A Romanian Romance

The amazing view of Torockό from atop the Székelykö mountain where we had a Taylor Swift dance party.

The amazing view of Torockό from atop the Székelykö mountain where we had a Taylor Swift dance party.

My weekend in Romania resembles much of a love story. Just a warning: it is your typical love story. Typical if you’ve ever travelled anywhere and fell hopelessly in love with the places you visit. With most love stories, things can get sticky. And things got sticky when I encountered my first love triangle this past weekend on my excursion to the enchanting country of Romania. Hungary is and will always be my first true love, but Romania has wooed and charmed me as well. It is inevitable to become infatuated with the incredible sights, tastes, and sounds that each location offers the unsuspecting tourist. With that embedded in my mind, I so desperately hope I continue to be swept off my feet during my stay in Europe.

Most notably, Romania breeds more legends of horror than legends of love. Our API excursion brought us to the land of Transylvania and its infamous tale of Count Dracula. We stepped off the 7.5 hour train ride and straight into a sightseeing tour of Cluj-Napoca. It is the second largest city in Romania and houses incredible gothic buildings.

A statue of the mythical hero, Mathias Rex.

A statue of the mythical hero, Mathias Rex.

After our tour, we drove straight to a nearby village, Vlaha, where we stayed with local families who provided us with dinner, breakfast, and a bed. I think the highlight of the dinner for everyone was the dessert. We were served copious amounts of “mouse tail”, doughnuts with drizzled rosehip jam. They were delicious and the staff kept bringing in more plates that we thought our stomachs were going to explode!

Our quaint little bed and breakfast we stayed at with incredible views of the Székelykö mountain.

Our quaint little bed and breakfast we stayed at with incredible views of the Székelykö mountain.

The next morning, we set out for the village of Torockό where we hiked the breathtaking Turda gorge, explored the cavernous Turda salt mine, and roamed around the ruins of the Torockόszentgyörgy castle. It rained during our stay, so it made hiking treacherous. There was also a dangerously abundant amount of animal poop scattered throughout the muddy roads and hills. I found the salt mine to be absolutely incredible! What mine has a ferris wheel, mini-golf course, ping-pong and pool tables inside? Not to mention, a small lake where you can rent boats and paddle around! It blew my mine-d (haha)!

Anyone up for a game of pool? (Turda salt mine)

Anyone up for a game of pool? (Turda salt mine)

Another highlight of the trip for me was when I said “csόkolom” (a formal greeting used for the elderly) to a lady. She thought I was a true Hungarian and proceeded to speak to me in rapid Hungarian, while I just repeatedly shook my head and said “nem” (no). My Hungarian vocabulary is unfortunately very limited at the moment.

I am extremely thankful to our API directors who organized this whole trip. I would never have came across this hidden gem without them. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the peaceful countryside. We were well taken care of and we became very fond of our hilarious tour guide, Zsolt.

Europe, please continue to make me fall head over heels for you. It shouldn’t be hard. You’ve already stolen my heart twice.

Quinn Kim is a student at California State University, Fullerton and an official API Blogger. Quinn is studying abroad with API in Budapest, Hungary.

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