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.”



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:



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!

Transylvania grabs top spot in Lonely Planet list for 2016

“Put the crucifix away and discard that bulb of garlic – you won’t be needing them in today’s Transylvania, which blows away stereotypes faster than the flapping wings of a bat out of hell. Yes, horses and carts still rumble through the wooded countryside, but they’ll soon share the roads with Uber cabs ferrying visitors to chic Airbnb lodgings. Look past the ‘Count Drankula’ T-shirts and you’ll notice an ever-increasing number of art galleries, good value ski resorts and epic nature tours.”

Pretty awesome. Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel/regions/1?detail=1#ixzz3pu39YaSN


Lonely Planet #1

Middle Earth vs. Romania

My favorite person today

5-2, set point, what to do?

WTA finals, Singapore, 2014. Two days ago Simona Halep crushed world no. 1 Serena Williams 6-0 6-2, an extremely rare score of such a magnitude. Admittedly, Serena seemed not to be at 100% healthwise, yet she rebounded afterwards thrashing talented Eugenie Bouchard 6-1 6-1.

The round robin system means all 4 players in the group play 3 matches, the best two scorelines advance to the semifinals. With Simona, Serena and Ana Ivanovic all beating Eugenie, Serena having won against Ana in the first match, it comes down to the last game between Simona and Ana.

Simona needs to win 4 or 5 games to win the group. Ana needs to win in 2 sets to advance together with Simona and kick Serena out in the process.

Simona goes up to 5-2 in the first set. She thus wins the group. Has set point – if she wins it though, indirectly it means Serena advances no matter who wins this match.

She falters.
Loses the game.
And the next 3 games.
Eventually they go into tie-break. Ana wins the set.

Some smarty-pants on Twitter start bashing her for dropping the set and “making a mockery of the game”, just to avoid the possibility of meeting Serena again – everyone knows that catching her off-side again is unlikely. Others point out that it is not in her best interest to go 3 sets, as her semifinal is tomorrow. So…

So… what? Simona wins the second set 6-3.
And… loses the third, 3-6.

Let’s recap: She keeps Serena in contest, goes 3 sets tiring herself before the all-important semifinal, and loses the match. Who’d do that?

Someone who PLAYS FAIR. Gives it all. No matter what. A champion, in other words.

“I knew that if I lose something like 6-3 6-3 Serena would be out. I didn’t care. I’m not afraid to meet her again.”

Simona Halep, my favorite person today.