Friday, July 24, 2009

Romania - Bucharest and Translyvania

The plane ride from London to Orlando is 9 hours and 10 minutes. The movie selection on BA was less than stellar. I watched Duplicity with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts and was pretty disappointed. My PSP that I only play on long plane rides just died right as my tennis player I was building up was starting to get good. So I figured I'd follow up my slightly sexy Germany post with probably the least sexy vacation I've ever taken.....Romania.

My good friend and former colleague (or should I say current comrade in unemployment?) Keyon and I went out one night back in April. After quite a bit of drinking I agreed to go to Romania with him. I woke up the next day and realized I'd committed to going to Romania when I still hadn't been to Spain, Germany, or Prague all of which were near the top of my list. I initially backed out until I realized if I didn't go with him, I'd probably never go. But Keyon is a good friend and seemed to be a trusty tour guide. After all he was married to a Romanian girl for 5 years, had been there 8 times, and could speak enough of the language to get us out of trouble when we inevitably would. What the hell.

My week in Romania was filled with ups and downs. It was the only vacation I can remember where I both wanted it to end sooner and then the next day seriously considered changing my flight to stay longer.

Fun facts about Romania:
  • They used to have a stray dog problem and decided to shoot them all to solve it.
  • In 1989 the Romanian Revolution took place when they overthrew and executed their leader Nicolae Ceausescu.
  • You can buy a 3 liter of beer
  • Dracula's castle - which in my opinion is their #1 tourist attraction- is closed on Monday. Why would they ever close it? Its probably the main reason most people go to Romania! It is still impressive from the outside and fun to say you're in Translyvania
  • If a girl is dressed like a prostitute and is very interested in you as soon as you walk in a bar, leave before her pimp tries to intimidate you into paying for their 15 person bar tab. Actually run.
  • The opening village scenes from Borat were shot in Romania.
  • If you were wondering were you can see a good Kenny G concert - Try Romania
  • If someone tries to convince you to take a bite out of a raw onion covered in salt followed by a shot of mystery liquor and top it off by biting into rubbery disgusting pig skin, say NO. Stick to Salt, Tequila, Lime.
  • Do however eat as much Bear and Papanasi as you can! The bear was tender and fantastic and a Papanasi is essentially a fried donut with the hole sitting on top covered in sour cream and blackberry sauce. Its amazing.
  • Romanian money is plastic, waterproof and completely impossible to rip in half.
  • Never pass up the chance to go to a barbecue, even if they can't exactly explain what part of the pig you're about to eat. Its going to be good.
  • Also never drive by the road side moonshine stand without stopping. Its really strong and you can buy home made beef jerkey to take away the sting. Or cheese made in tree bark which I still don't understand.
  • Ciorba (pronounced Chorba) Soup is delicious, this traditional Romanian spirit called Tuica is not -
  • If you get caught sneaking around the grounds of a castle after its closed, they let you off pretty easily.
I'd like to try and get a few good portraits of the locals wherever I travel. Here are portraits of two fisherman Keyon spoke to that I like -

If you haven't stopped reading already to go buy your ticket to Romania, here are a few other pics that I thought were worthwhile. Thanks for a good trip Keyon.

1 comment:

  1. You summed up Romania wonderfully - it is a place which you will fall in love with if you give it time. Alas you were here for too short a time!

    At the moment, I am trying to build up a photo library of great pictures of Romania, and I would be thrilled if you would consider adding one of stunning your pictures onto my site ( ), along with a comment about why you liked Romania or that particular place so much.