CÂMPINA, another of Romania’s key oil towns, lies on the DN1, 32km north of Ploiesti (linked by a maxitaxi every fifteen minutes), just before the Prahova valley enters the mountains. Like Ploiesti, Câmpina was heavily bombed during the war and hence is not an attractive place, though it does have two tourist sights that just about make a stop-off worthwhile.
Around 1km north of the centre, across the rail tracks and up by the bend in the road, the unassuming Nicolae Grigorescu memorial house (Tues–Sun 9am–5pm) at B-dul. Carol I no. 166, was where the eponymous artist spent the last years of his life (see box, opposite); it’s a modest yet enjoyable collection of his works, including a self-portrait and the painting he was completing when he died.
Five minutes’ walk further along the road, at no. 145, is Hasdeu Castle (Tues–Sun 9am– 4.30pm), an odd cruciform structure with battlements and buttresses, built between 1894 and 1896 by historian and linguist Bogdan Petriceico Hasdeu (1838–1907), one of the progenitors of the nationalist and anti-Semitic philosophy that infected Romanian politics throughout the twentieth century. He built the castle as a memorial to his daughter Julia, to plans he claimed were transmitted by her in séances. After finishing high school, Julia went to study in Paris, and would have been the first Romanian woman to receive a doctorate from the Sorbonne had she not died of tuberculosis in 1888, aged just nineteen. Among the many items retained within the castle is the desk she used in France. She also left three volumes of plays and poetry, all published after her death.
The train station is 3km west but is connected to the centre by frequent maxitaxis, while the bus station is south of town on Str. Balcescu. It’s nicer to sleep in Breaza, but if you’re stuck in Câmpina, the unappealing choices are the youth hostel on the south side of the Casa Tineretului, in front of the bus station at Str. Balcescu 50 (Tel 0244/334 540; 2); the refurbished and somewhat overpriced Hotel Muntenia at B-dul. Carol I no. 61 (Tel 0244/333 090, Fax 333 092; 5); or the newer Motel Club Montana, 600m south of the bus station at Str. Salaj 11 (Tel 0244/337 581)