I'm sitting in front of the fireplace, reading a book which I received as a present in the Autumn of 2008. I was one of those children which would get most excited about receiving a good book, with a nice inscription on it. I used to imagine myself at old age, walking into my own British study, full of books covered in leather, all carrying a special story. This book was a bit more special than the rest. I got it from my mum not just as an idle present, but as a good bye gift for when I left to study Law with Criminology at the University of Manchester. It was my first ever photographic journal I've ever owned, all packed with pictures of Romania.
I'm reading about Transylvania, a mythical place, when I turn the page only to see a picture of one of my favourite Romanian cities: Brasov. I'm filled with memories, smile and look on the window. It's raining. I miss the mountains, I miss Poiana Brasov.
It was raining that morning when we all got in the car, kissed our parents' good bye at 4 in the morning and went for our first ever road trip around the country. It was 5 of us, 5 friends, 5 young adults excited to finally discover the world and see what the future holds. The rain didn't bother us at all, it was all part of the adventure. We stopped, we photographed, we laughed, we listen to old tunes which are now muffled in my head, as a melodic haze of good, old, times.
We had a long itinerary which we did over that weekend. But it was in Brasov that I fell in love. I fell in love with the architecture, the mountains surrounding the city, the shops, the cafes. As if I stepped into another world, trapped in its own historic past, Brasov was one of its kind.
To enjoy Brasov you need to first walk around the Council Square. This is a charming centre with old, coloured houses. During the warm season, this square becomes filled with joy, as markets, ice cream parlours and ambulant vendors all come together. It is in the winter that I love visiting Brasov the most. There is an eerie silence during evenings which takes over the square, a rather beautiful ambience if you ask me. But then again, I like contemplating, I like writing in my journal in such peace.
From the Square, I walked around the historic centre, a perfect place for time travelling lovers. This long street is dotted with boutiques and restaurants, all creating a cosy atmosphere. I remember walking around there for the first time, holding my red dotted umbrella and my first ever digital camera. It was more than 10 years ago when I snapped my very first picture of Brasov, preserving a little bit of its soul, keeping it all for myself.
There is no trip around Brasov without visiting the Black Church. This is the biggest gothic church in Eastern Europe, an absolute joy to look at. It is even called "The biggest gothic church between Vienna and Constantinopol". This magnificent structure received its nickname "The black church" after its walls blackened as a result of a 1689 fire, which partly destroyed some of the building. In the 19th century, its named officially changed to "The Black Church".
A few minutes down the road, I found one of the most intriguing little streets, in Brasov. It is called Strada Sforii, its literal translation being The Thread Street. This ingenious street, was first built as a corridor for the local firemen. It is the narrowest street in Romania and the third narrowest in Europe. I was lucky to discover this place by complete coincidence, and going though this corridor, sure felt like taking a journey towards Narnia.
It wasn't long before we all jumped back in the car, to continue our journey. That day marked the beginning of a new era, as every time I would go on a roadtrip around Romania, I would stop in Brasov, retracing my teenage steps and contemplating on some of my sweetest memories.
The rain has finally stopped. I'm noticing how the fireplace needs more log, so I put my book down to go make the room warm again.
Brasov was only one page, of a book full of memories, adventures and expeditions which shaped me into the traveller I am today. It's not long until I pick up my book again, and read, this time out loud, about my home country, Romania.
This article contains pictures I took 10 years ago! I wanted to preserve the memory and share it with you as it happened. I have visited Brasov since on countless occasions, last time being in the winter of 2016. Leave a comment and let me know why you would like to visit this beautiful medieval city in Romania.