By Caroline Crutchley
Romania: a country that for many may be not the “to do” list.
Well, think again.
You’ve been missing a European country with a tremendous history, monumental countryside, bonafide Saxon villages (not ‘Disneyworld’ replicas) and, of course, the chance to meet up with the Dracula Legend.
Go before the hordes of tourists discover Romania. GO NOW!
One of the highlights is Transylvania, a high plateau area encircled by the Carpathians Mountains. The eco climate is mainly Continental with hot summers and cold winters but when ever you go expect to be astounded. This has to be God’s country (but my Yorkshire friends say they have it).
Local women in Romania
Yes, Transylvania is a wonderland of rolling pasture lands that have remained untouched by fences, pesticides and the last two centuries.
I traveled in June, when the weather was tempered from sun, thunder and cloud. The haymaking season was in full swing. I helped to build the haystacks with a pitch fork and pick cherries off wayside trees. My idyllic place – a country girl at heart.
On the lower plains, combine harvesters work but elsewhere this is a by hand and by horse harvest. (This is it how it was in 1960 on my family’s farms. Cows were milked by hand.)
The families work the land and their lives are dictated by the season and weather. I loved seeing horses still very much part of life with horse drawn carts transporting family and fodder.
Sighisoara, Brasov and all he Saxon villages in between – how can I choose a favorite?
A Fortress in a Saxon Village
Brasov is a lively city with plenty of history and places to visit for those that like medieval atmosphere. Snow in the winter turns the slopes into adventure playgrounds for all. The annual Juni Festival takes place in Brasov every Spring, (May 12, in 2014). In the evening, enjoy relaxing around the main town square at one of the patio restaurants.
Sighisoara is one of the greatest medieval cities left in the world, with a walled citadel on the hilltop, secret gateways and passages, a 14th century Clock Tower and also the birthplace of Prince Vlad Tepes (Dracula). It is the best-preserved and continuously inhabited medieval city of Europe. The citadel is stunning at night and early morning. Walking through the church yard and wooden walkway to the top of the hill was a walk back into history.
The villages are in a time capsule. I fell asleep under the shade of a tree before exploring a village that had the best of both worlds – the simple life we crave but electricity, satellite TV and flowing water to boot.
Prince Charles is enchanted by Romania and now has an accommodation open for the public stay when he is not in residence.
Fields of Gold
If you think Romania is not for you well, think again. I loved it and so do many more that have settled there from Europe. Prince Charles is enchanted by it and now has a place where you can stay when he is not in residence.
Just go you cannot go wrong in the country with people that are welcoming, smiling and happy to share whatever they have. The only confusion is over language – here the Romanian language is spoken but so too is Hungarian and German. In some places all the signs are in four languages – yes that included English.
Enjoy Romania – a heaven for historians, botanists and holiday makers if not hay makers like me.
Editor’s note: Original World Travel offers voyages to Romania, including The
Myths & Magic of Romania, a 12-day tour that runs April – October.