Author: aisha_shakoor

A day trip outside Bucharest // October 2021

A little under a year ago we (My boyfriend Frederik and I) decided, during our vacation in Bucharest, that we needed to see more of Romania than just the capital Bucharest. I am so glad that we made that decision. I still remember that day – as if it was yesterday – and all the beautiful nature pictures are still in front of my eyes every time I think about that day. 

I feel that as a tourist – including myself – you sometimes forget that the capital doesn’t show the whole country. Capitals are often full of tourists and attractions – which of course also is amazing because the capitals give us a little taste of the country if the time isn’t in our favor. But we wanted to know more and to get a bigger impression of Romania. 

We, therefore, decided at the last minute that we should leave Bucharest and booked a day trip with a tour guide out of the city to the region of Transylvania. We had three stops for the trip which were Peles Castle near the city Sinaia, Bran, and Brasov. 

One day we got up early and went out to our pick-up spot, where we got picked up on a little tour bus. We were 8 tourists in all. Us two from Denmark inclusive two other danes. 3 from the Netherlands and one from Romania. Frederik and I were so excited for this day – we love adventures and seeing new places. 

Already outside of Bucharest and after around 1 hour of driving we were deeply fascinated by the amazingly beautiful nature full of autumn colors which we saw. But that was only the beginning – we didn’t know at that time how amazing the trip was going to be. We drove through the Carpathian Mountains. The mountains were covered by green, yellow, and red tree tops. It almost looked like the sea with big red, green, and yellow waves. It felt like we were driving through an enormous and beautiful painting. Now, a year later, I still remember sitting behind the car window and just enchanted looking out at the mountains.

The first stop on our trip was the beautiful old castle called Peles Castle. Peles Castle lies in a little valley surrounded by beautiful hills. It was amazing to experience a part of Romanian history in these environs with the fresh forest and autumn scent on your face. Peles Castle was commissioned by King Carol in 1873 and completed in 1883. The castle was the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. It has 160 – which are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows, and cordoba leather-covered walls. The castle is worth a visit. It is a must-see and a sight that you will never forget. It feels like stepping directly into history. While you step through the many wonderful decorated rooms, you can only imagine how many people who through the years have been going through these rooms – all the beautiful middays and magnificent balls which have been holding here. 

See the full photo album here: https://www.aishashakoor.com/2023/01/14/peles-castle/

Before we stepped into Peles Castle, we didn’t even know what we were doing there. Our highlight on the tour- as we had imagined it – was Bran Castle – also known as Dracula’s Castle. But Peles Castle ended up being the highlight of the tour. It is now time to tell why Bran Castle was the highlight of the tour. 

The next stop on our tour was precisely Bran Castle – also called Dracula’s Castle. We – two movie and myth lovers and the world’s biggest play children – had pretty big and maybe too high expectations for exactly this stop of the tour. We had been looking forward to this for a long time and to be honest from the outside the mythical castle did not disappoint us from the outside. 

Disclaimer: It was of course not Count Dracula’s Castle and inside it was a tourist trap only to honor the myth about Dracula. But the Castle was beautiful and the actual history of Bran Castle was interesting. The actual reason that the castle is connected with the Story about Dracula is that the Castle is the only castle in Transylvania which fits Bram Stoker`s (the author of Dracula) description of Dracula’s Castle. This is why Bran Castle is known all over the world as Dracula’s Castle. 

Read more here: 

http://www.bran-castle.com/dracula.html

Read the whole story about Bran Castle here:

http://www.bran-castle.com/historical-timeline.html

See the full photo album here: https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/17/bran/

We then drove on to see the last stop on our tour – the beautiful city of Brasov. The city is ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. This city was without a doubt one of the most beautiful European cities I have ever been to. The mountains around the cities were filled with the most beautiful autumn colors which gave the most beautiful pictures of the streets and set a fantastic atmosphere. We were only in the city for maybe an hour – but it made an incredible impression on both of us. It is a city we want to visit again as soon as possible and it is still on our to-do list for cities we want to visit. We actually can’t wait to visit the city again and go on a real exploration.

See the full photo album here: https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/17/brasov-in-the-autumn-light/

After spending a few days in Bucharest it was definitely what we needed and we now can’t wait to visit Romania again and explore even more.

//Aisha Shakoor

Sources: 

https://romaniatourism.com/castles-fortresses-romania-peles-castle-sinaia.html

Peles Castle

First visit in Bucharest // October 2021

We visited Bucharest during the autumn holiday in October 2021. It was that time of the year when the trees began to throw their leaves – and the ones who stayed showed us a mix of red, yellow, and orange colors. My boyfriend Frederik and I had been booking the cheapest trip we could find – the choice stood between Bucharest and Kyiv – but we decided to go to Bucharest. 

We had booked a little AIRBNB apartment in an authentic building in Bucharest. We had been in Budapest a couple of months earlier and this was a quite different experience here than in Budapest. In Budapest, we were greeted by the sight of green streets, but in Bucharest, the streets were more gray and dirty. Of course, it cannot be avoided to mention that we were in Budapest at a different time of the year. 

See the full photo album here:https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/12/the-streets-of-bucharest/

Our AIRBNB was very interesting and authentic. We lived on the 7 floors in an old building. We couldn’t use the elevator because there was a sign saying “Please don’t use the elevator under normal conditions – you risk being stuck”. So we stopped thinking about that idea in a hurry. We lived in a little apartment with only one room – which was the bedroom + a little bathroom. I am just saying that Frederik couldn’t even sit on the toilet in a normal way. Our apartment had a view over some old gray buildings. Our air conditioner was a pipe sticking out through a hole in the wall. Every morning we were woken up by gray pigeons sitting outside on the pipe and gurgling. 

Although the apartment was not a pure luxury, we were still incredibly happy to stay there because of the whole authentic experience. After all, we lived among Romanians and were not hidden away in a nice little hotel with a breakfast buffet. One night we were woken by a little Romanian woman talking outside in the hallway. Frederik and I took turns looking out of the glass eye and eagerly followed a conversation in Romansh about a chest of drawers that had to be carried up by her neighbors at midnight. Water was handed out – the conversation was pleasant and the work was done together.

One thing I could feel in Bucharest was the fact that it was an old Soviet city – and where it wasn’t that many years ago that the Soviet Union left. The city still bears the stamp of the Soviet uniform gray atmosphere.

We could also clearly feel this when we visited Nicolae Caucessauc`s mansion. Romania has been under the soviet since 1944. In 1944 soviet forces broke through to Jassy, in northeastern Romania, and convinced the king to sign an armistice with the Allies and concede control of his country to the USSR. The soviet and communism in Romania fell in 1989 with Nicolae Caucessauc. We visited the mansion on an autumn day in drizzling rain and we both became pretty depressed by the atmosphere. We began to speak badly to each other and were overall pretty depressed over the sight of the old gray communist buildings. We therefore quickly decided that now we wanted to move on and look at other parts of the city. 

See the full photo album here:https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/12/palatul-parlamentului-or-nicolae-ceausescus-castle/

One of the other days we decided to visit a big park in the city. We visited King Mihai Park. We were pretty happy about that decision because the result was an incredibly beautiful autumn day. We spent hours just walking around in the park and smelling, falling, and seeing all the colors and scents of autumn. The park was incredibly beautiful and it was the best to get a little break from the big concrete city. 

See the full photo album here:https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/12/king-mihai-park-bucharest/

The rest of the days we used to walk around in the city and take a day trip outside of the city to see Transylvania. We visited museums: the National Geology Museum and the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History. We can recommend going to museums in other countries if you have an afternoon to kill. We spent the rest of the days just strolling around and just experiencing Bucharest. 

Bucharest is a city full of history – where you can still experience the history and the remnants of history that are still stuck in the streets and can be seen in buildings. You can easily be fooled by the gray concrete buildings – but there are an incredible number of hidden gems hidden around the big city.

// Aisha Shakoor


Sources: 

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/romania-captured-by-the-soviet-union

Bran

Brasov in the autumn light

The streets of Bucharest

King Mihai Park – Bucharest

A late night tour at the garden by the the danish castle, Frederiksborg Castle

PICTURES FROM A LATE NIGHT BIKING TOUR IN MY OLD HOME TOWN HILLERØD IN DENMARK

These pictures were taken in a warm and sunset colorful evening in the start of the summer 2021 – I have been cycling down these roads since I was a little child.

Palatul Parlamentului or Nicolae Ceaușescus Castle

Sheeps at the little danish Island LÆSØ