The Road to Rasnov

The moment I purchased a ticket and found a seat, the bus broke down. The seven other passengers looked more bored than annoyed and I got the feeling that this is was a regular occurrence. The driver looked at us and smiled confidently, “no problem” he said, getting down from his seat. Five minutes later, wiping the grease off his hands, he started the engine effortlessly and we were on our way to Rasnov.

If there were actual bus stops, I didn’t know it. The bus appeared to stop in the most obscure places and people seemed to be getting on and off wherever they pleased.

Fifteen minutes later the Rasnov hollywood sign came into sight, the fortress gleaming behind it.

“Rasnov?” I asked the bus driver, pointing to the sign. He nodded and abruptly stopped the bus. “Oh, is this the stop?” I asked, slightly confused. He nodded again and opened the door. We had no choice but to get off.


We are nowhere near the fortress, but on the edge of the town of Rasnov itself. All we can do is start walking. It’s sweltering and in minutes a bead of sweat runs down my back. Another gathers under my breasts and rolls down my side. The sun is scorching and there is no shade. We keep walking.

We pass curious children, peeking out from shadowed alleyways. They play peek-a-boo with us behind wooden doors and stare with wide eyes. They wave to us and we wave back.

Rasnov children

The streets are quiet and we share the road with only bikes, horses, and wagons. The houses are colorful and lace curtains hang in the windows. The flower gardens are in full bloom and the humidity seems to exaggerate the fragrance.

We continue walking.

Rasnov town

Eastern Europe2012 1805

Rasnov town

We begin walking uphill and the fortress becomes clearer and clearer. I can begin to make out the texture of the stone walls, and the variation of the orange tiled roofs.  At the top of the hill we are rewarded with a soccer game and a cafeteria. We grab a quick lunch and drink as much water as we can.

Eastern Europe2012 1813

Eastern Europe2012 1808

After what felt like hours of walking (uphill), we finally reached the fortress. While it’s exterior was not quite as visually interesting as Bran Castle, the views more than made up for it. Rolling hills, the Carpathian Mountains in the distance, small towns, farmland. I didn’t expect Romania to be so beautiful.

Rasnov fortress

Rasnov fortress

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rasnov fortress view

I can’t wait to return and explore more of the Carpathian Mountain region, but next time I’ll visit in the spring or fall. Summer is too hot!

What do you think? Is the journey more important than the destination? Have you visited Rasnov?


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