It says this about travel in Romania:
What's Special: Romania's landscape resembles a natural citadel: the Carpathian Mountains at its center descend step-like towards its plains, which are criss-crossed with rivers. Romania has the tideless Black Sea with its magnificent beaches, the Danube Delta, lakes and several rivers. The spring offers flowers and festivals; the summer, sun and sea; the autumn, hunting and fishing; and the winter, snow and skiing in the mountains.
What To See: Bucharest has been called "the Paris of the Balkans." It has beautiful gardens and parks and lakes, and just beyond are woods and forests. Things to see include the Stavropoleos Church, the neo-classical Romanian Atheneum and the Mogosoaia Palace, now a museum of feudal art, about 12 miles away. The Arts Museum houses woeks of the 19th-century Grigorescu, Romania's foremost painter, with midieval, traditional and more modern works. Se the Hanul lui Manuc, a restaurant building with verandas, galleries and belvederes. Tehre are also the Village Museum, the Minovici Museum,and the Ethnography and Folk Art Museum.
The Black Sea: Constanta, a popular resort in itself, is the stepping to the other resorts along the coast. Eat seafood at the Pescarul, Dobrogea Pie and shish kebab at the Dobrogea Wine Cellar and fishermen's patties washed down with the local Murfatlar wine at the Furnica. Visit the Archeological Museum, the Roman mosaic, and the Statue of Ovid, the Latin poet who spent the last years of his life here in a bout 17 AD. About 40 miles to the north of Constanta lie the ruins of the ancient city of Histria, built in the 6th century BC by Greek colonists. At Ademclisi, about 40 miles south, is the Tropaeum Trajani erected by the triumphant Romans 1800 years ago. From Constanta one and two-day excursions are run by Carpati along the coast into the Danube delta and Central Moldovia. See the painted monasteries of Bucovina, whose colors are undimmed after almost 500 years, and the natural wonder of the Bicaz Gorge. From Mamaia, three miles from Constanta, stretch 38 miles of broad flat beach full of Miami-type resort hotels.
Brasov, just over 100 miles from Bucharest, in the Transylvanian section of the Carpathians, is Romania's second city and a good tourist center.
Food and Restaurants: Spicy, aromatic dishes of pork, chicken, smoked sausage accompanied by mamaliga (corn and barley) are typical of Romanian cuisine. Sample sarmalute in foi de vita (ground meat wrapped in vine leaves, sprinkled with borscht, and served with cream or yogurt); pui la ceaun (chicken cooked slowly in a rich garlic sauce in a cast iron pot). Try also grilled beluga and pike or carp on a spit. You can afford Romanian caviar. In the brasseries and cafes in Romania try savory sausage, pate ghiveci calugaresc (monk's hotchpotch--vegetables cooked in oil); mamaliga with cheese, cream or eggs; bulzul (a ball of mamaglia stuffed with cheese and butter). Meals are usually rounded off with fresh fruit and cream, ice cream or pastries (cheese pancakes, plum dumplings, brioche or sweetmeats like baclava and sarailie).
Drinking Tips: The national drink Tuica (plum brandy) is potent straight, but diluted with soda as apertif. There are several excellent vin du pays, five kinds of brandy and several liqueurs.
Helpful Hints: Handshaking is a common form of greeting. Tipping is not customary, but for special services something like a pack of cigarettes is appreciated. Drinking water is safe.
Hmm, tipping with cigarettes? I'll bet great American cigarettes will get me more attention than a T-shirt. Romania still has the highest rates of cigarette consumption in the world. A study of smoking among school teachers in Romania found about 33% smokers, "Despite school policies, tobacco products could still be purchased either within school premises or close by" (Irimie & Mirestean, 2010). Among youth, age 15-17, smoking rates were almost one-quarter, with boys smoking more (33%) than girls (20%; Lotrean, Mesters, Ionut, & deVries, 2009)
So my friend says I should pack two cartons of Marlboros in my suitcase. Hmmm?
I'm most interested in the food. This gives me a list of traditional Romanian foods that I want to try.
- smoked sausage with mamaliga
- sarmalute in foi de vita
- pui la ceaun
- grilled beluga on a spit
- savory sausage
- pate ghiveci calugaresc
- mamaliga with cheese, cream
I'll report on what these foods are and how I like them as I get to them.