After Bucharest, I decided to go to Brasov, Romania. It seemed like a good stopover on the way to heading into more of Central Europe and, let’s be honest – it’s in Transylvania. For real. Transylvania is not just a place of legend, it’s a place in real life!
There are lots of castles and other sites you can get to from Brasov, and the town itself is just completely picturesque and charming. Brasov is very centrally located in Transylvania, and it’s in the mountains so the weather was far cooler.
I took the train into Brasov, and getting to my hostel was far less disastrous than Bucharest! I managed to find my way, and then explore the heart of the old town.
The old part of Brasov has these magnificent edifices that are seriously straight out of a storybook. And in an odd twist – it also has Hollywood-style letters poised above the town. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but it works well for Brasov!
The mountain (tall hill) the letters are on is called Mt Tampa. Seriously! All the way in Romania, there’s a Mt Tampa. So, of course, I had to climb it! It’s not a terrible hike to the top, and the views are amazing. The old town stretching out below looks like a toy town, and the mountains around give amazing landscapes in all directions.
On my way down, I thought I was following the main trail after reading the trail map at the top. Apparently I need to learn to read trail maps better. The trail I ended up on was most certainly NOT the main trail – it was poorly maintained in many parts – to the level that there were fallen trees I had to climb over in spots!
By the time I realized my error, I was far enough down that I decided it would be better to continue down rather than go back up. I don’t know if this was a good decision or bad, but I did end up falling not once but twice on my way down! One was quite the wipeout, and might mean the death of my new white shorts. The other wasn’t as bad, but there were people watching so that sort of made it worse.
Even with the falls, Mt Tampa was worth the climb.
Brasov has tons of cafes and restaurants and shops, and I had a delightful time just hanging out and wandering them. I found one cafe I loved and had hot chocolate there multiple afternoons. Yes, the weather was cold enough that hot chocolate was perfect! The second day I was there, it was raining almost all day and maybe in the 60s, so a cozy warm beverage was fantastic.
I found a coffee shop that served these incredible milkshakes (think the Instagram style ones that have toppings piled a mile high), but alas, it was actually too cold to want one! But my guess from the milkshakes was that they would be good at hot chocolate, and they were! (There were even homemade marshmallows on my hot chocolate!)
I also tried something called a Kurtos Kalacs – which is a chimney cake that’s common in Romania and Hungary. They’re basically cooked on spits and the dough is wrapped around a wheel, so it’s got a giant hole in the center (and they look like chimneys!). They were SO good, and generally they’re served hot. It was such a perfect treat on a cold and rainy day!
Brasov was definitely a place that agreed with me more than Bucharest – Brasov is something straight out of a storybook!