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Driving in Romania

Driving through a land of kind people

I have been lucky enough that my job allowed me to travel quite a

Surdesti

lot on the unknown roads of Romania, from south to north. Most of my experiences were fun, others impressive, some others quite hilarious. It was the case when I drove  a rent a car to drive in Maramures,  the north of Romania, the most amazing land, unique for its people and magic atmosphere.
It was late autumn when I decided to visit Maramures to check hotels around. I was running my own travel agency and I was targeting a special niche and checking out hotels was a must.  I went by night train tup o Baia Mare as the drive is long and tiring and I booked a rent a car, from the only company in town planning to drive around.

It went as planned. I took the car and I  start travelling right in the morning. The GPS was my flag, will was my main road. I travelled the first day trying to reach all the UNESCO heritage churches, the incredible ancestor buildings aroused in wood, worked piece by piece by anonymous peasants.

Driving in Romania, driving through amazement

All set. Car was working just fine and, one small detail, the car had the regional plate numbers. After I left Barsana monastery ( I really recommend to get there). I kind of got lost. The GPS seemed also in a big fog, indicating stupid routs. Hence I stopped next to an old man, an authentic local peasant. He spoke a sweet, slow rhythm Romanian language. I asked him directions and when he realised that I was not a local he started wondering: “Where are you from?” I answered shortly that I am from Bucharest, 650 km away. “But.. . you have local plate numbers. Are you married with a local?” I explained him shortly that I just rented the car  to drive across the country side. He did not understand how I could paid money to rent a car and he expressed his amazement  in the same slow manner.  He did also not understood how a “girl” is left  to drive across the country all on her own. He had that spirit of peace and wisdom, he balanced every single word. His concern was a parent-like worry, moreover he was preoccupied to help me find my way and to warn me that there plenty of “troubled people” and to pay attention.
I carried on my travel and I reached the northest point of Sapanta, the Merry Cemetery. Careless woman like I parked into a hole. Nasty one! Enormous! Huge! Scary! And… embarrassing enough … I could not get out of the nasty hole. It was a rainy day and the mud around the car made my mission impossible and not in a 007 sense! I was red  as hell when I just got out to ask for some help. It was this woman, I will always remember her, dressed in popular costume, heavy, but with a kind face. She just shouted twice: “You Gica, You Ioane! Come and help the girl” and the entire village was around me to push the car. Finally the mission was possible! I checked the rented car, everything was just fine, except the dirt around it.

Driving through Maramures – Romania,  return to the roots

I carried on driving southwards, back to accommodation and meaning to vision one more UNESCO church. I noticed one wooden church as most of Maramures are, I kept gazing at it. An old woman, followed by two goats asked me if me if I want a shortcut to the church through her yard. I agreed. Once I stepped in her in yard she invited me to see her house. I was pleased so, here I am Alice in Maramures land discovering the traditions on the front door, not on the keyhole! The house was surprising beautiful! SImple, clean, made out of wood, adorned with traditional carpets. It was food for sore soul. Well, she told the story of every single carpet and traditional decoration and she ended asking me: “Would you like to have some palinca??” If course I refused, I know the meaning of palinca! I left the place  all happy and amused.
I drove back my rent a car full of joy listening local folklore music, blessing the people who made my day happier. At the time I handed in the car, I spoke with the owner shortly about my beautiful experiences, omitting the “blonde” mistakes.

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Parties for Bachelors and Bachelorette party

Parties for Bachelors and Bachelorette party

 

You feel like spending your last weekend of freedom in a new Destination? Why won’t you chose Romania. I believe for many of you Romania sounds exotic. Believe me, by choosing a pre-wedding party in Romania, especially outdoor or country side, you will have an amazing surprise. There is much to explore, besides Dracula myth, which can be you party theme, you surely enjoy a beautiful scenery, an authentic country life and surprising beautiful medieval old towns across the entire country.

Plenty of adventures to chose from, incredible scenery!

 

Ideas for His Party: Bachelor Party

Outdoor adventure:

4X4 Offroad

Motorcycle Enduro

Zipline

Bungee jumping

Farm life

Partis:

Limo Party

Clubbing

Dracula Party

Wine tasting party

Pool party

Ideas for Her Party: Bachelorette Party

Life –Style:

Shopping

Spas

Dinner in Castle

Horse riding

Outdoor picnic

Professional photo session

Professional Make over

 

 

Parties:

Limo party

Clubbing

Dracula Party

Wine tasting party

Pool party

Pajamas party

You can chose one or have it all or at least a combination of most of them. You tell us your budget, the activities preferred by the person that you arrange the party for and I come with the proposal for your last escape  as a  not –married person.

 

 

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Multi-Days off-road motorcycle tours

Multi-Days off-road motorcycle tours

3 / 6  days adventure escape from Bucharest!

You will get away from capital. Not too far in kilometers, but still far from all the fuss around it. You will travel early in the morning from Bucharest to Doftana Valley area.

We will take care of your transfer.  Get equipped and start a easy –medium difficulty tour on the mountain overlooking on a incredible scenery. As you are the guest, the itinerary and difficulty will be established according to your skill.

As we want you to enjoy the tour under safe conditions, we will not get you on hard side of enduro. As a hint,  you will enjoy  terrain like dirt roads, grass, gravel, rocks, beautiful meadows .

Splashing ? Smashing Enduro Motorcycle tours!
Splashing ? Smashing Enduro Motorcycle tours!

Difficulty: easy – medium Requirements: motorcycle license

Things To Bring

Equipment ( helmet, boots, gloves, body armour,knees and elbow protections) Insurance

Inclusions

Tour includes: 3/ 5 nights accommodation in Breaza standard guesthouse 3/5 breakfasts Transfer to and from Bucharest (250 km tour retour) Experienced motorcycle guide and  touristic assistance Basic mechanical assistance 1 Romanian  traditional meal/ barbecue in Breaza Day trip  on Prahova Valley (Peles and Sfinx)

Exclusions

Bike and equipment rental ( for your comfort we suggest to bring your own protection equipment) Meals not specified Fuel INSURANCES ( compulsory) Entrance fees, photo taxes and cable car (Busteni- Sfinx)   Bike rental: Bike rent 40 EUR/ day Bikes to chose from: Kawasaki 125cc  2 strokes, 250 cc, 450 cc, KTM 540 cc – 4 strokes

Cancellation Policy

10 days prior adventure – free of charge 9-5 days prior adventure – 50% package cost 5-3 days prior adventure -70% package cost

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Rent a helicopter

Rent a helicopter Are you under time pressure or just  want to admire the  landscape? Helicopter transfers offer you all: rapidity, uniqueness of scenery and a sense of luxury.   Helicopter rentals are suitable for all: corporate travel, transfer to remote distances in a very short time, comfort,  entertainment and touristic flights, to reach difficult spots on the map, regardless the purpose of travel.

Helicopters: EC 120 B Capacity : 3-4 passengers Flight autonomy : 710 km Cruise speed: 223 km/h Night flight equipments single engine

EC 135 Capacity: 5-6 passengers \ Flight autonomy: 635km. Cruise speed: 254 km/h Night flight equipments twin engine   E

C 155B Capacity: 6 passengers Flight autonomy: 857 km. Cruise speed: 280 km/h Night flight equipments twin engine

AS 365N DAUPHIN Capacity: 8-10 passengers Flight autonomy: 827 km. Cruise speed: 270 km/h Night flight equipments twin engine   For your route and rental rate, do not hesitate to contact us!

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Standard Tour of Bucharest

Standard Tour of Bucharest

 

This is a short, but comprehensive tour thought the streets of Bucharest, once named  “Little Paris”.   You will enjoy a tour  on the streets of Bucharest and through its history. The car is driver by a professional drive and you are assisted by an authorized guide.

Meeting point : Hotel / Airport

Drop off : Hotel

Duration: 4 h

Route :

Press House- Arch of Triumph

Primaverii street- Herastrau Park-  Kiseleff Boulevard

Victoriei square – Victoria Palace (Government of Romania) – Romana Square  –

Victoriei Avenue – Cretulescu Church,  The Royal Palace ( National Museum of Art),  – Revolutiei (Revolution) Square – Central University Library-  Romanian Athenaeum Romanian Savings Bank

Bucharest Old City:  Prince Old court (Vlad the Impaller residence once), Manuc Inn, Lipscani street, Stavropoleous Church,

Cismigiu Park- Opera Square- Cotroceni Palace

Unirii Square

The Palace of Parliament

University square – Coltea Palace, the University Bucharest, the National Theatre

Magheru Boulevard

 

Availability:

Standard ( Skoda Octavia car, similar): 1-4 persons

Executive ( Skoda Superb, Mercedes E Class) : 1-4 persons

Exclusive ( Hoover/ Chrysler limousine): 1-8 persons

Small group ( Mercedes Vito, similar) : 1-8 persons

 

 

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Dental Tourism

Dental Tourism

 

As we want to bring for you a multitude of touristic experiences, recently we added to our offer dental tourism.

For you best dental travel experience, we facilitate your medical dental treatment at Dental One Center in Bucharest.

How it works?

In case you are reading this, you have a dental problem and you have decided to treat your teeth abroad at lower prices than in your country.

You write an e-mail, either to us or to Dental One referring to us, and describe your medical problem, medical treatment history. Within 24 hours one of the clinic’s doctors will answer to you.  It might be required for you to take also radiography or to supply further details. The doctors will send your treatment plan, duration and an estimative cost of your treatment plan.

You set your departure date and from there on, we will take care of your flights, airport transfers, accommodation, day trips or any other all touristic or concierge services you might need for your medical trip.

In case you ask yourself whether cheaper services mean services of lower quality, than the answer is NO. The lower rates are due to lower labor, rentals and general costs. It is already known that Romanian dental treatments are cheaper than in most countries of EU and not only, keeping professional and material standard as any other West -European  or American states.

I explore’s services

For your comfort and relaxation, we will be in charge with all your travel arrangements, we will find the most suitable flights, transfers, hotels and services to feel your medical trip like a relaxation one.

Dental One Center

Dental One Center is a clinic in the posh area of Bucharest, close to the Arch of Triumph. What strikes you from your very first step into the clinic is the cozy and friendly atmosphere. Once you got there, you rather feel like paying a visit to a friend that paying a visit to a dentist.  The Dental One team focused their efforts for you to be treated like a patient and to make you feel like home.

 

Cosmetic dentistry

It is generally used that side of dentistry that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums or bite.

At Dental One Center medical professional will help you to have shining healthy teeth, in harmony with you face for a perfect smile.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery

It is a medical specialty that treats diseases, injuries and defects in the mouth, neck, mouth, jaw region. At Dental Oone experienced doctors will help you to have the perfect teeth, regardless the complexity of treatment or procedures.

Endodontic is concerned with the treatment of the dental pulp, as  damaged dental  pulp requires dental treatment in order to save the tooth.  Endodontists procedures: root canal therapy, endodontic retreatment, surgery, treating cracked teeth, treating dental trauma.

The center’s doctors will treat you fast and painless,  in order for your teeth to last in time.

Dental implant

It is a procedure that interfaces with the bone of the jaw/skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, denture, facial prosthesis using connecting components to function.

The implants help everyone to have a beautiful smile and a healthy look. The clinic’s doctors will assist you with best treatment for your goal.

Orthodontics

Orthodontic treatment treats dental displacements or modification of facial growth.

Irregular alignment of teeth is a high disadvantage form functional, but also aesthetically. Your doctor will advice the best solution of braces or additional components, thus, after treatment and following doctor’s recommendation your teeth will line up.

 

Need a treatment plan and a touristic package along.

Pop up you question!

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Music and photography event

Music and photography event

As May 1st is a day after the International jazz day I explore organizes a Musical May 1st . We invite you to the concert in Pestera Valea Cetatii (cave)fire camp and mulled wine, and whoever wishes may attend a photography workshop. The concert is performed by Academic Clarinet Quartet and organized by I explore.

Rasnov Rasnov is a town in Brasov county, 20 km away form Brasov city and 6 km away from the famous Bran castle, the one people associates with Dracula. Rasnov Citadel is a peasant citadel, a proof of former local organization of villages in Transylvania.

The Valea Cetatii cave is very well organized and besides, this is a “cultural cave”.

Attractions in and around Rasnov area:

• Rasnov Citadel

• Bran Castle

• Zip-line at Pestera Valea Cetatii

• Hiking or cycling in the mountains

• Brasov city Music: Jazz concert performed by Academic Clarinet Quartet Photography workshop (optional): event photography

 

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Bucharest.

Bucharest. Why a city-break?

After highlighting general stuff  and  a brief history, I am going to say a few words about sightseeing places.

Roads in Bucharest

Calea Victoriei (Victoriei Avenue)

Placed in the center of Bucharest-  from Victoriei Palace, meeting Dambovita river on the other end- it is and it has been the greatest attraction of Bucharest. It was named the Large Street  and it had that muddy Balkan look, so there was a layer of wood in order to prevent this. Thus, in late 17 century the road was named Mogosoaia Wood-Paved Road. Only in 1842, wood was replaced with asphalt. In 1878, after the Independence War (1877-1878) the road was name Victoriei ( Victory’s road).

Calea Victoriei was the street lighten road in Bucharest, sheltered the many important buildings  and still does. Calea Victoriei remains the “high end” road.  Besides all the Historical buildings along the road, many boutiques or luxury shops can be found on Calea Victoriei.

Important Buildings on Calea Victoriei

–          Romanian Athenaeum-  designed by the French architect  Albert Galleron, it was built by public donation. It was a saying “donate a leu (Romanian currency) for the Athenaeum”. It was finished in 1888. Inside the Athenaeum ceiling, in the grand hall, it is painted the entire history of Romania starting with Roman times.

–          National Museum of Art of Romania- former Royal Palace. It was built at the beginning of 19th century, but it becomes Princedom residence in 18376 with Alexandru Ghica Voda. It was also the residence of Carol Ist Hohenzollern.At the end of 19th century, It was the first building on Calea Victoriei with electrical lightening. Following to a great fire, the entire building is rebuilt in 1937. After communism coming to lead, it became National Museum of Art.

–          Kretzulescu Church- It was built in 1722 by local boyar Iordache Cretulescu.

–          Piata Revoluţiei (Revolution Square).  It is situated in from of former Communist party headquarter and it is the place where Romanian Revolution started in Bucharest in December 1989.

–          Palatul Telefoanelor ( Telephony Palace)- Built in 1933. It was the most modern building on those times.

–          National Museum of History of Romania-It was built at the end of 19th century as Post Palace. Since 1970s it shelters the National Museum of History of Romania.

–          Casa de Economii si Consemnaţiuni ( CEC- Economy house)- it was finished in 1900 as Economy house. The plans were made by French  Architect Paul Gottereau.

Soseaua Kiseleff ( Kiselef Road)

Road name after the Russian count Paul Kiseleff (Kiseliov) who lead the Russian Military administration in Romania between 1829 to 1834.

Buildings on Kiseleff:

National Museum of Geology- Built at the beginning of 20th Century for Institute of Geology

Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History-  the present building of Museum was built between 1893 – 1944. The National Museum of Natural History was established and developed by Grigore Antipa. It has a great collection of natural science exhibitons.

The Romanian Peasant Museum –The actual building was finished in 1941. The collections exhibited within the museum are samples of folklore, customs and living of Romanians in rural side of Romania.

Elisabeta Palace- Built in 1936 for Elisabeta of Greece ( born princess of Romania) as combination of  Romanian Brancovenesc and Mauro style  , King Michael ask permission for residing there. It is the place where he abdicated and also still have his residence.

Village Museum-  It is an outdoor museum offering a significant representation houses and villages all over Romania. I recommend visiting while in Bucharest. Opened since 1936.

Primaverii district

It is the district where former communist leaders had their residence houses. It was initially build for the Union in Gas field. Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej used the houses as conspiratorial houses, then little by little it became a communist leaders cluster. Under pretext of offering the inhabitants a priviledge of leaving there, Nicolae Ceausescu rather took measures to supervise lower rank communist party leaders.

Old Center of Bucharest

Situated close to km 0 of Bucharest, the historical center is the place where you can find anything: from fun to culture or religion. This area is mainly pedestrian and all over, in old historical buildings, you can find  pubs, coffee –shops, clubs, restaurants , pub-theatres… In this area, where once used to be the area of small traders or artisans, but also the Old court of Vlad the Impaler residence, now is the nucleus of fun and joy of Bucharest. During summer, Old Center is a delight: restaurant with cuisines all around the world, pubs and cafes of all sorts, terraces all around, clubs, pub concerts …anyone can find something on its own taste.

 A realist description of changes around the Old Center can be found  also here: Read also

Old city by night
Old city by night

Palace of Parliament

The Palace of Parliament is the biggest building in Bucharest and not only. People House, how it was named during its construction period – in Communism- it is the largest civilian administrative building in the world. The enormous building shows the  show off attitude of former Communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu.

The story behind this megalomaniac building started after the earthquake in March 1977. Nicolae Ceausescu considered to redesign Bucharest entirely and to include in this plan a building for Communist party leaders.

In order to chose the best project to suite “the new face of Bucharest” there was a contest, taking around one year for nominating the winning project. The architect winning the project was Anca Petrescu, very young at that time.  Even if the Palace of Parliament concept was initiated by Nicolae Ceausescu, he did not reach to see it finalize as in 1898 the Revolution took place, culminating with  Ceausescu’s death sentence. The Palace was inaugurate in 1997 and now it is MP’s house.

Palace of Parliament in figures:

 Size:

length – 270 m

width  – 245 m

height – 86 m

underground – 92 m

Materials:

Marble: 1.000.000 m³

Crystal : 3.500  tones

Leather: 3.500 m²

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Bucharest.

 Bucharest. Why a city-break?

Back in time

As I previously said, the legend behind Bucharest is a shepherd, named Bucur, here comes the name Bucharest (Bucuresti, locally) . Actually, shepherds are legendary figures in Romanian folklore and local legends. Romanian most representative folkloric  poem is “Little sheep” (“Miorita ” in Romanian), the story of three shepherds and the attitude of Romanian shepherd in front of death.

The  date of establishment is uncertain. Certain it is that in 1474 there was already built a Princedom curt as secondary residence of Prince of Wallachia. I am mentioning 1474 as that was the last year of Vlad the Impaler, the one people know as Dracula, leadership, his third lordship.

Context: During medieval times, once with the development of Ottoman Empire, Romanian states, as well as neighboring country, Bulgaria, were under constant attacks of Ottoman ( Turks) army.  This countries were a defending  gate for Christianity and, considering around  75% of Romanian Christian population in Romania and that the rest of Europe Christianity still exists, they did a good job! Bucharest was in army’s way to Occident at that time.  Bucharest it is said to have been surrounded by forest (Vlasia Forest) and mashes, a  type of natural protection. Most favorite way of Romanian defense was to poison fountains and to attract enemies into the marshes or unfriendly terrain or weather.

Besides outside enemies, constant fights between boyar “houses” was a reason for short leadership for Princes/ leaders of Romanian Princedoms. Vlad the Impaler himself, the most known Romanian leader worldwide, was involved in such a local fight. The battle between Draculesti and Danesti(adverse house) crashed Wallachia within during those times. It is much to be said here, even the story behind the name Dracula, but it will come into another post.

Considering all these battles, within and, mostly, outside, Wallachia did not have the environment to be on the same line as western countries. As they used to pay tribute to Ottoman Empire and they were repeatedly under suzerainty of Ottoman Empire for a long time, the influences during that period were obviously coming from Orient.

Starting with Phanariote rulers in first two decades of 1700s, Bucharest became capital of Wallachia, many boyars moved to Bucharest, building their residence in the city.  In  1862, once with the small union ( Moldavia+ Wallachia) under Alexandru Ioan Cuza leader, Bucharest to become the capital of Romania. This is the time of major changes in Bucharest look.

In 1866, Romania became reign and this was the period of major changing. The German thinking of Romanian kings descendants  of Hohenzollern family with the help of many French architects involved in creation of numerous  now historical buildings in Bucharest, changed Bucharest into little  Paris of East.

In December 1947 King Michael of Hohenzollern abdicated and Romania, Bucharest inclusively,  was highly influenced by communist rulers and their way of thinking. Industrialization was the main word.  After the earthquake in 1976, Nicolae Ceausescu planned a new global look for Bucharest.  Most of the district or suburbs  houses were demolished and replaced with tall blocks of flats in order to gather in the same city a larger population. During this period was also the time when it was taken the decision to build House of Parliament ( or the People House as it was named during communism), a building meant to impress Phenian.

After the Revolution of December 1989, modern, glass buildings showed into Bucharest landscape, sometimes in an uncontrolled way.

to be continued…

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