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Thursday 9 Aug
Singhasora, Romania

Romania

I've now left Bulgaria and have been travelling through Romania for the past few days. I'm feeling much better and much more relaxed here. Everyone seems to say it's less safe but so far my experiences with the people have been fantastic.

I took a train straight from Varna through Bucharest to Brasov in Transylvania. It was pretty incredible to see how much the view changed right over the Bulgarian-Romanian border. Romania is very clean (in comparison). There are big mountains covered in huge trees, and really manicured farmland in the valleys between. The really small villages are obviously poor but they still look really beautiful. There are also fields of sunflowers all around.

I arrived in to Brasov by train around eleven at night. The train stations in Romania are (apparently) particularily dangerous so this wasn't ideal, but I had met an Aussie couple on the train so the three of us bee-lined it for the exit and caught a cab to our hostel. I arrived at the hostel to a bit of a hectic scene. There was only one girl running the hostel and there were 70 guests. When I arrived, she was still trying to figure out where everyone would sleep. She got it sorted out around 1am and I headed off to bed - finally had a good night sleep for the first time in at least a week.

I woke up early the next morning and headed to off to visit Dracula's castle in a neighboring town (Bran). Four of us caught the city bus from the hostel and within about an hour we were walking up the hill to the castle.

It was actually really great. The weather suited it so well - it was really foggy and drizzling a bit. The castle itself was not as big as I thought it would be, but it was still really neat. I got a picture of me out front (for my mom), bought some fangs from a cheezy tourist store (for Jesse...it's the only thing he wanted from Europe) and the four of us got back on the bus towards Brasov.

On the bus, a man told us that we should stop off in a town called Rasov on the way home because they had a really neat castle and walled city there (the scene of 'Cold Mountian'). We thought it sounded a bit cheezy but agreed to stop and take a quick look. We got off the bus and walked up a steep hill to the city. When we finally arrived, we were really surprised to see a huge, old, deserted village. We spent about two and a half hours roaming the streets and taking pictures. It was actually one of the coolest things I've seen. The village is set on the top of a mountain (the last mountain in the range), and looks out over the flat lands below on one side, and into the mountains on the other.

I spent the next day in Brasov touring around the city with a really nice German girl that I met at the hostel. Brasov is a really beautiful city. There are a few really nice parks, heaps of flowers all over the city, beautiful old buildings and churches. We got lost a few times and asked locals for directions - they were always really helpful and dropped what they were doing to take us where we wanted to go. One lady actually walked with us all the way across the city, pointing out landmarks along the way. I also met a really nice French couple whos kids are travelling around the world - they asked me to please come and stay with them on my way through France. I left for the train station that evening and caught a train up to Singhasora.

I am in Sighasora right now and am really enjoying myself. I'm back on the regular tourist track again and am running in to a bunch of people I already know (I already knew almost half of the people in my hostel when I arrived last night). This morning I headed out to the town to see the sights.

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