Written by Andrew Bormann
Saturday January 6, 2018 – Day 1
Today was our first big trip outside of Ploieşti. We loaded into a van and headed to the mountain town of Sinaia. Our first stop was at the Sinaia Monastery, built in 1865. This was a special day at the monastery because we were able to observe the priests who were preparing the Holy Water that would last for the year. While at the monastery, we also learned about the history of the building and of some of the paintings on the walls.
After the monastery, we headed further up the mountain to Peleş Castle. The castle was actually a summer home for the royal family of Romania, and was beautifully set in a valley between the mountains. We were able to take a tour of the castle and learn about individual rooms; however, we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside, unless we paid a fee – which sadly we opted not to do. The castle has an astounding 160 rooms in total, and took 39 years to complete. It was last lived in during 1947 by King Michael the First and his mother. The reason it was not inhabited after that year, is because communists overtook Romania and forced the royal family out during WWII. After the war was over, the castle was used by communists and turned into a museum in 1990. The thing that stood out to me the most was the incredibly ornate woodwork throughout the entire of castle. The detail of each piece was amazing, and sheer amount of wood used in the castle was astounding.
After the castle visit, we stop for a lunch at the Two Cannon restaurant where we had a traditional Romanian meal of pork and bean soup, pork chop and potatoes, and a donut-like pastry with fruit jam.
After lunch, we took a short trip to the top of the mountain, but we had to turn around about two kilometers from the top due to road difficulties.
Finally, we ended our trip by visiting the Sinaia Casino (not currently operating as a casino), and learned about the history behind the rooms in the building and why it was built.