Ex­pe­ri­ence Ro­ma­nia

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS - by Stephen Chrisan­thus

Just say­ing Euro­pean va­ca­tion out loud gets me ex­cited, that part of the world is abound with places filled with cul­ture and mer­ri­ment. Now Ro­ma­nia may not be one of the first coun­tries that come to mind when you start to get fired up at the thought of a trip there, but it should be. This amaz­ing land is brim­ming with beauty, life and down right fun. Only un­locked from com­mu­nist con­tain­ment a few decades ago this de­li­cious des­ti­na­tion is packed with trea­sures undis­cov­ered by a vast num­ber of trav­el­ers. Now with a re­cent tourism push, the coun­try is try­ing to grow aware­ness and wel­come visi­tors to come ex­pe­ri­ence Ro­ma­nia, and that’s ex­actly what I did.

Bucharest, Ro­ma­nia, the coun­tries largest city with nearly 2 mil­lion peo­ple, is bustling with en­ergy and in­trigue. The ar­chi­tec­ture varies through­out the city, en­dowed with vary­ing styles rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the changes that the coun­try has en­dured. It gives it a char­ac­ter of its own and cul­tured feel. You can stroll the streets for hours on a self­guided walk­ing tour, tak­ing in the var­i­ous sites and sounds, let­ting the city be­come what you want it be. One build­ing that you will cer­tainly grav­i­tate to­wards is the Palace of the Par­lia­ment, oth­er­wise known as The Peo­ple’s House. And for good rea­son, it’s be­lieved to be the heav­i­est build­ing in the world weigh­ing in at around 4,098,500,000 kilo­grams and is the 2nd largest ad­min­is­tra­tive build­ing in the world next to the Pen­tagon. If the neigh­bor­hood sur­round­ing this moun­tain­ous struc­ture is your speed, check out ac­com­mo­da­tions at the JW Mar­riott. It’s one of the nicest in their col­lec­tion, equipped with great shop­ping, a va­ri­ety of restau­rants and even a casino.

One part of Bucharest not to miss is Old Town. The name is fit­ting as the streets are

filled with mer­chants, as they were in the 1800’s, and lined with eye catch­ing old banks, churches and gov­ern­ment build­ings. The his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture may set the tone but the bars and restau­rants make the scene. The fun, feast­ing and free spir­its gust through the nar­row climb­ing streets to the wee hours. The en­ergy, fu­eled by the om­nipresent mu­sic and laugh­ter, car­ries you on through the night as it seems to never wind down or change pace, much the same as a Las Ve­gas evening where good times don’t ex­pire and the face of your watch will al­ways be a sur­prise. There is no lack of places to bop into or hos­pitable lo­cals to share a cock­tail with. I’d sug­gest a spe­cific place but in­stead I’ll just sug­gest you en­thu­si­as­ti­cally tell the taxi driver, “take me to Old Town”. Oh, and if you want to stay close by so you can en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties ev­ery night, the Radis­son Blue may be for you. A 5 star in the heart of the city, check in and check out, all that the city has to of­fer.

The city is fan­tas­tic but the coun­try is not to be missed. A few calm­ing hours ride through the scenic coun­try­side will blow the ur­ban aroma right off you and put you in a tran­quil state, pre­pared for the ad­ven­ture that waits. Out­side the city lies the Danube Delta, the 2nd largest river delta in Europe and the best pre­served. Grab a boat in Mah­mu­dia and let your na­ture ex­pe­di­tion be­gin. The of­fice, metro or long line at the bank will be the last thing on your mind as you make your way through a wa­ter­way of won­ders filled with only beauty and your thoughts. Ex­otic birds and plant life pave the way to a day with­out worry. The boat cap­tains know the way like you know your drive home, so sit back, take a deep breath and let Mother Na­ture in. Pro­long the trip with a pit stop at the Sun­rise Ho­tel in Crisan. There you will be greeted with a fam­ily feel as the staff takes you in as one of their own. You may even get a tra­di­tional dance and song at din­ner.

Mov­ing on down the delta to­wards the Black Sea you will come across a gem for those that love the out­doors, the Green Vil­lage in Sfantu Ghe­o­rghe. Stay for a few days in one of the many rus­tic yet pris­tine quar­ters that are of­fered. The nat­u­ral land­scape is so stun­ning that the re­sort is built to be in har­mony with the sur­round­ing area not to over­shadow it. Go on an ex­cur­sion or wan­der around on your own, the en­tire vil­lage is the at­trac­tion. Don’t worry; they didn’t leave out the lux­ury. There is a spa and pool that over­look the water for those that like to na­ture-chill in­stead of hike.

Now, on to the Black Sea and back to the party. The sea’s dark shad­ow­ing color is fit­ting for its name but there is noth­ing life­less about this beach haven of fun. Full of beach par­ties and nightlife this is the va­ca­tion spot for

a lot of the coun­try and you’ll feel it in the air. Pack your day full of vi­ta­min D and fruity drinks and see where it leads you. For a night of great mu­sic and high-en­ergy danc­ing in a classy New York­ish at­mos­phere go Café Del Mar. Sit back and watch or hit the dance floor, ei­ther way you’ll feel like your hav­ing a spe­cial night out. If in­cred­i­ble live mu­sic en­veloped in the fra­grance of beach breeze is more your scene, than Biu­ti­ful by the Sea is the place to spend your evening. For a cool cen­tral beach spot with a “hot” spa, the Zenith Ho­tel is where you need to stay. Don’t for­get to get one of their re­ju­ve­nat­ing mas­sages to re­fresh your­self af­ter a long night out.

If re­lax­ation is what the doc­tor or­dered then there is no other place than the Europa Ho­tel, home to the Ana Asian Spa. Sit­u­ated in pic­turesque Eforie Nord, this spa is world-class, and must for those in need of a hol­i­day for the mind and body. Bedecked with lus­cious green grounds and breathtaking sea views from ev­ery room, you find no trou­ble tak­ing a time­out at this sanc­tu­ary.

One thing you’ll find ev­ery­where in Ro­ma­nia, that I found the most amaz­ing as­set of the coun­try, is their peo­ple. From city to city from ur­ban to ru­ral, through­out, they re­main gra­cious, fun and ea­ger to share life with visi­tors and each other alike. You feel wel­come and at home, and their vigor for life is in­fec­tious. You’ll likely make friends you’ll be anx­ious to re­turn and see, and may even ex­tend your trip. As you should, be­cause there is whole north­ern sec­tion of coun­try to see, filled with im­pres­sive ski­ing re­sorts, mag­nif­i­cent his­tory-rid­den cas­tles and an­other side of their cul­ture. Next time you’re think­ing of tak­ing a trip to Europe, do your­self a fa­vor; ex­pe­ri­ence Ro­ma­nia.

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