Guys weekend away – Belis, Romania

Weekend away with the guys. I met these dudes shortly after I have moved back to Romania and we immediately became BFFs 🙂 due the our great passion, driven by the same purpose, our core mission, that one big thing we have in common which is …well let me start from the beginning.

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Sabin, the dude who spent about 10 years in Germany, became the Charles Parson of their country, a symbol of engineering, changed their entire industry until the day he was driven by a bigger purpose.

Koh, the one and only Japanese Jedi engineer, whom The Force sent on a special adventure to serve his biggest mission as of now.

Patric, after his 5 years in the stunning highlands of Scotland, the land of the finest whiskeys, the birth place of the Loch Ness monster and the horrible midges, he was drawn by a new purpose and a new place.

Matteo, the Italian godfather of metallurgy, sole scientist of Tony Stark, the man who made Iron Man happen, after smoking from his wooden pipe, which he received from Gandalf itself, had a vision about a place in the heart of Transylvania, the place of the biggest roman settlement and without any hesitations followed his vision.

…and there’s me, after 5 years serving the Queen of Great Britain I was sent back to my home land, where together with these fellows united our dream of making Zalau and Romania great again… hahaha :)))

We organized a weekend away in the amazing Natural Park of Apuseni, in Belis at over 1000m altitude, to have some fun over a good BBQ.

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We nicely put the meat in a deep ceramic bowl to marinate. Salt, pepper, paprika, soy sauce, wine, wurst and brandy, I think everyone can guess who put which ingredient :)))

Believe it or not, it became the most epic bbq I had in a long time.

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Further on, we have visited the Belis lake, the waterfall and ended our evening with a great camp fire.

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Here is a clip capturing some of the greatest moments of the weekend.

 

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Lake Bled, Slovenia – things to do

Lake Bled, Slovenia, a must visit! Probably the most popular place in Slovenia and it has all the reasons for being that. It’s romantic town at the foothills of the Julian Alps, is set along the glacial Lake Bled. On a cliff overlooking the lake is the 11th-century Bled Castle, which houses a museum, chapel and printing press. Atop a small island in the lake’s center is the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria, with its steep staircase and bell tower.

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Bled

Dragos and I arrived to Bled around 10 pm and we have decided to camp at Bled Camping which is just next to the lake. It is a great place to camp as it comes fully arranged with hot showers, washing machine, dryers and electricity for extra comfort! I wasn’t that lucky with the hot showers, I guess I was the only unlucky person on the campsite who didn’t get hot water when everyone else was doing sauna in their cubical. It was one hell of a night, cold shower and we where laughing out loud until figured out a way to fit into our 2 person Vango tent. We did fall asleep eventually due to exhaustion after the flight to Ljubljana and great day spent there visiting the city.

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Our empty stomach woke us up early in the morning and started our day of visiting Bled, but not before finding a place where we can have breakfast. We were surprised to hear that things open at 11am in Bled and to be honest it was kind of the situation everywhere in Slovenia. A country after my own heart, they love their morning nap. We got in and out from many B&Bs without having breakfast because they were closed. Eventually we found a place to eat, an all you can eat breakfast and we took advantage of it. 🙂

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Bled Island

“Made friends with our enemies” so we can continue our journey in visiting the place. We took a boat to the Island where we spent 1 hour visiting the church and going around the island. How this works, you get the boat which is a 5-10 min journey and you have 1 hour to spend on the Island and the driver will wait for you. Time is more than enough to roam around and enjoy the view. Got the chance to pull the bells which was pretty cool and after some point annoying cause the bells were ding-dong all day long.

The weather wasn’t great, but wasn’t too bad either. We got a couple of showers while visiting the Island and the castle, and it got a bit worst when we wanted to visit Vintgar Gorge.

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Bled Castle

About a 1h walk from the lake to the castle from where you can look over the lake. The medieval castle of Bled offers you a great view over the surrounding mountains and the lake, but also a pretty nice tour in the castles museum. Just a few steps below the castle there is a restaurant also, a great terrace where you can enjoy an ice-cream while looking at the stunning view. Even on a rainy weather.

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Vintgar Gorge

Our final visit of the day supposed to be 2 km gorge carved by the Radovna River, it became a rescue mission for Fren, a lamb stuck into a fence far away from the flock. The rain became heavier and heavier so we where just about to return to Bled when we noticed a lamb stock into a fence. Dragos, having a soft heart towards animals, he jumped right away into rescue. After a good 10 min he did manage to sort out the trap and released our new friend Fren. You should have seen the joy on the lambs face and the way she ran to her mom…shouting “Mom, mom, guess what just happened!” it went more like ” beeh beeeh beeeh” …but wait I have it on camera, so make sure you check it out.

After we both felt like heroes, although it was more Dragos than me, we went and treated our-self with a good healthy meal…wait, was it a lamb burger? :))

On our way back we stayed a bit longer at the lake and enjoyed the sunset, or at least as much as we could get through the clouds and finished our day in this cool place, Bled.

You can check out all the photos from Bled in the gallery of this blog – link

 

The best places to visit in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Looking out from the airplanes window I could see the mountains breaking through the clouds, I was eager to arrive and learn more about Slovenia.

Ljubljana is a great place to start your journey in Slovenia. It’s the capital and largest city of Slovenia. Ljubljanca River divides the city’s old town from its commercial hub and holds many beautiful bridges. Ljubljana has many museums, vibrant streets with many tourists, great places to eat, drink and a really cool architecture.

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Everything is at a walking distance and really easy to get around. I took a shuttle from the airport to Prešeren Square which is a 30-40 min ride from the airport and it costs 9 Euro’s. The shuttle leaves as soon as has at least 4-5 passengers, otherwise another option is to take the bus which leaves every hour from the airport and costs only 4 Euro’s.

Prešeren Square

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Right at Prešeren Square you have the Franciscan church, a great view over the Triple Bridge and the tower of Ljubljana Castle.  As soon as you cross the the Triple Bridge you arrive to the Robba Fountain, a marble-&-limestone 18th-century fountain with an obelisk, pool & 3 sculpted figures holding jugs.

Walking along the streets you can hear predominantly German and Italian tourists which gives you the impression that you are not even in Slovenia.

Ljubljana Castle 

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Walking from the square to the Ljubljana Castle is a great experience, pedestrian streets and great terraces where you can have some good food and good beer. Talking about food, I found the Slovenian food close to the Romanian and Hungarian dishes. A great bone marrow butter for starter, a nice deer goulash with bread dumplings, Kremšnita cream cake will never disappoint. Among others you can opt for great stews, brilliant burgers, sausage and a mix grill.

Ljubljana Castle offers a great view over the city and the surrounding mountains, great history and legends about the local dragons. The entrance to the tower and the museum cost 7 Euro’s, but it totally worth getting it.

Metelkova Street

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Walking back from the Ljubljana Castle a great visit is the Central market with fresh fruits, vegetables and others. Just next to the central market you can cross Lubljana’s river via the Butchers Bridge where couples put padlocks to prove their love to each-other. Ljubljana Cathedral is also a great place to visit, a Roman Catholic cathedral with a baroque interior, including gilded columns & ceiling frescoes. As soon as you walk near these places you head towards the Dragon Bridge and  just after a 10 minutes walk you arrive to Metelkova Street which holds many weird and cool graffiti and street art. You will find many retro, hippie bars, pubs, places to eat and a cultural divers mix of people.

Just about enough to visit in a day in a relaxing pace.

I’ve found Dragos by the end of the day, we quickly had some great traditional food and went to the bus station to go to our next destination, Bled. You can get a bus from Ljubljana to Bled, it’s only a 50 min ride and it costs 4.10 Euro’s.

Here is a video from my 1st day in Slovenia, exploring some great places in Ljubljana – enjoy the ride with me.

The best of Slovenia 2018

I’ve spent five days in Slovenia with my buddy Dragos, where each day we visited a new place and we were blown away by the beauty of this country.

The idea of visiting Slovenia came out of nowhere, well I was actually looking at google maps and researching about the neighbor countries of Romania because I do have in plan of visiting them. While doing this I spotted Slovenia and by curiosity I dropped the little yellow man into the Triglav national Park and I was immediately drawn by the place.

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I shared the idea of visiting Slovenia with Dragos and within a few days we booked the plane tickets without thinking too much about it.

Ljubljana

We started off our journey in visiting the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, a wonderful and welcoming city. It has a really nice architecture, a mix of Italian and Austrian influence. As soon as I arrived from the airport, I was dropped right in the city center next to the Franciscan Church and a great view over the Triple Bridge, the Ljubljana Castle and Robba Fountain.

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Walking on the streets I noticed a lot of Italian and German tourists and endless other nations, no wonder, the city has a vibrant atmosphere. People riding bikes, singing on the streets, a vast variety of cuisines, weird art and loads of places to grab a beer.

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Bled

Our 2nd destination was Bled, just about a 40 min by bus from Ljubljana. We arrived to Bled where we camped over night at Camping Bled, a really cool place just next to the lake. We enjoyed this place a lot, the clear water of the glacier lake, the church on the island in the middle of the lake surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains and Bled Castle from where you can witness an epic view of the lake.

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Bohinj

On our third day in Slovenia we continued our journey to Bohinj lake where we camped for 2 nights in Ukanc. Now this place, no doubt looked like out of a postcard. The amazing turquoise clean water and surrounded by the gorgeous Alps. A great view of Tosc, Vernar and Slovenia’s highest mountains and the nationals symbol Triglav.

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On our 1st day in Bohinj we visited the Mostnica river and Mostnica Waterfall which we found really cool due to the fact that it was wild and it wasn’t packed with tourists.

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On the 2nd day we visited Savica waterfall which was really nice, but did not enjoy as much as Mostnica because it was way to overcrowded and we had to pay to get in.

The Black lake

From Savica waterfall we continued our journey to the Black Lake which is at an altitude of 1300m. The trail to the lake is challenging steep climb but comes with great rewards. It offers an amazing view over the Alps and some great peaks like the Vogel. On the way you will find a stunning waterfall which is way nicer than Slavica with a fall around 30-50 m. The Black lake is a beautiful glacier lake with crystal clear water from where you can drink without any worries.

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We had an attempt of going to Presihajoče lake wich is around 1650m altitude, but due to the big snow we lost track of the trail at 1500m and decided to go back as we where running out of time.

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After a 10 – 12 h climbing and walking we decided that on the third day we will enjoy the lake and the surrounding landscapes.

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These amazing places totally convinced us to return in 2019 and do a longer hike. The plan is to go from Bohinj to Triglav on a 3 day journey.

Here is a short video summary of the trip. In the coming days i will post separate videos about each day spent in Slovenia for even more details.

Exploring the Apuseni Mountains

I have been talking about exploring the Carpathian Mountains in Romania for quite some time now and so have I started doing it by reaching the summit of Vladeasa and just recently went to the Bride’s Veil Waterfall and the summit of Lespezi in the Apuseni Mountains.

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I always wake up early in the morning so I can skip the crowd in some of the touristic places I visit, just like the Bride’s Veil Waterfall ( Cascada Valul Miresei ). The place is just 1h20min away from where I live in Salaj, so it is an easy to get to if you go early in the morning.  I left about 7am and got to Rachitele village by 8:30 and walked for about another 30 minutes till the waterfall. Although I tried getting there as early as possible it was already packed with people, trying to capture that perfect selfy or proposing to the one. It seams it is quite a common thing… hmm, hence the name. 🙂

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It is a really nice place and one the most beautiful waterfalls I have seen so far, it is totally worth going there. If you visit the waterfall, a must do is to go to the summit of Mt. Lespezi – 1173m. The summit is a rocky cliff, just a 1h away by foot from the waterfall. You will get an amazing view of the Apuseni Mountains, a great view of the waterfall and even spot the Vladeasa ridge.

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On the summit of Lespezi, I have met 3 polish guys who came specially to explore the wild nature of the Carpathian Mountains. They were fascinated by the wild life you can still find in the deep forests and the beautiful views. It is a breathtaking view from the cliff, I could have stayed there for the rest of the day and not get enough of it. Well, I decided to leave at some point because I have noticed from above how the road from the village to the waterfall gets really busy and decided that it is the time for me to go.

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I was really glad I parked my car close to the village because otherwise it would have been a nightmare to get out of this place. Tens and tens of cars parked all over the place and they still tried getting close to the waterfall to eventually find out there is no space. I did warn some of the drivers, but it was kind of pointless, they did go anyways.

Yes, so this was my second trip to the Apuseni mountains, I did fell in-love with it and will definitely go back shortly. I still have in mind the visit the Dragan dam and the summit of mount Bihorul. In the meantime my next destination is Slovenia and the breathtaking Alps. Stay close because the stories from my trip to the Alps will follow soon.

Salina Turda – Salt Mine – Romania

Having part of a sunny weekend I have decided to go with my parents to visit the salt mine in Turda. I have been there before and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to go again. One thing you need to know about this trip is the fact that the mine is more than 200m deep and my parents as well as my brother are afraid of heights. I slightly described them the mine and the fact that is somewhat underground. My dad got panicked about it right away and it took me quite some time to convince my brother to come too.

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Eventually the 4 of us, my mom, brother and his wife hit the road and drove to Salina Turda. Everything went smoothly until we got to the stairs down to the mine where my brother and mom freaked out from the depth of the mine. I was crazy enough to walk them through above the salt mine to the other end of it where we decent on the stairs.

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Once we got to the base of the mine, my brother realize that there was a 2nd staircase where he could have avoided walking through the entire mine. I quote – he said he almost shit himself and instantly got sweat form the entire salt mine experience. My mom also said she will never return to this place again.

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I still love the place and I think is a must visit if anyone is near Cluj Napoca. We went deep down to the deepest point of the mine, to the lake where we had the option to go with the boat, but we skipped it for obvious reasons.

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For me it was a really funny experience and it was a good feeling to spend some good time with my family.

Here is a short clip of the experience catching some of the moment when my brother was panicking and refused to go down into the mine. Enjoy!

The Vlădeasa Summit at 1836 m

I am back on track with my travel stories and journeys after a good break from the never ending winter. I really enjoyed the winter time, visited some cool places and learned new things. That’s being said I was really looking forward for the spring and the good weather so I can go out and explore Romania’s stunning landscapes.

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I have started my journey in going to the summit of mount Vladeasa which is at an altitude of 1836m and I am planning to explore the Apuseni mountains further on. Later on in my journey I would love to visit the Rodnei Mountains and 2 trips in the Alps in Italy and Slovenia.

The trail to the Vladeasa summit started from Rogojel a village at the base of the mountain at an altitude of 800m and a 10km journey till the summit. While I was driving to Rogojel from Zalau I stopped by at a medieval fortress based in Bologa. Unfortunately it’s not looked after and not in great conditions, however it is a really cool place to visit.

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Walking towards the peak, step by step beautiful landscapes where pupping up in my path. Sometimes we are too focused on the objective and forget to enjoy the journey, so I did sit down in various places and take in all the goodness the nature has to offer.

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The highest you get in your ascent the more difficult it gets, but there is no rush, it’s more about the journey as I previously said. I did met some great people on the way, close to the top I bumped into Ildiko Mihaly, a solo traveler and mountaineer from Targu Mures who was stepping into my footsteps in the snow and walked together to the summit while getting to know each other.

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We set down to enjoy the view and take a breath to recover our strength for the descent. By the way there was a cat on the top of the mountain and it still bothers me, wondering how did it get there? 🙂

Ildiko decided to go to the other end of the summit to check out the place and it turned out the sign with the summit was there so she did touch the real deal where I didn’t. However both places where at the same altitude and relatively same place.

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I have started the descent as fast as possible, but my knees where failing slowly and the big snow didn’t made my journey easier. Half way through at the Vladeas Cabin I came across Ildiko once again and she kindly offered me a ride back to the village from where I started my ascent. Thank you ever so much for this, you did me a great favorite and I owe you big times.

I quickly changed into dry clothes and drove back home after a long, but strong day.

As I mentioned few times back, I have set myself some crazy goals for this year out of which so far I have done the following:

  • Cycling: 90km / 300km – you can follow me on Strava (Adi Seres) to see my progress
  • Running: 1.7 km / 300 – my body went into a shock as this was my first effort in 6 months and I quickly stopped from my first run.
  • Summits: 1 / 30 – Vladeasa 1836m – my first summit this year
  • New Countries visited: 1 / 3 – Ukraine being my first country this year. I was there together with my colleagues from work for 2 days of snowboarding.

How realistic is this goal, I am not too sure, but I am really into it and will give my best in achieving it.

Here is my journey to the summit of Vladeasa. Enjoy.

 

The highlights of my 2017

Youtube Rewind 2017 – Adi Seres

2017 was a great year of achievements, new discoveries, challenges and big changes. It was the year when I got a real sense of passion for cycling and running, altogether done over 350 km.

2017 was also the year of mountains, touching the summit of Mam Tor 517m (England), Holme Moss 524m (England), Vf. Osoiu 871m (Romania), Snowdon 1085m (Wales), Ben Nevis 1345m (Scotland), hopefully in 2018 more will come.

It was also the year of new countries, I have visited for the 2nd time Germany, for the 1st time The Netherlands and for the 1st time Thailand which was my best experience of 2017.

The year of unexpected changes, I took the decision of leaving UK and move back home to Romania. This wasn’t the easiest decision I’ve ever had to take, but I believe this was the right decision. This change led me to a new job, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, learning how to snowboard, visiting Romania and will continue influencing my life further on.

I have recently seen a slogan saying ‘if you can dream it, you can achieve it’ – I love it so much because it was the case with 2017 – I have dreamed about it a lot and managed to achieve it.

Let’s hope 2018 will be as full and rich as 2017.

My first snowboard lesson – Poiana Brasov

Poiana Brașov  is one of the most popular ski resort in Romania, but not only, it also attracts many tourists from all around Europe.  I am here in Poiana Brasov because for a long time I have desired to be able to snowboard and today I am taking that first step in learning how.

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Mihai – the ski instructor from “scoala de schii” was kind enough to show me the basic things in order to quickly start snowboarding. After 2 hours of learning, practicing I was able to nicely slip down from the hill.

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After a full day of snowboarding and falling, I got soaked wet. By the time I got back to the hotel, I found myself locked out. Hmm, weird isn’t it? I knock on the door, cause I didn’t know what else to do. Five minutes passed by, no one answers, I knock again. Ten minutes, 15 minutes passed by and nothing. I decided that I should find a place to eat and warm up. Just when I started leaving, the receptionist ran after me and asked me to quickly go inside. I ran inside with her and she told me that she locked the door because two bears were outside of the hotel. Wait a minute. What??? There are two wild bears outside and you locked me out???! The wet cloths are frozen on me, I wouldn’t even be able to run in case I had too. Well, same thing happened the second day too. True story. 🙂

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The second day I explored the a bit the forest, took a few pictures and flew my drone to capture some epic views. Right after that I went up to the mountain and had a nice coffee at 1725m altitude.

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Later on in the day I traveled back home, back to Zalau.

Such a nice way to end your 2017, visiting some of the best cities in Romania and do things I wished for.

The plans for 2018, one word: Mountains. I am turning 30 years old this year, so I am planning to do 30 peaks by my 30th.

Till then enjoy my first snowboard experiences, falls and some amazing winter forest views.

Brasov, Romania – The best winter city break

Brasov, a city in the heart of Transylvania, surrounded by the breathtaking Carpathian Mountains and a birthplace of many legends. It is known for it’s medieval Saxon walls, towers, Gothic-style architecture and baroque buildings.

On a snowfall the city becomes a story-like winter wonderland. The colorful Christmas lights adds a nice contrast to the beautiful white landscape.

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I arrived early in the morning to Brasov and although I haven’t been in the city for the past 3 years, I managed to find my way to the “Piata Sfatului” square easily. Step by step the old awesome adventure memories came to me. I remembered, ooh man…the time when I went to Brasov with Shalaka and Nandita – my really good friends from India, it was soo much fun. Braaaasov, a place of many cool memories!!!

Every time I’m in Brasov I must go to KFC too, tasty food with a brilliant view. KFC in Romania is the best in the entire world, have I told you that already?

Finding the city covered by snow, flying my drone above the city was a must do. This winter experience in Brasov was so satisfying, I totally felt like a kid.

I was really eager to go to the top of Timpa, but unfortunately the cable car wasn’t working. Probably I could have attempted climbing it? well maybe next time, cause it was quite foggy, or cloudy or wintry cause it was really snowing.

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Found a moody little coffee shop too, with a nice view over the narrow alleys of Brasov and the snow falling. The barista was really friendly and welcoming, probably because I was the only person sitting down to enjoy a nice coffee with cake.

Time is flying so fast when you walk in a place like Brasov, you barely notice the notion of time. I have suddenly seen the Christmas lights turning on, so I finished my coffee and went to the Christmas Market.

The Christmas Market definitely holds the best Christmas tree I have seen so far in my trip in Romania, but the market itself is also cosy, colorful and welcoming.

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I totally feel like I am rediscovering Romania.

After such a full day of rediscovery, remembering good old memories, enjoying a nice snow fall, I am heading towards the buss station to continue my journey to the Winter Wonderland of Romania.

Poiana Brasov is a place where I am always going back with pleasure, a true winter-land with a great view.

This time I am planning to try out something new, somethings I longed for since ever.