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ROMANIA: TRAVELOGUES :: HOME ::

Summer 2003 Vacation in Romania
An account of a journey through Romania which took the vacationers from Bucharest parks and summer terraces to Sinaia, with its Peles and Pelisor Castles, and, finally, to the Black Sea coast and the Danube Delta. From Window to Romania, a portal developed by members of the Romanian diaspora in Lebanon. Added: October 4, 2005.

Letters from Bucharest, by Kyle Cassidy, 2001
Kyle Cassidy is a professional photographer -- expect some telling color and B/W shots. Unfortunately, they are all on one page, which makes this page slow to load. If you can wait, it's worth it.

Stephen Drake's Trip to Romania, 1997
From Stephen's travelogue, here's his day spent visiting Sinaia, Bran, Curtea de Arges and Craiova.

Jeroen van Marle's Romania Page
Explore Jeroen's experience of four months in Romania. A conversation with a Romanian peasant about important things in life, diary of bicycle trip (1300 Romanian kilometers -- be sure not to forget to click on the link!), minorities of Romania, and more.

Romania Trip Report, 1993, by David T. S. Fraser
David's fourth visit to Romania, with impressions and suggestions for must-see places.

Interrailing in Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania), 1992, by Sam Garforth
Sam's experience with trains in Romania, and more. No pictures, just descriptions of people and situations.

From Bucharest to Budapest -- A Romanian Travelogue, by Sigfrid Lopez
Sigfrid Lopez's look at Lipscani, Calea Victoriei in Bucharest, at the Art Nouveau Casino in Constanta -- "much, much more strange than any of the buildings in Bucharest . . . including Casa Poporului [the People's Palace]" --, at the passers-by, and, finally, at Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina. In Transylvania, Sigfrid visits Brasov, Bran, Sibiu, Hunedoara, and Sighisoara ("Clearly, the pearl of Transylvania is Sighisoara"); in Maramures, "idyllic to unbelievable levels," its wooden churches, Sighet and Sapinta, with its Merry Cemetery; in Bucovina, two of the seven UNESCO World Heritage churches commonly referred to as "the painted monasteries." Added: February 2, 2006.

Mike Black's Romania Travelogue
A rich description of Mike Black's experience in the Danube Delta, bringing together his knowledge as a bird watcher with the fauna of Crisan, Mila 23, Letea and C.A. Rosetti where Mike and his host from Crisan spot rosate starlings, red rooted falcons, cormorants, spoonbills, and so many other species of birds. Mike's travelogue is accompanied by pictures and written in a style colored by his interest in both nature and computer games: "The best definition I can manage for Crisan is 'a Sim City game before losing.' The village has the simplest design one can imagine, a 7km single file of houses all with a back garden in between two canals. There are around 500 inhabitants in Crisan so the village is like are one big family everybody knowing the other." Also included are travelogues of Brasov, Bran, Sinaia, Curtea de Arges, and lists of costs and expenses. Added: February 2, 2006.

Timisoara, City of Roses
Lee A. Costache introduces you to his beloved city. His features, accompanied by a wealth of picture, capture the spirit and cultural and social relevance of places in Timisoara by extracting the most pungency out of seemingly ordinary momnents. Flocks of pigeons, portraits of people coming to the fountain in Union Square, views of the Bega Canal, two pictures of a homeless 11-year-old, the rustle and bustle of outdoor markets fit together into a sensitive commentary on the life in and of a Romanian city. Added: August 23, 2002. February 6, 2006: These pages are momentarily offline.



BOOKS
Evelyn C. Leeper's Travelogue of Oradea, Cluj, Brasov, Bran, and Bucharest.
The Romanian section of Evelyn C. Leeper's travelogue of Eastern Europe. The first impressions of a visitor to a country are always remarkable things a native notices but would hardly jot down the way they appear in these travelogues: "One of the first things we noticed about Romania was the pollution, perhaps because Oradea (the border town) had a lot of heavy industry built up by Ceausescu, and the air quality shows it. We also saw more horse-drawn carts. In fact, this seems to be a major mode of transportation in Romania. Many have rubber tires (hence the enormous number of 'vulcanizares,' one supposes), but some have only metal-clad wooden wheels. Many of the people driving these are wearing old clothes, but some are wearing new clothes in up-to-date styles. . . ." Reading through Evelyn Leeper's travelogue, one also becomes very aware of the impact breakfast foods, graffiti and hosts have on a visitor who has no more than a few days to get a grasp on the country's history and culture. Added: January 24, 2006.

Brad and Mel's Travelogue of Romania
An Australian couple's 2005 trip to Eastern and Central Europe took them to Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, and Poland. To start reading their travelogue of Romania, go to entry 11, where the two travelers awake on the overnight Budapest-Bucharest train to find that Mel's daypack is missing. Eventually, after conversations with a young Romanian girl on the train and a policeman in Bucharest, they get to visit the capital, a "smelly doberman in faux diamond collar," or, as they comment about the whole of Romania, a bitsa dog ("you know – bitsa this, bitsa that"). Still, they seem to leave the city on a more positive final note: "Central Bucharest is fascinating because it feels like a cut and paste scrap book of modern history. No need to visit a museum -- take a stroll and in the space of an hour's journey you will pass through Parisian landscapes and past imposing grey communist-era apartment blocks and official buildings. And nestled in amongst the ugliness are brilliant ornate orthodox churches, old men and women pouring in and out for services at regular intervals. It is a treasure hunt to find the visual beauty in Bucharest." Their account of the visuals of Bucharest is itself a bits and pieces blog, converging sights into a multiple-layer picture which doesn't resolve itself to common denominators. When it comes to painting a small coherent image of Bucharest under the Ceausescu's, however, their blog becomes a little story, painting a powerful image of decades of communism and of the 1989 revolution in just a few lines.

Next they travel to Brasov, where they stay at "probably the best youth hostel ever" and from where they wander off into the countryside, finally arriving at Peles Castle in Sinaia. They are taken with the "Authentic" peasants they encounter and with stories of bears coming down from the mountains to the city of Brasov for a snack. Their last stop in Romania seems to be the medieval citadel of Sighisoara, where they enjoyed the company of other like-minded travelers. Added: February 6, 2006.

Craig and Tina's Travelogue of Romania
Craig and Tina's "cubicle boycott" took them to 21 countries so far. Among them, Romania, where they stopped in Bucharest, Sinaia, Brasov, Bran, Sibiu, Sighisoara, and Cluj-Napoca. See pictures and get the feel of what it can be like to hike through Bucharest and Transylvania in early September. Posted are also comments on accommodation, so that might be useful as well. Interesting is also their brief account of what they chose to visit in the various cities. Here's a bit of Brasov through their eyes: "We decided to hike Tampa mountain and take in the views of the city and the surrounding countryside. The hike was a nice 45 minute climb or there is a cable car which will whisk you to the top. Once at the top we could see the main attractions of the city from directly above the Brasov sign which must have been thought up after watching one too many Hollywood movies because it is a splitting image of the Hollywood sign in CA." And about Cluj-Napoca: "Since the weather didn't look to be going anywhere we layered up and walked through the local Botanic Gardens which were great even in the rain." Added: January 28, 2006.

Romania: Summer 2004
Caroline and Tim's pictures of Romania, complete with explanations. It is not quite a travelogue, but one such piece of writing is available on their Web site as well. Their trip took them to Bucharest, Brasov, Sinaia, Bran, Sighisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Sapinta, Vadu Izei, Birsana, Borsa, Voronet, Gura Humorului, Iasi, Crisana, Sulina, Costinesti, Constanta, Mangalia -- which is to say they have seen places in Bucharest, Transylvania, Maramures, Moldavia, the Danube Delta, and the Black Sea coast. An extensive trip which acquainted them with the communist-era apartment buildings in Bucharest, the Saxon houses in Brasov and Sighisoara, the Bavarian-style 19th-century Peles Caste in Sinaia, the 15th and 16th-century UNESCO-listed Voronet monastery and its famous frescoes, the wooden churches and gateposts of Maramures, and more. As she travels through Romania, Caroline also wonders at low-slung horse-driven carts, roadside crosses, and a horse's red tassels, to name only a few Romanian-style things a tourist will notice on a first visit. There are also bits of more quotable commentary, as it is the case of Caroline's account of a makeshift grill in the Delta, made out of a hubcap, or her wry ending to the travelogue: "We did try a couple of Romanian meals here [in Constanta] but they turned out basically to be bangers and mash. Just our luck. Out of all the meals we could have picked off the menu and we got bangers and mash." Added: February 12, 2006.

David's Bucharest Page on VirtualTourist.com
If you have a few hours or a day in Bucharest, you might want to take David's suggestions and visit the Cismigiu Gardens, Stavropoleos Church, and the Palace of Parliament. Enjoy a game of chess in Cismigiu, a visit to a small and charming 18th-century church of Old Bucharest, or the heavily decorated rooms of the "monstrosity" and "masterpiece" Casa Poporului (The People's Palace) which, according to David's account, employed 25,000 workers at any given time, as well as hundreds of architects. For more info, read David's notes here. Added: February 12, 2006.

In my own apartment! -- June 24, 2007
Kristin became a Peace Corps volunteer at 60. In this blog she's sharing some of her first thoughts about Romania and Romanian people. "Everyone in Romania adores flowers, gardening, all growing things, babies and animals... and they really respect age! But some things are funny to me: they always carry flowers upside down, with the stems up (I wonder if the flowers actually stay nicer that way?), they often turn their cars off at intersections (to save gas), all hamburgers and other sandwiches include the french fries INSIDE the sandwich, pizza doesn't have any tomato sauce and hardly any cheese, but it's always served with Romanian ketchup, dulce (sweet) or picante (spicy). Many men of all ages say "Sera-moona" to me, which is a courteous sign of respect that means, "I kiss your hand"." To read more in her June 2007 entry go here. To read more about Kristin and see some of her other notes on Romania and her life, follow this link (note that some of the links in the Archive are broken). Added: August 29, 2007.

The Search for Dracula's Castle
Kolby Kirk tells about Poienari Castle, stronghold of Basarab rulers and later of Vlad Dracula. Added: January 29, 2006.

Jonathan Rawlison's blog of Bucharest, Brasov, and Sinaia
Comments on his days in Bucharest, watching people, in Brasov, hiking, and in Sinaia, visiting the Peles Castle. Added: January 29, 2006.

Travels Through a Midlife Crisis
A biker takes to the road and tells about some of his encounters with Romanian people, police officers included. The Observer, September 3, 2006. Added: September 5, 2006.

There's more to Transylvania than Dracula
Marcus Tanner travels to Transylvania spurred by his interest in Hungarian king Matthias Hunyadi/Corvinus. He visits the latter's birthplace in Cluj, and then arrives in Hunedoara, compelled to see the Hunyad Castle. He also visits Sibiu. The Independent, March 1, 2009. Added: January 20, 2010. Marcus Tanner's book published The Raven King: Matthias Corvinus and the Fate of His Lost Library was published by Yale University Press in October 2009.

Living in the land of Dracula
Deirdre McQuillan traveled to the Szekler Hungarian village of Miklósvár/Micloşoara, where Count Tibor Kánoky accompanies tourists to see the locals (the beekeeper, the blacksmith, etc.), and organizes birdwatching trips into the countryside as well as tours to Transylvanian attractions like Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's Castle. The Irish Times, October 25, 2008. Added: January 20, 2010.

Dracula takes a back seat in Transylvania
Andrew Eames travels to some of the Transylvanian Saxon villages in the footsteps of Prince Charles, and finds the countryside to be an "ideal walking country -- Kent with bigger bumps -- being rich in wildlife, totally unfenced, and well provided with trails." He describes a typical village scene poignantly: "A horsecart laden with newly scythed grass stands outside the Magazin Mixt, the village shop. The farmer emerges as the noon bell tolls from the 14th-century fortified church, slaps his mare on the rump, and they clop home, the mare's foal skittering alongside. Nothing in this picture would be out of place 500 years ago." Times Online, February 2, 2008. Added: January 20, 2010.
















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