Lenny and I went to Romania for the first few days of our Semana Blanca. At first, I was terrified of going to Romania because of the weather. Being a Floridian girl, I don’t own snow boots or heavy jackets. So I went to my favorite cheap store in Malaga, Primark, and bought myself a jacket that looked like it would keep me warm from the cold and snow for €9!
Here are some of the things I saw and did, as well as some random facts:
- 1 eur = 4.35 lei (Romania’s currency. Depending on where you are some people call it ‘lei’ and some call it ‘ron’) Everything in Romania is cheap after you exchange your euros! You’ll soon notice!
- We stayed in the Kismet Dao Hostel and I HIGHLY recommend it. The staff was very friendly and informative. If you pay for 3 nights, your 4th night is free. Each night, you get a free bottle of beer, water or soda. There’s unlimited WiFi, free big lockers in your room, free use of towels, free use of kitchen, etc. We paid €9 per night and it was one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in Europe.
- The language is a romance language. A lot of their words sound or look similar to Italian, surprisingly.
- When leaving the airport, be wary of people who offer you taxi services because they’ll hustle you. One will say it’s 30 euros to the city center and no less. Another one will say 40. Just pass by that bullshit and look around the parking lot for taxis. Those taxi men will give you a better rate. You shouldn’t pay more than 20 lei (5 euro) give or take.
- “Guided” taxi tour: For €35, we got a taxi man to drive us to Bran’s Castle, Rasnov, Poiana and back to Brasnov. It was nice because we had limited time and didn’t want to worry about transportation troubles so we took his offer. He was a really sweet man and we got to do everything we wanted in a day!
- Bran Castle aka Dracula’s castle: For students, it’s 5 lei. The castle inside is pretty bare but the views are gorgeous.
- Rasnov: It was 3 lei to go up to the fortress on a bumpy tractor and 5 lei for students to go inside the fortress. The fortress, in my opinion, was pretty lame but the views of city were phenomenal. It was definitely worth the 5 lei to take those pictures.
- Poiana: Poiana is a ski resort and it’s reasonably priced. It’s becoming a more popular destination so the prices will probably sky-rocket but for now it’s a cheap destination for any international snow lover.
- Sinaia’s Peles Castle was built by King Carol I of Romania as a summer home in 1872. In more recent times, people like Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Muammar al-Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat have all been guests at the castle. According to Wikipedia, “Peleş Castle has a 3,200-square-metre (34,000 sq ft) floor plan with over 170 rooms, many with dedicated themes from world cultures. Themes vary by function (offices, libraries, armories, art galleries) or by style (Florentine, Turkish, Moorish, French, Imperial); all the rooms are extremely lavishly furnished and decorated to the slightest detail”. You have to pay around 30 lei to take pictures inside. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay and regretted not taking pictures of the inside.
- Eating in Romania is deliciously cheap. For example: (2) soups with bread (2) beers (1) soda (1) chicken in mushroom sauce with rice dish (1) pork spare ribs with potatoes dish and (1) 10% generous tip all came out to 75 lei. That’s about 15 euro to eat a full meal in a super nice authentic Romanian restaurant.
- The average monthly salary of a Romanian is about €360.
- There are a ton of stray dogs in Romania (it broke my heart). Why? In the mid 1980’s, dictator Ceausescu wanted to make Bucharest rival any great European city so he demolished a huge section of residential neighborhoods to make his city greater. This left residents to abandon their dogs, leaving thousands and thousands of dogs to fend for their selves.
- Nightlife in Romania is fantastic. People are ACTUALLY dancing (unlike the Spaniards). The music is pumping through your body while you’re pumping alcohol into your system. It was sweet! Check out Lenny’s personal favorite Sweet Love. ß I think Lenny’s more obsessed with the smoking hot Romanian woman than the actual song haha.
I really enjoyed Romania and would recommend it to anyone who wants a cute cheap destination. I hear Romania in the summer is equally beautifully so I think I may persuade Lenny to go back next year before the snow starts to fall.