Wedding

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On the day… 25.05.2019
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Accommodation
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Food
dress code
Dress code
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Travel to Avrig
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Want to see Transilvania? Day trips
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Want to see Romania? 2 or 3 days trips
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Want to see Romania? Longer trips


On the day

This is interesting for us to organise! It’s very much a mix of both our backgrounds and hopefully, by the end of it, it would have been fun for everyone. We will try and keep you up to date with what we are planning.

We are having a church ceremony on 25th May 2019 (Saturday), followed by a reception at the Oranjerie at the Brukenthal Summer Palace in Avrig. We haven’t settled on exact timings yet, but a rough schedule for now is:

  • Aprox 10am – guests to arrive at Crista’s parents’ house for a drinks and cakes reception (yes, we start you off early)
  • Aprox 11am – Bride and groom, reunited, along with all the guests, to walk to the old Orthodox church. It’s a 5 minute walk normally, so we expect it to take 20 min
  • The wedding ceremony will start at 11:30am and last for aprox one hour
  • Aprox 12:30pm: The bride and groom and all their guests make the 5 min walk that will probably take 20 min to the Brukenthal Summer Palace, where we will be having a photoshoot. The first half hour will be photos with the guests, the second half hour the bride and groom will run off for some private photos whilst guests have a chance to visit their rooms, change outfits if they so wish, etc.
  • 2pm- start of the wedding reception, to last until midnight

The wedding reception is a sit down meal with table service, with dancing and entertainment in between each of the 6 courses. You will be eating and dancing all day, if all goes well!


Accommodation

We have already pre-booked all the rooms available at the Brukenthal Summer Palace in Avrig, where the wedding reception will be held, for a few days either side of the wedding date: http://www.palatulbrukenthalavrig.ro/en/accomodation/

Once you have finalised your travel plans, please let us know if you would like to stay at the palace Oranjerie or you would like to arrange your own accommodation. If you’re happy with our arrangements, just let us know, along with any special requirements. We will see to allocating rooms and arrange hospitality so everyone has a great time.There are a few types of rooms for you to consider:

Double Room, en-suite (43 euros/room/night) (second photo – see below)

Double rooms with shared bathrooms – not ideal but they’re cheaper and actually look quite nice. (35 euros/room/night) (third photo – see below)

Family rooms that sleep 4 – if you like having your children in the same room (53 euros/room/night) (third photo- see below)

A flat with (sleeps 4) – for families maybe? (65 euros/flat/night) (fourth photo – see below)

The website has a few more room types listed and it’s a bit confusing, but we had a look and went to see them to understand and this is really a simplified, effective list.

We haven’t figured out all the details of breakfast and dinners for guests yet, but we will let you know closer to the time. However, the venue has a restaurant open throughout the day that caters to its guests so you are covered either way. The venue also has an outdoor pool that might actually be in use by the end of May, if it’s warm enough. We’ll check that week and let you know!

If you decide that you would like to move around or stay somewhere else, Crista can make some recommendations that take into account transport and location. There aren’t many other places to stay in Avrig, but there are plenty in Sibiu or towards the mountains.


Food

There will probably be too much of it, but there’s simply no choice on the matter when it comes to weddings in Romania. The food will probably be very familiar to many of you, and some of the regional specialities on the menu will be the Vietnamese bún as a starter course, Romanian sarmale as one of the main courses, and British apple crumble as one of the desserts. The running thread through the entire day is the coming together of the 3 cultures: English, Romanian, and Chinese. The venue is known for sourcing locally and organic and it will the case for the majority of our menu as well (we will, however, need to stray away from this for some of the Chinese/Vietnamese specialist ingredients and for some of the alcoholic drinks and soft drinks).

We will accommodate dietary requirements, but please do let us know as soon as you can so we can find the tastiest menu alternative. Let us know if you are vegan, vegetarian, require gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, olive-free, carrot-free, mushroom-free etc.


Dress Code

The dress code is rather hard to explain in a straightforward way so bear with us.

In Romania, weddings are formal affairs where guests dress up and our venue lends itself to that. It can vary in formality, but it’s a combination of formal attire and black tie. We had many of you contacting us for advice, so it’s probably best to outline what we observed at other weddings that we went to in Romania. We can also help you arrange hair/make-up/nails or beautician’s appointments if you’d like (get in touch with Crista).

Ladies’ attire

For the church ceremony, think formal day-wear that you might wear to weddings in the UK. Because we will be getting married at an Orthodox Church, which are known for being conservative, hats or head covers are encouraged.  For the reception, outfits generally adhere more to black-tie dress code. Many ladies choose longer dresses, but you could opt for an elegant knee-length dress as well if you wish. There will be half an hour break before the reception (between 1:30pm and 2pm) so you could change then if you wish. If you are particularly good at shopping, you could make the dress transform well from morning to evening by changing accessories (shoes, taking off the hat or head-cover, jewelry, etc), which Crista has done on many occasions.

Gentlemen’s attire

Men have an easier time with generally having a darker formal suit (dark grey, black, dark blue) with tie or bowtie that is appropriate for both the morning and the evening. You can also vary its formality by changing the tie or changing from a tie to a bowtie. We advise opting for a long sleeve shirt (short sleeves are slightly too informal).

Gentlemen, in contrast with ladies, please do not cover your head at church unless you absolutely have to – it’s considered disrespectful for men to do so at Orthodox churches.

Here are some of my Crista’s friends and family at weddings:

 


Travel to Avrig

Sibiu is the closest airport to Avrig and the easiest to reach. We recommend you use this airport if you can, as travelling within Romania will probably be quite a hassle when you’re pressed for time.  We regularly use Wizz Air, flying from Luton Aiport to Sibiu, as it offers lower costs and are not as strict as Ryan Air or similar about luggage, food, boarding, etc.  We will organise transport from the airport to Avrig, so don’t worry about that – just let us know when you plan to arrive.

We recommend you book as soon as possible. The tickets are on sale already and we noticed that prices have gone up since they were released, probably because our guests started booking already.

If you decide to fly to other cities and travel to Avrig or arrive by other means of transport, please let us know and we’ll do our best to make your journey easier. Trains from Bucharest to Avrig can be nice if you book the right ones (the direct – ruta directa- ones marked IR, especially the 3pm or 4pm ones) and the journey takes about 5 hours. If you fly to Cluj (Cluj Napoca), train travel take too long so we recommend a coach instead and takes about 3 and a half hours.

If you are travelling from other countries other than the UK, get in touch with Crista to discuss travel plans within Romania.


Want to see Transilvania? One day trips

Depending on your interests and how long you are willing to travel and how, there are quite a few options of places to visit. We recommend either Sibiu, Transfagarasan, or Brasov  (when you click on the names it jumps to section wanted).

Sibiu

The closest big city to Avrig and VERY easy to get to with no advanced planning, Sibu is our favorite part of Romania (some bias maybe, but it’s very pretty). It has well-preserved medieval architecture, including parts of the fortification walls and bastions. The Great Square might seem familiar to many of you who traveled to countries that belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, with baroque buildings lining the its perimeter. Don’t miss the Huet Square with the old Evangelical church (read protestant ) and the Small Square  with the Liar’s Bridge . We recommend trying traditional Romanian food at Sibiul Vechi .

If you are interested in art, the Brukethal Museum in the great square has a wonderful collection of paintings from the Flemish and Dutch schools on its second floor.  If you would like to know more about museums to visit, click here.

There is also a huge outdoor museum just on the edge of Sibiu where they relocate old traditional Romanian houses from throughout the country. It makes for a great walk, cycle, or scooter ride (all available to rent there). It’s truly unique:

Transfagarasan

You will need a car, but you won’t regret it (quite cheap to hire and easy in Sibiu or online). This is a spectacular drive up a mountain with breathtaking views. Depending on the weather, you may even need to abandon the car at some point because of the snow and take the cable-car all the way up. Dress warmly, think snow and glacial lake, maybe even an ice castle if it’s cold enough. There are places to eat and warm up once you make it to the top and there’s nowhere quite like it in Europe. It’s safe and there will be plenty of warnings and guides to tell you how best to reach the lake. Weather appropriate cars are available to rent in Sibiu or ask Crista how to arrange for a driver.  On your way back, you could stop for to eat at Albota  if you fancy some just-out-of-the-water-into-the-pan mountain water trout.

Brasov

This is Dracula territory!  Brasov is 2 to 3 hours away from Avrig, either by car or train. The city is a bit like Sibiu, with a medieval feel. A walk around the Old Town is lovely and do go and see the Black Church.

Just exploring the streets of Brasov is a lovely day out in itself, however it would be a shame if you wouldn’t go and see Bran Castle, a bit outside Brasov (drive or book and Uber). The infamous castle is associated with Dracula, although Vlad Tepes never lived here. It is, however, really nice to visit!!! We also recommend you stop at the nearby Rasnov Citadel for a wander and to see the amazing view.


Want to See Romania? 2 or 3 day trips

There are two ways to go about it: You could choose to return to Sibiu (Avrig) or choose to arrive in Bucharest or Cluj and fly from there. Either way, here are some wonderful short trips you can take in Romania. How about Avrig to Bucharest or Avrig to Cluj Napoca? (clicking jumps to the relevant section)

Avrig to Bucharest

Straightforward to travel by train (website here), there are quite a few things to see in this part of the country. We recommend you leave Avrig and go to Brasov and Bran, stay the day, and travel to Sinaia to spend the night. In the morning, you can visit Peles and Pelisor castles, then head to Bucharest for the afternoon and see the old town and key places around the city. You can fly out from Bucharest or stay the night and return to Avrig the next day.

Things to see in Brasov: here

Things to see in Sinaia: We recommend staying at the Oblique Hotel and making use of their spa and Jacuzzi (included in the price of the room). In the morning, you can visit Peles Castle and its beautiful gardens and interiors. Don’t miss the cinema, which features beautiful murals by Gustav Klimt – one of the few such examples in the world. Close by is the Pelisor Castle, a smaller art-nouveau residence. There are plenty of nice places to stop for a bite to eat as this is a very popular touristic area. If you start early, you should be able to see all of this and still catch an early afternoon train.

Thing to see in Bucharest: Nice places in Bucharest aren’t clustered quite as closely  together as in other cities that we recommended. However, the capital still offers a unique view of the country and has its wonders. The Old Town has nice architecture and many restaurants and cafes. Visit the  Palace of the Parliament and go on a tour if you can – it’s the biggest of its kind in Europe, bigger than the Great Pyramind of Gyza, almost as big as the Pentagon, and took 700 architects to complete all lead by Anca Petrescu, an architect and a woman. Stroll down Bulevardul Unirii, which references the Champs Elysees, but bigger. Other things to see are the Opera House, the National Theater, The National Circus, the Triumphal Arch, and many many churches. Some museums that we like are the National History Museum, The Romanian Peasant Museum (they also have markets selling hand-crafted traditional objects), the National Museum of Art, and the Antipa Natural History Museum. You may also be interested in reading Crista’s articles on seismic risk buildings in Bucharest (here, here, here, and map here) and feel free to ask for her complete dissertation on the topic.

You can have a great traditional Romanian meal in a historic setting at Hanul lui Manuc or try the fish restaurant Pescarus in Herastrau Park, which also has traditional dancing shows every evening (check with them when booking what time this is).
If you are staying in Bucharest, we recommend the Hello Hotel by the North Train Station. This is where we stay when we go to Bucharest and although it’s the cheaper version of the hotel next door, it looks better. It’s basic hotel accommodation, so there is no room service, but the beds are comfortable and it’s modern and clean. If you are looking to stay in a more comfortable environment, there are many other larger hotel chains such as Intercontinental or Merriot that will provide good accommodation. We are also big fans of AirBnB and you can run it by Crista if you would like a second opinion.

Avrig to Cluj Napoca

We recommend you hire a car for this trip (quite cheap and easy to do so in Sibiu or online ). You can leave Avrig, stop in Sibiu, join the motorway and head to Alba Iulia to spend the afternoon and night. The next day, leave and go to Turda salt mine, then go to Cluj Napoca for the afternoon and evening. You can either fly out from here or tweak your journey so you can drive back to Avrig on the motorway (3h).

Things to see in Sibiu: Sibiu

Things to see in Alba Iulia: Known as  Aploulon during Dacian times and Apulum during the Roman period, this ancient city is historically significant for many different reasons. An important Dacian fortification, it was the seat of teh XII Gemina Legion during the Roman occupation. Later on in the 16th century, it became the seat of the capital of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom. During the early 17th century, it was the ruling seat of the Transilvania principality. After WW1, it was the site of the gathering of all representatives of the Romanian population and where they declared the union of Transilvania with the Kingdom of Romania, effectively creating current day Romania.  This city has seen it all and this short history explains why walking through the citadel you will encounter countless statues, plaques, inscriptions, and museums. We recommend timing your visit to coincide with the changing of the guards, which is always fun to see (everyday at noon).  We remember having some great Langos and cheese pastries from a vendor at the end of the main promenade, as well as delicious Kurtos Kolacks.

The Turda Salt Mine: Simply amazing and a unique experience. The town doesn’t look like much, but this mine has been there since Dacian times (pre-roman) and is now a tourist attraction. It’s cold, so dress for winter temperatures when you start your walk.  Underground, the walls carved in the salt rock shimmer and look like they are covered in snow. There’s a lake, a chapel, an Ferris wheel, a promenade, and sometimes even concerts. They salt mine is fully accessible for those worried about mobility impairments.

Things to see in Cluj: Cluj Napoca (another roman city) is a bit like the larger version of Sibiu. It’s very pretty and vibrant and the largest city in Transilvania. We recommend seeing the Union Square with St. Michael’s Church, climbin up Cetatuia Hill for the pretty view of the city, and visiting the wonderfully scenic Botanical Garden. Friends that have stayed the night in Cluj have recommended the Vila Siago  and Beyfin Hotel, both very pretty and central. If you’re looking for a casual place to get a bite to eat, Klausen Burger restaurant has a terrace with a view of the city. Similarly casual is Livada, with plenty of healthy menu choices. If you happen to pass by a Marty (it’s a chain), try their yummy cheesecake.

Driving from Avrig to Cluj Napoca via Alba Iulia and Turda: Renting a car is straightforward, either from Sibiu or online. We chose this route because it follows one motorway continuously, with exits at relevant points. The drive would only take 3 hours if you don’t make stops.

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Route to Cluj follows A1 motorway

Want to see Romania? Longer trips 

Romania has a lot to offer and you can have a splendid time. Here are a few short holidays (4 to 6 days, but can be longer if you wish) that we thought about: road trip through the Carpathian mountains, tour of Transilvanian cities and castles, and fishing, bird watching, and rowing in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. A few alternative, special interest themed trips could be caving in the the Carpathian Mountains, tour of the medieval Moldovan monasteries, tour of Roman sites in Romania, tour of socialist buildings of Romania. Please get in touch if you have a special interest and are wondering how to include that in your short holiday.

Road trip through the Carpathian Mountains: The route, best accessed by car (quite cheap and easy to do so in Sibiu or online), is Avrig – Transfagarasan – Fagaras Citadel – Brasov- Bran Castle – Busteni – Sinaia – Bucharest (return to Sibiu if you wish). This should be a 4 or 5 days trip, spending the night in Brasov, Busteni, and Bucharest.

Things to see – Transfagarasan: here

Stop at the Fagaras Citadel on your way to Brasov

Things to see in Brasov: here

Things to see in Busteni: We recommend you stop here and spend the night because this is one of the easiest hiking routes in the Carpathian Mountains, one of the few that are open throughout the year. You don’t need a permit or specialist equipment beyond sensible boots and clothing and there is even a cable-car if you decide it got too much. The area is very popular with tourists looking to experience the Carpathian Mountains. Also pay a visit to the Cantacuzino Castle.

There are plenty of hotels and guest houses here as well. It will be too late in the year for skiing, unfortunately.

Things to see in Sinaia:here

Things to see in Bucharest: here

Here is the route on the map:

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Tour of Transilvanian cities and castles: The route, accessed by car (quite cheap and easy to do so in Sibiu or online), is Avrig – Transfagarasan – Fagaras Citadel – Brasov- Bran Castle – Rasnov Citadel – Sighisoara – Targu Mures – Cluj Napoca – Turda Salt Mine – Alba Iulia – Deva – Corvin Castle – Sibiu. This should be a 5 or 6  days(maybe even 7 if you want to slow things down) trip and you would be returning to Sibiu/Avrig.  You would spend the night in Brasov, Sighisoara, Cluj , Alba Iulia, and arrive in Sibiu.

Things to see – Transfagarasan: here

Stop at the Fagaras Citadel on your way to Brasov

Things to see in Brasov: here

Things to see in Sighisoara: The origins of Sighisoara city go back to the Roman times.
During the First Century AD, the Dacians built a fortification called Sandava. During the 12th century, the Transylvanian Saxons built a new citadel which was named Schäßburg. Sighisoara still stands as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th century gem has nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches. It is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker’s fictional creation, Count Dracula.

Things to see in Cluj Napoca:  here

Things to see – Turda Salt Mine: here

Things to see in Alba Iulia: here

Things to see – Corvin Castle: This is a Gothic-Renaissance castle. It’s a large and imposing structure with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, diversely colored roofs, and myriads of windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings. It probably inspired many film sets, games, and animations:

Things to see in Sibiu: here

The route map:

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Fishing, bird watching, and rowing in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve: It might be a tad early in the year for going to the Black Sea seaside, but still likely to be warm weather. If you fancy seeing a variety of places in Romania and are partial to a more casual, outdoorsy atmosphere, then we suggest this short holiday. The route is Avrig – Transfagarasan (only one way this time as you will cross the mountains here) – Bucuresti – Tulcea. Here, you will have leave the car behind if you rented one and take a boat/ferry/water taxi to access any other part of the biosphere. We recommend you split your journey in two and spend a night in Bucharest, so you get to see the capital as well.

Things to see – Transfagarasan: here

Things to see in Bucharest: here

Things to see in the biosphere: This part of the country has a unique charm. It’s wild countryside, with Romanian folklore being distorted to suit a people that live in dependence of the marshes and water. There are hundreds of  thousands of species of plants, birds and fish. If you get lucky, you can see sturgeons 2 meters long swimming past. Mind the mosquitoes and make sure you have wellies with you. You can go canoeing, horseback riding, bird watching, fishing (apply for a permit) and if it’s sunny even sunbathing on the several beaches. There are a variety of places to book for accommodation, raging from high-end hotels to green villages. If you decide to go for this short trip, please get in touch with Crista for more advice about choosing the right place to stay and arranging activities or guides.

The route map:

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