No. 101 Sos. Nordului at the 'French Village'Just as in Jeddah we were extremely fortunate with our housing in Bucharest. We moved into a small housing compound built by a French contractor. “The French Village” was brand new and located in the north of Bucharest near Lake Herastrau which was the top residential area in the former communist days. We moved into a brand new 3-bedroom semi-detached villa.

We arrived in Romania in early November 1994. The contrast with Jeddah couldn’t be starker. When we left Jeddah the weather was getting extremely pleasant, i.e. low humidity levels, high twenties temperatures in the day and high teens in the nights. Just like a good Western European summer. In Bucharest on the other hand the Jeddah sun was replaced by permanent grey overcast and cold temperatures around freezing. The nice surprise for all of us was that after two days we had snow which was a first for the kids.

The weather also contributed to a delay in arrival of our belongings. These had been sea freighted from Jeddah to Constanza, the Romania Black Sea Port. Unfortunately, poor weather resulted in the port being closed for some time over Christmas and New Year 1995 and as a result we only received our container late January 1995.

Pumping Oil in the Ploiesti areaBucharest is the capital of Romania and used to be known as the “Paris of the East”. The city received this tag in the 1930’s when Romania was actually among the top 5 oil producing countries in the world and this was helping to generate a substantial wealth. This wealth encouraged a flourishing of the arts and entertainment in a country with a strong pre-existing cultural heritage and history. Testimony to the cultural richness of this period is also the architecture, or at least what remains of it in some of the beautiful old buildings and villas built in those days and which are slowly being restored. A key example is the Soseau Kiseleff in the north of Bucharest.

Romania has a lot to offer. It has a very diverse geography covering mountains, the Carpatians, as high as the Alps, plains, a long sea cost at the Black sea, a unique biotope with the Danube delta, etc. It also has a lot on offer from a historic standpoint with the Moldovan monasteries in the north, beautiful castles in the mountains, etc.

Bran CastleOne region of Romania, Transsylvania, has become well known as the home of “Count Dracula”, Vlad Tepes. One tourist attraction in the Brasov area is Bran castle which is popularly known as Dracula’s castle. But that is only because it’s an impressive sight sitting on a high rock on a strategic location but Vlad Tepes never stayed there…

Peles CastleAnother quite impressive castle is actually Peles castle located in Sinaia, the “winter capital” of the Carpatian mountains. Sinaia is only 1&#189 hours drive from Bucharest and is a lovely mountain resort with some of the older architecture still well preserved. It’s a popular ski resort, but the town is also lovely in summer. The first Romanian king, the German Prince Carol of Hogenzollern-Sigmaringen, built a castle, Peles, in Sinai in the 1870’s. Inside it’s a real treasure trove with various theme rooms, the Turkish salon, the Moresque Hall, the Florentine Hall, etc. It also boasts an impressive collection of medieval armory, it has a Theater Hall that sits 60 and a Concert Hall. What was quite a technological marvel for these late 19th century days was that the castle had its own electricity supply from a nearby hydro electric power plant. As a result there was electric lighting, there were elevators and central vacuum cleaning!!

MuralRomania also has a strong religious heritage with many beautiful Romania orthodox churches and monasteries, particularly in the northern Moldovan region. Many of these have beautiful well preserved mural paintings inside and even on the outside walls.

Vulcanii NoroiosiRomania not only has a varied cultural, religious and historic heritage. It also has a lot to offer from a natural environment point of view. The Carpatian mountains, the Black Sea, etc. We even went to see an interesting phenomena which was called the “Vulcanii Noroiosi”, a collection of small mud spewing volcanoes in a moon-like landscape.

Hence with so much on offer we quite regularly drove out of the city on sightseeing trips with plenty of open space to chose from to have a nice family picnic …

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2 Comments to “Romania”

  1. By Oana, November 15, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

    Lyou speak like you liked Romania, hope you’ll enjoy equally much this time:)

    • By admin, November 16, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

      Oana – I’m certain I will.

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