What makes Bucharest and Romania so attractive

In this collection of novels author Fanny Chartes writes, in her foreword, about her view on Romania and why she is drawn to the country. Found out further down in this blog post what she said and what resonated in me. 

In 1985 I, Yvette,  went to Mamaia, by the Black Sea as a tourist. I was 13 years old at the time. I never returned to Romania again until, 26 years later, in September 2011. That meeting with Romania blew me away. A country completely changed , at least on the surface. A post-communistic country changing skin like a lizard and trying to become a full-worthy member of the EU at present.

Since September 2011 I have now been back 6 times and I am discovering new things all the time. I understand more and more what is going on under the surface and I can actually start to put words to what I see and understand why I am so fascinated , intrigued and excited about this country.

A country that has had its’ share of judgment, misinterpretations and prejudice. People here in Scandinavia ask me : ” Why on earth are you so interested in that country ? “.

Romania is indeed a country that will not win any prizes regarding marketing outside it’s own borders. This has to change.

We simply don’t hear or see anything from there. When I say “we” I refer to western Europe. When we don’t see or hear much: we start to draw our own pictures from fragments we’ve seen, often not in synch with what reality is like in Romania.

Last week , I came over a novel collection in French, by a number of Romanian contemporary writers. Author Fanny Chartres writes, in her foreword, that Romania is a country that “won’t leave anyone indifferent”. I was happy when I read the foreword as I realized she put words on what I have seen and reacted upon, but hadn’t really articulated properly. It goes something like this :

“Romania is a country that is often spoken of in terms of sensible subjects . They joined the European Community in 2007 but is still not part of the monetary system nor Schengen. Everyday challenges for the Romanians include average salaries of 330 euros and pensions being reduced. The social system is in constant degradation and the intellectual and academics flee the country. The corruption continues to infiltrate the country at all levels.

But, Romania is still a country that is to be seen and visited.  There is the ambivalence, the extremes, the passion, the endurance.

I love the generous people who are also very courageous, I love the architecture, the eclectic cultural life and I love it’s craziness.”

Those last lines spoke to me. As I was walking through a warm Bucharest Thursday evening, I was thinking the same things. And more.

I see the potential in Romania. It just has to be unlocked and shared. I think it would do good for Romania.

My impressions so far.

The capital. I see Bucharest as an eclectic town with ornamented, historical architecture mixed with old communistic buildings,  modern shops and cafés. People dress smartly and take good care of themselves. You can buy fresh fruits and vegetables in every part of town and the markets are abundant.  It’s indeed a mix of new Europe and recent history, elaborated Little Paris era, and blocks from Communism days. It’s a crazy , beautiful town and I love it ! I feel at home there !

The sea. The Black Sea where you can spend your holidays as at any other resort around Europe. With the cool lounge bars and clubs, with your cold frappé , dipping the feet in the water.

The mountains. The Carpathians have skiing resorts that not many people outside Romania have ever heard about. I simply can’t wait to go this winter !!!!! It’s easy to feel like a traveler-pioneer when visiting Romania !

The food and wine. I’m a foodie. I simply feel super good when I can eat a sun-warmed tomato directly from the garden or a plum matured, in a balanced way, in the tree and not in a truck on its way up to northern Europe.

Romania is like a fruit garden and vegetable paradise.  I would easily go vegetarian if I was living there. Wine is coming in red and white and I found my favourite now, among all the variety that is there: wines ready to be discovered by the world. I simply hope that I can contribute, in my way, to spread those fantastic resources that Romania have !

Here are the melons we had last week.

The traditions and folklore. The handicraft. All lovely. Luckily not forgotten. See more about it on the last blog post about the Open Air Museum.

I will come back on this subject that’s for sure. There are more to be said.

Please share your impressions of Bucharest and Romania with me !

La revedere 🙂

2 thoughts on “What makes Bucharest and Romania so attractive

  1. Hi, Yvette! A great pleasure to find your blog and read about your “inexplicable” (for some) attraction for Bucharest! But I perfectly understand that! :))
    I will be happy to share with you my way of loving this contradictory city.
    Here is my blog http://ileanapartenie.wordpress.com/ Hope you will find new ideas, places, etc.
    Feel free to contact me and/or ask me anything about it, anytime!

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