Saturday, 28 December 2013

Romania Photos: Sinaia and Peles Castle

With so much time spent in Bucharest in Romania, it was great to finally get out 'into the mountains' - a three-hour trip by regional train - to Sinaia (not to be confused with Egypt's Sinai).


It's a really magical little town, over-flowing with architecture like this ...

... and this ...

... and ...

... and ...


Although you'll find taxis as usual, it's small enough to just walk up from the train station and explore via walkways like this ...


... where even the stray dogs are friendly ...


... and the squirrels are muscly ...


... and plenty of religious artifacts ...


... and reminders of mortality (this one to an 'unknown Romanian soldier') ...


... the real draw-card, however, is Peles Castle:


In typical Romanian fashion, it's free to photograph from the outside (there's even a sign proudly notifying you of this), but entry costs a hefty 50 lei per person. This is why so many people could be seen walking around the outside, and very few dared inside (my group didn't).

Fortunately, there was *plenty* to photograph outside, like this:


 .... and this ...


... and this ...


... and all in this beautiful setting ...


... with just a hint of the 'real' mountain peaks ...


... and another gorgeous walk ....


... and yes, more wild dogs playing in the snow:


Tourist top tip: there are ATMs ('Bancomats' in Romanian) in Sinaia, but none up near the castle, so make sure you draw plenty of cash for some of the curio stalls near the castle (prices range from only 2 lei for sweets to 100 lei for complex artwork).

My group then hopped into a shuttle bus (which leaves from outside the train station) and traveled to the nearby ski resort town of Azuga, where I had my first experience of skiing. For a novice it's hell on earth, for very little reward, but call me a sucker because I'm going back tomorrow!


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