302 Kms from Zalau
292 Kms from Zalau
Arrived in Poprad, and first thing to do was find a place to stay. I had done some research ahead of time, so I knew that Poprad is a touristy city of about 55,000 people. Quite a few private places to stay, similar to what we have been in, but definitely with higher prices than we're used to. We walked the twenty minutes or so to the information centre, and made it just in time because yesterday was a bank holiday in Slovakia so most places were closed, and the info centre itself was closing at noon. While we were dragging our bags around, we walked past a penzion (guest house) that I thought would be fairly expensive, but you don't know if you don't ask, right? The lady said they had one room available for three nights and I went and looked at it. Very nice. But it was fairly expensive, at €32 ($40) per night. And there are no kitchen facilities, so we would be spending more on meals. But they do a nice buffet breakfast every morning for an extra €5 ($6.25) per person. The city is divided by the railway tracks. Mostly industrial and business on one side, and mostly residential on the other side. We were on the business side. Poprad exists partly because it is close to these mountains. During our walk around the city, we were looking for somewhere suitable to have dinner later on. Once again, prices are a little higher than we're used to. Usually, if you look at the price of a beer in a restaurant, it is a good indication of the price of the food! For example, there is a cheap pub in the front of our guest house (but it doesn't sell food). Beer there is between €0.70 and €0.90 ($0.87 and & $1.13). So when you see a restaurant advertising beer for €1.40 ($1.75), you can be pretty confident that the food will be more expensive too.
258 Kms from Zalau
Piata Mare is the historic centre of Sibiu and is, as the name declares, a large square. There are shops, restaurants and cafes on either side. Walking further takes us to the Christmas market, beyond which is Piata Mica and my awesome hostel. Looking for a free walking tour didn’t quite work out (they only have tours in the winter if enough people call and request for one because of how cold it is), so I was left to fend for myself and figure things out on my own. Brasov’s christmas market isn’t Romania’s largest (that distinction goes to Sibiu), but it doesn’t compromise on charm. The sun was shining, and the buzz of so many people milling about just made it all that much lovelier.
210 Kms from Zalau
After shivering in the snow for a few hours, I gave up on couch surfing and went to find a hostel. Quick Google search + Google Maps, and twenty minutes later I was in front of Hostel Costel. THANKFULLY they had room, and the hostel was nice and non creepy (that’s not something I can say about the hostels I stayed at in Rome. Shudder!!!).
173 Kms from Zalau
Everything is better after you’re full, no? I didn’t have much to do. It gets dark quickly in the winter so I just decided to make the most of whatever little time I had and walked around the city. What can I say about Timisoara? I don’t know much about it, frankly, and I didn’t get a chance to find out either. I can tell you it’s in Western Romania and is the third most populous city in the country. I can tell you it is called ‘Little Vienna’ for some reason (but I was in a foul mood that day and I refused to agree with whoever told me that). And I can tell you that it is a pretty city. If prettiness can show itself inspite of the snow, it’s a pretty city indeed!
59 Kms from Zalau
Cultural Capital of Romania