Romania - Give it a try!


Apr 22nd, 2006, 09:58 PM
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Romania - Give it a try!


I recently went to Romania and as I've got a lot of info of these forums I thought it only Karma to write a little back. Romania was a rewarding experience and it's definitely worth a visit. It seems a lot different in a way to other countries I've been to, it's 'off the beaten track' for sure but in a very under-developed way, but has a lot of good places. I'll just mention a few which I didn't notice much written about on site.

Bucharest - Everyone said this place was a dump, and yeah, it's not exactly Prague or Budapest, but it is still charming in a way. Once you get of the main boulevards there are a lot of old houses with wonderful architecture, sadly very run down. But still with some kind of atmosphere and good for photographers. Be a little wary though, quite a few dodgy characters in these areas. Anyway, the city isn't much to look at aside from these few isolated parts of the old town, but it's a good place in other respects:

Food: Lots of restaurants of all types and a meal is very cheap. A good meal in a decent restaurant was about 12Euro! And there are all time of cuisines there!
Museums: Quite a few good museums, the museum of the village and the peasant are particularly enjoyable. Very cheap entrance fees too.
Nightlife: Lots of clubs and bars, again many with very reasonable prices. The Roms seem to love going out and cafe, bars and clubs downtown are busy every night. Stay clear of the seedy places though.
Parks: Cismigiu and Herastrau Parks are lovely at the moment and a great escape from the traffic and concrete (but not the people - the parks are popular!)

Sighisoara - Ok, well known, and a tourist spot, but do visit it. I loved it there.

Alba Iulia - Less known but has a wonderful wall town, very well preserved with some old church, Roman rubble lying around, an ethnological museum, a museum celebrating the reunification of Romania and a lot of nice architecture. We virtually had the place to ourselves. Great place, poor marketing department!

Sarmasagituza - The old Roman city. Not too impressive but not covered with plaque, gadgets, walkways, screaming kids, fake plastic Roman centurions or gunk like that. It's just there, dug up, and left to your imagination.

Here are some sites to help:

Anyway, I hope that's given you a flavour. If you are a little brave, don't mind working things out on your own, and have the ability to see something nice behind the crud, then Romania might be an idea.
Alcatelboy is offline  
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 10:16 PM
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How long was your trip? Did you drive in Romania?
noe847 is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 05:15 AM
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Romania is now included in Eurailpass.
hopscotch is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 05:54 AM
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I'm off to Romania in about 10 days and enjoyed your report. Did you spend any time in the Bucovina area where they have a lot of painted churches. Was it worth the extra time it takes to get there? I enjoy photography, and am hoping so see things that I might not see in Western Europe -- such as people riding in donkey carts, etc. Will I see things like this?
nan_49 is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 07:02 AM
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nan, look at the links that are mentioned in this other Romanian thread:

Clifford's trip report and Michael's each describe the different painted churches in the Bucovina area as well as the common donkey carts.
noe847 is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 08:29 AM
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The painted churches of Bucovina are worth all the effort. They are unique.
As for the donkey carts... just go in any village and they are there, sometimes even on the main roads between villages and towns.
gabrieltraian is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for the info alcatelboy! It's always been on my list of places to go, and I hope to get to it soon.

I, for one, want to go to Transylvania. I've always fancied Bucharest as well.
mcnyc is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Bucharest, Sighisoara, and Alba Iulia are easy to reach by quite comfortable trains. Two more fine and accessible Transylvanian cities are Brasov and Sibiu. A good way to stay in Brasov is to phone Maria and Grig Bolea, who offer bed and breakfast, friends nearby with more rooms, advice on what to do in all three cities, and to meet you by car at the station. Their number is 0744 8169 70 and their address is Str Vasile Saftu 32. In Sibiu a fine old hotel and restaurant is the Emporator Romanilor, quite moderately priced (whereas hotels in Bucharest cost near west European prices).
The painted monasteries are harder to reach, but you can take a sleeper overnight from Bucharest up to Suceava, taxi over to the Suceava hotel, and ask reception there to book you a car and driver for most of the day for fifty dollars. It will be ready for you after breakfast.

Sarmasagituza is a good 30 kilometers south of Orastie along a dirt road, and Orastie is 80 kilometers west of Sibiu. 30 kilometers west of Sarmasagituza, and on a branch railway line, is Hunedoara, a splendid great gothic castle, well kept. It used to stand among ugly steel works and polluted air, but these may be cleaner now.

Ben Haines, London
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ben_haines_london is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 10:35 AM
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I couldn't agree more... Romania is worth a shot to anyone looking for a different sort of place in Europe. It has a lot to offer, taken with some acceptance of those differences. Alcatelboy, did you make it also to the Dacian ruins at Sarm, just up the road? We didn't, but would have liked to. We did get to see a lot of the Roman pieces from Sarm re-used at Densus Church, which was interesting.

Ben, as of last year, Hunedoara still was adjoining a rather unattractive steel works. But the castle itself was wonderful and there wasn't anything eminating from the mill's stacks. So, I'm not sure that it was up and running, as all the other factories in town seemed to be full of activity. I'm still happy we got the see the castle. Not often one gets to walk architecture like that and have it be so empty of other visitors. It is an interesting feeling.
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