Romania – at last

After all those years talking about visiting Romania, we finally got here. And what a great country this is. Before we entered Romania we felt a bit like entering Albania. All these stories about cars being stolen or people begging for money and food. None of those turned out to be true. We entered Romania near Arad. Straddling the Mures River and occupying parts of both Crisana province and Banat, Arad traces its history back to the 11th century. Arad developed as a major trading post during the Turkish occupation, between 1551 and 1699. After 1699, the city was ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy and in 1834 Arad was declared a ‘free royal town’ by Emperor Francis I of Austria. On April 10, 1913 the first electric railroad in Eastern Europe was inaugurated (Arad – Podgoria route).

Today, Arad is an important industrial center and transportation hub, as well as home to two universities, a Romanian Orthodox theological seminary, a training school for teachers, and a music conservatory. Churches and cathedrals in the city span four centuries, several denominations, and architectural styles ranging from baroque to neoclassic. We found our first campsite „Camping Route Roemenie“ in Minis approx. 20 Km east of Arad.

Camping Route Roemenie was thought as a project within Trandafir Din Saron Foundation, to obtain extra funds for supporting its social activities.

The first part of setting up the campsite was started with funds in 2002. Afterwards, sponsors and volunteers, also friends and acquaintances from Holland and Romania were involved in the foundation since 1998. This way all the necessary funds were provided to set up the campsite. The first youth group to be involved in building the campsite was Kruiskerk from Arnhem/Holland, who also gave the name of the site “Camping Route Roemenie”. Also other groups followed from Groningen, Enkhuizen, Amsterdam, Harde and lots of help from the kids from the Children House.

Our next stop was with „Karpaten Erich“, a privat campsite in Arisenie.  Given it’s name we should have been suspicious. Despite a positive description of people staying there last year, the place was pulling us down. Erich seemed to be having a depressive phase which projected on the whole site. The site had seen better days and  it’s location in a narrow valley reinforced a „dark mood“. After one night we decided to move on and drove to a campground that promoted itself on a flyer that Camilla had picked up at Camping Route Roemenie. What a difference. The campground  (https://taranomada.com) is owned and run by a young dutch couple, Jordi & Bente. We instantly felt welcome and „at home“. The atmosphere was relaxed and we were offered the chance to have a home cooked 3 course dinner at a neighbor’s place. Another neighbor was selling honey – one of the best we ever had. The whole area is ideal for hiking  and/or mountain biking and despite the heat, we went for 2 hikes.  An evening around the open fire with everybody from the campsite was one of the highlights.

During our walk with Joiz one morning, a farmer offered us fresh apples that he had just picked. We left this peaceful and beautiful place after 4 days to explore more of the eastern part of Transylvania.

Now we are in Câmpu Cetăţii (formerly Burgfeld) in the Carpatian mountains surrounded by lush green hills and next to small river. Hiking is on our plan for the next couple of days and Saturday there will be a get together of old-timer cars which are a looking forward to.

One Life. Live It!

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