I don’t even know where to start. I got back on Sunday evening from 4 days in a freezing, snow-filled Romania and can honestly say I’ve had the best time. The holiday had been organised by ‘Kats Curious Adventures’ (http://katsadventures.com), the first time I had tried this small company, but I was very impressed with their organisation and pre-visit planning and information.
On the day we flew out, a few of us Whatsapp’d arrangements to meet up at Stansted for breakfast before the flight. Everyone were all easy to get on with and after 10 minutes, people were chatting as though they were bonefide friends. It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with complete strangers!
The flight to Bucharest was eventful, with one of the passengers having a panic attack and trying to open the emergency exist whilst we were in the air!! We had to turn round and fly back to Stansted as the passenger was considered too much of a liability to stay on the flight for the duration.
There were many highlights from the break including a visit to Dracula’s castle in Bran and a fascinating walk around Bucharest with a fantastic tour guide who did this on the side whilst being a junior paediatric doctor in the week! The primary one was of course visiting the ice bar and restaurant and the overnight stay in the Ice Hotel on Balea Lac.
On arrival, we were left with a few hours to keep ourselves entertained. I decided to go tubing (like skiing on your bottom, wedged in a rubber ring speeding down a green run) and being pulled around the snow on a dingy behind a motorbike. Apart from having a snow exfoliation from the spray, it was wonderful fun. There was a lot of screaming….
Before eating at the ice restaurant, we enjoyed a few shared bottles of Prosecco and beer in our storage-cum-bedroom area. It felt like a school trip; sitting on bunk beds (or wherever you could find bum space), with lots of noise, laughing and chit chat among the suitcases and wet boots.
Following that and thermals at the ready, it was off to the restaurant where I enjoyed a heavily garlic flavoured pasta starter, followed by carrot soup with croutons (it came cold, but was still steaming due to the freezing temperatures in the restaurant). It was absolutely delicious. The main meal was portk tenerloin wrapped n bacon, Bratkartoffeln (like a potato rosti), sprouts and mushroom sauce. I don’t actually remember eating a desert, probably by virtue of the number of the number of Jagermeister shots to heat me up! It was freezing in there, but after the meal, the barmen put music on and the space became a raucous club venue with dancing, drinking and general chaos. We shared the party with a large group of Romanian party-goers who certainly knew how to enjoy themselves! A few drinks and dances later, I became numb to the cold for a bit.
I was in no state to remember what time the party ended, but once the music had been turned off, it was time to brave the -2 C temperatures of the ice hotel bedroom. My room was themed ‘Star Wars’ with a 7 foot ice sculptured Darth Vader beckoning welcome.
Although I was informed that the temperatures outside were -22 C, the rooms felt far colder once you were lying down on the ice bed frame, despite being issued with a sheep skin rug, blankets and a sleeping bag. I have NEVER been so cold, even wearing my boots, 2 pairs of thermal socks, thermal vest and pants, jeans, insulated jacket and hat! The advice had been to just wear thermal underwear in the sleeping bag alongside the other bed clothes that had been issued. I was too cold to even contemplate taking my boots off, so they resolutely remained – even in the sleeping bag. I was reliably informed that some of the group had managed it and were alive next morning to tell the tale. Respect!
Little did I know however, that well over 1/2 the group had wimped out and had gone back to the heated hotel and bunk beds! Meanwhile, the rest of us in the ice hotel were regularly harassed throughout the night by a drunk old Frenchman, who systematically made his way into all of our rooms (the doors were only curtain) and stood at the bottom of the bed staring. Try waking up to that 3 times in the night! Apparently he had gone up to some of the other girls in the group pulling their legs and trying to get into their beds. Horrible.
From what I gather, he received a bollocking of major proportions the following morning, but didn’t show an ounce of remorse or apology.
Apart from that idiot, the trip was great. Really memorable, interesting and totally enjoyable with a fabulous group. Having said that however, that one over-nighter at the ice hotel was more an enough and I wouldn’t be in any hurry to sleep there again.
Back in the UK now and it’s time for me to go to hit the sack. I’m in my warm bed with my hot water bottle. It’s tipping with rain outside and I’m going to nestle into my duvet and relish the fact that I can feel my feet. Bliss!