Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Brasov, Romania and a Bear Sanctuary!!

As I said in my last post, our trip got better as the week progressed.  I think this is also apparent by the number of photos I took. Get ready for lots of pictures!  Our next stop was Brasov, but along the way, we stopped at some of the Fortified Churches.  They are a UNESCO sight and definitely a great place to stop and stretch your legs. I was definitely impressed by the paintings on the outside and the preservation was also impressive.  

When we arrived in Brasov, we had a few day trips and things we wanted to see outside of the city, but a lot of things were closed either on Sunday or Monday, so we needed to plan out the next few days.  Mike found this bear sanctuary, The Libearty Bear Sanctuary, that does tours that he really wanted to go to and since it was closed on Mondays, we knew we had to go to it on Sunday.  They also only offer tours twice a day, at 10:00 and 11:00, so if you miss those times, you're out of luck.  So, we aimed for the 10:00, which was good because we ended up getting lost along the way and missed that time, so we hung out until the 11:00.  Getting to the sanctuary was also not an easy feat since we had a tiny little car and lots of mud.  We also had to cross a tiny bridge over icy which meant I just closed my eyes and said a prayer that the bridge held up and we didn't go crashing into the water.  Luckily, we made it, although I'm not sure either of us breathed until we got to the other side.

Anyways, we joined the 11:00 guided tour, which was incredible.  I honestly didn't know what to expect from a bear sanctuary, but Mike and I both walked away saying it was one of the coolest things we've done. And we've done a lot of cool things!!  It was FREEZING and snowing at times, which made me a little hesitant, but I honestly think it added to the ambiance.  Seeing snow covered bears was something I know both of us will remember for a while. 

There was even a wolf hanging out in the sanctuary!

Mike and his buddy Max the blind bear!  

Walking in a winter wonderland....literally


The bear sanctuary was such a cool experience.  The guide was great about translating his speeches into English for us and the bears were out and about.  We saw about 20 bears, but they have over 80 on the premises.  All of them have been rescued from some sort of abuse or poor living conditions.  Their stories are so sad.  Don't tell Mike, but I'm "adopting" Max for him this coming year by donating to the sanctuary.  It will make for the perfect stocking stuffer.  I figured Max was a good one in honor of Baby Maximus. 

After the tour of the bear sanctuary, we headed to Peles Castle.  You have to park down at the bottom and walk up, which was about a ten minute walk.  Unfortunately, the castle was closed for the month of November for construction and maintenance, but that's okay because the outside was pretty remarkable. We walked around the outside for a while before grabbing a late lunch and heading out. 

This was by far the best day of our trip! It made the slower days at the beginning worth it.  We realized that staying in a town and doing day trips from it was the way to go and when one of those day trips is a bear sanctuary (or a castle), you can't go wrong!