Romania Roadtrip–Jens  

Thrown (Ţâpat) in ,

I have met quite a few Germans lately. One of them told me about his happy road trip through Romania and the Moldovan Republic, and I thought his story is worth sharing here.

Half of JensMany of the people I got to know when traveling, upon hearing I’m Romanian, would start to tell me about their trip to Romania. And in the vast majority of these cases, the memories they had to share were overwhelmingly positive.

It certainly makes sense that I get to hear this more and more, at least according to CNBC’s 12 slides on this subject.

While Europe remains the most visited region in the world, tourism growth in 2012 and early 2013 was led by destinations in central and Eastern Europe, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The organization forecasts that over the long term, international arrivals in the emerging economies, including Central and Eastern Europe will grow at double the pace of that in advanced economy destinations. (z-cnbc)

Though CNBC somehow includes Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia in “Eastern Europe”, Romania is notably absent from the slideshow.

Christine Krzyszton describes a week-end in Bucharest in Frugal Travel Guy.

Bucharest is a beautiful city to explore but it is also an incredible eating and drinking city. For being a European city, there was very good value for the travel dollar. OK, I’ll just say it; the place was cheap (by the way, they are not yet on the Euro). A hot pretzel on the street was 30 cents, a large fine pastry filled with spinach was less than a dollar, a bottle of wine in one of the best restaurants in the city was $12.00 and an entrée was $8.00-$10.00. Beer was as cheap as a dollar and mixed drinks were two dollars. Shoes and apparel were equally very affordable. A 10-12 minute taxi ride was $4.50. I ran into a group of Israelis at the airport who were just getting off their Wiz Air flight and I asked them why they came to Bucharest. They replied that their airfare (40 Euros), lodging, and drinking costs for a weekend in Bucharest were less than a weekend at home in Tel Aviv. I think that sums up how affordable the city is.

The heart of the city appears to the Old Town. It is vibrant with activity and there are a lot of renovations going on to make it even more of a social hub in the future. You’ll find bars, restaurants, shopping, art galleries, antiques, and entertainment, all along narrow cobblestone streets. The array of buildings in Old Town is unique and from all eras, including baroque, neoclassical, and art nouveau (according to the Romanian tourism website). The combination makes for a funky and eclectic visual experience. The area dates back to the 1400’s as the center of trade for the city. (frugal-bucharest)

(Visit yt-streets-bucharest in Sources for excellent street videos in the Romanian capital.)

In her short article in a local newspaper from Minnesota, Kara Nonnemacher had this to say about her stay in Romania:

After nearly two and a half months in Romania, my expectations have been exceeded, although there have been challenges along the way.

(..) During the first half of the semester, the 10 students in the program stayed with host families in the community. I lived on a farm with a family of three, and I have never experienced more hospitality than I did with them. Both my host mom and dad sacrificed time to make me early breakfasts and late suppers. I was usually fed more food than anyone else in the family! I was never allowed to help with dishes, and my laundry was always washed and hung to dry by my host mom. They were willing to help me with homework, answer questions about their culture or religion, and I felt like I always received the best of what they had. This type of hospitality was both refreshing and humbling, and I continue to see it in other Romanians with whom our group interacts.

(..) This country is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. It has towering mountains in Retezat National Park (where we spent a week backpacking), rolling hills, valleys and magnificent gorges. Our group was fortunate to experience Romania in the fall, where the temperature is a consistent 60-70 degrees, and the hills that make up the Jiu Valley where Lupeni is located, are covered with colorful trees. Upon arriving, we drove for eight hours through the countryside and saw fields and fields of sunflower stems that had just died. I couldn’t even imagine how beautiful that scene would have been had we arrived when the flowers were blooming! I love the appealing variety that Romania’s landscape offers, and it is one of the aspects of the country that I will miss the most. (z-kara)

With its characteristic idiocy, the plagia-government wants to get in on the action by introducing a mountain-visiting “entrance fee” (z-tax).

I haven’t always had the time to write down memories of other travelers, but recently, when I met Jens, a veterinarian soon-to-be graduate from Munich, I decided to record it.

First, we started with my Galaxy Nexus Android phone, recording with Audioboo. Unfortunately, the screen of my phone has the bad habit of sometimes going blank and that’s what happened during the first few minutest of our interview. I recovered and published that 3 min boo (audioboo-1) and then continued recording with my laptop in Audacity Portable.

Jens didn’t want his full photo taken, but agreed to half and that’s what you can see above. The person who appears fully is Dave, a cool British engineer who came to Toronto on a work visa.

To watch the movie, just click on the photo and it will open to the right.

If you’re curious how I made it, here it is, in short.
  1. Import and stitch the two audio files in Audacity.
    interview-waveformThough waveforms begged to be normalized, I did no further processing.
  2. Added a gradient “curtain” over the other person in the photo in Paint.NET (Photoshop is for snobs).
  3. Imported photo and conversation (as “music”) in MovieMkr and added FadeIn to take the edge off the abrupt and noisy start.
  4. Searched for “Romania” on Flickr with Creative Commons flag set and saved the photos named with their title and the poster’s handle.
  5. Imported the photos into MovieMkr, then in the Home tab, chose the “Pan and zoom” movie autotheme, then clicked “Fit to music” in the Project tab.
  6. Rearranged the photos according to the “bookmarks” below, so that the photos match, as much as possible, the narration/interview.
  7. Added George Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody + Adrian Enescu’s “Cine iubeste si lasa” (ft. Maria Tanase) as background music to further mask the cafeteria noise.

The above took much longer than I expected. Once everything was done, I saved the video and published it on YouTube.

The summary of “bookmarks” I used for photo-matching might give you an idea what this 17 minute video is about before (or while) watching it.
  • 0:28 – 2 yrs ago in May ,
  • 0:40 – 22 yo Mercedes Benz gas hog
  • 0:50 – Austria, Hungary, Romania Moldova (1:00)
  • 1:11 – highlights
  • 1:20 – documentary Moldova to 1:50
  • 1:50 – Moldova finally destination
  • 2:11 – 4 ppl, then 2
  • 2:29 – cold feet
  • 2:49 – better 2
  • 3:00 – restart
  • 3:10 – nicest city – Cluj but landscapes 3:50
  • 3:55 – particular place – work on the fields
  • 4:07 – grandparents long time ago
  • 4:20 – horses + hay stuff
  • 4:35 – capite
  • 4:46 – picturesque
  • 4:56 – tiny villages
  • 5:10 – old ppl feeding
  • 5:19 – ppl cheering
  • 5:28 – filogerman
  • 5:48 – romanian be more german (“be more serious and generate trust”)
  • 5:55 – german man who forgot to leave
  • 6:40 – well received
  • 6:50 – how many days
  • 7:10 – ppl inv to homes
  • 7:19 – girl in Cluj
  • 7:28 – Bistrita, friend of a friend
  • 7:45 – no need 4 coachsurfing
  • 7:50 – stuck then helped
  • 8:45 – swearing in German
  • 8:55 – Romanians helping
  • 9:05 – help, don’t ask
  • 9:15 – more like that
  • 9:30 – reputation vs reality
  • 10:00 – where else have you traveled – South Africa
  • 10:30 – stay focused
  • 10:53 – Europe packed short distance many countries
  • 11:00 – Moldova – Russian spoken
  • 11:30 – 3rd world country
  • 11:40 – agriculture
  • 11:55 – how were ppl
  • 12:05 – priest / preacher
  • 12:38 – tell me who you are
  • 12:55 – fatherly figure
  • 13:05 – German background
  • 13:20 – infrastructure
  • 13:35 – why worry
  • 14:00 – paradise is better
  • 14:20 – relax – “even if you die, paradise will be better” – see MIORITA
  • 14:43 – differences between west and east
  • 15:00 – nature – liked mountains
  • 15:20 – camping outside / bears
  • (must delete some “ahhhhh”)
  • 16:20 – hostels vs map
  • 16:50 – potholes

Feel free to comment on the video either here or directly on YouTube.

(This page also available by – note the zero between d and t.)

Sources / More info: flickr, guardian-contribute-romania, audioboo-1, audioboo-2, flickr-group, yt-streets-Bucharest, vimeo-roma-music, z-kara, z-cnbc, z-tax, frugal-bucharest

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Monday, November 18, 2013 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
Aici vei găsi ştiri inedite, articole hazoase, perspective originale in politică, societate, economie şi relaţii interumane. QUESTIONS (Intrebări)? We got Answers (Răspunsuri există)!  
blog comments powered by Disqus