Romania - You'd Be Amazed

Lets admit, Romania would not be your number one destination to go when thinking about holidays. Frankly, if I didn’t know the people, I would not visit myself. To a very pleasant surprise, it was one of the best trip experiences I have ever had. Romanians are the most hospitable, caring and group-minded persons I ever had a pleasure to be surrounded by. Lets review what’s so special about it.


GEOGRAPHY


To begin with, Romania is located in East Europe having direct borders with Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. It is said to have a shape of a fish. The country is gifted with Carpathian Mountains which takes almost a half size of the country leading to a beautiful landscape which Romania has. The Black Sea area remains a must during summer season. Romania holds a 22 million people population, capital city being Bucharest. Winter temperature falls bellow zero giving a lot of snow to enjoy winter activities such as skiing or ATV riding. Summer temperature might rise well above 30C leading to have a little, or not so little, sun tan.


HISTORY


Excellent geographic location and competitive neighbours led to some difficult times in terms of history. Firstly, it was concurred by Ottoman Turks who ruled the country for centuries. Some parts such as Transylvania remained semi-autonomous though. In later years, after the World War II to be exact, Romania suffered from hard-core communism. Led by Nicolae Ceausescu, people were suppressed in freedom to expand businesses, buy essential nutrition or hygiene products and other. Thankfully, in 1989 Romania had a revolution, killing the ruler, starting their way to democracy. In more recent terms, the country became a member of European Union in 2007.


ECONOMY


Romania has a number of powerful industries such as manufacturing, machine-building, metals, chemicals, textile and footwear. Some highlights would include a Coca-Cola and Unilever factories in Ploiesti. Luckily, they do produce oil and gas which gives them some freedom when talking about heating. However, that is not enough to support total country demand.


CULTURE


around, you will notice a number of amazing buildings such as beautiful monasteries, orthodox churches and most importantly - castles. Religious items also do appear on every house I have visited and there is a tradition to cross oneself when passing through a church. Romanians did and still do invest vastly in architecture. Youngsters tend to stay and study the subject learning the art of using large chunks of gold, building princess towers and other fairytale attributes which is largely seen in Romanian culture. The People’s Palace which used to belong to the communist leader is the second biggest building in the world after Pentagon in the US. Some strange things I have noticed includes: a bath instead of shower (everywhere), locks locked only with a key (even in the bathrooms), many levels inside the house supported by stairs (short or long). Furthermore, artists’, poets’ and other culture-related peoples’ portraits reveal artistic importance which is felt when travelling through Romania.Travelling


GASTRONOMY


The most-explored field would most probably be food and drink experiences. Romanians love heavy, meaty and rather tasty food. Firstly, I should mention - there will never be a shortage of food in a Romanian group. First dishes would include zakuska - vegetable based topping, feta cheese, flitch of bacon, eggplant topping, liver pate and various meats. Main sauce: sour cream. Second courses would be made of meat and potatoes. Some foods I have tried: sarmale which is stuffed cabbage with pork meat and a pot of polenta with bacon, cheese and sour cream. Deserts include a lot of dough and sugar. Salty snacks are also popular. Then it comes to alcohol, Romanians like doing it themselves. Grandpas’ make wine or spirits at home, just like that.


PERSONAL INSIGHTS


Some little shocks I have experienced when visiting Romania were things such as inside-smoking. No matter the place - smoking will always be allowed. This is due to a large dependance on tobacco industry. Additionally, a lot of people are send to jails because of corruption and tax avoidance. I was also informed there is a large gap between the rich and poor which is most probably an effect of this feature. Romania does have a large homeless problem. Gipsies walk around in streets asking for spare change, drug addicts are also common guests inside the trains or in the train stations. Furthermore, taxi services are extremely cheap and drivers arrive in less than two minutes. One more quite unusual subject - nightclub inside a mall. Shopping centres remain the place to shop, individual shops are not so present. Women are beautiful, but do use a lot of make up. Dating is a thing to do - not so many singles in Romania. Family is the most important feature in their culture. Grandmothers do help raising children and plays a huge role even after children’s marriage. Parents keep good relationship with their children and praise them placing family pictures all around the house.


If you are looking for something a little more interesting than spending holiday time in one of the Milan nigh clubs or chilling on a Spanish beach reading a Cosmopolitan, I would most defiantly suggest visiting this precious piece on the East End of Europe. You would be surprised seeing what it has to offer.


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