In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #84: Romania. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #84: Romania
Blog post on Romania
- My Spending Breakdown While Visiting Romania, Istanbul, Zurich, Chicago
- Bucharest To Bran Castle – How To See Dracula’s Castle Independently
Arriving in Bucharest
After a long layover in Istanbul, Karen and I arrived in Bucharest. This is going to be our last stopover in our 3-week long vacation.
After exiting the airport, we took the local bus to the city centre of Bucharest where our hotel was located. One thing I hate about travelling in European countries, in general, is the sheer amount of smokers. Waiting for the bus was painful because I kept inhaling second-hand smoke from all the smokers. I was glad to reach our hotel and get away from all these walking chimneys.
Renting a car from a repulsive guy
Because we were only staying in Romania for 2 nights and 3 days, we needed a car to reach Bran Castle which is the main thing we want to see in Romania. So after eating breakfast, we asked the front desk how we can go about renting a vehicle for just one day.
He had a contact that brought over his car to our accommodation. This man had the worst customer service. He was very confrontational in the way he talks. After renting the car from him for $112 CAD for one day. It’s expensive but we had no choice, the airport was sold out of car rentals.
Gas is also expensive in this country and we ended up paying almost $58 for a full tank of gas.
Road trip from Bucharest to Bran Castle
Not long after, we started our long drive to Bran Castle. Along the way, we stopped by a local mall to get a SIM card so we can navigate easier to our destination.
The drive to Bran Castle took us just a little over 3 hours. I’d say the drive was overall pleasant and scenic.
Upon arriving, we paid for parking and made our way towards the castle.
Bran Castle exploration
After purchasing a ticket to Bran Castle for about $13, we made our way to the entrance. This is Karen’s first time visiting a real castle so she was pretty excited.
Bran Castle is pretty cool. I personally enjoyed exploring it. Within the castle, you can read up on stories of the history of this place. From the Teutonic Knights that used to use the castle as their garrison to Vlad the Impaler who the story of Dracula was derived from, you’ll enjoy learning about the historical significance of Bran Castle.
It would have been nice to stay one night here but we have to drive back to Bucharest because we only have a short time in this country.
Stormy drive back from Bran Castle to Bucharest
The drive back was fairly smooth until the last hour before we reached Bucharest. It started raining extremely hard and at one point, it got really bad that we had to seek shelter at a McDonald’s. After eating and seeing the weather subsided, we made our way back to our hotel and drop off our car to the repulsive guy.
The guy tried charging me money for parking the car in the hotel. After arguing with him for a bit, he finally didn’t charge me when I said I filled up the car with lots of gas, more than what the car originally had before I rented it from him, he finally accepted that as suitable payment for parking in the hotel’s lot.
Worst airport in Europe
The next day, Karen and I took a bus back to Bucharest Airport. After an annoying time dealing with more smokers, we finally made it.
The airport experience in Bucharest is hands down the worst I’ve ever experienced in Europe. The airport was boiling hot and there was no air ventilation at all. I’ve travelled to many African airports and even they make Bucharest look bad.
I was glad to fly out of Bucharest. At that moment, I said to myself that visiting Bucharest is a one-time thing and I will never come back here again.
Several months later, when I travelled to Cyprus, I met a girl from Romania and we talked about her country. I told her that people who drive an Audi or Mercedes drive like a douchebag in her country. She started laughing and told me it’s so true. When I shared my experience of travelling to Bucharest with her, she said that Bucharest is the worst part of Romania. She agreed with me that it’s a grumpy and miserable place. But, if I want to see real Romania and the friendly locals, I need to go to other parts of the country.
This seems to be the common theme that I’m learning now is that capital cities tend to be unfriendly compared to smaller cities and towns.
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