Pitesti turned out to be our first stop on the trip to the Romanian Carpathians. We didn’t manage to catch their annual festival Simfonia Lalelelor (Symphony of Tulips), but the town is still pleasant and colorful. A few hours can be lost in leisurely strolls without the need to mingle with throngs of tourists.
Where is located, why we chose it and where to stay
Located at the foot of the mountain, the city is only 110 km from the capital Bucharest and is right between Transylvania and the Danube plain. We traveled from Burgas, and our main goal was to pass through Transfăgărășan and reach Sibiu. We wanted to spend the night as close as possible to the famous road through the mountain, but this was the first trip for our baby (6 months old) and we decided that our day hike it shouldn’t be too long. We looked for a stop that would give us the opportunity to walk, and so we chose to spend the night in Pitesti, which is around 50 km before the start of the pass.
We booked a room at La Strada Boutique Villa, a great villa right in the center of the city. The biggest advantage is that it has free private parking. It is convenient to park in the courtyard, near the entrance, when you have more luggage to unload… The rooms were clean, we reserved a double deluxe room for more space (because of the baby’s cot) and we really had plenty of space. I certainly recommend the hotel, and the price per night was around 50 euro.
A green space called Central Park has been built in the center of Pitesti. My interest was attracted by the name of the park, even while looking for a place to stay. A large fountain, walkways around it and photogenic yellow benches. A little neglected… in the Balkan way. Various flower gardens and bridges contribute to its pleasant appearance. It was a Sunday and there were a few locals who looked at us with curiosity and sensed that we were one of the few tourists in town…
Around Piața Vasile Milea
At one end of the park, attention is drawn to the Royal Church of St. George (Biserica Sfântul Gheorghe). Built in the 17th century by the then ruler of Wallachia (Konstantin I Șerban), the temple today is among the most emblematic historical monuments in the city. Several socialist buildings, a small fountain and many pigeons complete the interior of the adjacent Piața Vasile Milea square. In the immediate vicinity is also the Mavrodolu Orthodox Church (Biserica Mavrodolu), which was originally built of wood, and for a certain period of time was known as the city’s cathedral. I succeeded to get a few shots without disturbing the wedding was held there.
Time for dessert – Cofetarie si Ciocolaterie Pitesti
We needed a fresh drink and something sweet, and just a few meters away was the boutique pastry shop Cofetarie si Ciocolaterie Pitesti. Inside the atmosphere is extremely pleasant and there was hardly anyone. The window was crammed with good-looking temptations, making it very difficult to choose… We had a feeling that whatever we chose, we could hardly make a mistake… In the end, both mini cakes were eaten with great delight and in no time!
Walk in Ștrand Park
When you have a six-month-old baby, parks become one of your favorite places to walk! And there isn’t too much to see in Pitesti anyway, so we headed directly to the Ștrand Park located near the center. Our way to it didn’t pass through the most charming places of the city, and despite the relatively good infrastructure and colorful roundabouts, in the background there were some abandoned buildings…
Apparently Sunday is a popular day for weddings in Romania, and the park is a favorite location for photo shoots, because we spotted at least four weddings… We liked Strand Park! There is a large lake and numerous bridges that constantly allow us to cross over to the makeshift island in the middle of it. There is a summer theater, several playgrounds, picnic areas and a large skate area. There is a beautiful gazebo that allows you to walk over the water. The lake is built in such a way that you can go around it by boat, which is available for a fee in its widest part. Most likely, there was also a train running around the park, because there is a railway line built along its entire length.
In places there are stairs to the so-called “promenade” around the river, which is more like a forest path… It’s worth taking a look at the Arges River, which rises from the Southern Carpathians and flows into the Danube.
To Piaţa Primăriei
We return to the city center to tour the rest of it. Right across from the Central Park fountain is the Trivale shopping center, where Pitesti’s main shopping street begins. In addition to shops and restaurants, there are also some more interesting buildings located along the street. Like those of the court and the municipality. The main square (Piaţa Primăriei) is a pleasant place for a leisurely weekend stroll. And on it is the fountain, for which we will return after dinner…
Time for dinner – Casa Argeșeană
The choice for dinner stopped at Casa Argeșeană, where the summer garden has more space to park the baby carriage around the table. They offer traditional cuisine, and their menu is available on the website (and is up-to-date), which drastically reduced our ordering time, because we had already decided what we were going to eat.
Unfortunately the service was very slow and I had to drink two beers only until my order arrives… The food wasn’t bad, most things were tasty and reasonably priced. We tried traditional meats with Mămăligă (Garntita traditionala) and chicken with cream and cheese in bread (Piept de pui in sos de cascaval). For dessert, we decided to order the most traditional possible – Papanași. It looks like a donut and is served with cream and jam. It was delicious, but definitely not our dessert…
The musical fountain
I mentioned to you that we will return to one of the most popular attractions of Pitesti – the musical fountain. Young and old had gathered around him to enjoy the musical rhythms and the dance of the water. There are 24 colored spotlights that change to the rhythm of the music played by the city’s philharmonic orchestra.
Breakfast and coffee
For breakfast, we tried one of the things that are mandatory in these latitudes – the traditional bagels Covrigi (2.5 lei). The popular bakery chain Simigeria LUCA guarantees fresh baked goods and good quality. We also take a sandwich (10 lei) for lunch around the turns of Transfagarasan… For coffee, we cross Central park to find ourselves in front of another popular Romanian chain – 5 to go. A perfect cappuccino for only 5 lei (1 euro)… We are ready for the mountain trek!