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Romanian humour

Romanians are very social and talkative people. They like to spend time in company and they are fond of having conversations. Beside their love for philosophy and conspiracy theories, they also have a taste for humour. But beware, make sure you are not the subject of their jokes, because they are usually not very flattering. Except when they joke about themselves.

Posted by Bruno

Transylvania was neither invented by Dracula`s spiritual father Bram Stoker, nor was the region`s name born out of his creativity. Transylvania has existed for many centuries before the Dracula myth came into existence. Throughout all those years, Transylvania has almost incessantly changed ownership. Before being added to Romanian territory in the wake of WWI, it had already belonged to the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the last owner before Romania: the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The shared history with neighbouring Hungary and Austria explains why Transylvania still has a huge Hungarian and even German influence.

Posted by Bruno

Every country has its favourite scapegoat and for Romanians it`s the Gypsies. Romanians stealing abroad? ?Gypsies. People begging in the streets? ?Gypsies. Rapists, robbers, car thieves, abandoned children? ?All Gypsies. Fortunately, some Romanians have opinions that are a little more open-minded, especially when they are directly confronted with the question: `what do you think of Gypsies?`

Posted by Bruno

Le Monde, The Guardian, The Herald Tribune, The Times and a range of British and German boulevard papers ? most big European cities and tourist centres sell international newspapers. In Romania, they are very hard to find. I remember seeing one copy of Die Zeit in Sibiu and that`s about all. Even Romanian newspapers do not seem to be printed in high numbers and stunning diversities.

Posted by Bruno

International traveling

International traveling is a relatively new hobby in Romania. Escaping the country was almost impossible during the 1980s. The economic crisis of the 1990s made it quite unlikely that Romanians would leave their own country for reasons other than finding a job. After the beginning of the new millennium, conditions started getting more favourable. Now in 2008, there are plenty of low-cost airlines flying Romanians to destinations al over Europe, including the many places where their friends and family settled down in the 1990s in pursuit of a better life.

Posted by Bruno

Child in time

Childhood memories in Romania.. Due to the history of the country, youngsters who are now in their twenties have all experienced their share of the communist reality. Some for a few years, others without remembering any details of that time. Nevertheless, the Romanian childhood memories are very different from the ones I described in England and Italy earlier on this trip.

Posted by Bruno

Major parts of the Christian world are celebrating Easter today. The Christian Orthodox countries will only follow suit in April. They commemorate the same events, but use a different calendar to decide on the appropriate dates. Taking the calendar issue out of the equasion, I am approaching some inhabitants of Timisoara to ask them how they will be celebrating Easter.

Posted by Bruno

Romanians appreciate the European Union for the money it sends to Romania and for the way it puts pressure on politicians not to mess up. When it comes to daily life, many Romanians are not so happy about the massive inflow of Western European culture. Beside other traditions, the new approach to food is seen as a major disadvantage of EU membership.

Posted by Bruno

The communist regime in Romania used to impose five-year plans on its industries and citizens. Most of what is happening in Romania today is based on a day-by-day rhythm. Romanians are said to take the best decisions when they have to improvise rather than plan. That still keeps me wondering about how Romanians think about the five years ahead of them.

Posted by Bruno

Tourism has not been a top priority in Romania during the last two decades. Fresh arrivals in the capital Bucharest cannot rely on any official tourist office, while simple souvenirs or postcards are almost impossible to find. The more provincial town of Sibiu, European Cultural Capital of 2007, shows that a few basic improvements can easily change the tide. Sibiu has positioned itself on the map of international tourism and their strategy is bearing fruit: the streets of Sibiu are full of tourists from Romania and all over Europe. Question of the day: what gave them the idea to come to Romania and how do they like it?…

Posted by Bruno