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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Romania Day 4: Arc de Trumf, FrankFurt

Last day in Romania, visited the Arc de Trumf in the morning. I am pretty sure a lot of people do not know there is a Arc de Trumf here. Most people probably just know about the one in France. In fact, there are a quite number of places here that are similar to France, from what I heard there is this park/walkway that is model after a famous one in France too.

Decided to take a look at the city of Frankfurt during the 6hr transit there, did some shopping. Got tonnes of Easter Eggs as gifts for the people back in office. ^^

After that, it is home sweet home :)

Buffet Breakfast @ Phoenicia Grand Hotel
Arc de Trumf, Bucharest, Romania
Frankfurt Main Train Station, take this to the city
City of Frankfurt
This Disney-Castle-like tower in the city is actually a Bistro on the first level

Monday, March 05, 2007

Romania Day 3: Brasov, Back to Bucharest

Today was our last day on the beauifuly Romania mountains. We are saying farewells to our lovely host - Marcella. Tour Brasov before making our way back to Bucharest, drop the ladies, return the car (NOTE: Car rental is VERY VERY expensive) and had dinner back at hotel.

Chris will be leaving on an early morning flight the next day, while SL and I in the afternoon.

BIG thanks to Razvan and Anna!!! You are the BEST! i am sure the trip would not be as fun without you.

Marcella's own line of children clothing which are all hand sewn
Farewell Marcella and The Country HotelMarketplace in Brasov (Note: the flowers are enchanting) Brasov's main shopping streets leading to the town square
There are houses in the alleys of the shopping streets
Brasov Town Square
A Orthodox Church around the Town Square
(Orthodox Catholic is the main religion in Romania)
The Black Church, Brasov, Romanoa
On our way back to Bucharest
(Traffic jam due to car accident on an one lane road)
Checked in back to Phoenicia Grand Hotel, Bucharest
Nice Italian dinner @ Restaurante Trattori

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Romania Day 2: Harman, Rasnov, Bran Castle (aka Dracula Castle)

A hearty breakfast at The Country Hotel before we set offFortified Church in Harman
Inside the Fortified Church During times of conflicts the villagers will move in Rasnov - Fortress on the Hill Inside Rasnov Rasnov - View from the Top

Bran Castle, contrary to common belief. This is not the real Dracula castle. That is the product of Bram Stroker's ficition, which was modeled after this castle. In the novel, Dracula was modeled after Vlad Tepes - a prince, who defended his land but displayed no mercy to any of his enemies. Vlad Tepes actually never stayed in Bran Castle before.

Vlad Tepes (Dracula)

Bran Castle (Dracula Castle)Bran Catle - The InsideBran Castle - Interior Courtyard Bran Castle - One of the bedrooms Lots of Souvenir Shops outside of Bran Castle

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Romania Day 1: Peles, Pelisor, The Country Hotel

After a long hard week of meetings, meetings and more meetings, we are going for our 3-day personal sponsored trip to see the REAL Romania. We rented a car and off to our trip! (Beware: Car rental in Romania is expensive.)

To be frank, Burcharest is pretty grey, dusty and boring. Maybe it is the constructions that seem to be everywhere or maybe it is the winter which makes trees bare and sky look grim.

But one will never know that just an hour plus drive to the mountains, things will be so different.... Sky is clearer, air is fresher, things seem to look nicer and the spirit seems to have been given the magic cure.

And the best of all, we have 2 great newly found friends as guides to accompany us - Razvan (our colleague in EMEA) and his girlfriend Anne. They are the sweetest people around.

The Travel Group: L., Chris, SL, Anna, Razvan
Spotted: Cool Wooden Mask @ Souvenir Stall enroute to Peles
Peles Castle - I used to though all castles are red or grey and gloomy. After seeing this castle, I have to say, I was so wrong. This castle has the class. What's inside is just as impressive - centralized heating, antique built in vacuum cleaner and elevator. Man, I am impressed.

Peles Castle
Pelisor - Built for the King's son. This is something like little Peles (thus, the post-fix "sor"). The rooms' designed some how remains me of our modern rooms.

Pelisor
The Country Hotel, Harman - Seriously, Harman is a not really well-known place, even colleagues in Burcharest have not heard of this tiny area. The Country Hotel is really hard to locate. There are no signs leading to the hotel and worse there are no signs on the hotel itself. Well, to be fair it is not really a hotel, it is actually and barn turned bread-and-breakfast house.

We arrived at night, had a tough time finding the place. At first look at the gates in the eerie quite night, it is hard to believe we are going to stay at this place for the night. (Were all the reviews faked?) We refused to believe that is the place and started circling around Harman for the "right" place. In the end, we were forced to accept the truth - the abandon-warehouse-look-alike building is THE Country Hotel. Razvan and I ventured to check out the place with a mindset of searching for another hotel. But once the owner, Marcella, opened the door, it is a different world inside. Man, we were relieved. Marcella is a design she showed us her showroom with pretty linen work. We had some red wine over a chat with her son before turning in.

So for the adventurous souls who are planning to go to Brasov - I will really recommend a stay in The Country Hotel.
The Country HotelThe Country Hotel - Gate The Country Hotel - Barn House

My Nice, Warm, Cosy Room