Headed N. via train today for this high end skiing town, intending to go up the cable car and stay in a cabin at 1900 m. We got off the train 1 1/2 hrs after leaving Bucharest with snowy mountains above us...having plenty of time(it was only noon) we called the place and made reservations so we could do some stuff in the village at the base of the mtn. After some lunch and internet time we headed towards the cable cars and lo and behold they were shut down...the guy at the tourist info place told us they didn't get any warning, just a phone call the day they quit saying they were going to be shut down for a month for a five year check up and repairs! So much for those plans...the weather was changing, however, and by this time(about 4pm) it had turned colder and mist was falling. We found a place thru a fellow who stopped us on the street, a private home-type accomodation for very reasonable - the tourist office said there wasn't anything less than 10 euro($13 US), the lady charged us $7 US! That night it rained most of the night so that we were hoping all would be cleared out by morn...not!
We ended up the next morning going to tour the local tourist attractions, 2 palaces the first, Peleš, completed by the first king of Romania, Carol I in 1875 taking some 8+ years, second,Pelisor, built for his adopted son and his wife, later Queen Marie(who hated the first one which was German Renaisance(sp?). By the way, the Crown and Queen Marie's jewels, and much of her furniture ended up in Maryhill, WA, on the Columbia Gorge in a mansion built by Samuel Hill! Mari here knows the whole story if you'd like details, but better yet, visit Maryhill Museum and see them yourself the next time you go to Portland, OR, or Vancouver, WA.
The two palaces are no more than 500 meters apart but their design and total feel are miles and miles apart, truely a great couple of tours...I enjoyed them alot, especially the second for the fact that we were the only English speakers waiting(supposedly you must have at least 15 to be guided), and finally a Japanese fellow showed up who understood English and we had virually a private tour. We were followed much later by a huge group(20 plus) and they would have made it virtually impossible for us to ask the q's and find out the info we got from the guide...super!
The palaces are completely different, the first being the old style, very dark and packed with antiquities and very ornate, with oak, teak, and sycamore everywhere, in addition to marble stuff and tons of armor and battle gear from as far back as the 9th century and yet it was also very up-to-date for its time having electicity,central heating and ventilation, and later even a central vaccuum system. It blew my mind the incredible artistry and detail that went into it. The second palace is completely the work of Queen Marie, very light, airy, modern(it was completed in 1914), with art deco and artwork by modern artists including the Queen herself who was quite an accomplished artist.
Since it was not clearing we took off for the next town on our agenda, Brasov.