sâmbătă, 28 ianuarie 2017

Try to understand Romania before visiting it

Whether you are for the first time in Romania, or the tenth, you are simply supposed to take a few time to understand thoroughly the country forehand.
Romania is not at all exclusively a Dracula land, but an interesting culture destination

And you must do that because Romania is not only the land of Dracula or the land of Ceausescu. We have an interesting history, and during the Middle Age there were three Romanian principates, namely Moldavia, Vallachia and Transilvania, which have been influenced by the neighboring empires, respectively Russian, Othoman and Austrian. It took a few centuries to understand the simple fact of our unity, and afterwards to realise this unity through successive and successfully unifications. Most of our heroes fought bravely for Unification, against the overmentioned Empires. In every Romanian city there is one street or square reffering to the Unification (Piata Unirii, or Bulevardul Unirii). During the XIXth century France was a model for all Europe, including Romania. Our language is anyway a Romanic one, and the culture is very close to the French culture.
Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife have ruled Romania in a dictatorial way for 24 years. We could barely stand and survive, due to our sense of humor

We are proud of our past and history, and not so proud anymore about our political class of today, which is not patriot enough. On the contrary, they are corrupted enough, it is a national disease, despite all the progress in fighting it of the last years. But these are our problems, you must know them and be aware of them, but never try to mix in any political discussion. It simply makes no sense, and brings no friends. You must have your own problems in your country for sure, as every country has!
Calea Victoriei, the most interesting and beautiful street of Bucharest, has undoubtly a French charm

Also very important, the country is not very expensive, unless you make special choices. One beer in a pub costs between 2 and 4 euros, with 5 euros you can have a satisfactory lunch. Romania is also not very rich yet, the average income is about 500 Euros netto monthly. And that is why you must avoid the touristic destinations, they are much more expensive than the popular ones. If you have a good travel guide, you can easily find the second ones!
Please avoid in Romania the beaten paths, and you can see these wonderful suits on the streets

We are people with a sharp developped sense of humor, and this was really useful during bad and hard times, e.g. the communist Ceausescu era! Otherwise we couldn't stand and survive it, it was terrible: no food, no fun, but only a lot of jokes, most of them refering to Ceausescu and his wife.Some of us are simply missing those times, as we can't hear so many fabulous jokes.

miercuri, 25 ianuarie 2017

Only for honeymooners in Romania

As Romania is an unforgettable country, and your marriage or honeymoon is also supposed to be like that, I think you can have the both in the same time. That's why I would like to propose you Romania as the perfect destination for honeymoon or/and wedding.
The wonderful city of Iassy, perfect destination for honeymooners and culture freaks

But first of all, you must fill the first condition: you must be deep in love, over the ears! Then if you are looking for the best location for your marriage, please consider The Kiss Gate. It is a modern sculpture carved by Constantin Brancusi, an artist we are very proud of, lieing in a central park of the city of Targu Jiu. It not at all unusual having there your civil ceremony, and many Romanians do the same thing. Simply unique and unforgetable.
This is the Kiss Gate, one of the best place worldwide to have wedding

After that comes the religious ceremony, at least for us the orthodox. It lasts one hour and is very touching for sure. If you like to live it (my warm recomandation) and you are not an orthodox you need a prior baptisation. Almost 90% of the Romanians are orthodox, but you can also find many other churches, as we, the Romanian orthodox are very tolerant.
The religious wedding in an orthodox church is simply touching

The next could be the wedding party. Usually there are 300 guests eating and drinking all night long, waiting to dance with the bride and keen to give to the young pair  a present for the good start in the common life. If you can understand the words of the Romanian popular songs you will laugh a lot, some of them are really funny.

An interesting tradition we care a lot: the bride will launch pieces of cake and the catchers will be blessed and protected (future brides?)

And then I am sure you don't need whether a guided tour, nor to be part of a group. Take really care of your beloved one, put her/him first, even before you. This is the real love, and this is the secret of a long happy marriage. The passion is there, but you need sometimes the patience, please remember that. and about the location, I would reckon the wonderful city of Iassy for many reasons: there are a lot of students , plenty of clubs and concerts. The city is not so impressive big as Bucharest, but also not a small insignificant provincial town. Not at all, but on the contrary, as Iassy has been for centuries the Capital of Moldavia. You will be able the feel the arrogance and pride of a former capital and visit some of the renowned buildings and museums of the city (there are a lot, if you are a culture freak is the perfect destination). One hotel of Iassy has been drawn by Gustave Eiffel, that would be another recommendation.

I think is a nice busy schedule, and must disappear, as I don't intend to disturb your honeymoon in Romania. 

marți, 24 ianuarie 2017

Top notch destinations in Romania

I simply can warmly recommend you Romania as a wonderful destination. Please take a profit of my knowledge, as I am a born Romanian, love this country very much, and I have learned it by heart as I am a travel guide since many years.
Casa Bazna in Transilvania/Romania, a special, idyllic and silent place

Really not easy to concentrate on the best destinations in Romania, but I will try. As a warming, en passant, could say something about two very interesting hotels in Romania, having a few things in common: friendly staff and good service, normal prices and tremendous neighborhoods. Really top notch destinations, I would say and sustain convincely.

One of it lies in Predeal, 130 km away from Bucharest, and I mean hotel Piemonte. You have the Carpathians all around and can discover them by foot, there are a few peaceful paths  with different degrees of difficulty. The city of Brasov, the touristic Capital of Romania lies only 20 km away, in the wellknown Transilvania. Also very close: Castle of Bran, with the ghost of Dracula.
Image result for hotel piemonte predeal foto
The top hotel Piemonte from Predeal

If you need more silence, I can recommend you Casa Bazna. It simply lies to the countryside, and being there you must behave yourself and say hello to all the locals you can meet. But please don't be nervous and frightened about that, they are simply lovely and friendly. You can also go to the rustical pub of the village to taste the local beer and observe the local people. Simply wonderful, I am sure you will enjoy it, if you decide to stay longer there are a few houses to your disposal! You can further discover the medieval cities of Medias and Sighisoara, which are very close indeed. If you love bigger cities, then Cluj Napoca and Targu Mures are easy to reach, within 2 hours driving.
Image result for palatul culturii iasi
The wonderful city of Iassy and its outstanding Palace of Culture by night

If you are a culture freak, the cities of Iassy or Craiova are a must, but they lie in other regions than the two over mentionated hotel, and thus you must find accomodation there. Will recommend the appropriate one in each of these cities within short time, still reckon which might be the best recommendation.


miercuri, 16 martie 2016

You can't see the dark side of the moon, but you are able to visit Romania

I think sometimes, that Romania is still a terra incognita (unknown land), despite my desperate work on social media, and specially on this blog. And I can definitely compare Romania with the dark side of the moon.
Genuine nature with a pelican in Danube Delta

Why is happening this? May be is not fair for Romania, and for us, the Romanians. One possible explanation is the lack of efforts, or middles, of the Romanian government. Another explanation is the scandal press, looking for hot stuff everywhere. A few years ago Britain was freightened due to the opening for working permits concerning Romanians and Bulgarians. The reality was not so bad at all comparing with the predicted apocalypse of the main newspapers. Or maybe a conspiracy theory would be the reason, as some extremists of the left might think.
Friendly people everywhere, that is a landmark of Romania

In order to deepen the comparation, I will gladly inform you about the main difference. You can visit Romania, convince yourself about this happy land and its inhabitants, while the dark side of the moon is not accessible to normal people. Please don't worry about the dark side of the moon, forget it simply. You will be much happier visiting Romania.
We have in Romania also an urban civilization, and Bucharest is an international city

It is for sure not the richest country in the EU (I wonder why gain) but is for sure one of the most attractive both for tourists or investors. It is not overpopulated, it is not polluted and has in many places a genuine nature waiting to be discovered (I mean Danube Delta, the peaks of the Carpathians, genuine forests and impressive population of bears). I will not bother trying to convince you to invest in Romania. Might be a good idea, but there are other channels for this entreprise. That's why I will only try introducing Romania to you as a potential tourist.

Happy people to the countryside
You need time for know Romania, at least one week. The country is nice, medium sized and you have a lot of interesting thing to see. The Romanians are the most important asset: they are opened, educated and have good manners. Almost one half of the Romanians still live to the countryside and have an unbelievable common sense. They might be not very rich, but very proud and will receive you like a royal. Ask Prince Charles of Britain if is true!

We are proud of our history, of our ancestors, of our wonderful country. We enjoy life and would like to share with you. Visit Romania, you are invited.

Travelling smart to Romania

I can bet, you are the happy owner of a smart device, most probably a smart phone. The youngsters and teenagers must have even more and unfortunately are already dependant. I wonder if they must be smarter under these circumstances.
A very old house from the Village Museum in Bucharest, please don't imagine Romania like that

But with so many smart devices we all are supposed to live smarter, and, yes, to travel smarter! What would I understand through a smart travel, and what you understand through this notion is the same thing, I hope: spare time and money, never neglect thinking to environment, Earth and the locals of the visited country. And to be even more specific, I would like to refer to Romania, as I love it, I know as my pockets  and work here as travel guide.

A Romanian marriage is really an event!
You have first the important choice to decide whether you take the full package (e.g. flight+trip) or buy them separately. If you take the full package, I see a few advantages:
-you are in a group and can hereby have more fun and meet new people
-you can find me or another skilled qualified travel guide giving you a lot of tipps and tricks, as we know the country, the places and know on what doors we can knock. On you own you need much more time for it, and will surely miss a lot of things
- in this way you can find a week travel at prices between 600-800 Euros with good hotels and half board. I know a few German companies offering these things, you can find for sure in your country, or on the site of the most important travel agencies for incoming trips, namely www.karpaten.ro
If fod, drinks aor gastronomy, broadly speaking, mean anything to you, you are invited in Romania, of course

If you are going to book the flight separately, a good choice is the national company TAROM or the global wholesaler momondo (booking in advance through them I could enjoy a wonderful flight Bucharest-Madrid for 70 Euros!). Afterwards, look for hotels directly, or, again, through a well established travel company.
Danube Delta is a fantastic clush of water and mood

And, once there, or even a few time in advance, make some choices according to your interests: adventure, Danube Delta, seaside, mountains, urban civilization, art, museums, archaeology, wines etc. We have a lot of things to show, and like deeply sharing them with our guest. I guess, for all these specific interests, my blogg itself is an important unbiased source of information, hold on!


marți, 15 martie 2016

In vino veritas, something about the Romanian wines

The ancient Romans defeated the local Dacians in the II.nd century a.C. and in this way started the history of the Romanian people and language.
A glass of wine is such a nice way expressing the joy of life

Really difficult to find out today what is Roman and what is Dacian in the today Romanian people and no one should waste his/her time with this impossible task. Fact is, that in every Romanian city you will find a Traian street, as a Decebal street. They were the rulers, they clushed one against other and Decebal commited suicide after his defeat.
Did Dracula love wine? We still must research

Thinking about wine, it wasn't totally unknown to the Dacians, but the Romans brought new sorts and started many new plantations. It was decisive for the Romanians, we love wine here. It is very similar with other wine countries who were once provinces of the Roman Empire: France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Even today Romania is among the first 10 producers worldwide, and large wine regions of the country live in Autumn fantastic celebrations. Every one is happy there, due to the wine.
In some parts of the country the wineyard becomes monoculture

Coming back on land and to the present days, a first tip is to let the wine accompanying your Romanian vacation. I would recommend at least a glass of wine at every meal (breakfast is excepted, please). White, red, or rose you must pair it correctly with the main dish. Sometimes the waiter, chef or somelier can recommend you something. Sometimes you can try to taste the house wine (or vinul casei, every good restaurant has something like that). The bottle wine is of course not so cheap, but sometimes you can allow yourself and your company something special. A glass of house wine should cost up to 10 Lei (3 -4 Euros), while a bottle could have many different prices. In fact, a bottle of good local wine should be around 10 Euros.
Even to a wine tasting you must respect some basic rules

Fist of all, watch your glass of wine, it should be clear, cristal clear. After a soft agitation, watch it again, the film should be continuos, uninterrupted. After that you don't need your eyes anymore, may be is advisable to close them. Now smell and taste it, let it walk inside your mouth to discover all the secret notes. It is really wonderful. If you are to a professional taste, don't swallow any drop, spill it, whatever difficult could it be. Despite all this procedure, after 3 or 4 glasses you are drunk due the taste and absorbtion through the tongue!

Our Roman ancestors were not stupid at all, when they said In vino veritas! The simple fact is, that after one glass of wine everybody is more communicative and starts to unveil some possible secrets. I don't remember anymore what happens after the other glasses. The Romanian said something different: everybody is entitled to a glass of wine. Afterwards becomes another man, which is again entitled to a glass of wine!

luni, 14 martie 2016

Things to avoid in Madrid

Madrid is a splendid city, no doubt. The strong 100 years old building in the center give him a very personal note. No one of this building is not higher than 6 levels.
Typical architecture of the charming Madrid

Besides, the museum of Madrid are really fantastic, starting with the well known Prado. Normally you need many hours to visit Prado, but practically you have to limit yourself to the last two hours of each day where the entry is free. And maybe you should inform prior about the most interesting paintings, according to your taste. Could be Goya, Velasquez, El Greco ant other sacred monsters of the painting.
Museo del Prado, a landmark of Madrid, offer a generous facility: for the last two working hours of the day the entry is free

Waiting the two hours with free entry, please figure yourself that you are not the only one smart guy discovering this very useful things. Imagine at least other 2000 or 3000 thousands people and avoid being the last. Better come one hour in advance and be the first.

While waiting for Museo del Prado you may go in one of the many bars in the area enjoying a dring or a lunch. Avoid making illusions about the free tapas accompanying your drink. They are really so small and unsignificant. Better search a menu del dia (daily menu) for a price between 5 Euros in the quarter Vallecas and 10 Euros in the very centre. Avoid, please, to order consomme, it is a lukewarm water with some leaks of oil lacking any other vegetables. And costs unbelievable 5 Euros. But that is Madrid, not a cheap city, if comparing to Bucharest.
Modern architecture in Madrid. Unfortunately it is impossible to visit any of these buildings and have a wide view of the city

And avoid to have high expectations about the cleanliness of the city or of the restaurants. It is definitely not the cleanest city Europe wide.

But the people, the Madrilenos, are very kind and polite. Any one will stop trying to help you. You should only say "Por favor" (please) and they are only ears. Unbeleivable, wonderful people, wanna salute them again! And here I have another tip. Arriving at midnight, with the metro closed, choice a hotel near the airport, e.g. Ibis Aeropuerto Barajas, which is not very cheap, neither expansive: 60 Euros for a room.Me as Romanian enjoyed a royal reception: the receptionist, chambermaid and kitchen, all Romanians, were waiting for me! I felt once again very proud to be a Romanian.Do all you can and avoid taking a taxi from the airport to this hotel (less than 1 km), because any taxi driver will charge you with 20 Euros for that race!
Otherwise, will be for sure a wonderful stay in Madrid.

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