Romania, land of fairytales, Dracula and papanasi! Definitely a country worth to visit, but before I tell you why you should visit Romania now, let me share some incidents that happened on our way there.
Once upon a time, we had a wedding to attend in Romania. Our trip began with many “WTF?” moments. The bad luck saga started in Zürich, minutes before boarding the plane. The bride was traveling with us on the same flight and we were talking about how excited we were for their wedding when I suddenly realized I stopped seeing one of our bags a long time ago. Not any bag, but the bag with the attires for the wedding… and my shoes and accessories. I feared the worse. There was nothing we could do. We forgot the bag on the train and we were about to board the plane.
Then we arrived in Bucharest airport. We approached Budget’s counter to pick up our rental car. The reservation was on their system for the next day but said they could find a car for us. As the guy was entering the information in the system, the power went out. Because computers have no battery back up there, when the power came back he had to start from scratch. Until the power went out again, and again and again for a total of 6 times! To the point the guy sat down and said there was nothing he could do. We were hungry but most importantly needed to find new clothes for the wedding before the stores closed. Alexis went to a different counter and spoke with a guy from Hertz who was a heaven sent angel and told him he had a friend who can come to pick us up and take us to a different location that had power so that’s what we did. After 2 hours of wait, we had a car and were heading to the closest shopping mall. Long story short, we found new clothes so we were ready to relax a bit.
Luckily for us, that was it. We were able to break with the curse, had a nice time in Romania but most importantly, we enjoyed the wedding. It was a great party and very emotional ceremony. But as the control freak I am, it was not easy ti experience the feeling of losing control over things. I learned from this experience to be flexible as no one is exempt from setbacks. Not every trip is glamorous and straight forward. When life give us lemons, we just need to grab the tequila and salt and relax… At the end everything worked out. We enjoyed our time, had delicious food and beer and met wonderful people. If you are looking for a budget friendly and off the beaten path destination, Romania should be on your list!
Here are our 5 reasons to visit Romania:
No tourists crowds
Romania is a country in southeastern Europe. It shares borders with Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Moldova. This country feels and looks different from other countries in western Europe. The crowds from big cities like Paris or Rome doesn’t exist here which provides an excellent opportunity to “blend” in with the locals and enjoy a different pace of life.
Romanians are friendly and like to party. They take pride in their jobs and do their best to provide a good service, whether at restaurants or a store. I had 4 girls helping me find a dress at a store and gave me their honest feedback “no, that color doesn’t look good on you”, “yes, that one if pretty”. I didn’t feel they were trying to just sell me something, instead they wanted to genuinely help.
Excellent beer and wine
Yes, you read that right. Romania has a decent beer and wine culture. Beer was introduced in Romania, specifically in Transylvania by German colonists known as German saxons. Romanian wine is incredibly good and ridiculously cheap. Not many people know that Romania is actually one of the world’s top ten wine producers. We tried some of their aromatic local varieties, such as Feteasca Neagra (red) or Feteasca Regala (white).
Must visit: Caru’ cu bere, a restaurant serving traditional dishes apparently since 1879. They also brew their own beer and it is actually very good. They also serve delicious papanasi (scroll down to know more about this delicious dessert)
Budget friendly destination
Romania is very cheap, yet you’ll get 5-star service and quality of food. Seriously, the food in Romania is VERY good and it doesn’t cost an arm and leg, like here in Zürich. Two people can dine a 5 course meal for less than 50 euros, drinks included. Lodging is equally inexpensive. In Bucharest we stayed at this Airbnb apartment, right in the center and with all amenities for less than 40euros per night.
Easy to drive around
We rented a car and drove from Bucharest to Brasov. The roads and signs are easy to navigate, with a GPS, of course and if you get lost, simply ask. There are some good chances you will find someone that speaks English.
Bonus: Food Thumbs up/down
Papanasi this highly addictive and delicious donut-like pastry, filled with jam and served with ice-cream deserve a thumbs up.
Ciorba de burta there are a few things I do not like and this is one of them. Ciorba de burta is a tripe soup with a deceiving look. You look at it and think “wow, that looks delicious” only to be disappointed after tasting it. I do not have words to describe it other than it is disgusting. Definitely thumbs down from me.