Our first hotel in Bucharest kind of reminded me of a (metaphorical) Mills & Boon romance novel. The luxurious 5-star Bucharest Grand Continental Hotel was all sweet curlicues, wistful drapery, very French inspired faded chic and just the right level of old-fashioned grandeur.
Located just a 5-minute walk from the Old Town, our 5-star corner of the city was a perfect place to relax between exploriing wanders.
The Transylvanian city of Brasov is usually just a day trip from Bucharest. People spend maybe an hour or so to wandering around the town square, and buy a drink before hopping back on their transport back to the capital city of Romania.
But, thanks to an epic tip-off from the travel ninja Shikha at Why Waste Annual Leave and a few other Brasov devotees, instead of following the crowds, we booked a couple of leisurely nights there. At the end of our day trip, instead of returning to Bucharest and getting stuck in the Sunday evening traffic, we checked into our hotel and waved our guide off.
Unsurprising confession time: I’m slightly obsessed with castles. Peleș Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914.
I blame Hollywood, Walt Disney and a raging childhood addiction to turning pages that transported a young Kiwi girl from a humble New Zealand backyard to galloping around the world astride a noble steed, tresses streaming in the air.
The draw of Dracula’s Castle and the historic coup over communist tyrant Nicolae Ceaușescu was enough to fire up our curiosity about visiting Romania, but I didn’t quite expect how hard it would be to get out of my head.
Sometimes we travel to escape, and sometimes we travel to explore – our 4.5 day trip to Romania, staying in Bucharest and Brasov – was a combination of the two.