marți, 20 noiembrie 2012

Prahova Valley, a Romanian Royal getaway

If you need to relax and detox, if you need to forget the usual trouble and the daily routine, I have the right medicine for you. I really recommend to go from Bucharest to Brasov, through Ploiesti on the A1 highway, along the spectacular Prahova Valley. But please keep in mind, that this highway is the busiest in Romania, and you must avoid it during the week end rush hours, e.g. Friday and Sunday afternoon.

The Prahova is simply superb,  meanders through Bucegi and Baiului Mountains, and could be named The Royal Valley of Romania, because the former King Carol I used to live here, in Sinaia, where he managed to build the fantastic Peles Castle from stone, wood and precious materials. Consequently, all his suite adopted Sinaia as a summer Capital. Ever since that period, the beginning of XXth century, the skiers and mountain climbers are the masters of these places.
Valea Prahovei is simply superb, the best place to disconnect from anything else.

Due to its proximity to Bucharest, Prahova Valley was an important connection between Wallachia and Transilvania., centuries before opening of a railway and a highway in 1880. Because the old highway is obsolete and overcrowded sometimes, there are plans for building a speed highway between Bucharest and Budapest, but the environmental price will be huge ( nowadays in the big forests of the area you can still find bears, wolves and lynxes). The legendary stylish train Orient Express drove this way on his long journey between Paris and Istanbul.
Peles Castle in Sinaia is a must see for any art freak

On the way to the mountains, discover first the quiet town of Campina, where you can find two interesting museums. One of them refers to Nicolae Grigorescu, the most important Romanian painter from all times, which lived here during its last years of life, and left his last masterpiece unaccomplished. He started his career by painting churches and monasteries, and finally an important politician, impressed by his paintings, offered him a scholarship in Paris. Nowadays, if you have the chance to buy a painting of grigorescu, please don't hesitate, it is a safer placement than gold! The secon interesting museum in Campina is Hasdeu Memorial Museum, with a very strange spiritual atmosphere, as Hasdeu, an important political and cultural personality, tried to further communicate with his beloved genial daughter Julia, died at 18 years.

Further, you reach the town of Breaza, which is simply very long, build mainly along the street, and very famous due to its excellent golf coarse. Afterwards, within minutes, you are in Sinaia, and you don't need to hurry up anymore. Enjoy Sinaia in all its splendor, it deserves. The quiet town is very animated on week ends, but in the rest of time keeps an interesting flair of the beginning of XXth Century. After King Carol set here his summer residence emmerged many luxury villas, his suite visited the Casino, and took part to hunting. If you are an art freak, don't miss the Peles Castle, it is simply superb. It was an avangarde building for Romania of those times, heated and electrified. Observe please the wood works, while going from the honor room in the weapon and Marocco room! Next to it, the Pelisor Castle, a paradise for Art Nouveau freaks.

Go deep in the Mountains by the cabin, if you are in the mood to climb them.  Further, before reaching Brasov, find Busteni and Predeal, very important for addicted skiers.

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