Logan were great travel buddies though, and we had such a fun weekend experiencing something entirely new in an unfamiliar country. After traveling to Romania, I am even more excited for this weekend in Bulgaria.
A whole weekend of no homework again, great.
Stay tuned for my next adventure, this time with Dima, Julia, and Celina.
Girls weekend here we come!