How’s summer like back home in Romania
As bloggers, we always write down our university experience with everything that it implies. From academic to social life, there’s always something worth dropping a few lines about. During summer though, we take some time off from the university routine and apart from students, we become explorers, tourists, travelling enthusiasts or simply lazy beings not running after deadlines.
In this blog, I’ll tell you how I gave my mind a ‘refresh’ by taking you on a ride through my kind of summer activities around Romania.
First and foremost, I live in a country that has everything: sea, mountains, hills, rural places, large cities, just name it and it’s here. It’s just a matter of planning or spontaneously deciding overnight, and you can try it all in one summer. I started my journey at the sea, taking a 15- hours train ride to get there. Indeed, trains in Romania are the perfect choice if you want to take your time, meet interesting people, hear intriguing life stories, admire the surroundings and the worst if you want to get fast to your destination. But they say to enjoy the ride as much as the destination and that’s what I did. The beach resort I went to is called “The Old Borders”, on the Black Sea coast, near the border with Bulgaria. What I love about it is its uniqueness. Calling it a resort is wrong in itself because the place is famous for its bohemian style, free spirited young people and the lack of etiquette and luxury. Everywhere you go, there’s rock and folk music blending in together, with people having their hair braided, wearing long flowy trousers and people placing their tents locals’ back yards. During the night, we go dancing barefoot on the beach. My favorite moments are when some massive circles of people holding hands form (strangers up until then), all of whom dance and sing on Romanian old rock songs.
From there, I went to Electric Castle – one of the most famous summer festivals in my country, which lasted for 5 days. This was one of my summer’s highlights as I got to see Damian Marley, who I am a fan of. The festival is notorious for the heavy rain dropping every year, therefore rubber boots and raincoats become the dress code. It’s of no use to say that in the last day, I had no clean clothes left and everything from my tent to my T-shirts were muddy, but without this general mess, the festival wouldn’t have been the same.
However, to make my summer complete, I went hiking in Retezat Mountains, which are one of the highest massifs in Romania, being part of the Southern Carpathians. I got my backpack and some friends and managed to reach the maximum of 2014 meters. In this part of the year, the shepherds are descending with the sheep from the sheepfold, therefore we encountered lots of them throughout our way up. From drinking water straight form the spring, seeing wild goats running a few feet away from us, to feeling the strong, fresh air surrounding us at the top of the mountain, all these are feelings and sensations I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. When I’m not hiking but still want to do some outdoor activities, me and my dad go on road trips by motorbike. I’m not a fan of speed, nor am I a very skillful car driver, yet the sensation of freedom I get on the motorbike is incommensurable and it became an addiction I’ll very much miss whilst at university.
A few weeks ago, as I was thinking of new places to discover, I realized I’d never visited the capital of my own native country up until that point. (Shame on me, I know) Obviously, my next destination was therefore Bucharest – or The Little Paris as it is also called. Interesting fact: The Palace of Parliament is the second largest administrative building in the world, right after the Pentagon in the United States and the heaviest building on the planet. For those who have seen the TV Show “Top Gear”, you may remember the three presenters driving their cars through the tunnels that are hidden beneath the Palace of the Parliament. As a tourist, I didn’t have access to those, so I chose to visit the Contemporary Museum inside the building instead.
So here is a little map with some places to go to if you come to Romania. Even though I’m intrigued about exploring the world beyond the borders of my country, I always come back here, driven by the desire to discover and rediscover both myself and the country I have roots in.