“Romania 🇷🇴 ~Peles Castle and Memories in Sinaia”

I don’t have a lot of words to describe this incredible Palace. It’s absolutely perfect in every authentic way!
I have seen many opulent Palaces all around the world, and there are aways strict rules to know before entering. Not being able to take photos is a tough rule for me (us). Also, most of the time a full tour of a Palace is not allowed; many rooms are often blocked off. This is just something every body has to roll with.

The first time I was here, at Peles, photos we not allowed. Not just a flash thing; no photos at all. Also, many rooms were closed-off from viewing. Obviously, I was very disappointed. But, it was wonderful to see, regardless. It was winter, when I was here, about seven years ago, so my girlfriend and I had to don booties over our shoes, to protect the carpets. Yesterday, in the dry season, we did not have to don booties. Not only that, but we got to take photos: for an extra fee and the whole Palace was open for viewing. We scored!

Pele Castle, as seen from our Gondola ride
Nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains, we found Peles Castle. It is a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture, considered by many to be one of the most stunning Castles in Europe.
Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873. He was the first prince of Romania. He visited the area in August 1866. The view of the region, with the first touches of autumn, inspired him and he fell in love with its beauty. King Carol I was brought from the south of Germany to become the ruler of Romania and help it become an independent nation
In this time of 1877, Romania was proclaimed an independent and sovereign nation with the help of Carol I. After that, in 1881, Carol I was proclaimed the first King of Romania.
The Castle was completed in 1883, and served as the summer residence for the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls. King Carol spared no expense!
Peles Castle was the first European castle to have electricity, it even has its own power plant. The Castle has hot and cold running water, central heat and a central vacuum system. The stain glass roof of the foyer opens mechanically and there is a small elevator for use by the royal family.
Each room is decorated in a different style or theme.

There is a Concert Hall, Music Room (India), Turkish Salon, Great Salon (Italy),
Council Room (Switzerland), Moor Hall, and so much more.
The Royal Library has a secret door, and the castle’s 60-seat Theater, with royal box, showed the first movie projection in Romania in 1906.
The Castle draws its name from neighboring Peles Creek, which passes right through the courtyard. 
The furniture in the Music Room is carved of teak; a gift to King Carol I from the Maharajah of Kapurtala in India, while handmade silk embroideries adorn the ceiling and walls of the Turkish Salon.
The ceiling paintings and decorative frescoes in the Theater Hall were designed by the renowned Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Frantz Matsch.
Over 4,000 European and Oriental pieces dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries are on display in the armories.
First visit in Wintertime
Before Carol I (photo above) became the first King of Romania, he took a trip around Europe mainly for finding a bride. On this trip, he met and married Princess Elizabeth of Wied. For her, he created a special apartment in the Peles Castle.
Many considered it a weird marriage. Carol was known as calculated and Elizabeth was more of a dreamer and passionate about literature. In 1870, Princess Maria, their only child was born. Unfortunately, at the age of 9 she died leaving Queen Elizabeth with a trauma she would never recover from.
As Carol I never had a son, he found himself searching for an heir to his throne. His brother Leopold and his first son William both refused, leaving only his second son, Ferdinand.
In 1886, Ferdinand was proclaimed Prince and the future heir to the throne. He married Lutheran Princess Marie of Edinburgh. Here Marie gave birth to two children in the first two years of marriage. They were named after the original Romanian Royal family:
Carol And Elizabeta. 
Later on, she had their third child, Mărioara. She was nicknamed Mignon. In 1903 the Pelisor Castle was inaugurated. This would be the new royal family’s residence on the grounds of the Peles Castle. That same year the second son, prince Nicolae was born.
Princess Marie gave birth to two more children:
Princess Ileana, ,who became Archdukes of Austria through marriage and was left the Bran Castle as heritage
Prince Mircea in 1913, died at only three years of age of typhoid fever. 
After Carol I’s death, in 1914 and until 1927, Ferdinand was the King of Romania. He ruled during the first World War. In his efforts, he managed to grow the border of Romania to now include the regions of: Transylvania, Basarabia, and Bukovina.
As the new Royal family had many children, the next ruler in line; the new Romanian Prince, heir to the throne should have been Ferdinand’s firstborn son, Carol II. Unfortunately in his youth he was not interested in politics and ruling a country. 
Carol II married Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark and had a son, Mihai. In 1925, Carol II sends an official decision of the Crown Council from Peles Castle, giving up his position as heir to the throne. The parliament at the time decided to make Prince Mihai, of only five years old, heir and appoint a regency council made up of three members including Prince Nicolae; Carol II brother.
After Ferdinand’s death, Romania faced numerous economic and political problems. They were caused by the inefficient style of ruling the country of the Regency council which determined Carol II to ask Romania to take him back as their King. On June 8, 1930, he retook his position as ruler of the country.
In 1944, Mihai made the brave decision to change sides and Romania continued fighting with the allies from that point on. After the war, he tried keeping the country out of the communist reign, but with no external support, he was obliged to sign the abdication certificate and flee the country. 
He would not see the Romanian Royal Family’s residence, for several years. In the early 2000s, he regained ownership of the building. Only a few years later, in 2017 he died. 
Still, Mihai wished that the current museum be kept in the building and be open for visitors. He left it in the management of Romanian’s Ministry of Culture and National Identity.
First visit, In front of Peles Castle
First visit in Wintertime
First visit to Pele in winter.
There was an open file and I snapped this photo. While staying at the Stavilar, it was too warm in the room, so we cracked the window. By doing so, we got to listen to the creek running, AND wolves howling! The next day, at Peles I took this photo of this animal running back into the woods
. Wolf?
First visit. An old cemetery near Pele Castle. I wanted to take a current photo, but there were so many people milling around the graves, it did not look like a good “before and after” combo.
First visit in Wintertime. As I mentioned, we rode the trains all over, or we packed. It was a wonderful trip!
First visit and riding the trains. Always something to see
First visit in Wintertime. At one of the many train stations. It was a very warm winter that year, according to the locals. Less snow than normal
First visit. On the train, ready to go!

After our Palace time, we drove back to Stavilar hotel where I had stayed the night, which is within walking distance of the Peles Palace. I will show old and new photos there, again. Stavilar is an old structure, and I loved it. It is not fancy, but solid and historic.

When Mr Terrific and I rolled into Sinaia, around dark, I drove right to this place. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to stay there again, but they had no vacancies. The old man who owns it was the one I spoke with. He did not remember me, but I remembered him. My friend and I had chose to stay there, because it was as close as we could get to (and afford) to get to the Pele Castle on foot; we had arrived by train the night before. The nice man thought it was too cold for us ladies to go, so he offered to take us up to the Palace, just as a kind gesture. He did not want any money. It was cold, and the cobblestones were icy. We accepted his kindness. It would have been a hard climb, since we slipped and slid all the way back down; but managed to stay upright.

Recently; summertime Stavilar Hotel
First visit in Wintertime Stavilar Hotel
Old reception lobby

When Daryl and I arrived to Stavilar, it was too dark to take photos, but we went back before, for sure, before we left Sinaia.

“Romania, Castlelul Peles”

As we hike up a cobblestone path from a hotel Bunny stayed at seven years ago, we made our way to Peles Castle. The path was steep and some cobbles were raised, causing a couple of stumbles. Gathering our strength along the way, we purchased some raspberries from a lady. With renewed strength and catching our breath, we enter the ticket area for our self-tour.

Walking up to the castle is breathtaking for more than just the visual impact. But walking into the courtyard entrance, really raised the impact to astronomical levels. Waiting in line to enter, gave us a few minutes to take in the spectacle of the spectacular experience ahead. One thing that stood out to me, was a small balcony with scenes painted around it. Images which enticed visions of Romeo and Juliet to real life. The ornately done exterior is underscored by the interior’s extravagance. 

Every rooms overflows with carved wood and exceptional furnishings. Never will one see a more well preserved residence, turned into a museum. We go from one room to another jaw dropping scene. 

The finest craftsmen from all over Europe and other parts of the world came to this one location to sculpt and create these masterpieces. The finish carpenters embellished carved wood and moldings in every inch of our eye sight view.

A wooden spiral staircase that was carved out of a single tree serves three stories. It was a copy of one the King knew of in Austria. The architect went to Austria to make blueprints and a native Romanian carved and built this staircase. All other carvings are done by other country craftsmen.

The gardens are filled with sculptures and fountains filling garden rooms on so many levels. Each area give great views of this architectural masterpiece. Every angle reveals another unseen feature.

“Romania 🇷🇴 ~Sinaia is a Must-See Destination!”

We only spent one night in Sinaia, but it would be easy to spend more. It’s a big, small town, meaning there is lots to see and do. Another thing I love about this town is there is not just one street or road with old buildings; which is always awesome in Europe, even if there is a limited amount, but here, ALL of the streets that wind up and down the mountainside have unique structures, full of old-world charm, and character!

The town itself is a melange of crayon-coloured wooden houses contrasted with the “wedding-cake” style of its grander 19th-century buildings. Once home to Romania’s first king, Carol I, who created a summer retreat here; Peles Castle (next blog post) is a dream of hidden passages, fairy-tale turrets, vertiginous galleries and classical statues; it’s so beguilingly imaginative, it could raise a swoon from the most hardened cynic.

After driving around and taking lots of photos of the incredible architecture of this Winter playground for skiing; and Summer playground for all things that burst with color and involve beautiful sunshine, we headed for the Gondola ride, which was wonderful! I had not done this before, as it was winter, and the slopes were busy with skiers using the lifts. The rides and the views are marvellous and a great way to see the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvanian Alps in all their glory!

A bit spendy for a round trip ticket for two; $27
Done with the first Gondola ride, up
Overlooking old town, Sinaia
On to the second leg of the trip on the Gondola ride to the top
This is the Pele Castle, talentless from the Gondola. You will not believe this estate! Coming up in the next blog post.
Getting our iced coffees. He is a keeper, this one!
This actually came out of a machine of sorts, from inside the coffee shop. It was like a milkshake. Really cold and thick!

We took both levels of the Gondola lift all the way to the top! It took a bit of time, but so worth it. At the top, we got the best iced coffees we have EVER had, and that’s saying a lot! It was cooler up on the mountain top, and it felt so good! We are both in a summer outfits and flip flops, while some others were bundled in jackets.

Back down from the mountain top, we cruise around Sinaia and enjoy what we see!
Also called “the Pearl of the Carpathians,” Sinaia differentiates itself from other resorts in Prahova Valley through picturesque villas that are strung on both sides of the road that cross the resort. However, the resort has not always had the same fresh and inviting image as today. In the past, the area where today the resort is located was deserted, there were forests as long as the human eye could see. The first inhabitants of this territory were monks who lived at the Sinaia Monastery. Mihail Cantacuzino built the monastery in 1690. Like the resort, Sinaia was born because of territorial changes made by the Neagului Bridge commune and its surroundings.
The kid was totally asleep, but no worries, this horse is taking them both home; I had a feeling

All too soon, we had to say goodbye to Sinaia, and the beautiful Hotel Palace, where we stayed, where we were surrounded with opulence and style. But, it was time to move on to our next location!

Hotel Palace is where we stayed the night. $73 included breakfast. Splurge and do it!