You may have noticed that there’s been a bit of a space between posts recently – we’ve been away, taking a slightly later holiday this year to visit my home country, Romania.
Our little one has been exploring with us from a young age and is now a seasoned traveller so we’re lucky when it comes to flights and long car journeys so we took the opportunity to hire a car and get out and about.
Having overcome his initial nerves at driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road my husband quickly go to grips with driving in Romania and we headed out for our first destination: a small town called Orsova and the Danube with a gorgeous view across the river to Serbia on the opposite banks.
Nothing quite prepares you for the views that the Danube can present – sparking water at the foot of mountains that give Norway’s fjords a run for their money in terms of natural beauty.
We spent a lovely day enjoying the views – including seeing Decebalus’ face carved in the mountain side – and calmness that can only be found on the banks of such a large waterway before the next leg of our journey the following day.
Heading a couple of hundred kilometres back into Romania, the next day bought us into Transylvania to explore a castle. No, not THAT one – we headed for Hunedoara and visited Hunedoara Castle.
Originally built in 1446 when the region was still part of Hungary, the castle is one of the largest in Europe. While the original castle was expanded upon over the following centuries, the current castle is actually the result of a fanciful restoration campaign required after a massive fire and decades of total neglect. Rather than being truly or historically correct, Hunedoara Castle is the result of modern architects being asked to project their interpretation of “how a great Gothic castle should look.”
If you ever decide to visit these corners of the world with your kids, be wary, there are some “scary” exhibits about torture in the Middle Ages. While our youngest didn’t bat an eyelid, as he’s three and probably doesn’t quite grasp the torture concept (but he applies it oh so well), I’ve heard stories from friends whose children were so scared they didn’t want to go to the toilet by themselves afterwards.
The next day we prepared for the return leg, one that took us through the mountains as we travelled with the Carpathians and River Jiu on either side of the road as we drove toward Târgu Jiu for lunch and a visit to the works of Brâncuși – one of the pioneers of modernism and one of the most influential sculptures of the 20th century whose works include the Kissing Gate:
From Târgu Jiu we headed back to Craiova where, with a few days spare that turned out to be quite rainy too, we decided to check out some of the city’s indoor museums. We visited the recently refurbished Natural History Museum and the “Oltenia” Museum – which takes visitors through various stages of Romanian history, from very early history and fossils, through to Roman times, various revolutions and the unification of the three countries that now constitute Romania and…some more darker times, such as communism. It was great fun for the whole family and a brilliant idea for a rainy day. Our son explored various interactive exhibits and we were pleasantly impressed with how these museums were restored and modernised.
We very much enjoyed our exploration of Romania and would thoroughly recommend the visit to others – there’s plenty to see and entertainment for family members of all ages. As their tourist campaign asked: “why don’t you come over?” We’ll be back again for sure and will explore further afield with a few more destinations in mind already – including THAT castle.
Overall a pleasant experience that will probably repeat with a different Romanian destination in mind (yes, why not, THAT castle).
Enjoyed this article? Subscribe to our newsletter!