Our August '99 Eclipse and Historical tour of Romania here soon!
Our tour started in Bucharest (Bucuresti), the capital of Romania.
We spent our first night at the Hotel Lebada, a modern conversion of a beautiful 19th century princely estate, on Lake Pantelimon.
We had some 23 passengers, plus our driver and two guides, in a 27-passenger bus. It could have been a little bigger, but came with a large luggage trailer, and good air conditioning. This - and a different hotel every night - was to be home for the next week!
After a part day tour of the city in the morning, we departed for the medieval city of Tirgoviste, where we visited the astronomy camp of the Romanian Society for Astronomy and Meteorites, S.A.R.M. While there, we met our host, Ovidiu Vaduvescu, who organized the tour packages, enjoyed a presentation of astronomical poetry and folk song, and observed the sun through SARM's 11" Meade telescope.
That second evening, we arrived at the peasant homes where we would be sleeping, near the village of Arefu. These were very nice bed&breakfast houses, at working farms. We had a lovely home-grown dinner, complete with homemade plum brandy, practically the national drink! We awoke to the sounds of the farm, and the smell of a country breakfast. Our girls played with the baby chicks, dog and puppy, while the grandparents hitched the oxen to the cart, to go off to the fields. The oxcart was in the barn, not in the garage with the Lexus, however!
Bright and early on the third day, we drove through beautiful mountain gorges to the site of the historical Prince Vlad Dracula's citadel. Unfortunately, the skies were not promising on this Eclipse day morning, and the citadel ruins were 1,450 steps straight up the mountainside! We conferred and quickly opted to run for clear skies, some 120 km East/South-East, to the town of Pitesti, on the eclipse centerline. We arrived at Pitesti with plenty of time to set up and watch the eclipse. What a wonderful experience! Everyone was cheering, the girls were completely in awe, and we got some good photos and video. On the way to our viewing site, we discovered a familiar place for a snack!
That night, we stayed in the city of Sibiu, in a 215 year-old hotel near the central city square. Added attractions were a music and beer festival in the square, accompanied by spectacular a thunder and lightning show.
After a couple hours' walking tour of the old central section of Sibiu, we left again, travelling through the Transylvanian countryside to Tirgu Mures.