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Busteni on a Monday

I grabbed breakfast this morning from the donut place. Usually, they look way better than they taste, but these were quite good. I bussed to the train station, only to discover that the first train to Busteni was 1pm-not any time soon. The train lady was kind enough to point me to the buses, where I found one to Busteni. It wasn't a bus with a schedule, it was one of those buses that leaves when it's full. Fortunately, it was almost full and I didn't have to wait too long. Also fortunately for me, some lady heard that I wanted Busteni. I knew we were close, but hadn't seen any signs out the window indicating that we were there. The lady alerted the driver and I got off just past the town. Busteni is small, so it only took me a few minutes to walk it all and find the train station. I left my luggage there, checked the schedule, and headed toward the castle. Busteni is a gorgeous little ski town. The mountains tower over the village, providing a permanent great view from everywhere. The castle sits on a little hill, just a short walk from the train station. The castle was built around turn of the century by a prince as his summer home. Tours are every hour, and you can't just go in by yourself and look around-you have to go with a tour. Unless you book ahead, they're in Romanian only, but they do have some English signage to help. The tour is short as there isn't a whole lot to look at. The second floor costs extra, but again didn't have a lot. They had a few tiny black and white VanGogh pencil drawings and then a modern digital color "interactive" display related to some of his more famous works. The castle isn't really worth visiting on a day when anything else is open, and even on a Monday, it's only worth half the price they charge. For lunch, I forewent the huge tourist lodge and opted for a tiny pizza place. You win some and you lose some. They didn't have any of the first several items I wanted, so I ended up ordering fried cheese, potato wedges and pickled cucumber salad. They brought me a ham and cheese burrito in place of the fried cheese, so I sent it back for fried cheese. Then, they brought me pickled mushrooms instead of cucumbers. I decided to be adventurous. The flavor was just vinegar, but I wasn't a big fan of the chewiness. Finally, my fried cheese and wedges came out, but the only sauce to combat the dryness was the balsamic vinegar already on the table. It was my least favorite meal of the trip. But, it was enough to power me up the 234 stairs to the monastery. The stairs are a path through the woods, so it was gorgeous and serene. At the top, you get a great view of the monastery in the mountains. The grounds are pretty, and there are 2 other things worth seeing. One is the painted church. The whole complex was built in the 90s, but the church is painted like it was built hundreds of years ago. The walls are covered in murals of saints. Many of the saints have joined a gang or something and are flashing gang hand signals. It's like seeing what all those 1700s churches would have looked like when they were new. The other cool part was the bird menagerie. A large fenced-off area contained peacocks, hens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, tropical birds, pigeons, spotted chickens, and rabbits. The animals were all hanging out together, having a ball. I had checked the weather before I came, and it wasn't supposed to rain at all anywhere, but as I descended from the monastery, the sprinkles turned into rain. In the forest, I couldn't really feel it, but as I exited, it was less-than ideal weather for being outside. I waited out the storm in the nearby grocery store, jealous of the super-low prices. I figured that dinner time would be on the train, so I grabbed some bread and cheese for under a dollar. The rain let up shortly and I made my way back to the train station. I bought my ticket for a train leaving in 15 minutes and grabbed my luggage. The train ride had beautiful scenery. With verdant mountains and a stream flowing by, how could it not? This time, I was in second class, but it was just fine. The seat had plenty of legroom. The only negative was the noise from a school group, but for the price I paid, I could deal. When I arrived in Bucharest, I hopped on the McDonalds wifi to pick a hotel. Villa 11 seemed decent and near the train station, so I went to check it out. It's in a residential neighborhood because it's basically a house with private rooms for rent. It's not the nicest neighborhood, but not the worst either. The hostel is run by a family, who also live there. They were very friendly and helpful. The place is decorated like somebody went nuts at the flea market trying to make it look like your grandma's old house, but that just added to the charm. It was clean, had good wifi, and the price was right for a single with private bathroom, so I took it. The family recommended a restaurant in Cismigiu Park for dinner, and since there was really not anything closer, I took the walk there. The neighborhoods on the way were certainly less lively than old town, but there were still people out on the streets. I even saw some young kids playing street soccer, so I felt ok walking by myself. The park is somewhat spooky at night. It's lit up enough that the fog on the lake lent a mysterious air, and a flock of bats was stirring when I entered. It isn't deserted though, so it wasn't completely creepy. The restaurant, Monte Carlo, has a great view of the lake, and I even saw a few people rowing boats. It also had all of the items I wanted at lunch, but they didn't have. I may have gone overboard ordering the eggplant salad and the pickled green tomatoes and the fried cheese, but it all was good and satisfied my curiosity.

Busteni

Busteni


Busteni Castle

Busteni Castle


View from Busteni Castle

View from Busteni Castle


Stairs to the Monastery

Stairs to the Monastery


Busteni Monastery

Busteni Monastery


Flashing gang signs

Flashing gang signs


Bird cage

Bird cage

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Romania

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