In the spring of 2016, when Noria was 1 year and 1 month old, we went on our first serious trip: a 2-week road trip through Transylvania. It was a work trip, in which I also combined a small vacation with a well-defined goal: to test Noria’s new car seat, to accommodate her with standing in it and longer journeys.
How was settling in with the new car seat
Our little girl couldn’t fit in the baby shell anymore, so we quickly bought her a roomier car seat. I know many parents spend weeks researching before choosing a car seat, as it is considered an important step, but we, having extremely busy and busy lives at the time, did it on the fly, going by the hand of a consultant from Bebe Tei, whom we trusted and who recommended us ok stuff in the past.
The number one issue that arose was how Noria was going to accept sitting alone in this seat, after months on most of our trips, she spent more time in my arms than in the shell of the car. Well, in the meantime I had made the firm decision not to give in to crying in any way and not to travel like this with her, the risks being far too great. I decided together with Silviu that I would also travel in the front, in the seat to the right of the driver, and Noria would remain alone in the back, securely fastened in the seat belts. The reason was to avoid Noria seeing me or anyone else near her and therefore start crying to be lifted from there.
I would never have applied this “cry-out” method, just as it never crossed my mind to leave my little girl alone in the room and in the crib, to cry until she “learns”. But in the case of driving, the risks are considerable, and I decided that I would grit my teeth at the first cries and not take her out of the seat.
It seems that Noria didn’t bother to cry too much on the first trips, she quickly realized that there was no point in crying and didn’t invest too much energy in it, which was “wow”! Thus, our trip through the country was peaceful and the test road trip, despite all expectations, was a relaxing one, with a baby sleeping soundly, with music on board, warmth at the feet and beautiful sunsets.
*** The first marked road segment was Bucharest-Sinai. I strategically left around noon, at Noria’s bedtime. In Sinaia we stopped to relax our legs, had a meal, after which we continued our journey to Brașov.
*** I made a one night stop in Braşov, where we stayed in a guesthouse located on one of the streets of the old center, so that we had everything we needed for such a short stop at hand. The evening walk downtown with Noria in her carrier was perfect and reminded us how much we would love to live in a quieter city with lots of pedestrian spaces. I had dinner and lunch the next day in Simone’s restaurant-pub, a place with plenty of vegetarian options and interesting things to eat, but I still wouldn’t praise it that much, because, coming back here since- over time, I realized that chefs experiment too much with spices and food combinations, without always mastering them – I mean especially the menu of the day. I know what I’m saying, I’m personally a big “foodie”, I’ve tested many types of cuisine in many places around the world and I think I can formulate well-founded opinions about the taste and texture of food, in general. But let’s go back to ours!
*** From Brașov we started further towards Targu Mures, with a stop for a few hours in Sighisoara, where, of course, I went straight up to the medieval fortress, in the square where the Clock Tower is located, a special place for me, loaded with many memories and experiences, from the time when I went to the Festival of medieval art from Sighisoara (more than 20 years ago!). Also in Sighisoara, I had a late lunch and changed Noria, lying on the chairs in the restaurant.
*** We finally arrived in Târgu Mureș, where we stopped for a few days and stayed at a good friend’s house. Here I had to tick off one of my work-related tasks, namely a working visit to a school, as part of a children’s project. The rest of the time, we relaxed and discovered this clean, spacious and airy city, where the rhythm of life flows differently than we are used to in Bucharest. No wonder our good friend moved back to Târgu Mureș, after years spent in Bucharest. With Noria in my carrier, I hit the streets and visited the renovated medieval fortress of Târgu Mureș, which covers an area of 4.3 ha and consists of a fortified enclosure with 7 bastions joined by walls. It is a sight worth seeing, you can put it on the list of Transylvanian must-sees.
*** After Târgu Mureș we stopped a little further, in Cluj, where we stayed directly in Piața Unirii, in a spacious and bright apartment, which I recommend. Those interested can write to us privately to find out details about this place (email: kindertrips10x at gmail.com). After completing my work-related duties here as well (another work meeting), we set out on all sorts of urban explorations, especially since we were strategically located in the city center. Cluj was a beautiful experience – I also came at the right time of the year, when everything was blooming.
We had many choices of restaurants and cafes, but most often we turned to SoupeR, a place focused on cream soups that come with sandwiches. This (healthy) fast food place was very close to the ground floor of the block where we stayed and it was convenient for us, because we could eat outside in the pedestrian area in front of it, which made things much easier – we would run around Noria, but it wasn’t as stressful as in a closed space like a restaurant. Another thing we always enjoyed around Cluj was “malai dulce”, a local dessert that we bought from pastry shops or bakeries. We are not big consumers of sweets, we do it especially when traveling! And in Cluj I did it to the fullest.
I hadn’t been to Cluj for many years, I only knew from hearsay how it had evolved. However, I was surprised to perceive the city that so many people glorify as a smaller type of Bucharest, suffocated by traffic and cars, where construction is in full swing. Even the pedestrianized Union Square is constantly surrounded by car traffic, which brings pollution and an unpleasant sound background. Finally, I had the opportunity to understand live the hashtag used in Facebook posts by a colleague from the NGO environment, who has lived in Cluj for many years: #clujulcupretentii. And with that I think I’ve said it all :).
*** After Cluj, I started the long way home, sprinkled of course with numerous stops. The first of them was in the commune bastard, where we knew that the fortified Evangelical Church was located, a construction from the 14th century, UNESCO heritage, but also the ruins of a former medieval fortress, known as the “peasant fortress of Saschiz”. Since we were in a hurry, we quickly skipped the UNESCO site and went on an exploration of the hills in the area in search of the former peasant fortress, which we found more appealing.
To our great astonishment, the route was not marked at all, so we drove around the hills for a good few minutes until we figured out what and how. I did the last part of the road, more precisely the climbing of the hill going up to the fortress, on foot, with Noria in my carrier. The view we had once we reached the top was special, as was the complete silence breathed in the ruins of the former fortress. On the way back, driving down, we also saw deer running around the hills.
We have not been able to understand why these ruins are not exploited, being somehow in a state of semi-abandonment, not even having a marked route to facilitate their identification, although they have a fairly high tourist potential, being anyway located in an area visited and marked with a UNESCO objective.
*** After the “Saschiz” stop, we went to Brașov, with a short rest stop in Târgu Mureș. We spent the night again in Brașov, and the next day we fully explored the city, especially Aleea de sub Tâmpa, our favorite place. We had a beautiful April day, with lots of sunshine and general good cheer. I changed the dining place and, on the recommendation of a local friend, I went to the Transilvania restaurant, about which I have only two words to say: cheap and good! We said goodbye to Brașov and headed home, after a successful trip that lasted almost 2 weeks.
Tips and recommendations:
# The towns in Transylvania are suitable for trips with children, because many have central squares and pedestrian areas, where you will feel safe with the little ones.
# There are many objectives to visit in Transylvania and you cannot reach them all at once, so it would be best to focus on the experiences you want from the start:
- if you want history, then you can plan a tour of the Saxon and medieval fortresses;
- if you just want relaxation and nature, you can, for example, try staying at a renovated mansion (there are quite a few in Transylvania, with a little documentation you will also identify the perfect mansion);
- if you want tradition, local food and experiencing an old lifestyle, you can go to villages like Viscri or Criț;
- if you simply want to explore and get to know the Transylvanian cities, taking the pulse of the quiet urban life here, then you can try a road trip like ours, ticking a little of everything along the way.
# In our case, we discovered that it is not a good idea to travel more than 300 km/day by car. With time, any child will probably get used to long routes, but at first it would be better not to force the grade and try to build the little one’s “endurance” on the road, little by little.
# While traveling by car, we found the following important:
- trying to travel during the child’s sleeping hours;
- frequent and short stops;
- music and snacks (healthy, obviously) on board;
- enough change of clothes (the child sweats from sitting in the chair so much and we changed it frequently).
# Don’t be afraid to go on a long journey with the babies! The sooner the better for everyone! Perhaps the beginning will be more difficult and you will have to arm yourself with a lot of patience to overcome difficult moments, but after the children get used to it everything will become easier and the little ones will love traveling. Most importantly, you will see that they will start to acquire a lot of purchases in their time!
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