sâmbătă, 30 martie 2013

The Big Romania Tour of The Horse Meat

The British press, mainly The Guardian, made from a small thing a big issue. Poor guys, must lack totally inspiration and interesting subjects. Maybe an explanation of the slow death of the print. The Brits fear Romanians and Bulgarians invading their happy island, and they fear also their lasagne being produced with horse, instead beef!

But I really believe that one should be happy when buying silver and getting gold. The right horse meat tastes better than beef, and everybody should enjoy when those things happens. And the sad victims are supposed to find ways for reimbursing the producers for their losses.

Here in Romania we don't eat regularly horse, it is a delicacy reserved for the feasts and celebrations. You should know and be aware, that there are special breeding lines for horse meat. This meat is very low on fats and cholesterol, please stop complaining when you find it in your lasagna!
These savage horses from Danube Delta are still living free in the nature

A few centuries ago, when Romania was almost totally covered with forests, and the German cars totally unknown on the planet Earth, everybody used to have one or more horses, it was normally and necessary. But no one used to eat them, they had many other sources of meat. Dead horses were a matter for dogs and wolves. Nowadays we have not so many horses anymore,and we must start growing again to cover the huge demand caused by this stupid  press campaign.
One of the most beautiful horse in Romania (heavy breed)

But let's go to the point, The Tour of the Horse Meat. Free savage horses are to find today solely in the Danube Delta. It is a good idea starting the tour there, with the necessary mention that these horses are more difficult to find and see than the pelicans. My tip: try on the Letea Island, but don't think of hunting them, it is forbidden. Besides, there is no chance to eat  horse inside the Delta, only fish. Exclusively fish, nothing else than fish, you are going to miss anything else, e.g. a piece of horse meat. Only in Tulcea, at Hotel Delta, you can have your favorite lasagna with horse meat, or even get a healthy juicy horse steak, baked in bread crust, with garlic sauce. There are no more comments to be made, except pairing the horse meat with a good white wine, e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon from Murfatlar or Niculitel vineyards.
The Romanian horses are still widely used in the local agriculture. This  is a very creative unique example.

From Tulcea, go please to Oradea, in the other corner of Romania. You can do this travel by train, or by car in two days, with a stopover in Iasi or Brasov. Observe on the way the many horse carts, still massively used in the Romanian agriculture and try not to hanker hungry after them. There are good chances to find good conditions for a grill on the way. It could turn into an event, but you must be prepared with your own horse meat, which is not so easy to find.

Once in Oradea, go for a walk in the downtown, and find next to the Continental hotel one of the best horse restaurants in Romania. Order here a horse soup, followed by a spiced horse goulasch and enjoy totally. Let them spoil this time with a good red wine, e.g. Merlot.

I spared other details about museums or whatsoever, but everything is right scheduled, as I love this country. So, don't be worry about it. Mail and call me for all the necessary details, but be aware please that I am a little overbooked, due to strong interest from France and Britain.

joi, 28 martie 2013

Travelling in Romania by train

As you are an environmental aware traveler and an avid tourist, you might want doing something for our planet and start thinking about traveling by train.

By the way, you can even reach Romania by train, in the most stylish way, with the legendary Orient Express leading from Paris to Istanbul. This real life for sure, and Agatha Christie is preparing to make the right flamboyant appearance. You need some time for it, at least a few days, up to two weeks, but it deserves every minute and every penny!  Daily life in the Orient Express is much more spectacular than a three hours flight from Paris to Bucharest with its fancy dinners, comfort suites, love stories and even crimes.
The first steam locomotive used 150 years  ago on the Romanian railways

The truth is that the railway is being there since a few centuries and traveling by train is one of the cleanest ways of transportation. The railway is more than any street a part of the landscape and environment and the railway tunnels or bridges are really spectacular. Some railway stations in Romania are really masterpiece of architecture, and I am going to name just a few of them: Baile Herculane, Oravita, Iasi, Suceava,Arad.
The iconic railway station from herculane is one of the oldest and nicest countrywide

Traveling by train in Romania has a long tradition, and you can explore the full country up to its most remote corners exclusively by train. I even thought on a circuit covering all the country's most iconic regions exclusively by train, and I am going to propose it to you bellow, with a few mentions and observations. If you want to travel in style, look for the first class and the comfy Inter city trains. A 500 km long journey will cost under this exclusive conditions 40 Euros. If you would like, on the contrary, travel on a tight budget, count with the half of the mentioned amount, putting on the balance the fact that traveling by train is in Romania much safer than traveling by car. Your taste, your choice, I only want to inform you correctly!
Not any longer in use, unfortunately!

Start your Romanian train journey from Bucharest, where you can visit the amazing Museum of the Romanian Railways, showing even the first steam locomotive used in the country 150 years ago! Travel then over Ploiesti-Buzau-Focsani to Iasi and take a break there! (You can actually take more breaks than I propose during your circuit, the administration is very flexible about). Travel then from Iasi to Timisoara, over Suceava-Cluj Napoca-Oradea-Arad. Discover not far from Timisoara one of the oldest railway, with its fancy fantastic stations in Buzias, Oravita and Herculane, but go further to Craiova. Have a break and a rest there in Craiova, you are brave and totally deserve it! Now travel from Craiova to Bucharest and Constanta over Ramnicu Valcea-Pitesti. It is a total joy of life in everything on this royal journey, you must be only  aware of it, and let it overwhelming you. Traveling by train in Romania is wonderful for families, solo, gay or whatsoever.
The today technique on the Romanian Railways will bring you safe to the destination

miercuri, 27 martie 2013

Best yoga retreats in Romania

If yoga is a philosophy or a way of life, or may be both, is still an opened question. But when it comes to be happy enjoying life, nothing compares to yoga! I agree with the yoga freaks, gurus or master, I do totally!

If you practice yoga, there is no reason breaking your lessons and sessions during your Romanian holidays, but on the contrary. Many Romanians are also practicing, you can join one of these groups (unfortunately the best Romanian guru, namely Gregorian Bivolaru, is not in the country anymore!). You can find these open groups in the big cities like Bucharest or Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, Constanta etc, mainly in the student quarters or high intellectual circles. Or you can keep practicing on your own, as usually, with the necessary mention that some places are much better than others for your exercises!
Even a fancy luxury hotel like Bucharest Radisson can offer good conditions for practicing yoga

First of all, the Romanian shore of the Black Sea offers excellent conditions for yoga. If you can get the wet stripe during sunrise all your chakras will enjoy. You can do it in the rustic Vama Veche or in the cosy Costinesti. Don't bother about the other people on the beach at that time. They might be drunk, tired or are doing the same thing (some of them might be even practicing tantra, don't bother them please). It is also possible to find a remote corner only for yourself, if you prefer being alone during these fantastic moments.

Another amazing place for yoga practicing is the Danube Delta. Make the right choice and stay in a remote pension, or camp in the middle of nowhere. The Danube Delta is still almost genuine and waking early in the morning means to hear some fantastic bird songs, or the fishermen living in their boats. There is a strange strong energy coming from anywhere, you need only let it flooding you.

You can even dare keep practicing your favorite yoga positions while staying in one of the country's leading hotels, but under these circumstances you should adopt the Tina Turner's method: take an extra room, only for your exercises, if the budget is not an issue! Ruling this healthy way of life should not exclude tasting and enjoying a glass of wine (my personal opinion and experience).
The spa retreat from Herculane is one of my secret tips for yoga freaks

Other great yoga destinations in Romania are the spa retreats from Felix and Herculane, no doubt. Their pools with thermal water and their surrounding hills covered with forest offer the most fantastic conditions for feeling the prana!

For the lonely type, my last tip: climbing mountains will help better understanding and enjoying God and life. The peaks of Moldoveanu or Ceahlaul are not an impossible task to achieve, offering royal rewards and compensations!

marți, 26 martie 2013

Best Culture and Wine Tours of Iasi

The Romanian City of Iasi is really amazing. It combines in a happy manner culture, history and archaeology, with entertainment and frenetic night life. Within one or two days you can experience all these things in an original mix, turning your ordinary Iasi Tour in an unforgettable event.

Remember first of all that Iasi is build on 7 hills, similar with the ancient Rome, and you can know and meet it  under excellent circumstances by feet or by bike. Thus you can go very close to its remarkable people, buildings and museums, experiencing the local flair and flavor.
You can take part to a professional wine tasting in Cotnari by Iasi

A brilliant idea is to start is to start and end your Iasi Tours in the Downtown, to the Culture Museum. The Culture Palace is a breathtaking building, dating back from 1925 and hosting no less than four museums, together with a leading library. If you are lucky not to find the Culture Palace during its neverending restoration works, you can use this opportunity for visiting all these museums. Thus you are going to use one or two days from your precious time, but you are not going to regret it! Discover first the History Museum of Moldavia, with artifacts from the old days up today. Run further in the Iasi Art Museum to enjoy fantastic painting and carving works from the Romanian school, but also from Italian, French and Flemish ones. If you are the technical freak, don't miss the Technical Museum, also hosted by the Culture Palace.
The breathtaking Culture Palace hosts no less than four good museums, deserving a visit

You can have a well deserved shopping or eating break in the Moldova Mall, which is actually a controversial modern building, just a few steps away from the Culture Palace. Critics and opponent can't forgive the arrogance of Moldova Mall, and are not able to understand who gave it the building approval. But the most modern mall of Iasi is a few streets further, namely Iulius Mall. which is really upscale and state of the art.

Old and new are permanently mixing in this breathtaking city with a student thrill! Close to the Culture palace discover the Dosoftei Museum of The Romanian Old literature, and the leading city hotels ( if you wanna stay and eat in style, make the good choice and select the Traian Grand Hotel, city's oldest!).
Iasi is doubtless a city of churches, you can find wonderful churches at every step and corner. Throwing a stone in Iasi , it will probably break a church window (local legend!)

Mix than with the locals, walking through the city, heading to the entertainment areas of Ciric and Bucium, where you can take part to wine tastings ( they are not running usually such fine events, but I can arange, would be great for your vacation and Iasi Tour!). Cotnari is another name to remember, when it comes to a Iasi Tour. It is very close, and is one of the best Romanian vineyards, with excellent white flavored wines ( note, ask, and taste the strong flavored Tamaioasa and Frangusa!). But please don't miss on the way the churches of Iasi, and don't be afraid visiting them inside. The Romanians are between the most tolerant people worldwide, they will be very happy to see you there. The priest will salute you, and on some very rarely events will accept even the women in the holly altar (unfortunately, it only happens 100 years after the church inauguration, so you must be very meek). Anyway, a fantastic peaceful atmosphere will seduce you inside.

duminică, 24 martie 2013

Most impressive hot spots in Sibiu

Only other very few Romanian cities can compete Sibiu as interesting targets for travelers. Sibiu is totally special. It was shortly a sort of Transilvanian Capital, preferred to bigger cities as Cluj Napoca, Timisoara or  Brasov.

Sibiu has been for centuries an example of peaceful living together of Romanians, Germans and Hungarians and even today is the first city when coming to the Romanian Germans, their intensive history or their newer investments in Romania. One of the legends about the first people living here mentions around year 1000 a German shepherd called Hermann, coming here from Nuremberg! The history is totally different, but the German name of Sibiu is Hermannstadt (or Nagyszebenyi in Hungarian).
Bruckental Museum in Sibiu, one of the hottest spot , really a World Attraction  deserving your time and money

Sibiu in its downtown is full of old historic houses having played a major role during the intensive life of this millenary city. For history or architecture  freaks is really thrilling discovering Sibiu. Make it walking in style, with a noon break at Imparatul Romanilor, the city's most exclusive restaurant (don't even think asking about horse meat, becoming shortly one of the favorite Romanian meals).

 The fortress of Sibiu is one of the most important city's landmarks, and you may not miss it. Build in the XIIth century and then modified and enlarged until the XVIth century was the strongest in the all Transilvania/Siebenbuerger and is still able to show very proudly  in some places its former glamour. At the peak of its development counted 39 towers, 2 platforms and 4 bastions. Access was granted exclusively through four well guarded gates (Cisnadie, Tower, Elisabeth, Ocna). Unfortunately, during the quickly development of Sibiu in the XIXth century most parts of the fortress have been demolished. Discover first the Stairs Tower, at Grivita Square, one of the city's oldest buildings (1292) and observe its Roman style. Bellow the tower, there is a tunnel connecting with the Fortress Hospital (nowadays an asylum for elder and seniors). It is actually the first Romanian  hospital using pharmaceutical recipes.

Another hot spot is the Old Mayoralty, one of the nicest and most interesting Gothic monuments of Transilvania. Build at 1470 hosted 400 years long the Mayor of the fortress.

Very typical for the Orthodoxe Church Architecture is the Old Church from street 1 Mai, similar to the church St Sophia from Istanbul.

But most probably the hottest spot in Sibiu, even if you are not necessary an art freak is the Bruckenthal Museum. His founder, namely Samuel Bruckenthal, was governor of Transilvania and private adviser of the Austrian Queen Maria Terezia (still having a statue in Sibiu). Observe first to the entrance the portal with the coat of arms of Bruckenthal Family. The Art Museum was opened in 1810 (three years before The Paris Louvres) and is the oldest in Romania. You need a few hours to watch all the masterpieces hosted by the museum, but you are going to feel much richer afterwards. It definitely deserves your time and efforts, due to the fantastic building and excellent paintings from different European schools!
On the Liar's Bridge from Sibiu you can check and double check  the strength  and reliability of your beloved partner!  Please don't cause any harm to the bridge!

If you need a break after this intensive cultural tour, take it on your own. You can make it on a budget in one of the city's many terraces and small, yet chic small restaurants ( special personal mention and recommendation for Crama Sibiul Vechi). But you can take also in style in the Hotel Restaurant "Imparatul Romanilor", the city's best, who hosted during the XIXth century some prominent personalities, like the King of Sweden, Franz Liszt, Johann Strauss etc. Enjoy the wine, enjoy the life, enjoy Sibiu with all your body and soul, as a World Attraction!
Sibiu Downtown looks very Medieval

sâmbătă, 23 martie 2013

How To Discover The Amazing Hercules Bath In Romania

Baile Herculane/Herculesbad/Hercules Bath is really special among the Romanian spa resorts. Its huge prestige is due not only the long history of its wonderful healing powers(more than 2000 years), but also to its amazing hot mineral waters. These fabulous waters have been used by the legendary Hercules himself, representing according the locals one of the reason of his unearthly strength.

These waters have have many healing properties, and one can use them for inside or outside cure. Besides, qualified personnel offer some useful helping treatments, e.g. geriatric, acupunctural, apitherapic. You can have your daily water treatments very private in small bathrooms, or in bigger luxury pools (Ruschita marble. Your choice, your taste!). And if you come for a cure, you may not miss the fabulous environment. The town and resorts are surrounded by picturesque mountains and forests. You can walk there for days and weeks!
The fantastic Railway Station from Herculane is one of the most beautiful in Romania, and reminds to a Turkish bath

The position and climate of Baile Herculane is totally unique. Strong Mediterranean influences are to feel in the lack of very cold days, even during the worst Romanian winters. And about the vegetation, take a walk in the amazing Domogled National Park, with its unique endemic species, right near the resort.
The legendary Hercules must have been a local of Herculane

Reaching Herculane by train, you see first the railway station, of course. It is very old and stylish, one of the most beautiful railway stations in Romania. Its amazing Architecture reminds a Turkish bath! First, we walk and discover through Pecinisca, a quarter of the town Hercules Bath. Modern, with sad blocks of flats, and totally unspectacular. Cross the bridge on the Cerna River, build in the 70's on the place of an older, much nicer one, from 1896. On the right bank the rich forest simply falls on the town, while the left bank you can see the Domogled heights, inviting to a demanding walk. Not far is the breathtaking Central Park with a perfect mix of species. Very peaceful environment, with old couples walking, while the young kissing ones must be searched at night whether here, or in the hot pools. Daily, during the summer season, be sure to find the orchestra singing in the middle of the park. Discover here around the hotels Diana, Afrodita, and the old Bath Venera, build in 1752. On the other side of Cerna River, discover the wonderful Villa Livia, deeply Romanian in its Architecture. Very close, the Central Swimming Pool (1871) and the Hotel Traian, build in an interesting Vienna baroque style. A proud representing building is the former Casino, nowadays the Town museum. Don't miss the statue of Hercules in Hercules Bath, please, it is the symbol of all town and the locals are very proud about. They know a lot of myths and legends and pretend Hercules is simply one of them.
Baile Herculane is very stylish and peaceful

About the trekking and hiking trails I will let you know very soon, meet first this fabulous resort and spa retreat. You can do it in style in one of the resort's leading hotels, or on a budget. You are only pleased to enjoy life and the special environment of Baile Berculane.

marți, 12 martie 2013

How to choose the Best Romanian Cruises

The Romanian climate is usually lacking on rain during the hot summers, causing big problems to the local farmers (please don't worry for the vineyards, it is the best possible for the wine production, thanks.) Consequently, the water levels on the most important inside rivers diminishes dramatically. No chance for cruising, rafting etc.

You still have the option to build a loggers floating boat, as in the good old times of 100 years ago. But you must be born for that, having the deep taste of adventure. Historically speaking, it was once the main way for exporting the Romanian wood. You can do this unforgettable travel on the river Bistrita, living in Piatra Neamt, and sailing up to Galati. Olt, Mures  and Jiu are other big important rivers you can rely on, even during the hot summer.
The spectacular Orthodox Cathedral from Galati

A good opportunity for cruising in style is living from Tulcea in Danube Delta, a natural sanctuary and a must see in Romania. Karpaten Tourism is in my opinion the best agency able to organize for you something very special, with city breaks in Tulcea and Constanta, or wine tastings in Murfatlar or Niculitel. It will turn really in an event taking your breath away. Only inside the Delta there are so many maze channels, and some of them are only accessible by boat, and not by ship! You can go from Tulcea to Sulina, and then navigate even on the strange Black Sea, along the Romanian Black See coast, stopping in Constanta with its museums, or in Mangalia. Further is Bulgaria, with the renowned ports of Varna and Burgas.
The frenetic life of the Danube port of Tulcea turns around the water

But even if you are the marine sailing type, anything else is paling if you compare with the fantastic Delta. Don't miss it it so long, go back in Tulcea and (re)discover the Danube Delta with its spectacular birds nesting everywhere. eat fish, it is very healthy and very tasty if cooked by the locals. Besides, remember the old myth saying that the fish eater can cope better with the daily troubles, exactly like the fish does in his environment (some people name it crisis management) . Make a break in Tulcea, just to have an excellent short wine tour, with stopping in Murfatlar and Niculitel. Another excellent reason to enjoy your Romanian cruise and the life, broadly speaking.
Wine tasting is simply a must do during any Romanian trip

From Tulcea you still have a few days to explore the Romanian Danube. It is really impressive. Most of the ports are small towns, whose lives turn around the water, like Calarasi, Giurgiu, Oltenita, Calafat, Drobeta or Orsova. Since Constanta discovered its global vocation, controlling the most of the Romanian trade, these little ports lost their importance. Braila is bigger and much more spectacular, still proudly showing its ancient prosperity due to the cereals trade, and Galati is one of the biggest Romanian cities, ports and yards. Due to special deepening works, Galati is easy accessible for big sea tanks and mineral ships supplying the local steel factory, one of the biggest worldwide. Unfortunately, Galati has nothing to show to its visitors, is a typical industrial city with the same ugly blocks of flats.
The small town of Calarasi  is peaceful, but spectacular

There is a wonderful relaxing travel this Romanian cruise through a neverending plain, which is not lacking on charm. It is in a way similar to the Hungarian puszta, displaying the same excellent fertile soil, small forests. Figure the landscape a few centuries ago, you could see only unbeaten forests. Approaching Drobeta and the Iron Gates/Portile de Fier the landscape changes totally and dramatically. Wild mountains, excellent for your outdoor adventures: climbing, hunting, fishing. Observe the big lake from the dam, its building meant the remove of a few villages and of the iconic island Ada Kaleh, a pirates nest. From this point of vue, the spectacular town of Orsova is the most modern Romanian one, being the newest!
Here in Iron Gates Romania says hello to the Danube

From Iron Gates you can go further to Belgrade, Budapest, Vienna, or you can choose to turn back to Tulcea, whether by ship, or by bus/train ( simply on land, after all!). You have a wide offer to your disposal, and I am sure that you are going to make the right choice. I am going to help and support you, you need only to name your wishes!

duminică, 10 martie 2013

How to discover the best of Romania

There a few basic things to know about Romania, before starting to discover this promise land. Don't dare to tell the old story of your Romanian ancestors, if you have no evidences about, or you don't even know a few Romanian words.

Remember also the simple thing of the strong compact religion in this country: 90 % of the population is Christian Orthodox, but you shall not fear anything about. The Romanian are very tolerant toward any other religions and will respect for real your different beliefs.

There are a few fantastic places in Romania, which I can really recommend you warmly. Nevertheless, you must be aware that sometimes during the high season all these leading destinations might be overcrowded consequently to the mass tourism. I appreciate the following places to be the hottest in Romania:

1. Danube Delta is a fabulous protected area, where 300 of species are nesting in the hot season. Danube Delta is huge, 5000 sqkm and you need days or weeks to discover it in detail. Start conquering your Delta from Tulcea, and remember to do it by boat, otherwise is impossible anyway. Eat fish, there is a plenty of it, and taste the fish soup boiled with Danube water. Don't forget your favorite white half dry wine to pair with the fish. Be sure to have a good camera.
Bucharest is a charming mix between old and modern

2.Discover the spectacular Bucharest ,the Romanian Capital,  with its eclectic mix of Architecture styles. A visit in the downtown is a time travel, recommended for any Architecture student. You can have your Bucharest in style, or on a budget, it is an attractive city with more than 2 000 000 inhabitants, knowing to receive his honored guests. You can stay a day in Bucharest, or you can fall and stay a life, it happens. Don't miss the charming fountains and the parks. Also to mention in Downtown: there is frenetic night life!
The church of Sucevita is a must see among the Bucovina painted  churches

3. The painted monasteries from Bucovina are breathtaking, due to their intrinsic artistic value and their surrounding environment. If you are there on Easter, is perfectly for you. The locals will warmly salute and adopt you. My tip: discover the monasteries and the breathtaking landscapes by bike, within a few days, starting from Suceava, Radauti or other pension in the area. There is a fantastic peace and a strange yet strong force you can experience by yourself.
Cluj Napoca is a typical example of charming urban life

4. The urban life in Romania can be discovered through a few selected city breaks, e.g. Iasi, Constanta, Cluj Napoca, Craiova,Timisoara, Sibiu, Brasov. Some of the have airports, but you can also land in the capital Bucharest, making then a travel by car or train. My tip: despite the time pressure put on you, I find a good idea to visit at least two different cities from the mentioned list, in order to observe and compare the different influences exerted on them!
I even have an exciting proposal for Romania: a big wine tour, who will turn to be an unique event

5.Have a look to the Romanian vineyards, whether only one, or more of them during a big Romania Wine Tour, which is really an unique event. Also possible for ladies, who can taste champagne, it is really fair and democratic. Don't be afraid for the good condition of your liver, wine tasting has some hidden secrets I know, and the golden rule is to taste the wine, without swallowing it. You must spit it, no matter how sorry you might be! If you understand and agree this basic rule, you can book immediately

sâmbătă, 9 martie 2013

Best Easter Getaways in Romania

There are many interesting things to know about Romania, or to do in Romania. One of them is the fantastic development of the religion in the last 20 years, after the dissolution of communism.

90 % of the Romanian population is Christian Orthodox, and the half of them attend regularly the Church service. Most of the priests are really devoted to their mission and communities, excellent examples for the people around them. There is a strong strength protecting this blessed country, and for a fine observer is the most spectacular thing during a Cultural Church Tour.

Even if you are not in the mood for for a Romanian Church Tour, but only looking for Easter Getaways I can recommend you some good places in Romania. Because Romania is relatively cheap, interesting, the people are wonderful, and still enjoy a fantastic peak and charisma. Romania is still off the beaten path, and you can make a good profit from it!
Downtown Suceava, the Local Council

The first destination is the picturesque Bucovina with its hilly landscape and many churches. Visiting an Orthodox church makes you really experiencing a fantastic, unbelievable and unknown force, having nothing to do with your religion or beliefs. All you have to do is simply visiting short the church during the night Easter celebration. The Romanian Orthodox will start within a week the Easter abstinence, and after the Easter service will enjoy a huge feast. They will surely invite you taking part to the feast, there is plenty of food and wine there, beware the overfilling!
An amazing fountain in The Bucharest Herastrau  Park

You can try to do for a few days the Bike Tour of The Painted Monasteries, to keep you fit. Otherwise, you can visit all these painted monasteries in one day, admiring the proud local popular suits. If you are on travel with family and children, visit the Suceava Fortress and the History Museum, or try riding horses in Radauti. If you travel solo there are other great stylish  destinations in Romania.

If you are on a time pressure,  or you like more the urban life, I would recommend two destinations: Bucharest and Sibiu. Bucharest, the amazing Romanian Capital, offers a lot of attractions. Its glamorous palaces create in Downtown a very chic atmosphere. It is an overwhelming eclectic mix of styles, and you can really feel in another century. Besides, in the Bucharest parks the coming spring will bring an explosion of colors. The Orthodox churches will be surely full, and you may visit them, beyond any language or religion differences. There are a few stylish hotels, which can turn your stay in an event. For your children there are a plenty of activities, starting with the museums, pools and parks. There is no time for boring in Bucharest, guaranteed!
Even if you are not a culture freak, worth to visit the Sibi

Sibiu, called by the Old Romans Cibinium, is the center of the German minority in Romania. Unfortunately, there not so many Germans in Romania anymore, but in Sibiu you can feel and observe their strong presence. In the central Downtown you can walk a lot, stopping in one of the many pubs and terraces. The Architecture is rather similar to a German city, than to a Romanian one, at least in the center. Visit in Sibiu the amazing art museum Bruckenthal. If you are with your fiancee/lover/wife test her faith to the Liar's Bridge. Outside the city, in Dumbrava, there is a fabulous museum in the middle of the forest, with traditional houses from all Romania. Enjoy a tasty juicy meal in one of the good restaurants still having in menu traditional dishes, e.g. meat rolls, together with a glass of wine.

Thus you are going to like Romania, but also the Eastern ritual feast.

miercuri, 6 martie 2013

The amazing history of the Hungarians in Romania and the fantastic Szekelyifold

Nowadays the Hungarian minority is the most significant in Romania, almost 7 % of the population, or 1500000 people are esteemed Hungarian. It is the most beloved yet controversial minority, and the most reliable.

The Hungarians (Magyar or Szekelyi) are hard worker and loyal. They don't speak so much like the expansive Latin Romanians, lacking sometimes the sense of humor. But if you win their trust, they keep the word and can jump in fire for you. We, Romanians and Hungarians, have a long history behind, 1000 years. During  all these times we hat arguments and fights, good things and bad things. Sometimes all these old hard feelings flare up. The fact is that there are still to find silly extremists on the both sides, mainly politicians using this sensible matter to rise their popularity.
Miercurea Ciuc/Csikszereda is very nice and clean, and has fantastic restaurants

In my opinion, this long common history should keep us together, not separate us. I want personally thank to the loyal Magyar citizen of Romania. Many Romanian sport champions had Hungarian origins, e.g. the renowned trainers of the big champion Nadia Comaneci were Martha and Bela Karolyi, nowadays living in the USA. Koeszonem szepek.

In the very heart of Romania there is a compact Hungarian population, the Szekelyi. In this amazing area you can hear rather Hungarian speaking than Romanian. They are very proud and not anyone can win their trust. The villages are very old and fantastic good kept. Many Hungarians from Hungary travel here to rediscover some forgotten traditions. The most amazing thing about these Szekelyi is their fantastic spectacular cuisine. They are actually the best chefs in all leading Romanian restaurants. They cook the best goulash worldwide, but you must be aware: smells and tastes fantastic, and is impossible hot. Eat it together with the hot palinka (double distiled plum or pear brandy) as appetiser and a good strong Romanian wine (do it for me, please, and for the historic reconciliation).
Sfantu Gheorghe/Szepziszentgyorgy is another interesting town  to vizit in Szekely land

The Szekelyifold/Tinutul secuiesc is a spectacular mountain area, with many fantastic landscapes and interesting small towns, near the mentioned villages. The Szekelyi socialize excellent in their villages by brandy making, when they stay together for hours, as the village has only one boiling installation used alternatively by any of them. The same happens to the big bread ovens. It is a wonderful event visiting a good traditional Szekelyi restaurant from the Szekelyifold. Keep in mind the towns of Miercurea Ciuc, Sfantu Gheorghe and Odorheiu Secuiesc.

marți, 5 martie 2013

The Best Romanian beaches

The 45 degrees Northern latitude crosses exactly through Romania. There is no big sheet, you might answer! O.k., but one little detail makes this thing so important, otherwise I wouldn't dare to bother you! It marks precisely the half of the distance between North Pole and Equator, influencing the main characteristics of the Romanian climate.

The Romanian climate is mild, with four seasons. The best in the world, I would say normally, but I only want to inform you correctly, and not to boast Romania. We celebrate already the Spring, it is really amazing the total revival of nature. Will be very spectacular for you taking part in Romania to anyone of the Spring Festivals and observing everything what is going on.
In Sulina you can swimm whether in the sea, or in the Danube

If you can't visit Romania within the next two months, and are supposed to come in the Middle of the hot summer, your first option shall be the coast. The Romanian Black Sea coast is 245 km long and offers pristine beaches. One of them, probably the first one, is Vama Veche, which locals together with their clients strive to keep in the actual state, despite big development plans. Vama Veche is only for the initiated persons understanding its spell. You can camp in Vama Veche, sleep on the beach, and make everything you need on the beach. A really vagabondish Bohemiam way of life. It is a target for for budget travelers or for those looking for Romania off the beaten path.
The beach in Costinesti is overcrowded with nonconformist teenagers.  But during nights it can offer a little intimacy.

On the other extremity of the Romanian coast you can find Sulina, where you can bath according your wishes whether in the sea, or in the Danube. It gives you a strange fantastic feeling assisting this fusion, which gives birth to the Europe's youngest soil. Sulina is not very easy accessible, only by water, whether from Tulcea, or from Constanta. Please observe in Sulina the advancing speed of the soil: 150 years ago the harbor was even on the shore, nowadays you can walk a few hundred meters.
An old bath in Herculane, be sure to find much newer, you can ever stay there in style

The Romanian youngsters together with their foreign fellows go usually in Costinesti. The beach is rocky, but no one cares about it. There is no chance to sleep in Costinesti by night, the many clubs and their partying clients are noisy indeed. You are going to need another vacation after staying a few days in Costinesti, but it is worth a visit at any risk.

The sea shore is not the only place in Romania where you can bath or lieing in the sun (not recommended during hot months between 10-16 hours). On the Danube, and along the other important inside rivers you can find many interesting places. Or you might try to see and enjoy a spa retreat, based on the Transilvania thermal waters, the best places are Felix and Herculane!

duminică, 3 martie 2013

Epic Tours in The Fagaras Mountains, at the heart of Romania

Supposing you are a Millionaire, money don't matters and are last issue for you, and you must find the most eccentric way for visiting Romania. Under these circumstances, I would recommend doubtless and with no reserve starting your Romania journey through landing on Moldoveanu or Negoiu, Romania's highest peaks.

It is really a good idea, the best possible for visiting Romania in the most stylish possible way. But to be honest, I must confess: for such Romanian Eccentric Tours I had no demand, and that's why I must come back, addressing to the normal ordinary people like you and me. No matter, I have other checked  ideas for discovering Romania on a budget, but also in the Fagaras County ( also referred as Fagaras Country).
The Fagaras Fortress is fabulous, you can stay there and figure the daily medieval way of life

We have Fagaras Mountains, Fagaras fortress and town, Fagaras County and even Fagaras Country. This area stretches in the center of Romania, between Brasov and Sibiu, showing a long spectacular history, starting with the good old antique times, when the Romans conquered Dacia, forming the Romanian people (around 105 B.C.) and even before. Later, around year 1000 came the Hungarians, starting the interesting Medieval history of the Fagaras Country. Despite foreign occupations from Budapest and later on Vienna, Fagaras remained Romanian in the majority, having rich trade connections with the other Romanian countries, mainly Wallachia.
The small town of Victoria is a good base for conquering the  Fagaras Mountains

Start your discovery tour with the small town of Fagaras, whose life turns around the Medieval Fortress. It is certainly by far the town's most interesting sightseeing spot. Be sure to find there a few restaurants and a hotel. Please don't bother searching lodging anywhere else, stay here in this spectacular fortress and try to figure the medieval life. You can easily reach Fagaras by car and by train. At noon (normally is never too hot) you can take a walking tour of the town, observing the people, the churches, the remote mountains. Please keep in mind the direction, and start to explore them.
Conquering Moldoveanu requires training and a good shape

You can direct first to the town of Victoria, a typical industrial communist one. You are very close to the big Moldoveanu indeed! You can start climbing! Or you can go further to the village of Cartisoara, and drive on the breathtaking Transfagarasan road, reaching 2042 meters height. But there is no chance to conquer the Moldoveanu by car, it is 2500 meters and requires training and a good shape. About Transfagarasan Road there are a few legends. When Ceausescu build it in 1974 it has a strategic goal and the construction required its victims for sure ( probably much more than the officially recognized 40 deaths). In winter is always closed, as you can imagine, and crosses the longest tunnel in Romania, near Balea lac ( unfortunately not ventilated at all, and thus very dangerous). Another possibility to try conquering the big Moldoveanu, Romania's highest peak, is to stay here in the cabin Balea Lac, take the funicular to Balea Cascada and start climbing from there. Now it is not so difficult anymore, anyone can try it.

And once there you can really feel like a Millionaire! It really worth your time and efforts.

sâmbătă, 2 martie 2013

Most Romantic Destinations in Romania

Valentine's Day is gone, the local Dragobete (a local specific similar celebration) also, thank God. I started to hate all these artificial commercial celebration, as you can't celebrate love at a certain time, at a certain hour. Not at all, the people are complicated, and that's why love is so nice.

I think that the huge publicity made to Valentine's Day leads to a sensible increase of depressions among the singles. Too sad for them, this is not an article for singles, and totally not recommended to depressive singles, but I am preparing also one for them, wishing to help fighting their fears!

Well, supposing you are involved in a happy relationships, or you plan to start one, but must finally check your beloved one, I would totally recommend Romania. You can visit Romania in style, or on a budget, the money are not the most important issue at all!
Downtown Bucharest, with its many clubs, pubs and terraces, is totally in

If you are a very social couple, I can advice with a total heart to visit one big city, like Bucharest, Craiova or Timisoara. Bucharest in downtown is very in fashion these days, and you can find a lot of clubs or fancy restaurants in Area. Take also a park in the Cismigiu Garden, for warming up, book a room in Rembrandt Hotel and eat in style to the Restaurant Carul Cu Bere. At night visit for a while the clubs on Lipscani street (a good recommendation even for singles).

Craiova is very special. The locals are very proud, speak very much and loud, are expansive and extrovert. The clubs are very animated, and you may not ask the local about football, it is really taboo. Expect from the locals to give you all its belongings, even their shirt, when they are fond of you! You can see Craiova in style staying to the excellent hotel Casa cu Tei, in a wonderful noble house from the downtown with excellent service. If you are on a budget, you can still have a deep intimacy in hotel Parc.
The lovely Timisoara is a good target for lovers

Timisoara is completely different, and thus totally charming. They have manners, even on the street, are very polite, but reserved. They will judge and weight you a lot before speaking to you. There are Serbian, Hungarians, Germans in the area, and their influence is easy to observe. So easy to try in Timisoara a gastronomic tour! It is one of Romania's most beautiful cities, you are going to like it for sure. Discover your Timisoara in style staying to the prestige hotel Iosefin Residence from the downtown, or on a budget at the retired Hotel Doria.
The small town of Fagaras, and the Medieval fortress, the most important thing to see  there

If you are not the big city type, or if you are not in the mood for intensive socialization, you will prefer a smaller town. Romania has a lot of small towns, counting about 30 000 inhabitants, and having hidden legends you can discover. One of them totally off the beaten path, is Fagaras. Very close to Sibiu and Brasov, Fagaras lies very close to the spectacular Fagaras Mountains, Romanian highest ( also called the Romanian Alps). You can discover these magnificent mountains by car or bike from the Transfagarasan road, one of the world's most fantastic ones, or you may try to climb on that mountains. Climbing the Fagaras mountains is not impossible, but requires to be in a good shape. It is really cheap, yet beneficial to your health if you return in good conditions. Search in the Fagaras Mountains the Cabins Balea Lac and Balea Cascada, whose dormitories will seems to be very luxury!