Best and Worst Holidays ft. Pal Places

In the next of my Best and Worst Holiday Series, we hear from Maria of Pal Places about her worst travel experience as a couple.

Best and Worst Holiday featuring Pal Places

My worst travel experience as a couple

Last year, in July, I had planned a trip to a thermal resort in Romania, Calimanesti-Caciulata.

This region is well known for its thermal baths and their curating properties, but also for its picturesque landscapes: surrounded by Carpathian mountains and Olt river gorge, it was a perfect opportunity for a quiet holiday.

Best and Worst Holiday featuring Pal Places
Caciulata, Romania

I had planned 3 days in this region in a very hot weekend of July. I booked the accommodation via the internet, we bought the train tickets and there we were, on Friday morning, waiting for our train to depart. The journey was 6 hours long so we were prepared with movies on our tablet and books to read.

The first issue was the air conditioning that was working perfectly during the first hour but then…well, it failed. On the floor there was flowing water due to the broken air conditioners and the air was becoming very hot.

After 6 hours, tired but enthusiastic, we arrived at our destination. Well, close to it. We did not know that the train station was located a bit far away from the city, more precisely in a village.  So we set Google maps to the desired location and started to move. The conditions were hot –approximately 30 degrees – no trees’ shadows, no pedestrian sidewalks, no one on the way (so we could ask for more information). We had no water with us (we finished it in train) and there were no shops on our way. We walked for almost 30 minutes in the heat… It was a nightmare.

When we finally got to the city, we stopped at a shop, and bought cold water and an ice cream. Well, it was a challenging road but we were finally there, and we got to the accommodation.

The accommodation was the worst part. We found it quickly and then, the adventure started. The staff showed us our room and prepared the documents for our stay.

  • Will you stay 2 nights, right? Staff asked us.
  • Oh, no. We found only one night available here, so one night, please.
  • Wait, this is impossible. It is mandatory to stay 2 nights. I am sorry, we cannot receive you.
  • …..? But we have already booked the room!
  • Well, the room is overbooked. The guests will come and stay for 2 nights, I am sorry but we cannot receive you.

I was almost crying. The staff tried to help us by calling to other pensions/hotels but all of them were fully booked (as it is a very small region and usually full).

We were shocked, tired and angry. We left the hotel very disappointed and tried to find a solution. We were lucky to find a hotel available in a nearby city (by near I mean 20 km!) so we took a bus there. Even though we found an available hotel, our holiday was ruined and we were exhausted. I wanted only to find a place to sleep and something to eat.

We got to the hotel after some hours and everything was fine. Then, we visited the city, which wasn’t fine.

On the second day, we visited the famous Calimanesti-Caciulata. Even though we were planning to have a thermal bath and relax, we spent our time visiting all the region (it took us 2 hours to visit it all).

Best and Worst Holiday featuring Pal Places
Cozia, Romania

This region is more suitable for people that travel by car as there are a lot of places to visit requiring a car. For us, it was not suitable as the cities are small, you have nothing else to do besides enjoying a thermal bath. The views (the Olt river gorge and mountains) are nice but it is not sufficient. We left to our hotel disappointed by this visit.

Best and Worst Holiday featuring Pal Places
Olt Gorge

On our way home, we took the same train, with the same issues (no air conditioning). A women fainted due to the lack of fresh air. Horrible!

Best and Worst Holiday featuring Pal Places

Oh my word, what a horrendous getaway. From something that had the makings of a great weekend away, it certainly became a thing of nightmares.

Maria is a travel blogger at Pal Places. Pal Paces is a travel blog meant for people that travel without a car. Maria’s blog posts are from Europe only (for the moment). For each destination, she presents routes available by public transportation. Maria is based in Bucharest and loves to travel and to discover other cultures. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at

Best and Worst Holiday featuring Pal Places

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17 thoughts on “Best and Worst Holidays ft. Pal Places”

  1. Oh no this sounds like a total nightmare. I’ve been pretty lucky with holidays so far but too be honest we haven’t really been on that many… I’m sure there will be many bad ones in my future!


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