One of the things I like about Romania is the breadth of its landscape. Compared to its neighbours, Romania is rather large: the 12th largest country in Europe and the largest in southeastern Europe. Compared to the United States, it isn’t: roughly the size of Oregon. Proving that size doesn’t always matter, Romania’s natural beauty encompasses flat farmland, tumbling rivers, broad plains, folded hills, marshy riverbanks, seaside beaches, tree-covered mountains, inclined valleys, dark forests, snow-capped peaks, sheep-dotted pastureland.
I’ve been traveling throughout Romania these last two weeks and, thanks for someone else’s willingness to brave Romanian roads and drivers, I’ve been traveling by car. Once I embrace a rather Zen-like acceptance of my potential vehicular fate, I love it. Travel in this lovely country is difficult: trains take twice as long as they should, by rights, and rarely run on time; busses are crowded but, counterintuitively, faster than trains; roads are often stretches of asphalt holding the potholes together; drivers consider oncoming traffic a challenge to surmount while passing on curves. Mileage passes incredibly slowly, despite the view of speed limits as lower bounds: a 160 mile journey took over 5 hours.
Still, in a car, as you follow the ribbon of highway unspooling ahead, you see the country more personally, getting a sense of its personality, its atmosphere, its nature. I may have added quite a few grey hairs during my latest travels but I wouldn’t trade my time in the car, and with the company, for anything.
rainy stop to visit the Mausoleum Mateias, monument to Romanian WWI dead
lovely Timisoara, by day and by night
light and glass at Corvin Castle
the gracious Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary in Sibiu