The city of Deva was selected as a launchpad for out return Interrail leg from Romania to the UK. It was chosen as a new place to visit that had some places of interest to see as well as being timetable convenient for travelling overnight with the dog to Vienna.
The train was due to depart about 11 pm-ish with an early morning arrival in Vienna. So the travel time not so long for the puppy.
Deva is a city in the west of Transylvania, Romania it is the capital city of Hunedoara County. The city is located on the Mures River again, this seems to be a common theme for places we visited in Western Romania like Alba Iulia, possibly as the train seems to follow the river.
Deva is the 37th most populous city in Romania, possibly why it was never on my radar except for the convenience factor on this trip.
The city goes have some interesting history though, dating back to 1269 and the citadel seems to be the most important place of historical significance. Deva History…
Currently, much of the city is dominated by Soviet-era high rise blocks and not so easy on the eye. This is the type of city the tabloids like to use to denigrate this beautiful country.
Arrival In Deva
We arrived in Deva from Brasov late evening at about 10:15 pm and after dark as planned and headed straight for our apartment. The walk involved a walk through the city centre passing a nicely lit up blue church.
After walking uphill into the city we headed right into what was a nicely decorated area where the Deva Christmas market had just closed. The streets were quiet even for a Saturday night, this was the quietest place we had been for a while.
Pension Subcetate – Holiday Accommodation
Our home for one night was Pension Subcetate which on research was a cheap dog or pet-friendly place to stay. Our room was part of a larger complex with a few individual chalets for guests to book.
The owner, an older friendly lady was very flexible with us as we wanted to arrive late than leave our bags in the room until very late the next evening. Nothing was too much trouble and she seemed to enjoy our company as there seemed to be on other guests.
Our room for the night was kitted out in older more traditional furniture and had a visiting grandma vibe to it. The bed had ample bedding for the predicted cold night, heating and showers.
We had a great nights sleep here, had a drink with the owner in the evening who also made coffee in the morning for us.
This place would have been great in the summer as it had a very big gated garden area with seating n what would be sunny as well as shaded areas.
We were told to keep the keys for no extra charge and come and go as we please until we were ready to go catch the train. The nice lady was a bit blunt conversationally but had some great recommendations for places to eat after our day exploring Deva.
Overall a good experience that was great value, ideal for travellers that like a very friendly host and old furniture.
We didn’t spend much time in Deva in the grand scheme of things as it was a Sunday and most things were shut. I had a run-in with some stray dogs that put us off wandering round with our small dog.
We were hoping to visit the Cetatea Devei, a citadel on the hill overlooking the city. Our visit here was aborted due to the strays on the way up as well as the chairlift not allowing dogs.
This combined with every restaurant in the city that was open not being dog friendly (not many open Sunday lunchtime).
We opted to take advice from @adriana_mirela on twitter and try to get to the Fairytale Corvin Castle. This was a great call and after research into public transport, we headed out of the city on a minibus to Corvin Castle.
Deva had some interesting buildings and things to do but we were here on a wrong day, these included.
- Citadel or Fortress
- The Theatre, Teatrul de Arta Deva
- Museum of Dacian and Roman Civilisation
- Magna Curia Castle
The City had great Christmas decorations including the bright blue Annunciation Church or Biserica Buna Vestire.
Restaurants & Bars
We needed to eat out twice on our visit to the city.
After a few rebuttals due to the presence of the dog on the way to get the minibus We eventually opted for McDonald’s, not ideal but food was required. Not our ideal brunch venue but filled the hole in our bellies while sitting outside. The staff here were friendly and got the impression they don’t get many English speaking customers.
We got a recommendation from our host to eat out at Restaurant Castelo that was close by. She claimed to eat at Restaurant Castelo weekly so took her advice. We left the dog for sleep and headed down the street.
Restaurant Castelo was a nice clean eatery with very comfy seats, there were welcome as the castle adventure had tired us out. The staff were friendly and kept out Ursus glasses filled with efficiency and nothing was too much trouble.
The food was delicious here, I had opted for pork ribs after careful consideration of the menu. The Pork ribs plate was rather big and impressive which included, chips, pickles and 2 garlic bread buns. The tripe soup and pork steak were also very nice according to my partner.
I certainly would return here for food if in Deva again, which is not on my places to return to other than visiting the Citadel.
Still with a few hours to kill off the stopover we headed towards the main street in the blind hope of buying water and a few cans of beer from a shop. This proved futile but found a fantastic bar called DionisLoveForWine or Dionis for short.
This was one cool and trendy venue and seemed completely out of place compared to the rest of the city. This place was what I would describe as hip with some very nice decor. It was quiet but a great place to sit down and enjoy beer and wine.
DionisLoveForWine is best known for its wine and love of local blends and seems to be the go-to place for a night out or a Mediterranean meal
We then returned to pick up the dog and check out of our room, the lady kept us talking as expected (we allocated time for this).
Deva Train Station
The walk to the station was downhill all the way, great when loaded with a rucksack and a lively dog. On arrival at the station, we tried to figure out the platform required but the staff seemed pretty clueless.
We got chatting with a couple heading towards Germany on the same train so we could figure it out together. The train in true Transylvania style was running late and was my turn to need the toilet. The nice people showed me where it was and I was taken aback and transported to an alternative reality. I was now Euan McGreggor in the movie Trainspotting. The only thing to change was the sign should have said Romania’s worst toilet.
After braving the train stations WC, I cracked open the hip flask for a Tuica shot and persevered waiting for the late train.
Eventually, those waiting moved behind a train pulled up as our night train was arriving imminently. The gap where we were standing was not very wide so gripped the puppy and guessed this would be a TIR moment. TIR was a phrase I coined, it was based on the TIA phrase used in the movie “Blood Diamond”. In the movie, the phrase was used to describe the inconveniences of Africa. This Is Romania was our way of acknowledging the Romanian way which is different sometimes.
Anyway, the train comes hurtling into the station and this is a pretty scary moment. There was not much room between the train tracks and felt very close to the incoming train.
Anyway all’s well that ends well, we got a great room on the night train to Vienna.