Romania. An amazing country. People don’t know too much about it. Some know it is an Eastern European country, others heard of the appalling dictator Ceausescu. Some know Romania from television: they’ve seen reports describing the poverty of the land or counting how many homeless children live in the streets, begging, starving. Others will describe Romania in other words: the land of beautiful women, a mixture of Latin and Slavic culture, mysterious and fascinating. Bucharest, the capital of the country, used to be called the “Little Paris” and Romania has many other wonders waiting for you.
A wonder is Transylvania – the country between forests – a real Romanian territory, full of history and imposing in its splendor. The land has it all: bucolic scenery, heights that take your breath away (the Western Carpathians, also called the Apuseni Mountains, cross the county from North to South), medieval towns (Sighisoara being the most famous of all and the place were prince Dracula was born) and rustic villages, places were many ancestral traditions were piously kept and the people are friendly and welcoming.
When traveling to Transylvania there is no better way to enjoy your journey than to stay at a small, privately owned bed and breakfast villa. Remember: you are in a wine country. Romanians make delicious wines, some of which you will never find in stores, for these are homemade wines as tasty as the most expensive brands, if not tastier. So don’t choose a hotel. They are far too expensive, the service is poor (there is still a lot of work to be done in Romania when it comes to customer care and tourism) and the food is not so great. If you want to taste tradition, choose to spend your holiday in a village or in a country house outside a village, where the hostess will welcome you (on your first visit) with special, customary appetizers bread and salt and a shot of palinca – a Romanian traditional alcoholic drink, very popular in Transylvania. The bread and salt have a symbolic meaning: they comprise the Romanian way of saying, “welcome in my house”. You’ll probably not find the same custom everywhere you go, some traditions are lost, but don’t be surprised if you do encounter it.
So where should you go to be pampered as you deserve and have a real, genuine Transylvanian experience? Not far from Brasov, in Miclosoara (a little village in the foothills of the Carpathians) you find “The Count’s” guesthouses. Here you have plenty of winter activities including skiing at Poiana Resort, bear and wolf tracking (oh, yes, the land is wild: a large bear population – you’ll not find it in other European countries), bird watching (there are plenty of rare birds in the region including eagles, ural owls, wall-creepers, black-storks), hiking cross and cultural activities (many of the places you could visit are listed as UNESCO World Heritage).
The Count’s is one of the many bed and breakfast accommodations in the region. We mention it because its name – yes, it’s about The Count Dracula (although in the real life he was a prince) – makes it much easier for you to remember this destination. However, Transylvania is magic and has many other destinations waiting for you to discover them.