Eastern Europe & Russia
Drobeta Turnu Severin
is a nice city that is changing rapidly (for the better). I visited in 2007 -- and was never overcharged or taken advantage of. Just make sure the taxi meter is on and do research as to what the average costs are. I stayed with Romanians in pensiunes (guesthouses) and was very happy with my trip and accommodations.
I spent time in
and other parts of Romania in the early 1970s while working there for a U.S.-based cultural exchange program. Even though under Communist rule, the city was clean, safe to walk around at all hours, with no thieves and beggars. With freedom comes responsibility -- I visited again in 1996 and was appalled at the amount of garbage in the streets and the fourfold increase in traffic. The people that I interfaced and worked with during the '70s were fantastic -- I have many good memories and mental photographs of those times.
I recommend EVERYONE to go to
, but only if you have already spent some time in Romania. Go to Bucharest last. If Bucharest is the only place you visit in Romania, you will hate it. But if you've been properly introduced to Romania, Bucharest just seems to make sense. It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing city in the world, but it is incredibly vibrant, the people are extremely nice, and the nightlife is pretty decent. But if street kids, beggars, insects or stray dogs make you scared, then perhaps it is best to stay away and begin taking package tours with 50 year old married couples.
is a great town, with everything from a vibrant night life to the oldest museum in Europe. The middle-ages part of the city is wonderful, and if you visit it during August you might just be there for the medieval festival.
Wow, some travelers just don't see
's charm. And I wonder how they miss all the beauty amongst the orderly chaos. I intended to "stomach" the city for four days because I had heard so many negative things and I liked it so much that after I toured the rest of the country, I came back and stayed six more days in Bucharest. I am glad that I have the ability to see the beauty along with the beast in every place I visit. If you like perfect order, stay in Paris and pay the high prices. Bucharest is for the more adventurous who want to rub elbows with the real world.
is a good place to visit. I've spent some time in there and it was very nice. I also visited other capitals in the eastern Europe, and though Bucharest is not as spectacular as Budapest in architecture of buildings, it has its good parts. It's not very organized and still has a few problems with the cleaning of the streets, but most certainly you don't go there to inspect the city. You go to visit and have fun. And fun you'll have. If you don't find tourist info, ask people and they'll help. Almost everyone speaks English and is very helpful. They'll tell you where you should go and what you should stay away from.
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