Brazov Romania

Brazov skyline coming into town
big apartment buildings and lots of industrial skyline

Brazov, old town skyline looking south from my hotel window
A very different looking, and feeling, place

Brazov, more old town skyline, looking west

I spent a day in Brazov's old town, doing internet stuff at a very good, and very inexpensive, internet cafe and playing tourist. It is far different in feel and appearance from the new part of town, which is good because the new part is Romanian Industrial, not a style that will endear itself to anyone. The old town feels a lot like Lisbon, but with better mountains and a scaled back economy. It is a fun place, with neat churches and that sort of thing, a very pleasant main plaza and lots of the things one associates with European old towns, but a bargain prices.

There are several blocks of nice park
where men play chess, backgammon, and dominos

The park has a rose garden down the middle

The cathedral - defunct I suspect - is really old and beautiful, but, like much of Brazov, and even more of Romania, in poor repair. There is a neat fountain in the plaza near the old church and lots or restaurants and shops, but not so many, or so name brand, that it feels like a shopping mall. McDonalds is here somewhere, but apparently, and thankfully, not in the old town. It would be silly to eat at McDs when, for very little more money, you can get a good meal at one of the restaurants. I continued my $6 supper pattern here, this time with a chineese meal. I spent less than two dollars for breakfast and only about a dollar for a snack lunch from a stand in the park. The park is several blocks of trees, grass and rose garden, and, while the grass wasn't mowed, the park was fun and full of people doing every thing from playing chess, to rollerblading.

The fountain with, I think, city hall in the background

The street where I ate supper

I choose, and it was probably a mistake, to stay at the best hotel in town. The location is great, right across from the park and near to the great internet cafe. It's cost is six times the cost of the basic room I had last night. While the room is nice, it isn't that nice and, like everywhere I've stayed in Romania, something doesn't work. My four star hotel has a defective ceiling light and, the folks here can't fix it. There are three other lights in the room, all dim, so not having a ceiling light means I have to use the computer in bed. The only 'spare' outlet. e.g one not used by one of the lights, is for the refrigerator, so I have it unplugged while I'm using my computer. For 83 Euro in Romania, I expected everything to work.

Here is what a street just off the street my hotel is on looks like
This is an upscale version of most streets in cities in Romania

And this is the backend of the Cathedral
Note the place on top of the ridge
It is called Panorama and I bet it has a great view!

This is the bell tower for the Cathedral
you can see it from the other side in the first old city picture

I wandered around, taking picture and enjoying the atmosphere of the place this afternoon. It is a comfortable place and many of the people who work here speak English, so it is easy for an English speaking tourist to function here. I did have one, mildly disturbing experience before I checked into my hotel. I stopped and asked, at this hotel for internet access. I got directions that were good, but lacked one turn. So I asked somebody else. I still couldn't find it. Then I stopped to ask a cop. He was nice, but not very helpful and a man came across the street and offered to help. He was very helpful. The reason I couldn't find the cafe was that it wasn't marked as an internet cafe. In fact there were two internet access places within half a block of me on a street that I had already searched twice! One was not good, and the fellow that was helping was associated with that one, but other one was quite good. In order to find out how good it was, I needed to do something with my bike. The helpful fellow was all for having me leave my bike at the other place for safe keeping. Then, when I said I couldn't do that, he became interested in where I was staying and suggested that he had a friend, whose wife and kid were out of town, who I could stay with. I declined that too, saying I couldn't. During all of this, my friend was warning me to watch my back, that people knew about me and my bike and would be up to no good. I'm afraid he was up to no good himself and, although I really appreciated his help, I was doing exactly as he advised and watching my back.

I got the guy running the internet cafe to let me bring my bike in while I tried out his systems - not fancy, but also not crippled - then I went to hotel and 'checked' my bike in for safe keeping.

My question about Brazov, and really about Romania in general, is if it worth the trouble of riding here. Brazov is neat. some of the rest of Romania is really pretty, but the cities, except Brazov old city, are ugly. The smog is bad. The roads in town tend to be pretty bad, but the roads between towns are better. The drivers are very creative and you better learn to go with the flow of traffic here. I have never been passed into so often, but some times the drivers wave happliy as the pass into me. A friendly place ! The wide open spaces and small towns with no services are nice for riding through, but make riding here a lot more challenging than riding in most of Europe. I was working on my routing after Brazov today and, like my routing to Brazov, it was challenging, even doing 90 - 100 mile days, to find towns large enough to have services. If you ride back roads, camp and do your own cooking, and can adapt that to what is available locally, I think Romania will be an easy place to tour. If you, like me, depend on restaurants and hotels, and ride main roads, it is more of a problem. In either case, the people really are wonderful and that could well make all the difference.