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Romania and Istanbul

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Hello all,

I am wanting to visit Istanbul and had hoped to stop in Romania as a precursor to my visit to the Turkish city. My plan was to arrive in Bucharest by plane and to travel north (via train or bus) for several days visiting sites in the Carpatians. I read a bit about "medieval towns" and would like to experience them along with the capital. I would visit these sites and then spend 1 -2 days in the capital before heading off to Istanbul. I have read up on the overnight rail transit the had and thought that too might be interesting to do.

Can anyone share their experiences with a trip like this? Favorite to-dos, things to watch for (scams, unethical behavior). I've traveled a bit but mostly within English speaking countries or with people local to the area. This time I would be on my own. I'm 45, male, American (I won't tell them that) and in good physical shape and mainly interested in historical sites/customs and site-seeing.

I also would like to go via "backpack" rather than lugging a large suitcase with me, meaning cutting down on my normal over-packing neurosis, so any ideas there would be beneficial.

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. I've enjoyed reading the posts and hope to save myself some pain and frustration.

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