On the roads leading out of many towns in Romania, we’d see the words “Drum Bun” on big signs by or over the road. I’d smiled and enjoy the happy attitude expressed.
Drum Bun means “Enjoy the Trip”
In general that’s the feeling we encountered in Romania. It’s a country that’s been downtrodden for a long time, but feels like it is on the up. Our week long visit started with a day in Bucharest.
I post the photo above because I think it is a symbol of Bucharest. Lots of old buildings in bad condition, but some exciting new and modern mixed in. The city with a population of two million was a great spot to start our Romanian holiday.
The surprise to me was the strong French influence. Evidently during the Golden Age of Bucharest—the second half of the 1800s—the residents were totally besotted with all things French. As a result, they built wide boulevards and many buildings in French architectural style of the Belle Epoch. They even have an Arcul de Triumf, a close copy of the Paris Arc de Triomphe.
This was a lovely surprise because I expected bland Soviet era buildings. I’m sure they were there, but we were drawn to the part of the city with the French heritage.
Unfortunately during the years the Communists controlled the country, the buildings crumbled. And then under Nicolae Ceausescu, big building projects happened but most of them were enormous projects designed to glorify this dictator…… like the second largest government building in the world, after the Pentagon. Eventually his excesses got him beheaded.
We did see some interesting renovations and reconstructions and signs of some tourism developing. I suspect more tourists will make their way to this part of the world. It has been closed to visitors for much of the 20th century. It’s an intriguing place to visit.
We enjoyed a museum showing how rural Romanians lived. It reminded me a bit of Greenfield Village in Dearborn–a delightful walk back in time.
But the best part of the time in Bucharest was meandering around and people watching—weddings, huge bike ride through the city, gals taking selfies and hanging out in the park. People doing what they do all over the world in major cities.
Our trip to Romania was organized by Atlantic Tours. We were particularly pleased with Mr. Alin Belini, our online agent, at Atlantic. He did a great job meeting our needs and interests. I will be posting more about the experience in the next few weeks including our guide for Transylvania, who was charming, knowledgable and a very good guide.
I hope you will share any Romania experience you have had in the comment section.