Archive of ‘Romania’ category

“Borat’s Village” in Glod, Romania.

Matt and I love the movie Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Kazakh television personality Borat Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan who goes to America to make a documentary at the behest of the Kazakh Ministry of Information. The movie is a funny social satire as shocking as they come.

On our last trip to Bucharest we couldn’t help ourselves, we had to drive 80 kilometers north and visit the small gypsy village where Borat was filmed.

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The drive between Bucharest and Glod is amazing, smooth roads, beautiful villages with houses with signature Romanian roofs. Entering Glod is like entering a new dimension. People here are poor, I mean dirt poor, in fact, some people are living in dirt huts. Wild chickens, dogs and donkeys roam the streets (well more like “street” as there is only one paved street), children “hang out” playing with rocks and garbage as their whole extended family sits on plastic lawn furniture occasionally yelling at them to get off the road as semi trucks zoom by. 

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After 10 minutes of arguing over where the safest place to park our rig would be, we turned off the engine, locked everything up and stepped into Glod. 

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Our large camper didn’t go unnoticed, every single “Glodian” (or is it “Gloder”) greeted us with huge toothy grins and hearty giggles.

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The kids loved being in photos.

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Here is half the town’s people peeking into our camper, trying to sell us mushrooms and asking for money. We decided not to mention the movie Borat and simply enjoy Glod as is.

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Everyone was 100% friendly but the constant begging was rather sad/distracting, we really wanted to spend more time talking to everyone, making friends or maybe enjoy some soup at the local eatery.

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A few homes weren’t so bad, with a few finishing touches they would fit in most Eastern European towns.

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A few strange things happen during our stay. A lady told us to move our car off the road and away from her gate and when we returned to the van a massive pointy rock was tucked in under our back wheel. Good thing I caught that in time!  Next, we stopped at the local market and shared a beer (which I drank 90% of) then all of a sudden a man came up to us threatening to call the police if we didn’t give him “hush money”. Thankfully nothing came out of it.

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Though our experience in Glod finished on a sour note, all in all it was worth the detour.

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Tiny Romanian towns.

The stretch of road between Bucharest and Glod is absolutely beautiful with loads of cute little towns to visit.

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I love Romanian roofs.

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Romania has some of the best European wieners.

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Leaving Romania, Bulgaria is on the other side of the Danube.

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Bucharest in a day.

Our trip to Bucharest was short and sweet. We dropped off our friends Irina and Arek at Irina’s parent’s house, walked into town for dinner and some sightseeing, met our friends again and spent a few hours taking photos, went to bed and took off the following morning.

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Old town is really fun, there are hundreds of different bars and restaurants.

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Bucharest, the Romanian capital.

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Another amazing city! Surprisingly, everyone who lives here tends to disagree with us. Yes, poverty and strict communist rule has scarred the entire country but Romania, especially Bucharest, has so much to offer. The expansive “Old Town” has many pedestrian streets with ENORMOUS buildings that tower over you, shops and restaurants on the street level, apartments and offices on the higher floors.   

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Abandoned or under construction? Either way this building is at least 1 km X 1 km. What is this, Vegas? 

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The Dâmbovița River 

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Sadness in Romania.

Last Sunday was a gloomy day in Constanta Romania in every sense of the word. At noon, we parked a block away from a brand new busy mall and spent the next 4 hours sitting in the warm food court recharging our electronics, stealing Wifi, drinking beers and staying dry from the pouring rain. Coming back, we turned onto our street my heart sank, our van, our house for the last 6 months had been broken into. The thieves pulled back our fancy door lock, ripping the side of the van  open like a sardine tin then popped open the lower half of our door and crawled in. This is what they took: our crappy GPS that we never use (it sent us down one way streets in the wrong direction several times), a few watches, our tiny no name camera with a few memory cards, a wooden box full of Halloween chocolates and sadly they also took our fancy Canon camera and carrying case (we usually have it with us but it was too gloomy to play photographer that day). The police came and tried their best to help/console us but it was pretty clear that nothing could be done and we must cut our losses.

Bad luck, we parked on a lit and busy street near a big brand new mall, we locked all our doors plus our security locks, everything was hidden from sight,  it was a Sunday between noon and four, what else could we have done?  The police said that they are very short staffed with only 3 cars patrolling the entire city. The gypsies take advantage of this plus, they really have nothing to lose.

The damage to the car is now repaired and we must carry on. We were fortunate enough to have all of our other gadgets with us at the time and most importantly, our documents left untouched and the car mostly unharmed. Sadly, the thieves took our things and left behind a feeling of unease.

 

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Sometimes you just need a shower.

We were beginning to smell like old people, a great indicator that it’s time to have real shower. We spent the night in a super contemporary hotel off the highway where we showered, watched TV, did laundry and recharged all our batteries, including the car battery, all this for only $29. 

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View from our hotel.

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Welcome to Lifestyles of the Rich and Dangerous!

As soon as we parked the van in the city of Bran this dog adopted us as his new companions. When we entered the gates at Bran castle (a.k.a. Dracula’s castle) we were sure that we had lost the dog, alas, 2 minutes later, look who decided to join us for the hike up the path leading to the castle! The tour of the interior of the castle took about 40 minutes and sure enough, our faithful friend was waiting for us when we exited.   

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The castle is gorgeous, each door was carved in a unique style.

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I love the dark stained wooden stairs.

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I love him.

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Transylvania gets cold at night, each room has a lovely fireplace to keep everyone warm and cozy. 

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Close up of the tile.

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Every castle should come equipped with:

-Tapestries.

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-Wooden built-in libraries.

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-This thing.

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-A gun, why not.

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-And and electric elevator from the 1930’s.

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This was my favorite room.

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Welcome to Count Dracula’s castle.

Bran castle sits on a small hill in the town of Bran, Romania. Matt and I decided to visit the place after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain where he visits the castle best known as Dracula’s house. Though not creep or scary in the least, it was well worth the trip.

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Although most of the castle is closed to the public, you are free to roam 40+ decorated and furnished rooms and many outside areas.  Most chambers have an information plaque describing their use and history.

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There are more staircases than you can count, a real maze.  Most are cramped and eerily creaky.

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Secret staircase that leads to the top floor and a super cool patio with a view to kill for.

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Dracula’s bed.

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We try to avoid most tourist traps and came to visit this one with very low expectations.  This place is genuine, fun, very inexpensive and incredibly beautiful.

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Rasnov to Brasov.

We spent a night in a parking lot in a small town named Rasnov. The parking lot was home to about 20 random street dogs who befriended us quickly when I feed them day old bread.

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Perfect fall day in the city of Brasov.

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22 cents for fresh bread treats.

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The funicular was closed for winter.

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Brasov, Romania.

We’re dead centre Romania in the beautiful city of Brasov. The weather was unusually mild today which brought out all the town folk.

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Ice?

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Everyone is having fun!

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The famous black church.

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