Europa dell'Est & Russia
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 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.
. Just an absolutely phenomenal place to be lazy, relax, and meet some interesting locals. The locals in Sighisoara (and Romania as a whole) were the nicest people I met in my life.
was a huge disappointment and I don't recommend this city as a tourist destination. As our first introduction to Romania, Bucharest was depressing, ugly, and we hated it. I wish we had seen more of the countryside and stayed in Brasov -- we visited for a day and liked it. If you're going to Bucharest for cheap beer, clubbing, and staying out late, you'll probably like it. Otherwise, stay away. There's no tourist information office, which means you have to go searching for a map and any other info you need. The city is dirty, sadly ugly, and the people seem beaten down. I never thought I'd miss those schlocky tourist shops, but I did -- no postcards, no souvenirs, even finding bottled water was difficult. The metro was incredibly confusing, although fast and cheap. The food was mediocre but cheap. Everything was cheap, so it's easy to stay on a budget. The stray dogs and cats wandering around, the children sleeping in the streets, the taxi drivers trying to rip you off -- it…
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.
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