We finally finished packing our bags after an extreme elimination challenge and we were on our way! Being so proud of our perfectly arranged packs, I am quite certain we jinxed ourselves. We arrived in Bucharest with only one bag – my bag, which contained solely my things. Oops! There was nothing to do but shrug it off. So we began our short adventure in the beautiful city of Bucharest – Nu with one t-shirt, one pair of pants and one sweater and Sami with just a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.
Bucharest is a beautiful, eclectic and edgy the city. We loved seeing the utilitarian communist-era architecture next to the beautiful neo-classical buildings; both made more interesting by the graffiti art and derelict state. We were staying in an apartment in a trendy area with lots of little cafes and bars offering their own wines and beers. Our apartment was cute and looked exactly as it was described – “Grandma’s Apartment.” You can check it out here. In keeping with its 1950’s style, it had no TV or internet, a washing machine that may actually have been the first washing machine ever made, and a bunch of cool vintage items like an old dial telephone, which Nu instantly claimed as his own.
We were amazingly lucky while in Bucharest because our friends Jelena, Uros and their beautiful baby girl Iskra drove all the way from Belgrade to visit us! Together we visited the shockingly enormous parliament building, which is the second largest administrative building in the world. When later looking up this fact on Wikipedia, I also discovered that it is the heaviest building in the world (good to know) and that it costs about 6 million dollars a year to heat and light this place.
With Sami and Nu getting a bit stinky, and still waiting around for our bags, we didn’t get too adventurous with our site seeing and just went on a bunch of long walks and enjoyed the parks of Bucharest. Nu loved Cismigu park – a real throw back to another Era with its candy coloured carousels and charming/slightly scary play structures. Of course by this point we had given up on Nu’s pants entirely (just in case you were wondering from the photos). We never did manage to figure out that ancient washing machine. Seriously, it had one cycle that was 8 hours long.
After 5 days of waiting, we finally got news that our bag had arrived and Sami headed to the airport to pick it up right away. I think he was pretty excited about having a fresh pair of boxers and not having to shower with his clothes on every night. He arrived home several hours later, sweating and with blood dripping down his face, announcing that he had broken the elevator – with his head. There is a new scar to prove it!
The next day we headed out of the city, along the Transfagarasan – or as we like the call it the Transfargian – highway to reach the fortified city of Sibiu. For those of you that know me well, you will know that I make up a song for pretty much everything and this highway had an amazing one that will probably continue as our theme song for all of Romania. I even have Sami humming along but he absolutely forbade me from sharing the clip of him singing it.
It was definitely one of the most beautiful drives we have ever done, but not one for the faint of heart or stomach. There are plenty of turns, terrifying drop offs and breaks in the rail guards where people evidently met their fate. Poor Nu was trying to sleep in the back with his little head wobbling from side to side! The views were nothing short of stunning. We saw people hand gliding, glacier lakes, a huge hydro dam, an ancient cable car, and shepherds far up in the mountains tending to their flocks. At the highest points it could have been a scene straight out of Game of Thrones.
After a long drive and a serious mountain traffic jam, we’ve arrived in Sibiu and are ready to hit the hay!