Though my Romania research is only a little more than half completed (I return July 9th for three more weeks on the road), I’m long overdue for a positive post about this country just to pacify those of you that are undoubtedly wondering why I keep coming here.
Lists are nice. Let’s do that:
• The countryside: parts of this country are so unspeakably beautiful that your brain tries to reject it as a hallucination as a defense mechanism so you don’t go insane, like during hostile alien invasions. Driving through northwest Moldavia into Maramures (specifically between Gura Humorului all the way to Vadu Izei) I wanted to stop the car every 30 seconds to take pictures. As it was, I only stopped once. The instant I fished out my camera clouds descended, but I took the picture anyway.
• On that note, the villages in Maramures are just so infectiously quaint and peaceful that you have to wonder if there might be a Valium factory nearby, pumping 50 tones of byproduct into the air every day. If they had reliable internet, I’d probably never leave.
• Wine: so good and cheap that I’m surprised the EU hasn’t outlawed it. You can get a perfectly good bottle for about 3 euros (about US$4.50) – and it gets even better in Moldova.
• I never get tired of simply strolling around cities like Sighişoara, Braşov and Oradea. They’ve got this living museum effect, like Venice without the flooding.
• I would almost live in this Podunk village just for the name alone. (NSFW)
• Ţuică: Dangerously lethal plumb brandy moonshine, but if you get the good stuff from Maramures, don’t ask me why, hangovers are surprisingly mild.
• The women: you’re all so heart-breakingly, bug-eyed, lip smacking beautiful. Every time I leave the country I want to pop out my eyes and put them in a jar, so if some accident should befall me before I return, the last thing I ever see will be your faces (and stuff).
• Parking: with the possible exception of Italy, Romania has the most lenient parking restrictions I’ve ever seen. Though I’m sure the law books say otherwise, in reality the only restrictions are that you’re car must be at least 3/4 of the way into the space and you must move your car before 8am on July 12th, 2017.
• With very rare exception, the hostels here are great and getting better. They should send every HI hostel owner in France, Italy and Spain to Romania to teach them a desperately needed lesson.
• Oh no she di’in’t! (NSFW again)
That’s all for now. Part 2 in July will take me to the clothing optional utopia that is the Black Sea Coast. A hail of purely accidental Not Safe For Work images are sure to ensue.