Romania is fascinating. You’ve got to go there and feel its pulse to know how the Greek gods were born. Romania, situated within the borders of ancient Thrace, is believed to be the birthplace of Dionysus, but its real origins are lost in the mists of time. In the Greek tragedies, he is published dissolving his rites in Thebes, but Homer, in a much earlier document, describes Dionysus as emerging from Thrace and practicing his rites on the holy mountain Nysa. The Thracians were known as “growers of the vine” in the Iliad and today Romania is known as the sixth largest wine producer in the world. Is there a connection between myth and reality? There’s only one way to find the answer: visiting Romania, tasting the wines, enjoying the traditional food, customs, and celebrations.
According to The Rough Guide, “No journey to Eastern Europe would be complete without paying a visit to Romania. The Rough Guide also gives you traveling alternatives: either on a package deal (and you’ll not be able to see discrepant realities of the country such as poverty, beggars and so on) or independently. Well, traveling independently is indeed the best idea, but you should never start such a journey without proper research. Why? Because Romania is a wild country. No, not the people (although there are some voices warning you about pickpockets, especially in Bucharest, subway stations, and train stations, yet you’ll not find them in the wilderness), but it’s relief and roadway structure: many roads are narrow or lack traffic signs; some are in a really bad condition and require maintenance work. Some roads are not even mapped, especially those traversing the wilderness in the mountains or some villages. Beside to find the bed and breakfast country houses with the offers that are the closest to what you may call Romanian tradition you’ll need a local guide and not the guidance of a specialized tourist agency. Romania’s charm lies in the less visited regions. There you’ll learn the real meaning of Romanian hospitality.
A traditional bed and breakfast in the Carpathians will not offer you modern devices such as TV sets and massage showers. The lodging opportunities are rather Spartan, reminding you of the way people used to live in the last century: enjoying life to its fullest, yet simplest and purest. You’ll get the chance to taste the famous Romanian homemade wines or the “trick”, alias peasant’s drink (a brandy made of plums, apples or mirabelles). Some of the finest Romanian wines you could taste visiting bed and breakfast chalets from the Prahova Valley: Clabucet, Cioplea, and Trei Brazi. These are highly recommended by tourist agencies and visited by both Romanian and foreign tourists.
Less known by the public are chalets such as Pensiunea Micsunica in Sinaia, Casa Ardeleana in Predeal or Miraj in Azuga. And if you are to travel to Prahova Valley, make sure to go and see the Babele and maybe spend the night at the unique Cabana Babele. Take care though: although Babele is accessible by cable car from Busteni, if you choose to hike there, you’ll have a memorable experience: sudden changes in the climb, special encounters (do not be afraid of the dogs … there are some Romanian Mioritic shepherd dogs guarding the Babele Chalet).
Featured Image: Bed and Breakfast