(Persani – Brașov – Bușteni – Bucharest)
“Upon leaving Persani, the highway almost immediately started to drop down to the Cheile Vlădeni (gorge) where it was quite picturesque, especially near the bottom as we went through the pass. The first real city we came to was Brașov, an old medieval town and the second co-capital of Transylvania, which was home to some old fortifications, a town hall and a number of early churches.”
“The countryside is very Germanic with the possible exception of the churches that are unique to this part of the world. These were all small, with silver roofs, ‘pepperpot’ domes, and frescoes on the outside for the benefit of the illiterate peasants (who weren’t allowed inside the buildings with their overlords).”
“Forty kilometers later and just outside of Bușteni, we were confronted with a gigantic rock formation much like at Gibraltar, complete with snow on some of the crags, looming up immediately above the tree-line and all shrouded in cloud. It was quite a breathtaking sight. The resort villages nestling at the foot were again very Germanic in appearance, and many of the houses were of a wooden Swiss-chalet design, which made them even more picturesque – if that were possible! There was a red Téléferique cable car swinging its way to a stone peak above the clouds at the very top.”
Our picturesque drive came to an end as we entered the dry and dusty capital city of București (Bucharest). We immediately spotted the Intercontinental Hotel; found a place to park; and my father went in to inquire about a room for three nights. There was a sign in the lobby, however, welcoming “everyone” to a medical convention and the lobby was packed with people, so he returned to the car without even asking about a vacancy.
We had passed a campground on the way into the city, and not being in the mood to drive around for hours in yet another capital city, we headed back that direction. In addition to traditional camping, they also had motel-type rooms. We checked in, got ourselves settled, and spent the rest of the afternoon doing schoolwork and miscellaneous chores, while my father plotted our next day’s agenda.