Sunday October 21st 2018

Train: Klausenberg to Kronstadt

 The city of Brasov (Kronstadt), Transylvania. May 2014.
Photos courtesy of Standard Travel Fotos

We spent a couple of weeks exploring the area of central Transvlania around Cluj-Napoca. Our next destination is Saxon Land, to the city if Kronstadt.

Getting out my 1914 map, I can see that Kronstadt is in the extreme southeast of Austria-Hungary, just north of the Romanian border. If you are using a more recent map, Kronstadt is today called Brasov, and it is now within the border of Romania.

CFR (Căile Ferate Române)

The Romanian state railway is called CFR which stands for Căile Ferate Române. Trains are cheap and reliable, if somewhat slow. It’s often faster to take an autobus, but the bus is not as comfortable. Our train was scheduled to leave from Cluj main station at 9:30 a.m. The 300 km trip takes 7 hours, which comes to an average speed of 42 km per hour (26 mph). Slow, but it is a scenic route. Our train was scheduled arrival at 4:30 p.m.

In Romania, there are regional trains (Rxxx) and inter-regional trains (IRxxx). The regional trains make more stops. The IR trains cost more, but get your there sooner. I think our tickets on an IR train cost about $20.

Our CFR train traveled from Cluj through Turda and Aiud. Then through Medias and Sighisoara. It was little behind schedule, and I think we finally arrived in Brasov a little past 5 p.m.

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Brasov (Kronstadt)
Brasov is up in the mountains at an elevation of 600m (2,000 feet). The town is nestled in a valley between two mountains. From the train, we could see snow on some of the highest peaks. After collecting our luggage and detraining we walked to the old town where we would be staying.

It was easy to find our way. Just head to the Hollywood-style BRASOV sign on the mountain above the city. We could have taken a tram from the train station to the old town, but I wasn’t exactly sure where to get off. I would NOT recommend taking a taxi from the train station because the driver will overcharge you. Many people were charged 50 Lei for the ride, which should cost only 8-10 Lei. Beware!

 Symbol of the city of Brasov (Kronstadt), Transylvania. May 2014.

This trip, we stayed at the Kismet Dow Hostel, which is a good location just five minutes from the center of the old town. We got checked into our room and found nice comfortable beds. No need to change money because we are still in Romania, where they use the Romanian Lei.

We asked the hostel staff where we could go for dinner. They gave us a map and pointed out couple of places in the center. We headed off and found a cafeteria-style place that was still open. The restaurant was on this street in the photo.

Street in old town Brasov (Kronstadt), Transylvania. May 2014.

By now it was about 7 p.m. We ate some basic Romanian food including soup, salad, chicken and a vegetable. I got a small bottle of Cocoa-Cola. I think the meal cost about 20 Lei ($6.04). The Coke was 4 Lei ($1.21).

After dinner, we walked around the old town for a bit and then headed back home. I stopped on the way back at a coffee/cake shop and bought a fancy piece of cake to take home which cost 7 or 8 Lei ($2.41). You can get really good cake in Romania for not a lot of money.

Tomorrow, we’ll see what there is to do in Brasov, and if there is a free walking tour.

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