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All posts from Romania

Work in Progress

Constanta, RO (View on map)
Posted 15 Mar 2008:

I ended my Bulgarian adventures in Varna and will continue my European mission in another `fresh` EU member state. Romania lived through many ups and downs during the 20th century is currently undergoing massive changes by its attempts to lift its economy and political system to European standards.... Read more

The communist era

Constanta, RO (View on map)
Posted 16 Mar 2008:

Until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of the Twin Towers, communism was seen as the greatest threat to Western civilisation. The positive sides of the communist system were systematically disregarded or even denied by Western powers. Hidden behind the Iron Curtain, Romania lived both the best and the worst of communism. Opinions about the communist years range between idolization and disgrace.... Read more

Spare time

Bucharest, RO (View on map)
Posted 17 Mar 2008:

Spare time is becoming a scarce commodity in current day Romania. The rapid economic growth requires people to choose: jump on board or miss the train. There is no time for bumming around, or maybe there is. Today, I am asking young Romanians what they do when all other obligations have been fulfilled.... Read more

All `bout the money

Bucharest, RO (View on map)
Posted 18 Mar 2008:

Having money or not having money was hardly decisive for the quality of people`s life during communist times in Romania. Everybody had money, and most people could count on earning wages that were similar to the ones of their peers. The comfort of life was decided by the overall availability of goods, rather than anything else. Having money is one thing, but there also needs to be something you can buy from it. Which was oftentimes not the case in the 1990s. The trend has now reversed. Shops are full, but many people`s wallets are not: a good reason to take a closer look at the way young Romanians think about money.... Read more

Little Paris

Bucharest, RO (View on map)
Posted 19 Mar 2008:

Once upon a time, Romania`s capital Bucharest was known as `Little Paris`. Many of the buildings constructed in the early 1900s were modeled after existing buildings in Paris, and even the city lay-outs of Bucharest and Paris were similar. Unfortunately, only few of resemblances survived a combination of communist restructuring and the 1977 earthquake. A handful of fa?ades and road signs in the city centre have kept the Parisian tradition alive but most of Bucharest now consists of huge apartment blocks, with no apparent city centre. ... Read more

Planning ahead

Sibiu, RO (View on map)
Posted 20 Mar 2008:

The communist regime in Romania used to impose five-year plans on its industries and citizens. Most of what is happening in Romania today is based on a day-by-day rhythm. Romanians are said to take the best decisions when they have to improvise rather than plan. That still keeps me wondering about how Romanians think about the five years ahead of them.... Read more

Food and capitalism

Sibiu, RO (View on map)
Posted 21 Mar 2008:

Romanians appreciate the European Union for the money it sends to Romania and for the way it puts pressure on politicians not to mess up. When it comes to daily life, many Romanians are not so happy about the massive inflow of Western European culture. Beside other traditions, the new approach to food is seen as a major disadvantage of EU membership.... Read more

Destination Romania

Sibiu, RO (View on map)
Posted 22 Mar 2008:

Tourism has not been a top priority in Romania during the last two decades. Fresh arrivals in the capital Bucharest cannot rely on any official tourist office, while simple souvenirs or postcards are almost impossible to find. The more provincial town of Sibiu, European Cultural Capital of 2007, shows that a few basic improvements can easily change the tide. Sibiu has positioned itself on the map of international tourism and their strategy is bearing fruit: the streets of Sibiu are full of tourists from Romania and all over Europe. Question of the day: what gave them the idea to come to Romania and how do they like it?...... Read more

Easter, no Easter

Timisoara, RO (View on map)
Posted 23 Mar 2008:

Major parts of the Christian world are celebrating Easter today. The Christian Orthodox countries will only follow suit in April. They commemorate the same events, but use a different calendar to decide on the appropriate dates. Taking the calendar issue out of the equasion, I am approaching some inhabitants of Timisoara to ask them how they will be celebrating Easter.... Read more

Child in time

Timisoara, RO (View on map)
Posted 24 Mar 2008:

Due to the turbulent history of the country, Romanian youngsters who are now in their twenties have all experienced their share of the communist reality. Some for as much as several years, while others were to young to really get a grasp of what was going on. Nevertheless, the Romanian childhood memories are very different from the ones I described in England and Italy earlier on this trip... Read more

International traveling

Cluj Napoca, RO (View on map)
Posted 25 Mar 2008:

International traveling is a relatively new hobby in Romania. Escaping the country was almost impossible during the 1980s. The economic crisis of the 1990s made it quite unlikely that Romanians would leave their own country for reasons other than finding a job. After the beginning of the new millennium, conditions started getting more favourable. Now in 2008, there are plenty of low-cost airlines flying Romanians to destinations al over Europe, including the many places where their friends and family settled down in the 1990s in pursuit of a better life.... Read more

Hungarians in Romania

Cluj Napoca, RO (View on map)
Posted 26 Mar 2008:

Transylvania was neither invented by Dracula`s spiritual father Bram Stoker, nor was the region`s name born out of his creativity. Transylvania has existed for many centuries before the Dracula myth came into existence. Throughout all those years, Transylvania has almost incessantly changed ownership. Before being added to Romanian territory in the wake of WWI, it had already belonged to the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the last owner before Romania: the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The shared history with neighbouring Hungary and Austria explains why Transylvania still has a huge Hungarian and even German influence.... Read more

Racism beat it

Cluj Napoca, RO (View on map)
Posted 27 Mar 2008:

Every country has its favourite scapegoat and for Romanians it`s the Gypsies. Romanians stealing abroad? ?Gypsies. People begging in the streets? ?Gypsies. Rapists, robbers, car thieves, abandoned children? ?All Gypsies. Fortunately, some Romanians have opinions that are a little more open-minded, especially when they are directly confronted with the question: `what do you think of Gypsies?`... Read more

In the news

Cluj Napoca, RO (View on map)
Posted 28 Mar 2008:

Le Monde, The Guardian, The Herald Tribune, The Times and a range of British and German boulevard papers ? most big European cities and tourist centres sell international newspapers. In Romania, they are very hard to find. I remember seeing one copy of Die Zeit in Sibiu and that`s about all. Even Romanian newspapers do not seem to be printed in high numbers and stunning diversities.... Read more

Romanian humour

Baia Mare, RO (View on map)
Posted 29 Mar 2008:

Romanians are very social and talkative people. They like to spend time in company and they are fond of having conversations. Beside their love for philosophy and conspiracy theories, they also have a taste for humour. But beware, make sure you are not the subject of their jokes, because they are usually not very flattering.... Read more

Role patterns

Satu Mare, RO (View on map)
Posted 30 Mar 2008:

As I learnt during previous days, Romanian boys and girls are expected to behave in a similar way until they reach the age of 11 or 12, with the exception that the girls have earrings. Gender roles are only starting to sink in during the early teenage years. From then on, boys are raised to be men, and girls are raised to be women: two distinctly different paths.... Read more

Nothing but positive

Satu Mare, RO (View on map)
Posted 31 Mar 2008:

Most reactions to the Us European project are quite positive. Some are not. As it has been made clear to me, the tone I have so far used in describing Romania is degrading, too harsh and too Western. Since today is my last day in Romania, I will try to make up for any emotional damage that my writings may have caused to sensitive souls. I am asking people only to tell me positive things about Romania. Here`s the result:... Read more

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