Check your preconceived notions about Romania at the door.
Your experience here will not be defined by encounters with street children, Gypsy's,
or Dracula. While all three may very well exist, none of them accurately defines
modern day Romania. We learned this first hand on our first trip here five years
ago. In fact, so different was the Romania that we encountered from the one we had
heard about, that we ended up coming back and back again until eventually relocating here.
Romania, in reality, is a vibrant and richly diverse country consisting of bustling modern
cities, small town charm, Ancient European tradition, and stunning natural beauty.
From it's majestic mountain ranges to it's expansive Black Sea coast line, Romania
deserves to be defined by, more then anything else, it's raw untapped potential.
holds much in store for the unsuspecting tourist. The last of Europe's great final
frontiers it is the home of the ecological wonder of the Danube Delta, the Carpathian
Mountains, an abundance of natural springs and some of the most pleasant resorts
along the Black Sea coast. Romania offers you the opportunity to step between European
city life and still-functioning village life, right out of the pages of National
Geographic, all within a short drive. Romania, as it's tourism board puts it is
indeed "simply surprising."
Romania is about to join the European Community. Likely projections put it's time
of entry at 2007 or 2008. This means that the country is currently benefiting from
intense modernization efforts and introduction of new facilities that are making
the country easier to navigate and more pleasant to spend a prolonged period of
time in. Today, Romania uniquely offers the opportunity to experience Europe as
it once was and as it currently is - "Old" and "New" Europe at the same time.
paradox of time is reflected well in the architectural styles in Bucharest. Buildings
here vary wildly from ultra-modern to ancient, kitschy to ready-to-bulldoze. One
single street here can exhibit all such forms of architecture.
itself takes it's name from the ancient civilization of Rome of which it thrived
under. Times have not always been so kind to Romania. However, that has, in the
end, only succeeded in making her people all the more resilient, appreciative of
freedom, and ever-committed to having a good time and enjoying life. The name of
Bucharest comes from the Romanian word “bucuros” meaning joyful and the people here
do their best to see that the city lives up to its claim.
Latins have taken issue with the assertation that Romanians are a Latin people.
One thing, however, is certainly beyond doubt: the Romanians exhibit all the zest
of life and passion for fun that so characterizes those of the Latin bloodline.
the capitol and undisputed heart of Romania, is a city that is alive, throbbing
with happening night clubs, discos, pubs, and restaurants, that would exhaust even
the wildest party animal from the West. One could say without exaggeration that
Bucharest is the Atlantic City of the European continent. It is home to hundreds
of casinos which are easier to find than gas stations. While a lesser quantity actually
deserve accolades, a handful of world class casinos do exist. Recently, a friend
of ours showed us how for 500,000 lei (15 Euro) you can go to one of these top-notch
casinos, and if you know how to respect your limits, play all night long while you
stuff your face from a tempting buffet, drink yourself silly and generally have
a good time. Then you can go out the next night to a different casino and do it
all over again, week in and week out, if you so wish. What's more, you even get
the occasional thanks from the casino manager for your kind presence.
the old maxim rings especially true "chance favors the prepared mind." We
have heard of every scam in the book played out here and of every unwanted travel
nightmare occurring to unsuspecting tourists. Likewise, your chance of enjoying
and actually thriving in Romania is based on the extent of your understanding of
how Romania works and how you can make it work for you. Once you learn these secrets,
success here is yours. There are so many things we've learned over the past 5 years
that we only recently have got to the point where we feel qualified to consider
ourselves experts in the region.
is a vast and naturally blessed land surpassing the quantity of natural resources
and ancient landmarks found in a number of more popularized Western European countries.
It would take well beyond the contents of this one small article to give justice
to what Romania possesses and how it can surprise and bedazzle you. Suffice to say,
we live in Bucharest and within two hours we can be in the heights of the mountains
and in the midst of some of the most incredible scenery available on this fair earth,
where pine tree forests, meadows, running dear, and mountain landscapes all blend
together seamlessly. It leaves you with the impression that they were painted by
the hand of the Divine. We can also go 2 hours to the south and vacation along the
Black Sea Coast where Romania's pulsating passion for fun takes on new forms. There
we can enjoy world class resorts or rough it for a few dollars a night in a wooden
tent on the beach. One thing though is always guaranteed; a good time will be had.
Romanian's wouldn't have it any other way.
and the sea are only some of the natural highlights of Romania. Romania is famed
for the healing power of it's natural thermal springs and has developed spa resorts
around them that offer full relaxation and recovery at a small fraction of the normal
Western cost. Romania is home to a permanent ice cave and the ecological excursion
of a lifetime at the mouth of the Danube Delta.
though, is not the sole contributor to Romania's tourist appeal. The hand of man
is revealed in it's painted monastaries, palaces and castles, medieval towns, and
archaeological museums showcasing discoveries more then 2,000 years old. It is also
home to the world's second largest building after the Pentagon, "The People's Palace."
This mamouth building was once inhabited by Romania's modern day Dracula, Nicolae
Ceausescu, who ruled over the people of Romania for more then 50 years. Eventually,
the people successfully revolted against him in 1989 and ushered in the current
period of democratic rule. The fact that the palace that was created and inhabited
by a madman that held a country hostage for more then half a century is a now a
museum is a living testimony to the Romanian spirit that will stop at nothing to
live in freedom.
of legend may have been invented by British author Bram Stoker but the character
on which he is based Vlad Tepes (Tzepesh), or "Vlad the Impaler" is real. Tourists
are often taken to the lackluster Bran Castle to see where this semi-legendary figure
lived, although all historical records indicate that he never set foot there. In
reality, the actual princely home of this former Prince of Wallachia (a Romanian
providence) still stands, in part, today, protected by more then 1,000 stairs that
keep the more sweat-hesitant tourists away.
not have a specific destination in mind in order to enjoy Romania. A simple drive
in the countryside will yield it's own rewards. The producers of the Hollywood blockbuster
"Cold Mountain" chose Romania as their filming location, in part, because of the
spectacular, uninterrupted skylines found in much of Romania - they could not locate
such scenery in America.
side note, the motion picture industry has found a new home in Romania. We've personally
ran into Chevy Chase several times, as well as Wesley Snipes, Nicole Kidman, and
others. It deserves mention that they seem to amply enjoy Bucharest's nightlife
offerings and have shared with us positive comments about their experience in Romania.
who want to experience the charms and frills of European living without sacrificing
25% of their wealth at the airport exchange desk, as they convert their US dollar
to Euro, and possess the thirst and capacity for a little added excitement than
what is normally found in Europe, Romania should be their first consideration.
is extremely expat friendly. Romania is very western-minded and especially pro-American.
President Bush visited Romania in 2002 and was met by throngs of cheerful spectators,
many of whom waved American flags. Romania is one of the few European countries
that is a member of the "Coalition of the Willling," and is home to US troops stationed
at the American naval base in the seaside town of Constantza. And, it deserves pointing
out, that out of all countries where American troops are stationed, including tropical
paradises, more enlisted Americans seek to stay on in Romania then at any other
US Naval base in the world. Ultimately the reason behind this curious statistic
is unknown. However, several of the US soldiers stationed here told us it had a
lot to do with the laid back lifestyle and hospitality of the locals, the natural
beauty inherent in the land, the availability of American goods and services, and
more often that not, the Romanian women that they had met.
the majority of European countries, television programs and films are shown almost
exclusively in their original language, which more often than not is English. This
means cable television brings you 40 or so channels in English and you can take
full advantage of modern cinema facilities during your vacation or relocation to
Romania. This also means that Romanians have grown up with a closeness to the English-language
which combined with excellent schooling, has resulted in a great deal of Romanians
having achieved a fluency in the English-language. Foreigners will not have a hard
time breaking the language barrier in most parts of the country. Romanian itself
is the closest spoken language to Latin and resembles Italian, French, and Spanish,
meaning that speakers of any of these languages will find Romanian a relatively
easy language to learn with a little desire and tenacity.
can offer you the luxury of American/Western living in it's custom built communities
such as "The American Village" and "The French Village." Or, it can allow you to
custom build your own lifestyle, perhaps taking elements of your old, familiar life
and adding to it a new more appealing dimension. One Western European expat family
we know of opened an inn in Transylvania. Every week they entertain guests from
around the world and show them a slice of Romania that they fell in love with. An
American expat family we know moved to a remote and economically depressed village
in the northern part of the country and opened a soup kitchen and adventure camp
for local children. They are making a difference and doing what they love. Yet other
expats from America, Great Britain and across Europe have opened pubs and nightclubs
that add a little air of familiarity from back home to the Bucharest skyline.
as a final frontier, brings with it the promise of the thrill of discovery, the
excitement of going where few have gone before, and the opportunity to expand your
horizons. It also presents the possibility of occasional frustrations and hassles.
If you have something of the pioneer spirit burning within you and think you share
to some level the Romanian joie-de-vivre (passion for life) then we can make no
better suggestion to you then to come now and see firsthand why Romania is simply
are interested in traveling to Romania or simply find out more about the suprising
reality of this final European frontier. To contact Kevin and Jay
Final Frontier And Next Hot Spot: Opportunities In Romania ~ by Kevin Stillmock
And Jay Schechter
Escape From America Magazine