Eastern Europe & Russia
Drobeta Turnu Severin
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.
has the best mici (meat rolls) ever. Sarmala is also very good.
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.
is a unique city with lots to offer... let's not forget it was once known as the "Paris of the East". True, not all parts of Bucharest are luxurious, but the culture, welcoming people and great architecture makes it worth while.
Don't go to
in winter -- it could be depressing. But in spring and summer, with all the old buildings and villas -- often real palaces -- in the shade of kind of a forest of old trees, it gets really romantic. It's a city for walking, discovering narrow, leafy backstreets; getting lost in old, quite chaotic, but charming quarters. You can't compare it with any other big city in Europe.
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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