“Did you ever imagine you would have so much fun?” Dad asked us at one point on our trip to Brașov. Our trip was a lot of fun, and I never imagined I would be here in Romania to have such an experience!
Ready to go!
We began our trip Thursday morning. Sam recently got a car to make trips such as these, and it was so nice to be able to leave on our own schedule and make stops along the way as opposed to being tied to the train schedule, and it was significantly cheaper to buy gas than to buy four train tickets.
On the way there we passed by Bran Castle, or “Dracula’s Castle,” and decided to make a stop. It was very interesting and enjoyable to walk around and see and read about the castle.
A secret staircase in the castle
We got into Brașov Thursday night, and we spend all day Friday in the city. The city of Brașov is absolutely beautiful! It is surrounded by mountains and the hilly streets are lined with pretty, quaint houses. There are also a few parks and universities in the city with amazing campuses and gardens. We had a list of tasks to complete by the end of the day, but walking around the city made it very enjoyable.
We went to the police department, the newspaper office, the city hall, the library, and many other places as well. That evening we had a study in the city square on “Why Did Jesus Die on the Cross?” There was also a jazz festival going on, so we just said we had three thousand people show up to our study! Although it was only the four of us studying together by a fountain, it was very encouraging.
Study in the Piața Sfantului
Saturday morning we drove about an hour away to Ceia, where Dad, Sam, and I planned to run a race. Sam and I were signed up to do the marathon and Dad signed up that morning to do the semi-marathon (half).
I was nervous before we started because I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it was on trails up a mountain and it would be long and difficult. I was still excited as we began on the beautiful course.
Excited to start
This was by far the most beautiful and adventurous course I’ve ever run. It was also the most difficult. At about mile five I started questioning my decision to run, but I was trying to stay optimistic. At mile nine I hit a low and I told Sam I didn’t know how I could finish. At this point we were running/walking through a creek down in a rocky gorge, having to run through water, sand, and over rocks and logs. I had also started to feel a little pain in my leg, but I dismissed it and kept going.
Running through the rocks and water
After we got out of the creek we began going up almost constantly. We got out of the woods and into an open grassy field up the side of a mountain. It was breathtakingly beautiful! Even though we were basically walking and I was exhausted, I enjoyed the view of this part of the marathon so much.
Trudging up the mountain
Then the trail began going straight up, and we had to use our hands to climb up rocks. My leg had gradually begun to hurt more, and at this point it was painful to lift it, making climbing extremely difficult. I was being stubborn and trying to push through, but Sam had me stop and rest for a bit on the side of the mountain. The longer I rested the more I did not want to continue, and the more I realized I wasn’t sure I could continue. So we decided to stop at mile fifteen.
Due to my stubbornness and pride, deciding not to finish was very difficult. Part of me wanted to finish what I started and not admit that I couldn’t do it, but part of me knew there was almost no way I could finish. It was discouraging, but it is better now. I am taking a few days off for my leg to heal and I hope to try another trail marathon someday! Just not any time soon.
After we decided to stop–almost to the top!
We returned to Severin late that night, exhausted, but happy to be back. This was the first time I left Severin since I arrived here, and coming back it felt like home. I was so excited to get back to our apartment and sleep in our own bed, and as soon as I saw the familiar streets of Severin it felt like coming home.
Our trip was productive, exciting, and crazy, and it was so much fun.
~ Julie Peters