Four Days In and Around Brasov, Romania

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The Black Church is Brasov's most well known landmark.

The last time I went sledding Ronald Reagan was still in his first term as President. And the last time I had hot chocolate was long enough ago to be only a hazy memory. But the warm tendrils of “ciocolate calde” are right now spreading to my toes, frozen from a day spent sledding in the Carpathian Mountains.

Instead we stopped at an outdoor stall selling mici (small barbequed sausages of beef and pork) and mulled wine. Then we hit the slopes for more sledding before finally catching the bus back to Brasov.

Although Marius and I live in Brasov we rarely get a chance to experience all it has to offer. So when we found ourselves with four free days we decided to become tourists.

A Walking Tour

Locals take advantage of the deep snow at Poiana Brasov.

Instead we went to the old Schei District, a neighborhood of narrow cobblestone streets and red-tiled 17th century homes. In Schei we visited Romania’s very first school, which dates back to 1495. Next door to the First School Museum is St. Nicholas Church, a gorgeously painted Romanian Orthodox church.

“Please don’t touch that,” our guide said to a paunchy American tourist who’s run her finger along a thirteenth century wood table. “It’s rumored to have belonged to Dracula and if you touch it you might become a vampire.” The woman squealed in mock fright.

Bran Castle located less than an hour from Brasov is more well known as Dracula's Castle.

This was something our tour guide took great pains to point out to us repeatedly in spite of his previous Dracula reference. “Dracula is a fiction created by a foreign author,” he said several times.

In spite of efforts to distance Bran from Dracula, the connection is reinforced by dozens of merchants hawking their wares outside. T-shirts with fanged smiley faces dripping blood read “a smile from Transylvania”, and Dracula key chains, coasters, and pens abound. My guilty purchase: a small etching of the castle at night complete with clouds, a full moon, and a horde of bats.

The remainder of our time in Sinaia was spent strolling through the town, visiting the nearby monastery, and riding the cable car up the mountain.

Let It Snow

In four days we’ve seen much of Brasov and done three side trips. But there’s more that we haven’t seen yet: the White and Black Towers, the Brasov Citadel and the Fortress of Brasov museum. Not to mention the ice-skating.

WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Aro Palace:
****
Centrally located. Amenities include satellite TV, telephone, room service, mini bar, tourist office and Italian restaurant on site. Most expensive hotel in Brasov, 85 – 140 Euros.

Hotel Capitol:
***
Centrally located. Amenities include telephone, room service, satellite TV, and tourist office on site.
Prices range from 60 – 80 Euros.
+40 268 477664

Hotel Brasov:
***
One of Brasov’s newest hotels, it is located around 15 minutes from the center. Amenities include cable TV, mini bar, and fitness center on site. Prices range from $79 – $112. Coroana Hotel:
**
Basic hotel, but centrally located. Amenities include telephone, cable TV, mini bar, room service and a restaurant on site. Prices range from 44 – 100 Euros. +40 268 477448

BRASOV LANDMARKS AND MUSEUMS:The Art Museum: 21 Eroilor Blvd. Open Monday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm.

The Ethnography Museum:
21A Eroilor Blvd. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am – 5pm.

HOW TO GET TO:

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