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Adventures With Robin

Your Go-To Travel Source

Welcome! This space serves as a platform for travel agent Robin Norell to share her trips, experiences and expertise with you. Exceeding your customer service expectations is Robin’s primary goal. Having worked for Disney for 2.5 years, she knows how to make your vacation magic. 

Robin has visited 25 countries (Caribbean, Europe, Asia) and 31 states, and has been on 26 river and ocean cruises (so far), visited Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris multiple times, and she is happy to share her travel experiences and knowledge with you to make your vacation the best it can be.

Robin has been awarded the distinguished certifications of CLIA’s (Cruise Lines International Association) ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) Certification, as well as earning her CTA (Certified Travel Associate) certification, has completed the College of Disney Knowledge, and continues to learn more about the travel industry every day.

Excelling in administration and customer service, she takes care of all the details, leaving you free to relax and enjoy!

Independent Vacation Planner

  • rnorell


September 2, 2023

Early start to our day. Alarm rang at 6:15am. We got ready and packed up quickly, then went downstairs with our bags (we left our bags with bell services), had breakfast, and walked to the bus. The concierge last night told us 8am, and we arrived at 8am

Our first stop was the Peles Castle, in the town of Sinaia. It was a very small ski village – very cute and charming. The name comes from Mt. Sinai – the founder of the town visited there and was very impressed, so he built first a monastery and then it grew to become a town.

The castle was started in 1873, and finished in 1914. It is the most modern castle in Europe – with running hot and cold water, flushing toilets, full electricity, central heating system (the fireplaces are just for decoration), central vacuum system, a movie theater, telephone, and an elevator.

The king visited many foreign cities during the construction period, and then would come back and change a room to be themed after what he saw – German, Roman, Moorish, French, Venetian, etc.

The king collected many things, including weapons. The weapons room shows just 10% of the 5,000 pieces he had. The most impressive on display is a set of armor (soldier and horse) dating back to the 16th century.

In the library, he had 20,000 books. There are now only 400 on display, the rest are in museums. There was, of course, a hidden secret doorway leading to the king’s chambers.

We had some time to wander on the grounds, and then made our way back to the bus. On the way, we passed women and girls selling little baskets of berries – they were delicious and fresh! We also passed an area selling pastries, so we had a piece of pizza, and a raspberry croissant that was delicious. It was a few minutes after 12, so we thought that was our lunch.

When we got back on the bus, the guide told us that our next stop is Brasov, where we would walk into the Old Town and have free time for lunch. Along the walk into the Old Town, our guide pointed out a chairlift that would take you to the top for beautiful views. When we got to the Old Town Square, our guide pointed out where she would be eating lunch, so a few of us ate in the same restaurant.

After lunch, we walked around the little town, and then met up with our guide and walked back to the bus. Along the drive (on mostly small roads through little towns), there was a

sign saying that this was the filming location for the Netflix series “Wednesday.” On the way back, we also drove through this town, and I got a picture in the distance of the “academy” featured in the show (before they graphically changed the look of the building).

Our final stop was Bran Castle, the most visited place in Romania. The castle was built in the 14th century by Teutonic knights. It was rebuilt by King Louis.  In 1918, Queen Marie unified the 3 provinces at a conference in Paris, to unify Romania. In 1920 she was offered the castle and she used it as her summer residence until her death in 1938. She left it to her favorite daughter (of her 6 children), who lived there until the Communists took it in 1948 and closed it. Years later, descendants of the family bought it back and it is now a private museum.

Why is this castle so popular? Dram Stoker wrote a book about Dracula, a character he based on Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was born in 1431, and when he was 4 years old his father (Dracul, or dragon) was killed and he was kidnapped by the Ottomans. He was finally released when he was 17, and came back to Romania to avenge his father.  He was son of Dracul, or Dracula. He learned many torture techniques from the Ottomans including impaling. To impale someone, they were laid down on top of sharp spikes, in such a way that these stakes did not hit any vital organs. This meant it could take up to 3 (very painful) days for the person to die. When a Sultan and his troops came too close, Vlad had a forest filled with impaled Ottomans – the Sultan quickly turned and went the other way. There was a golden cup that stood in a public area on the edge of town – no one ever stole it for fear of punishment/torture.

Bram Stoker, an Irish writer, named his character after Vlad. Bram never visited the castle, but set his story in a castle that was based on Bran Castle. 

The castle itself is very much the opposite of this morning’s castle. Small spaces, few decorations, furniture recreated to time of Queen Marie. The inner courtyard was nice to visit, but at one time held guards to protect the castle. 

After the castle, we had a 3+ hour drive back to Bucharest. We made one stop after about 2 hours at a large gas station/rest area. We arrived back in town around 9pm, walked to the Marmorosch, got our bags, got in an Uber, and then went to the Intercontinental Athenee, which is the hotel for the first night of our Avalon



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Robin is an Independent Travel Planner who has been awarded CLIA's (Cruise Line Industry Association's) Accredited Cruise Counselor Certification and The Travel Institute's Certified Travel Associate designation. Her excellent service is yours at no cost - she's paid by the suppliers (hotel, cruise line, etc.), nor does she charge a fee for services. She may even save you money over booking it yourself, as she follows all the specials and will get you a better price after you book with her. When you are planning a family vacation or celebrating a special occasion through travel, you want the best experience possible, and Robin is ready to help you! She provides excellent customer service, and your happiness and satisfaction is her top priority. With the knowledge gained by her extensive travel experience (25 countries, 31 states, and 26 cruises so far) and customer service experience (2.5 years employed at Walt Disney World Resort), she's excited and ready to help you plan new adventures!

Location: Alexandria - VA
Phone: (567) 307-3476
Toll-Free: (866) 779-4830



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