This morning we woke up early, left the money on the dresser and bid adieu to our apartment in Sibiu. We had breakfast in the Piata Mare, caught one last glance at the beautiful little town, caught a cab and were on our way to the train station. Sadly, the train station in Sibiu doesn’t look (or smell) any better during the day than it does at night. We found our platform and hopped onto our Inter-Regional City train, heading further east and deeper into Transylvania, towards the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.
The scenery from the train was again beautiful – lush green fields and forests, shepherds tending their flocks and pretty little villages dotting the landscape. At around noon we pulled into Brašov station, got a cab (the drivers are a little less Grand Theft Auto in Romania as they are in Hungary, but still on the aggressive side) and checked our bags into our hotel, Hotel Drachenhaus (means Dragon House). Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we decided to hit the town and grab some lunch.
Brašov’s old town is magical – stunning architecture built in front of a back drop of a rich green behemoth called Mount Tampa that also boasts the town’s name at the top in grand letters, “Hollywood” sign-style. There were sidewalk terraces and restaurants stretching out in every direction as far as the eye could see, and endless streams of people sauntering up and down the streets.
The concièrge at Drachenhaus recommended a restaurant called Sergiana, a labyrinthian cellar that offers up authentic Romanian fare, which as it turns out, is pork heavy. Because I am not a fan of pork in general, I have the very flavourful chicken noodle soup.
We settled up and decided to head to the town’s main square, Piata Sfatului (Council Square), which is apparently the site of a lot of torture and the last witch burning in Europe.
The Piata is lovely – large and clean with a fountain in the middle. We walked around it, ogled charming clothing boutiques and book shops, and enjoyed some iced coffee with Bailey’s in the afternoon sun.
Ma and Pa wanted to check out the laundromat situation, so I sat in the square and people watched, sipped sparkling water and took a few photos.
When Ma and Pa returned, it was nearing dinner time and I wanted to try a restaurant I had read a bit about back home – La Ceaun. It was easy to find as we had passed it earlier in the day and we quickly found a table at the outdoor patio section. La Ceaun is Romanian for “Cauldron”, and all the main dishes are slow cooked from local ingredients. Ma ordered the chicken pot pie and Pa and I ordered the meatballs in mushroom sauce with potatoes. Our waiter, Raz, was delightful – funny and wry with a quick wit – and informed us that the meals would take about 20 minutes as they make them pretty well to order. Pa and I indulged in several local beers and when our food arrived, it was everything we hoped for – warm, flavourful and hearty, enjoyed with street musicians playing our Transylvanian soundtrack as we ate. We then ordered dessert, I had a latte and dad had an apple Palinka, and after paying the hilariously inexpensive bill, we headed back through the darkened yet still busy streets of Brašov to Hotel Drachenhaus. We huffed it up the 4 flights of stairs to our loft suite – which looks exactly like the kind of place I would want to stay in in Transylvania – a spacious attic with exposed wooden beams with small windows facing Mount Tampa.
Tonight, I falls asleep with the Brašov sign shining through my window and the church bells ringing in my ears.