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Trip Report Roaming Romania, Take Two

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This TR is for the first leg of a longer trip. I arrived in Bucharest Sept 24, and plan to fly home from London Dec 10, but I am posting this section separately as there are so few Romania threads here, and I don't want it to get lost. I visited northern Romania back in 2006, but didn't have time for Transylvania, and then friends visited this spring and reported finding interesting Art Nouveau buildings in the west. I am a big AN fan, so I decided that this trip, which is mainly a "going back" trip, should start with going back to Romania, even if to a different area.

I had really enjoyed Romania in 2006, but it was despite bad weather, and despite a terrible tour guide (see http://wilhelmswords.com/eur2006/index.html ) and I was glad that this trip I could use public transport.

Executive Summary

Recommended destination. Recommended budget destination. Recommended for mountain scenery, interesting architecture - wooden churches, painted monasteries, fortified churches, Saxon old town centers, Hapsburg era buildings, Art Nouveau - and old customs in Maramures, where horse power still means horses.

Highlights: Maramures and Bucovina, which I visited in 2006, and on this trip Brasov, Sinaia, Targu Mures and Timisoara (although much of it is currently torn up).

Transport: Mostly trains, mostly on time. One bus, one car and driver for the villages around Sighisoara and for the transfer to Targu Mures (sheer laziness, I could have taken the bus).

Accommodation: almost all three and four star with en-suite bathrooms and included breakfasts. One disaster in Sighisoara and one place that had turned its AC off in Timisoara, otherwise all good.

Budget: Aside from the flight to Bucharest, and a massage in Oradea (which was cheaper than the one I would have been having at home) and including plenty of food, wine, coffee and tea, my average cost for 20 days in Romania was US $121.25. I mention this because nytraveler keeps claiming that a basic budget for Europe is $200/day, sharing a room. I was traveling solo, usually sleeping in "double for single use", and while I could have spent more, I could as easily have spent less. Prices are higher in Bucharest, and also go up as you go west.

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