I am very happy ! This is the first time that a Swedish travel magazine shared something that I wrote about Romania. The title of the article is ” Best in Bucharest” and it says that Bucharest is one of the most unknown capitals in Europe. I wrote about 5 things to see, do and experience in Bucharest : the markets, the architecture, the food, art and old town.
This insider tips was published in Sweden’s biggest travel magazineResemagasinet Vagabond.
Here is my original article translated to English for you !
The Peasant’s Museum often has great markets on the weekends. At the markets you will find incredibly cool crafts of all kinds, contemporary art, side by side with traditional artwork and antiques. It absolutely sparkles with color! There you will find the beautiful, colourful Romanian blouses with symbols that speak history, you will also find tablecloths, pottery, jewellery, honey, jams, antiques, woodwork and of course delicious food and drink!
The Romanian food is tasty and in abundance. When I was in Romania in 1985, we ate basically just schnizel and I did not have particularly high expectations of the food when I returned in 2011. Romania is a warm and sunny country and many people have their own garden and love sitting happily under their grape wine, drink their own wine, make barbecues and eat their own tomatoes and vegetables. They grow a lot and are, like their Latin cousins, very interested in everything that has to do with food. The first time in Romania, I suggest you taste sarmale cu mamaliga, branza si smantana. Sarmale is minced meat, put in cabbage leaves which are rolled so the meat stays inside. We eat sarmale with Romanian polenta, white cheese ( a cheese we Swedes would probably compare with feta cheese ) and Smantana – which is very similar to creme fraiche. Romanians like to eat red onion and some like chilli to go with the meal . Wine that goes perfectly well with sarmale is Jidvei Feteasca Regala. It is my absolute favourite ! Romania has copiously much wine to discover for us Swedes, as Systembolaget, barely, takes in any Romanian wines in their range.
In Bucharest I’m fascinated by the architecture. It is with mixed feelings, because I know that Ceausescu destroyed many areas during his urbanization projects. The House of Parliament is a must-see. In Bucharest you see gigantic, beautiful boulevards, which originates since communist times, but you also see beautiful, classical architecture such as the Romanian Athenaeum. The Athenaeum is a classical concert hall in the area which is my favourite area in Bucharest: the area around Piata Amzei, Piata Romana, Calea Victoriei and the Old Town – Centrul Vechi.
The Village Museum (was not included in article)
…is an outdoor museum, which was built with Skansen as a model. The village life is unique in Romania and has rich traditions that have remained, and the Romanians wear the traditional clothes with pride. The Village Museum often arrange creative workshops where you can learn different crafts such as egg painting, pottery, woodwork, icon painting, embroidery, jewellery making and more!
Here you will find the National Museum of Art of Romania. The first time I was there, I felt like I opened a treasure chest. I went there and discovered the art of the artists that I never heard of. We are so accustomed to the French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch masters, but I promise you that the Romanian painters have a lot to contribute to European cultural heritage. Many of them have not been introduced yet but been hidden under communism. Now they whisper to us and I am surprised and seduced by them !
Old Town and café life (this part was blended in the article)
The Old Town is exciting with its fascinating architecture, amazing shopping, innovative restaurants and coffee shops, concept stores such as bookstore Carturesti Carusel. Romanians are classic in its way of being, dressing and speaking. They like to read books, discuss about life, helping those in need, eating healthy, going to church, taking care of their family, citing Eminescu and Brancusi, they are fighting for democracy. Bucharest is like a theatre stage or a backdrop to a movie and I love to just sit in the cafe in the Old Town and studying people. Yes, sometimes I wonder if anyone should come out from a balcony and sing an aria or something similar. Romanians are individualists and dress neat, cool, elegant and with color! It feels like a breath of fresh air from all the black in Sweden! Some of my favourite cafes in the area, where I like to sit and write are: M60, Anthony Frost English Bookshop, Carturesti on Piata Romana, La Copac, Sole D’Italia, and Gradina Eden in other parts of Bucharest. Café and restaurant options are huge and for all budgets. Overall it is very cheap to go out and eat in Bucharest, if you come from Sweden. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed and Romanians themselves love to go out and be with friends!