Why Romania is worth the trip

“It rained almost the whole time, a bone-chilling drizzle. We lost our rental car reservation because my husband and I showed up without our driver’s licenses. I cracked my ribs on a waterslide. But in the end, Romania was our best family vacation yet.

Last fall we decided to pack up our three elementary-school-age children for a week in Bucharest and Transylvania. We mapped out a journey that included a couple of days in the nation’s capital city as well as a road trip to Brasov and into the Carpathian Mountains.

Why Romania? That’s the question all of our friends asked, those who bothered to give voice to what their raised eyebrows were already saying when we told them our destination. To them, it seemed an odd spot for a European vacation. But we wanted something a little off the beaten path, and we were in search of more time in nature than we thought destinations like London or Madrid could offer.”




Art Encounters

“There’s more to Romania than Dracula, dumplings and the Danube. Thanks to the curatorial team behind Art Encounters, Transylvania could be your next stop for contemporary art. Positioning itself somewhere between an experimental art festival and a contemporary Biennial, the event centres around the title, “Life a User’s Manual”, with a focus on how everyday life manifests itself through art. Neglecting Bucharest for lesser-known cities Timisoara and Arad, Art Encounters is dedicated to putting Romania on the European art map.”



Bucharest, Paris of the East

“Romania may not be the easiest place to travel, but for adventurous souls, it’s exceptionally rewarding.

If you go, start in Romania’s capital, Bucharest. With about 2 million people, it’s a muscular and gritty tangle of buildings. It can be hard to like at first glance, but with a thoughtful look, it reveals its charms. Between the dreary apartment blocks hides an impressive architectural heritage.”

More from the Seattle Times: http://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/bucharest-romania-little-paris-of-the-east/


Bucharest Old Town – Cameron Hewitt, Rick Steve’s Europe, Seattle Times


8 centuries of craftsmanship

“As one wanders beyond the Carpathians as travelling from the South, he enters a different world, including from an architectural perspective. Old houses, with red tile roofs, high and imposing front gates, big framed windows on the street facing wall which are the eyes and the ears of the household spreading behind the gate, often embellished by beautiful ornaments and motifs, are part of the Transylvanian cultural identity. If we have recently spoken about Saxon painted furniture, here is a close curios look at some Saxon style houses, old buildings but full of charm.”



Dew bread, Saint Wednesday and nano-scorpions

“A princess suffering from depression can’t find the will to get herself out of bed. She is surrounded by self-help books with titles such as The Poor Rich Princess, and How to Get Out of Depression. This illustration is part of the book “What can you do with two words”, an anthology of stories written by some of the most talented contemporary Romanian authors.
Illustration: Irina Dobrescu”

One of many, in a Guardian antology of Romanian and Moldovan children’s books illustrators:



Move to Transylvania

Yes, that Transylvania.

More details here: http://www.transylvaniabeyond.com/

Bran Castle

“Graduation” graduates with Best Director award at Cannes

“Romania’s Cristian Mungiu and France’s Olivier Assayas (in picture) share best director prize at Cannes for this 69th edition. Mungiu, who won the Palme d’Or in 2007, was rewarded for his critically-acclaimed ‘Baccalaureat / Graduation’. (…) Other Romanian movies and co-productions were awarded during this festival”. 

More details here:


A longer review (spoiler alert!), here: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/may/19/graduation-review-cristian-mungiu-romania-cannes-2016



Romania: hellhole or country of romance and mystery?

“So, the good news, I tell the first Romanian I interview, is that a British newspaper wants to print a story about Romania that isn’t about immigrants stealing their jobs or Gypsy beggars getting their teeth fixed free on the NHS. And the bad news, he asks? I pause. That, according to the Observer’s survey, most Brits believe that Romanians come to Britain to steal our jobs and get their teeth fixed on the NHS.

In fact, the survey doesn’t say that, exactly, but it’s not far off. It says that of all the countries in Europe in which we would least like to live, the very worst place – cited by a massive 25% of all respondents, leaps and bounds ahead of anywhere else – is Romania. That as a nation, we believe Romanians are “aggressive” and “lazy”. That hardly any of us have actually been there (fewer than 1% in the last five years). And a massive 58% of us believe that Romania is one of the five EU nations that has sent the most migrants to the UK.

Which may give some clue as to what’s going on here. Because it turns out that not only do we know hardly anything about Romania but what we do know isn’t even true. In fact, there are fewer than 100,000 Romanians in Britain. (Compared with nearly 700,000 Poles, for example). Figures from 2014 show that fewer than 2,500 of them claimed benefits here. They are overwhelmingly net contributors to the British economy.

To say that Romania has had a poor press in Britain is a bit like saying that Nicolae Ceauşescu was slightly to the left of Jeremy Corbyn.”

See the Guardian’s findings here:





Romania, the land of the poor…ly judged

“On my last day before moving to Romania, I made a stop at my usual bakery.

– Hey, I came by to tell you that it’s the last time we meet.
– Ah, tired of Paris already? Where are you moving?
– To Romania.

– But, why!?
– To work there.
– To work? But there’s no work there!
– What do you mean?
– Why else would they possibly all come to beg here?

Bam, she said the words. To beg. She could already picture me in an rusty old train, on my way to the gates of hell. While China produces cheap electronics, Romania would be a huge beggar factory, massively producing poor people ready to ask for money all over Europe.”

Is there something else to Romania than this? A French developer now based in Bucharest tells us here:



Je suis roumain

Noroc, Cyprien!