Discover Romania. 15 Months and Counting.

Discover  Romania

In September 2011 I came back to Romania for the first time since 1985. 26 years had passed. One so called Revolution had taken place. A whole new generation of people had grown up in that time.

Romania is, in my eyes, like a teenager now. Trying to stand on its’ own values, often challenged by the input from the outside world, as distraction make itself present.- And the distractions are many.  Romania is, in my eyes, like a teenager trying to create its’ own identity.

So Romania; what stays with me, from the past 15 months?

What are my impressions?

Why does it matter?

It matters because I often find that an inaccurate picture of Romania is painted in the world outside Romania. As if Romania was the misunderstood one. The Bucharest Lounge wants to show pictures that display the beauty and meaning from Romania. Tell me later what you think!

The People.  Romanians are giving and kind. They are life-embracing food-lovers. They have big hearts and are incredible enduring. Tested in time and full of wisdom. Smart and intelligent. Beautiful: Men are men and women are women.

Bucharest. A funky, interesting town, where the architecture is as eclectic as the life lived in this town.  There are the old Communistic blocks, orthodox churches, the Old Town, the French style boulevards, the French styled houses that all make this fantastic mix.  I found many great places and I am still exploring.

I found Carturesti, I found Calea Victoriei. I took the metro from Piata Romana several times, and I enjoyed running the Bucharest half marathon. I discovered three different kinds of melons in a fruit market in September and I gladly tasted the first spring onions from a friends’ garden in April. I played with a Ciobanesc Mioritic dog many times and I learned to order a ceai (tea)  in Romanian. I fell in love with the traditional clothing and the handicraft, from going to several markets and I just had my Swedish glögg/glue wine from ceramic cups bought at the St Nikolas Market in Bucharest in December.  I went to the Km 0 and went back in time. I looked at the new generation outside the university and went ahead in time. Maybe they are the leaders of tomorrow?

I started this blog, because I thought the world should know too, about this amazing city and country.

What else?

Cultural heritage: When going to Romanian museums, when learning about Romanian authors, musicians, poets and painters I’m left with a feeling that this is a cultural heritage that has been hidden from the world.  The names are not known to us in the West.

Not voluntarily of course. First, Romania was locked under Communism, now: the world outside Romania is so little interested in the Romania of today, because of bad attitudes towards the country.  There is an abundance of beauty and art to be enjoyed from Romania. I’m in a huge learning curve myself and will come back when I have more to say. Forgive my ignorance.

Spirituality: There is something spiritual about Romania. Maybe I notice it because we have become so secularized in the part of the world where I am from, Scandinavia. In Romania there is the Romanian Orthodox Church that is very active.  I’ve experienced beautiful Easter in Bucharest. I bought the colorful eggs.  I’ve visited churches in Bucharest and in Prahova Valley.  What struck me is the beauty in the churches: the ornaments and the serenity. The peace.  People of all ages coming to church. The routines.  After being in a Romanian orthodox church I feel relaxed and my mind is clear.

I’m thinking: the belief in God must have been a strength during Communism? Keeping hope alive? Romanians are enduring people and strong in this respect.

For me I also associate the Romanian Orthodox church with one special priest. Father Tanase in Prahova.  I met him three times and I was completely amazed by him. Amazed by his presence, courage and warmth.  He set up a children’s camp and helps children, women, elderly and others who need support. My great respect to him.

There is more about spirituality. There is this interest about philosophers, the abundance of proverbs, the country side with its well kept traditions and folklore. I have a feeling, when talking to people, especially Romanian mothers, that there is always a special natural remedy for all, and there seem to be a proverb for all.  What also caught my attention was the spoons. The wooden spoons. The spoons of life. They are beautiful and tells me stories about wisdom, love, birth and death. – And all in between. I love stories!

Food and drink. Oh, well. That is an article of it’s own. How can I bottom – line food and drink? I didn’t even travel the country much. What can I say? I love Sarmale. I love the eggplant mix that goes with all. I love the Ciorba with beans and smoked meat, as I get it at Caru cu Bere : in a big bread.  I love the freshness of getting fruit and vegetables from the garden of friends. I like my Strudel cu mere from the corner shop. I like Jidvei , Feteasca Regala and I learned to drink that white wine with sparkling water. I love to eat walnuts, crisp and fresh directly from the tree and tempt me with tasty cherries in spring and I ‘m yours!

There is an abundance of great food and drink in Romania. I  hope that people in Romanian will continue to buy Romanian, from Romanian farmers and producers. Support their own, instead of buying tomatoes with no taste, flown in from abroad.

At the end I would like to ask:

– Does Romania want people to come and rediscover the country, just like I did?

If the answer is yes, then  the first thing to do is to start changing the attitude towards Romania abroad. At the moment, the harsh reality is that Romania is not on the common travel route to most people.

  • Why?
  • Because of negative attitudes. People don’t know how beautiful this country is.

With the Bucharest Lounge blog and Facebook page I want to contribute, my way, in painting a more full picture of Romania. I want to show the world the beauty and meaning coming from Romania.

The Facebook page is active every day, the blog will be every week.

Stay tuned and stay connected.

That’s all from the Bucharest Lounge for today.

5 thoughts on “Discover Romania. 15 Months and Counting.

  1. Dear Yvette Larson….
    We both have had the fortune to ‘discover’ Bucharest and Romania. I understand and agree with most of your feelings and we seem to have similar wishes for success in Romania’s promotion.
    However, you say above that you ‘found Carturesti’. I have searched the Net and I merely found that it is (supposedly) a 24 hour library. Amusingly, it is the other side of Blvdl Magheru to the apartement I rented when I was there in August 2012! I often find that I miss things close to my home/base. Perhaps it is because in the morning I plan to go somewhere and my mind is only on getting there. In the evening, I am overjoyed at my days sightseeing and I am usually tired with my day’s exertions! A lesson I should learn!
    Can I please ask what fascination ‘Carturesti’ has for you?
    I look forward to reading more of your Romanian ‘musings’.

  2. Hi Yvette 🙂 Great article, I really felt awesome 🙂
    I’m a Romanian girl living now in Italy, and I so agree with you about the culture, the beauty of the territory and all the good things of Romania. But still, what other countries think about us is partially the result of how “tiganii” = gypsies behave when they are outside the country (maybe you don’t know, but after Ceausescu, they were given Romanian citizenship, so wherever they go, they are Romanians). At least here in Italy, they come here and live like miserables, they steal, don’t live civilized and people even have fear to take their children to the schools, because they are there, and don’t want their children to behave like them or to be involved in their negative bussiness. Romanians here, they aren’t noticeable: they work hard, as they always did, they have their families, their children go to schools then University.
    What gives me so many nerves, is that when someone gets killed, robbed, etc, and they give their name by the news, I immediately realise they are gypsies, and still, they are called Romanians! That’s why Romania is left behind, no one goes to visit aside from those who don’t follow the media and have their own brains to think with.
    Most people are very influenced by media; I found myself in so many discussions, and they thought I was Italian: we talked about stuff about Romanians and Romania, and they had very negative ideas: they said we come here to steal their jobs! And when I told them I was Romanian and my mother had two well paid jobs (and a degree in law), they remained silent! There are jobs for all, they’re just not qualified, and obviously can’t do much.
    This is how people think about Romania. I, personally, don’t want to go back there to live there, but also don’t want to stay here. Still, I’m aware I have so many places to go and visit…I just hope to do that soon, because I know my country is beautiful! And I’m deeply glad there are some people going there just to visit! 🙂

  3. Hi Yvette,

    We’re happy to have you here! 🙂 It’s really so rare that we hear kind words about our country, so this article was a treat. If you’re planning on spending more time here, you might like to visit:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunyad_Castle – this is in Hunedoara, a bit further away from Bucharest.
    http://www.cantacuzinocastle.ro/ – in Valea Prahovei -should be easy to get to
    – hope you already visited Peles Castel in Sinaia – if not, it’s a must 🙂

    Other nice towns: Cluj, Brasov, SIbiu, Sighisoara – wonderful architecture and nice sights.

    There are a lot of lovely monasteries in the Moldova area. Here are 2 lists http://www.visitneamt.com/2010/02/9-monasteries-from-moldova-you-must-see-if-you-reach-neamt-county/ and http://romaniaandmoldova.com/romania/moldavia/the-painted-monasteries/ .

    As far as coffee/ tea shops go, if you like Carturesti you might also be a fan of Green Tea http://greentea.ro/ or Camera din fata https://www.facebook.com/cameradinfata (they say they have the same supplier as the Romanian royal family).

    Hope you’ll have fun here! 🙂

  4. I am very fortunate.
    There is a shop “The Romanian shop, Portsmouth” (on FACEBOOK). I pass it every day.
    The owner is called Carmen, a typically beautiful young Romanian woman. I regularly purchase food there, that I remember from Romania.
    She sells a lovely “Cozonac” a sealed, bread with cocoa, or walnuts and raisins. Terrific!
    I also get some “Triunghiuri, Branza Topita” Triangular cream cheeses (“melted” cheeses, is the literal translation but cream cheese is an alternative).
    She also sells many meats (carne), sausages (cârnați) and cheeses (brânzeturi). Plus also herbs, spices, biscuits, ceai… plus many other things in a small shop.

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