Ahhhh, Romania. I’m so glad I was able to visit Romania. While most people associate Romania with Dracula (see recent blog), this Eastern Europe country has a lot to offer the tourist who is ready to get off the Tuscany/London/Paris tourist trek.
I have posted several blogs about Romania—Dracula, Bucharest, Looking up and Romania: Why Go? Here’s one last go at describing my experience. The following are a few random observations about this interesting part of the world.
We saw signs of the decline during the communist control. Faded and shabby buildings, once gorgeous. But we also saw renovation and improvement. Some of the palaces have been restored and are open for touring. While the Golden Age of Romania is over and the country has struggled, it feels like it is on the way up. Don’t hesitate to go there.
With all the publicity and hoop-de-doo about Dracula, I was surprised with the frequent use of pretty happy colors. Nothing gloomy about these villages.
I loved the sense of humor. Here’s an example. Someone opened a Mustache Cafe in one of the towns where the eyebrow windows had tourists snapping photos like crazy. (see Looking up Post). Do you think they are poking fun at the fascination with elements of a face? I do. Loved it!
And look at this? One lonely LOVE LOCK on a bridge in a historic Saxon village in Transylvania. I got a kick out of this. In Paris, people have put so many locks on a bridge spanning the Seine that the bridge has cracked. Here……..only one. I wonder if it was placed by a Romanian or a visitor wildly off the tourist track.
Gosh, I loved the wagons. We saw them everywhere since they are a major form of transportation. I especially smiled when I learned that many of them are “licensed.” I suspect they do that to guard against theft.
The entrepreneurial spirit, squashed for so many years by Communism and dictators, thrives. We visited a historic grain mill, restored and put back to use. The small restaurants hidden behind modest cottage doors were a marvel. We enjoyed several incredible meals in lovely settings and even had a private cooking class. These meals had to be arranged a head of time. No walk ins.
Meeting gypsies was quite interesting. They are vibrant people who have settled in Romania, often in villages vacated by the Saxons. While some have the reputation of not being the most law abiding, we met an industrious blacksmith and a lovely Mom who devotedly takes care of her family. She served us tea and shared with us stories of gypsy family life.
Expressing the upbeat feeling of Romania, the happy colors of Romania made me feel good.