One of my favorite things, aside from food, is traveling. In every place I have ever lived, I have done some serious exploring of the local and near-local sights. Of course I never get to see everything but I get to see a lot so I won’t complain. Much.
Recently the Hubs and I took a 3 day getaway to see more of Romania. There was a castle because of course there was a castle I happened upon thanks to a Facebook recommendation, Castle Corvinilor and that was our second stop on the first day.
From a distance it looks imposing but up close it looks like…a castle. Very cool and still incredibly imposing, only less so.
But as these things tend to go, the view from inside the castle…much better.
The view from one of the inside “windows”.
The day was off to a great start even though the temperature was around 30° C by the time noon rolled around. I made sandwiches for the road because there are very few roadside shops that have ANY vegan food offerings other than fries, which let’s be clear, I will never pass up an opportunity to eat fries but sometimes it’s nice to have more than one option for food.
The first night we ate at a place called Remeny’s and the food was…okay. We had garlic bruschetta toasts to start which was delicious. The soup was bland and overly hot, but to be fair it was vegetable soup. Then we got…you guessed it fried potatoes and a grilled vegetable plate from the a la carte section. The gin & grapefruit cocktail I had was pretty delicious, if a little light on the ice.
The next day we were in Alba Iulia which I have to tell you was my ABSOLUTE favorite part of this trip. Who knew this place had such a rich history?
A few things I learned:
The Thracians (as in Spartacus) are Romanian
The Romans made it this far and conquered parts of this land
There are a lot of torture chambers
The museum on Roman history in Romania is AMAZING
After spending the morning soaking up the beautiful sights and the incredibly hot rays of sun, we spent a few hours on the road towards Sighisoara, but…food.
Twenty minutes at a rest stop and we found a Chinese restaurant in a small town called Deva, with vegan options.
My day was made. I burned a zillion calories walking all around the citadel in Alba Iulia, plus the museum, a fortress and a fantastic obelisk and I got to eat spring rolls, a delicious mushroom potato dish covered in a thick, spicy sweet soy sauce. And we can’t forget vegan noodles!
I am truly sorry to say that this was one of those times where I was too hot, too hungry and yeah, maybe a little bit too cranky to think about taking photos so you’ll just have to take my word that it was a great find. Good Chinese food has, so far, been lacking in this part of the continent.
…parts of another amazing fortress!
Finally we made it to Sighisoara, which for those of you who don’t know, still has tons of leftover influence from its days as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which means lots of German (a good thing for me since my Romanian language stills are floundering). It turned out that the German influence came in very handy when it came to eating in Sighisoara.
Thanks to Alte Post, a German Gasthaus, we were both able to find (only 2) vegan dishes while our travel companions found plenty of animal-based dishes too.
We got started with beer and muraturi, which is just Romanian for pickled vegetables. They taste a little different than American style pickling but they are very, very delicious. The sauerkraut was part of the German thing, but it was still damn tasty.
Tofu steaks and grilled vegetables with a balsamic reduction. It was good but ordinary, exactly what I’d make if I was feeling super lazy during the week. But again, better than fries. Mostly.
I appreciated their restaurant having a nod to Romania with the vegan sarmale and mamaliga, but it was nothing to write home about. Everything was under-seasoned but after another long day with a lot of walking, it was nice to have a full meal instead of a table filled with side dishes.
But the highlight for me in Sighisoara, was Teo’s Cellar.
But this is what you see when you first enter because it’s also a B&B right inside the citadel…as in part of the citadel!
This guy, Teo, was great. His cellar was very cool with all these different ways to drink his different creations while he told us all about the awards he’s won all over Europe and the world. We did a tasting of Palinka, Tuica and Cognac and they were all so delicious I didn’t know what to buy/taste first.
In the end we bought 3 small bottles for friends & family and 1 big bottle of Palinka for ourselves.
We made an impromptu stop at Rupea Fortress on the way home because…it was there!
Overall it was a great trip, very relaxing and I learned a lot. Having vegan options, no matter how slim, is always better than not. The key is to do your research ahead of time to avoid frustrations. We had three options listed but it turns out having salad and fries for some places counts as “vegan options”.