By : Yvette Larsson
Interviewing : Nathan Aguilera, travel blogger who visited Romania in May, 2017.
I read about how you, 3 years ago sold everything and went traveling. I did same thing 17 years ago, leaving Stockholm and heading to French Reunion Island. There is adventure waiting….and what more ? What made you leave home and take the leap to go traveling ? What has been most valuable ? What has been the most challenging ?
I remember sitting in my office in Oklahoma City and reading so many travel blogs and just thinking I was missing out on so much. I had a very nice life back home but I was reading all of these stories about interesting people going to incredible places and I started feeling like working in an
office just wasn’t for me.
For me, easily the greatest thing has been the people I’ve met along the way. I’ve met so many people doing such amazing things. And for sure the most difficult thing has been all the time away from my friends and family.
Describe your passion for food !
Insatiable lol. During my travels I’ve found that learning about a new country through its food is my favorite way to get to know anywhere. That’s why I love walking food tours becuase you learn about the history of a place while you get to try all of the new dishes.
I wrote about several of the tours I went on in this post:
What was your first impression of Romania ?
My first visit to Romania was actually two years ago and I loved it. It’s a bit gritty which I love. When the opportunity to attend this trip presented itself I jumped on it! It really is a great city and I love all the gorgeous parks and great wine bars.
What are your 3 best food moments in Bucharest ?
I loved how on my walking food tour the vendors at the market would call out to us and randomly hand us samples. These vendors weren’t even part of the tour. They were just happy to share their dishes with us. Also, I loved the Garlic Tour as it incorporated history (even a bit of Dracula) and lastly, my dinner(s) at Beca’s Kitchen. Beca, the owner, is so passionate about food and it really comes through in not only her explanation of her menu but also most definitely in her cooking as well.
Tell us about the wine tasting trip you went to. As often in Romania everyday things turn into magic , often in a quirky way. I saw you wandered into the Romanian countryside during this trip. I am curious to know more about your impression of that trip and of course what your view is on Romanian wine !
Well, the first thing I’ll say about Romanian vineyards is that they definitely were not stingy with their pours! The owners of the vineyards were happy to explain the entire process to us, all the while keeping our glasses full. And you’re correct in saying how the ordinary became a bit special. We were taken into the countryside and were able to see how local people lived. It was really great. I love Romanian wine! There are some really great wines being produced at very reasonable prices.
How would you describe the Bucharest restaurant scene ?
If I had to choose one word I would say ”emerging”. My local friends were telling me how five-six years ago many of the trendy/fusion restaurants did not exist. Now I loved seeing how many of the classic dishes were being reinterpreted and modernized.
What is the Old Town about for you ? If you would describe it to someone who has never been to Romania ?
It feels like many old town areas of capital cities of Europe- cobblestone streets, interesting shops, trendy restaurants with one difference—way more nightlife. Many times you hear how locals would avoid these areas, calling them touristy, but many locals chose to hang out in the old town!
Which restaurants / cafés became your favourite places and why ?
So many! It was a real struggle to keep from going back to some of my favorite places over and over but I wanted to try as many as possible. I actually recently published a guide to my choices for the Best Restaurants in Bucharest: http://foodieflashpacker.com/best-restaurants-in-bucharest-romania/
How do you like Romanian traditional food, such as sarmale, ciorba and salata de vinete?
I loved it! Many people told me the food was heavy but I found so many great dishes that I loved. I wrote about my favorite dishes in another recent post: http://foodieflashpacker.com/romanian-food/
Anything else you wish to add ?
I feel like people shouldn’t overlook Romania when they are booking their holidays. There is so much to see and do, the food is amazing, the wine is delicious and most importantly, the people are friendly and genuinely excited when you choose to visit their country.
Connect with Nathan Aguilera :
Photos published with the courtesy of Nathan Aguilera.