Garlic, Schnaps, “Love And A Marriage”: Our Wedding Trip to Romania!

This article requires a special introduction. Just to tell you: I have NOT married anyone. Not yet. Who knows. 😉 But let us start from the beginning: Today, my beloved brother and his girlfriend Christine, both ‘real journalists’, share their debut article with you here on my travel blog. Back in the summer of 2013, they have joined their friend Alex on his wedding trip into breathtaking Romania. Alex has married his Romanian fiancée Cristina there – and made a point of “booze & culture travelling” Transsylvania, Cristina’s backyard, with his happy friends from Austria for a week. Quite some storytelling here then. But let us not get in the way of the story any longer:

“Let’s go to Bulgaria”, our friend calls out and laughs, waving his fifth beer in hand. The fact that our rented out wedding bus from Austria to Romania has no toilet at all, is something still ignored by everyone. At least, most of us know that we are going to Romania, not Bulgaria. Into the land of Dracula, Transylvania, that is – in order to celebrate a wedding. The first one in our circle of friends. Moments like these make you feel older than you really are, which is why many go back to behaving like 16-year-olds. During the drive, nobody really asks for much about Romania yet. It is the alcohol and fun that rules, making the ride feel like a school ski outing back in the days.

Die Hochtzeits-Truppe rollt an. Rumänien, wir kommen!

The wedding troopers in full swing: Romania, here we go!


We: Some twenty odd people. The front of the bus is not ruled by teachers, like back in the days, but by the “real grown-ups” – just as it should be. Mum, dad, granddad and some aunts & uncles of the Austrian groom are “in control”. In the back: The groom himself, his Romanian bride and us, some ten loud mid-twenty party people travelling with beer & gin tonic. How many there were altogether, is probably lost in memory. We play drinking games, talk about things we cannot remember and write a wedding diary with best-of-booze-phrases that turn out to be illegible the day after. It must have been some 15 hours on Austrian, Hungarian and Romanian streets altogether: What else happened in the bus, needs to stay in the bus.

Bier zum Frühstück? Aber echt jetzt. "The Show Must Go On!"

Beer for breakfast? You must be kidding me. We say: “The Show Must Go On!”


Gut dabei: Bräutigam Alex (links) und sein bajuwarischer Trinkkumpan Kiki.

Well on their way: Alex (the groom) and his Bajuvarian colleague Kiki.


Waking up is hard and full of surpises. All of a sudden, we are in Transylvania!

Mountains covered in fog, gloomy little villages and some horrible figures out of a novel is what we half-expected of this country. But no. Sibiu, also called Hermannstadt, only reveals itself to us at second glance (after the booze has subsided), and what a glance: “It looks just like home!” A beautiful old town, thanks to the Saxons who have lived and worked here for a few centuries leaving behind a large number of attractive mansions and housing estates.

Wow! Der Hauptplatz von Sibiu (Hermannstadt).

We have arrived! The main square of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) impresses us with a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere .


Entspannte Atmosphäre am Markt: Rumänien, we like.

A relaxed stroll through the market to kick off our visit: Romania, we like.


Romantik – so soll es sein, schließlich wird ja geheiratet.

Pure Romance here: That is the way it should be, after all we are here on a wedding trip!


We then move on to another highlight of the trip: Dracula Palace in Bran.

At first sight, here is where finally meet with previous clichés about Romania: The palace is located high on a hill, towering in all its mightiness. Narrow passages, small towers, secret doors – feel free to dive right into Bram Strokers famous novel. But we learn: The author of Dracula has never been here! Only a photograph of the palace taken some 100 years ago is said to have inspired him to his horror story. The consequence: Everybody now thinks that Romania is a dark, scary country.

Wer sich traut, kann im Dracula-Schloss (um viel Geld) eine Nacht verbringen.

Those who dare can stay overnight at Dracula’s palace (at a fortune, of course).


Für ein paar Euro mehr gibts auch die nötige Ausrüstung dafür.

Spend some more money, and you can buy yourself the right equipment to stay.


Köstlich: Frisches Blut von der Schwester der Braut.

Mmmmh: Fresh blood from the bride’s sister.


The large number of tourists and all the ridiculous souvenir shops selling heaps of Dracula cups and garlic have however somewhat de-mystified Bran Palace in our eyes. We much preferred the romantic Peles Palace. Being the court of the ruling Romanian kings at the time, it has been constructed by a Viennese architect and owes much of its charm to its pretty forest location. All around, there are several mansions: Wealthy Romanians continue to live here today.

Das sagenhaft schöne Schloss von Peles hätte Dracula sicher auch gut gefallen.

We are certain that Dracula would have liked Peles Palace just as much, if not more.


Meanwhile, the entire wedding travel group is enthusiastic: About the land and its people and the local hospitality. Travel guide & bride all in once, Cristina leads us through her home country. We discover a black church, the birth house of Dracula, a Saxon cemetery and the best cabbage roulades in the entire world. After another night spent partying at the hotel terrace (we recommend: Cuic beer & shanty!), we do feel like after a rock festival but have reached our final destination: Targu Mures, or Neumarkt am Mieresch, Cristina’s home town.

Herzlicher Empfang im Herzen von Transsylvanien. Norok!! (Prost!!)

A warm welcome in Transylvania: Norok!! (Prost!!)


Here, we meet Cristina’s family: Mum & dad, sisters & brothers, uncles, aunties, cousins – warm-hearted, beautiful people. Hardly anyone speaks English, but who needs language skills if what you share is drink and dance?


Wedding day around here starts with … plum schnapps.

Palinca is what the Romanians like to call their spirit, with pride. Quite something to start it off with breakfast, but after six days of our culture-wedding-booze trip through Romania, we are ready. Also, we learn, this is only the beginning. The first schnapps is being offered at the hotel room of the groom, where all the wedding guests have to come together. Some gypsy musicians and a ceremony master make for a great atmosphere. Soon after, the second round of schnapps is offered. Naturally.

Die Rumänen nennen ihren Schnaps auch Feuerwasser. Völlig zu Recht.

Romanians like to call their schnapps “fire water”. Quite right they are!


Then, the same kind of gathering and celebration is repeated at the house of the bride, before everyone goes to church for the real ceremony – in the best mood possible, of course. The wedding couple have decided on a one-hour short version of the traditional ceremony: A round-up at the altar, crowning & bible-kissing wedding ceremony. It is all very beautiful to watch, a pretty couple, mums and grannies in tears, that is what you like to see. Unfortunately, though, we do not understand anything at all – it is all in Romanian, of course! The groom has the same problem, by the way.

König Alex & Königin Cristina bei der orthodoxen Zeremonie ...

Off we go with our first round of typical, Romanian Palinca schnapps …


... so schön ist das Brautpaar in Rumänien! ...

… pretty Alex and his bride Cristina during the ceremony …


… und frisch vermählt im Blütenregen.

… and “just married” here!


What follows now? Right. You may guess: More schnapps. And good food, a first dance, a huge wedding cake, a folklore group, a groom in high heels, strippers and other legendary happenings. It was a day, a week, a trip that we will all remember forever. Despite the big hangover on the way back, all of us are able to say: “Romania, we’ll be back!”

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Carla 29 September 2015 - 23:02

Awww, so nice to see you got to attend a Romanian wedding. It looks like you had a lot of fun. However, I think that “palinca” is much stronger the the usual schnaps. But you know what they say, you haven’t seen Romanian hospitality if you haven’t been offered a shot of palinca!

Julian_Christine 9 October 2015 - 13:51

Hi Carla, we definitely had a lot of fun with palinca. I can’t really tell if its supposed to be stronger then the usual schnaps, because we drank self-made palincas all the time and the amount of alcohol was… lets say varying 😉

Elena 10 October 2015 - 13:50

Love the thing about “varying” … you all make me go to Romania! Soon enough, I hope 😀


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