Tag: Romania

Orient Express

The original Orient Express started running in 1881 from Paris to Istanbul via the northern, Romanian route (Paris-München-Wien-Budapest-București-Istanbul). After World War I, the southern route substituted Belgrade-Sofia for București to bypass the worst of the Balkan political mayhem. After growing up with Agatha Christie (Murder On the Orient Express), Graham Greene (Stamboul Train), and Ian […]

Bran

Centuries before Bram Stoker found inspiration for his novel Dracula, best-selling stories were circulating in Europe about the fifteenth-century Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, better known as Vlad Țepeș, or Vlad the Impaler. Vlad’s favorite punishment for invading Turks, recalcitrant Boyars, and highway robbers alike (around 100,000 total […]

Pitești

There is a saying in Romania that, if you walk thirty minutes in any direction, you’ll find an impoverished Gypsy. In the back-country around Pitești, the saying sounds about right. The Romani were the first to be laid off in the industrial collapse that followed the end of […]

English

In Eastern Europe all of the way to the Bosphorus, everyone speaks English–except for the tourists. Whether it’s a French girl talking to her Romanian uncle, an Austrian passenger ordering coffee from a Turkish conductor, or an Italian with a defective passport remonstrating with a Bulgarian border guard, […]

București

Pity the poor Nicolae Ceaușescu. His life was the ultimate expression of the homily that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. On the one hand, we have the hardscrabble, but immensely attractive and handsome idealist who clawed his way to the pinnacle of Romanian socialism. […]