Time at the seaside
Unfortunately throughout the last few days in Bucharest, the weather took a turn for the worst. So much so, on our way to the seaside – the heavens opened. A storm of heavy rain and hail were released from the cloudy, dull sky, which somewhat deterred our joy of heading to the seaside.
After a few hours on the highway, we arrived in Constanta and the clouds thankfully moved over and gave us a little taste of the seaside’s sunshine. I’ve visited Constanta pretty much every summer since I was a baby due to my family living here. And regardless of how many times I’ve stayed, seeing the ship harboured at the entrance of the city always fills my stomach with butterflies.
We made our way to my grandma’s apartment and once we arrived, tears were shed and lots of hugs and squeezes were to be had. Within moments we were offered snacks, meals and drinks which remained a fairly regular event over the next few days – think a lifetime’s worth of cheese pie and her special ciorba (soup).
For the first few days in Constanta, the weather was pretty miserable. However, we made the best out of the situation and instead of sunning ourselves on the beach, we went for lots of walks and became regulars at the cinema! Most of our evenings were spent going to watch films and I absolutely loved it! Going back to Constanta never really feels like a holiday – rather someplace like home. Instead of doing all the tourist activities, I’m quite happy to spend evenings at the mall or stocking up on groceries at the supermarket. But I guess in some ways, this is what makes it special for me.
On Plonge Junior Hotel
We stayed for the weekend at my grandma’s apartment, before moving to stay at my cousin’s hotel – On Plonge Jr. It’s recently undergone quite the transformation and they are currently in the process of putting a swimming pool on the roof! After checking in, we excitedly made our way to our suite. Not only did we have an awesome room with so much space and a glorious bathroom, we were treated to a truly beautiful view of the lake which took my breath away.
Normally when I visit Mamaia, I usually stay on the beach side as it’s a very popular area. But in all honesty, there was something so peaceful and relaxing about the lake. From our balcony we could see the sun cast it’s shine over the entire city and watch the local fishermen set up their ropes for a long day of fishing.
Safe to say as well as the amazing surroundings and our room, we enjoyed some truly delicious food at the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel specialises in seafood and offers a big selection – from tuna and salmon to squid, octopus and prawns. However, one evening I ordered an amazing chinese inspired chicken dish – it had such an oriental kick to it and I loved the colourful, crunchy vegetables which topped it. On another night we ordered a grilled seafood platter. The platter arrived and we were amazed at the variety of seafood. It was fresh, juicy and oozed so much flavour. With a little squeeze of lemon, we tucked in and enjoyed every bite – along with a few beers and cocktails as we watched the sunset.
Lounging on the beach and braving the water park
Once the sun made its appearance, we grabbed our sunglasses, threw on our swimwear and made our way to the beach where we spent our days lounging on the sun-beds and playing in the sea.
The weather got incredibly hot – so much so, even a simple task of walking on the sand was an activity for the brave. We set up our camp in an area towards the middle of the resort. Music blared through the sky and even whilst relaxing, it still felt like a time to party – or at least wiggle our toes to the beat!
Mamaia can be a very busy place with lots of people heading to the beach. Over the past few years, I’ve certainly noticed it’s popularity has rocketed and even driving into the resort can take it’s toll on the most patience of drivers! To avoid the mass of people and lack of space, people are instead heading to the bohemian-style Mamaia Nord. It’s a lot less crowded and there’s a range of beach bars to enjoy.
After a lot of lounging on the beach, we decided to have an afternoon of adventure at the water park. I’ve only ever been to Aqua Magic once before, when I was a lot younger and on a day when it rained – so as you can imagine, it wasn’t too fun.
As we entered the water park, to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was petrified. I don’t have a fear of water as I love swimming, but the thought of being thrown around in a ride, scared the living daylight out of me. My supposed ‘fear’ turned into more of an embarrassment as children around the age of 4 were clearly a lot braver than me!
On one ride I ended up cutting my finger as I decided it was a good idea to hold onto the side of the slide, instead of just going with the flow. I can just picture myself half-way down the slide, grabbing onto the dividers with a sheer look of fear in my eyes… Not the best kind of look, I know.
After some time attempting to get over my fear, I managed to agree to go on one ride where Bogdan and I shared an inflatable ring. I got to sit at the back and all was fine. We swung around corners of the tunnel, before reaching a circle where we spun around some more and then fell into a little stream of water. It was so much fun and certainly became my favourite ride.
Feeling ever so brave, I decided to take it to the next level and so we decided to venture to another duo-ride – the ‘Side Winder’. We queued for some time and once it was our turn, the attendant asked me to sit at the front. Again, this terrified me. Regardless, I sat in the front and it was only then that I realised how steep the ride was. Essentially we went down a vertical slope which made us cling onto the inflatable as it slid from side-to-side. It felt like the inflatable would slide away from beneath us – but thankfully it didn’t. As we rocked from side-to-side, up and down, my heart pounded and my lungs were finally able to breathe. Despite all my worries and fears, it was awesome and something I want to do again for sure. I even managed to pluck up the courage and go on a super-fast ride all by myself… Go me!
The last few days at the seaside
As our time came to a close at the seaside, we spent the last few days exploring the mall and having dinner with my family. I also spent a bit of time bonding with the neighbourhood kittens – naturally. On one of the days, we decided to go for a walk with my grandma in the nearby park. Our walk didn’t exactly start on the most positive note as her shoe somehow managed to fall apart – but thankfully, Bogdan was there to save the day! Once we managed to calm ourselves from laughing so much, we stopped by my cousin’s restaurant, La Cetate. Here we enjoyed a few mocktails and scoops of ice cream, whilst looking out at a beautiful view over the park and towards the city.
Time in the countryside
Our time at the seaside soon came to an end. After a walk along the beach, we said goodbye to the sea, the hotel and my grandma. We packed the car and stuffed it with our luggage, before setting out for the road once more.
This time we headed towards the countryside, to a peaceful place next to Targoviste – where Bogdan’s grandparents and uncle live. Between us and Bogdan’s parents, we managed to keep our visit a surprise and seeing their reactions when we arrived was such a wonderful moment – again, lots of tears and hugs were shared!
Over the weekend we escaped city life and enjoyed lots of stunning scenery, delicious food and fresh air. I love moments when you can escape all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I cherished the time we spent in the countryside and I loved every moment. From the moment we arrived, we enjoyed amazing platters of food – plus homemade, creamy profiteroles! Even to this day, a dish of succulent pork with a sweet tomato sauce sticks in my mind as it was so delicious.
Exploring the mountains
Aside from eating (which we did a lot of!), we spent some time exploring the mountains on our doorstep. We stopped by the chicken coup and said hello (or rather ‘buna’) to the family of chickens and made sure they didn’t follow us out of the pen! We continued walking with Bogdan’s granddad and ended up reaching a beautiful plot of the fields which was home to an abundance of plum trees. We collected some fresh plums and bit into the juicy, plump skin before ducking and diving under the fences into the next field. Much to my surprise as we entered the field, we were greeted by a rather large four-legged fellow with horns… Thankfully he minded his business, and we minded ours!
As we walked up the steep hills, the temperature soared. The landscape was full of tall trees offering shade under their leaves and the ground was home to long spikes of grass. We made our way through the bushes and walked alongside the edge of the mountains. I was blown away by how beautiful the view was. The sun glistened over the green landscape and the waves of hills continued for miles upon end. It was so peaceful.
We stopped and admired the inspiring scenery, before deciding on which way was best to go back – safe to say, Bogdan and his Granddad had rather differing opinions! We managed to find our way back and as we approached the house, we stopped by a plot of field corn. Now for me this was such a cool experience – I’ve always wanted to walk through the rows of field corn and finally I made it a reality!
As well as the beautiful mountains, field corn plots and chicken coup surrounding Bogdan’s grandparents house, they also have little vegetable plots in their garden. Every dinner time, I was lucky enough to pick the ripe tomatoes for our salad. I spent a little time exploring the garden and found cabbages, pumpkins and apples – as well as some truly gorgeous flowers.
Our weekend in the countryside was a time for sheer relaxation surrounded by a lovely family, delicious food and stunning scenery – whilst not forgetting Tarzan the craziest but ever so loveable dog. It was the perfect way to end our time in Romania.
If you ever think about visiting Romania, I would say do it. It’s a country which offers a lot and there is so much to explore – from the cosmopolitan city and fun-filled seaside, up to the highest peak in the snow-sprinkled mountains. I am so thankful I got the chance to explore it in further depths than I could have ever imagined.
And just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a little snippet of our adventures in Romania.