I visited Romania for 8 days in August 2017, starting in Iasi, then hiring a car and driving west to the Carpathians, where we stayed in Predeal for 3 nights. Following that it was a long drive back east to the village where my wife's parents live about 36km south east of Vaslui. After visiting them, it was back to Iasi so I could come home with Theo, leaving my wife there for a while longer. Sadly her father was terminally ill and died a few days later. He must have been very uncomfortable for many months and palliative care isn't exactly great there, but he lived his last few weeks without making a fuss. He was certainly a character and of a generation the likes of which won't be seen again as Romania modernises. I was really grateful to have seen him and pleased that he spent time with his English grandson just days before he died.
Strange though it may seem, it was actually an enjoyable trip in many ways. I am quite used to the various frustrations that can make visiting Romania a little unconventional and I really love seeing the real country.
Being subject to the same restrictive carry-on baggage as last year's trip, I again took my Lowe Alpine Light Flite 40 rucksack, packed and compressed conservatively to maintain the onerous 20cm depth required. I easily packed a couple of pairs of shorts, some easy care travel shirts and a pair of Crocs, plus of course my camera gear.
Camera gear list:
Fujinon 35mm f2
Fujinon 50mm f2
WCL X70 wide angle conversion lens
My daily carry was a small Tamrac shoulder bag similar in size to the Ona Bowery but lighter in weight and a taller shape. I like it as a small and handy travel bag. My only real gripe is that access is a bit fussier than the Bowery as you have to fold a flap back then unzip the main section and being a zip access, it's a bit narrow to get stuff out near each end.
Driving for the first time was an interesting experience which I rather enjoyed, but more for the challenge than the relaxation! We had a nice Skoda Octavia hire car to do battle with the sometimes dire roads and the drivers that varied from inept to suicidal. I went on about it a lot before, but I have no idea why drivers there would choose to take risks that even a non-driver would see as obvious. You are put under pressure by impatient driver behind to speed blatantly through villages. For several miles I was driving with an artic in close proximity. I overtook him sensibly and safely on the open road and when I slowed within the next village, he followed me clearly frustrated and near the end of the village limits, overtook me (in an artic!). As we left the limits into the 90kmh section, I overtook him again. What nonsense was that!? Several times drivers closed right up on trucks to overtake, missed the overtake when it was on and then went for it when the chance had gone due to blind bends or a brow, but that was no deterrent.
Anyway, enough. Here are some images from the trip.
I love the Carpathians.
This is Rasnov fortress
I am constantly staggered by how awesome the iPhone's pano mode is....it just works!
I am a sucker for the old loco's in Romania and can't get enough of photographing them. We took the train from Predeal to Sinaia for a day out, both to avoid the traffic and to experience the train.
Peles Castle, Sinaia
Pelisor Castle, Sinaia
We took the cable car up to the Ski area above Sinaia. It was wonderfully cool and lovely. In the iPhone pano, Sinaia is in the valley below.
Theo got a little wooden boomerang toy that a few men were selling near the castles. He felt rather exuberant in the cool, fresh air, after the heat and dust of the east.
Colourful market, Sinaia
Loco and driver, Sinaia
Waiting for the (late) train, Sinaia
The train back to Predeal.
The rather lovely view from our hotel window toward Poiana Brasov. Traffic noise was spectacular, as of course nobody would consider slowing down, not screeching the tyres etc at night!
Theo loved spotting storks. Many had "grown up" babies with them
The following images were shot in Crestesti De Jos, where my wife's parents live. I love the character and colours of some of the old houses.
The tomatoes are awesome!
As with most kids, if there are animals about, Theo is happy all day!
Sadly the old railway that ran right past the village was closed a few years back.
Back in Iasi