We woke to serenity in a small country town in Romania, called Viscri.
It is tucked away off the main road that leads from Brasov to Sighisoara.
Here in the still of the winter’s morning as the sun rises, there is only the odd horse and cart coming down the road.
Awww – and a few cows are being directed by a local farmer too. Oops – there goes two horses. And some chickens. Oh yes – and a few geese with a couple of dogs as well. The animal life is certainly busy in these parts of Romania!
Here we are, thanks to an amazing tour company called Beyond Dracula who helped us to organize a few days experiencing the “Real Romania”.
And I am so glad they did!
Traveling can be tiring.
There are blogs to write (these take me an average of four hours each), photographs to edit, long-term planning, Visas and Schengen Zones to arrange accurate dates for, finances to keep under control, house-sits to apply for, and also planning for where to head in the coming days, weeks and months. There are also businesses we work with that we promote on our website.
Of course, there is world-schooling. But for us, we do some focus on subjects like art, reading, and mathematics – even if it is creatively.
I am a mother, so my son needs my personal attention – we may spend all day together, but like today, all day has seen me writing blogs and researching.
Then there is vehicle maintenance, insurance, registration, and winter care.
Personal things like purchasing food, cooking, laundry, purchasing clothing etc. all need to occur. With a growing son, no sooner have we bought something and he seems to have gone through a growth spurt.
And then there is the unexpected.
Like getting here from our exceptional time at Palace Brukenthal at Avrig. We managed to drive over a huge shard of metal and ruined a car tire. This was only after the GPS had taken us down a long and bumpy road, full of massive potholes that I was blinded to by the snow. So we were lost when we turned around and tried a longer way to get to Viscri.
I felt slightly relieved this problem occurred right as we entered a village. A local man came to help me pull it out. We tried unsuccessfully to use a tire/ tire repair kit in a can. The gouge was too big. Then the spare tire/ tire was rusted underneath the car. This local Romanian guy couldn’t screw it down as the bracket was completely seized. I’d paid a mechanic in Turkey to fix this. It seems he didn’t? The car had to be moved to a side lane at the local man’s suggestion, where he spent the best part of one and a half hours in the wet changing the tire/ tire as the rain came down.
By now Explorason was so cold he was crying. He couldn’t sit in the car as it was elevated.
Then it gets worse !!! When I try to start the car, we discover the headlights have been left on when I moved it to the side lane. I didn’t notice because I had set the hazard lights going. The battery was completely dead. We try to push start it (at his suggestion) down the sloshy lane. Oh no – it gets bogged in the slushy snow.
Then my ‘knight in shining armor’ heads off to find some more local men with jumper leads, and a towing cable. We try his car first, and the cable breaks. Can this get any worse?
All is not lost. Their friends turn up with strong towing straps. And jumper leads.
Finally, we get the car on the road.
Then we get the motor of my car ‘jump started’.
They all want money, and I gladly pay well. If it were not for them I would have been stranded on a late Saturday afternoon in the rain and snow and might have had to spend the weekend there. I am a big believer that you pay it forward. It also means next time someone else has a problem, the might want to help them too.
I am so thankful to these mystery men.
Next, I had to find a tire repair store in a town about 20 kilometers further on. The tire was beyond repairing, so it was time for a new one. Shame, as these are new winter tires only purchased 3 weeks ago.
This whole event took all afternoon, and it was nearly 4:30 p.m. when we finally got into a warm cafe for something to eat.
But the day was not to end on a bad note. There was something exciting for me yet to come.
Beyond Dracula also organized (through their personal contacts) for me to go to a private event and photograph traditional Romanian Dancers at a wedding.
We got to meet with the dancers, and I was able to photograph their traditional costumes that night.
We left that town and drove in the pitch black and snowy lanes to Viscri. It took me a long time, and I was very careful. But strangely we felt peace. I was glad I had a new tire and the car was functioning well again.
So by the time we arrived in Viscri, it was well into the Saturday night.
We unpacked the car, and went straight to bed!
Beyond Dracula had arranged for a local lady to have the key to the Saxon style Romanian home which we had collected the night before, and she had come down to show us around. She had also prepared this house for us. The two Romanian antique fireplaces were so warm and toasty, with the hot coals emanating an amazing heat. There was firewood stacked for us in the house too for that night. It was just wonderful, and we were so appreciative.
That morning Explorason was keen to be the ‘Little Lumberjack’ and to bring in the firewood.
Outside the sky was a gorgeous blue. We went for a lovely walk.
We also had the local lady take us to the house that HRH Prince Charles owns in Viscri. You can read about that in a separate blog here.
Another local lady ‘Gerda’, organized us to have a private entry into the historical Evangelical Church thanks to her cousin who met us there. If my memory serves me correctly, this church is 900 years old, and also is the local museum.
There is a small entrance fee that goes to help maintain the church. There is no electricity inside, just candles. It is like stepping back in time.
Beyond Dracula had also co-ordinated something really traditional and a real treat for me. A local lady ‘Gerda’ was to host us for meals at a really reasonable price. ‘Gerda’ was amazing. She was an incredible cook and uses recipes from a turn of the century cookbook she has in German too.
To start (on our first visit) we had Goose Dumpling Soup. This was served with bread and vegetables. I really loved this.
Next up was her own version of Cabbage Rolls. They were amazing and Explorason really loved them.
Another night she made us Pork with Green Beans, and a Potato and Vegetable Soup. She really won him over with this meal.
Both meals were finished off with a homemade dessert. I even got to taste her homemade pickles, and her own wine too.
In fact, she is a bit of a champion cook for ‘Slow Food’.
As we headed off from the warm and cozy Saxon house we had called home the last few days, we felt so appreciative to Beyond Dracula for all they have down for us. They had just been amazing in every way.
If you are planning a visit to Romania, can I suggest you contact Beyond Dracula?
They are unique and will help you to see Romania in an unforgettable and unique style.
Telephone: +40 745 074 177
Questions and Comments
- Do you know of the small town Viscri?
- What do you make of the culture of the locals, as well as their way of life?
- What else do you find fascinating about Turkey?
- Do share your comments with us below.