Europa dell'Est & Russia
is the ugliest, most depressing, most boring large city I have ever visited. I cannot understand how in the world anyone can call this city "the Paris of Eastern Europe" -- it's the biggest misnomer I've ever heard. There are a handful of splendid buildings in the city center around Piata Universitate but everything else in between is pure squalor. The only truly interesting sight is the big Palace, built by Romania's last dictator Ceausescu, which really impressed me by its monumental size and beautifully decorated interior. Having travelled through other eastern European countries, I found food prices in Bucharest relatively high. Inexpensive restaurants are very hard to come by. If you want to have a good time and live on a low budget, visit Sofia, which is a very charming city with a great night life and lower prices.
is just fantastic. A town with charm and much flair. The people are (like many Romanians) are very hospitable, nice and helpful. Explore Sinaia (Peles castle), Rasnov, the fortified churches of Prejmer and Harman. And if possible don't miss Sighisoara, the medieval town two hours from Brasov. It's great there. Or just stay in Brasov. I myself could stay there forever!
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.
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.
I have just returned from
and loved it. For a young person its amazing, night life is fantastic and very cheap on a night out in Newcastle uk myself and partner speand on average 100-120 pound a night what with taxi fares, drink prices and cigarettes, in Bucharest we struggled to speand over 25 pound thats with taxi's, drink, pizza and cigs. The people are very friendly well more so then a lot in the uk.The street kids may come up to you and beg but you can't complain about it most wouldn't have ate all day on top of that they have spent a night in the sewer would you not ask for help in there shoes? The only thieves we came across were some taxi drivers but thats not to much of a problem just make sure they have the metre on and it's set to the price stated on the side of all the cars. Dogs don't seem to bother you if you don't bother them. The only bad thing that happened to us on our visit was witnessing some evil taxi drivers screaming at a lady and her two kids for…
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