Prahova Valley and the DN1 queue

by Teodor Costăchioiu

I took a little drive through the city today. It’s a great feeling with the empty city, no traffic, just one or two cars waiting at the traffic lights. I washed my car, and there was no one in front of me at the car wash. It’s a great day to get things done around the city.

This got me thinking about something: beyond all the issues related to roads, accessibility, and traffic bottlenecks at Comarnic and Bușteni, the Prahova Valley has a major problem: the lack of alternatives.

Whether you’re leaving Bucharest, Giurgiu, Buzău, or any other city in this area, the Prahova Valley is your only option. If you want a bit of snow, you have two choices. You either go up to Cota 2000 in Sinaia, even though there’s very little snow this year, or you go to Poiana Brașov, where there’s also just a thin layer of snow.

Otherwise, you’re left with flying to Austria, Italy, or driving all the way to Bansko. That’s about it.

For those who choose to spend their vacation in Romania, any other resorts accessible from the southern part of the country are below the level of Prahova Valley and Poiana Brașov. There are fewer entertainment options, and you can’t stay for more than two days without getting bored.

Rânca? Rânca? It’s far away and just a village with pretensions. Voineasa? The unions’ plague has ruined the resort. Paltiniș? Păltiniș? It’s far away, and it takes as long to get there as Poiana Brașov, including the waiting in line on DN1.

From Curtea de Argeș upwards to Vidraru, it’s like the countryside. The same goes for the area above Târgoviște. There are beautiful guesthouses in these areas, but no entertainment options.

Maybe the seaside? If you’re lucky, you find a hotel with a pool and SPA to relax in warm water. After two days, boredom sets in. What else can you do? You can visit Adamclisi and take a tour through Cheile Dobrogei. But these are destinations you visit once in a lifetime.

So, it always comes back to the Prahova Valley and the traffic jam on DN1.

Photos were taken in the Bucegi Mountains at Babele in January 2004 and on the Rucăr-Bran road in 2016.

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