I like to think I’ve been to some cold places. Finland in February, Norway in December, etc. And geographically, the next stop on my illustrious European adventure was the furthest south of all the countries save Greece. I science, damnit! Latitudes should have been in my favor!
Spoiler: they were not. Romania wins the Michelin award for how many layers I needed just to pee… inside. I was lulled into a false sense of security getting there: we took a charming sleeper train from Budapest (the Buda-best, take me back) to Brasov, a 15 hour-ish trip that chugged through bleak tundra and frosty night to arrive bright and early in the most depressing little town I had the pleasure of visiting.
Give us some credit: we really tried to like it. How often do you get to say you’ve haunted Dracula’s old stomping grounds?!
But the reality was eyebrows so cold icicles were forming, both indoors and out. Any longer in Brasov and I would have given the Night King a run for his money. Jack’s survival was the true Christmas miracle.
Bucharest was another modest train ride away, and while I’d like to say it was an improvement… let’s just say we fully capitalized on the concept of “alcohol blanket.” One upside: the traditional Romanian dinner and dancing show we attended was both warm (bless) and a boatload of unexpected fun. Between that and a cozy bookstore/bar (emphasis on the bar) we holed up in, Romania was almost worth it. Almost.
Gear up for the last adventure – a land of ancient history, mythical lore, and indoor heating.