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Archives for Romania

Planning ahead

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

Little Paris

Once upon a time, Romania`s capital Bucharest was known as `Little Paris`. Many of the buildings constructed in the early 1900s were modeled after existing buildings in Paris, and even the city lay-outs of Bucharest and Paris were similar. Unfortunately, only few of resemblances survived a combination of communist restructuring and the 1977 earthquake. A handful of facades and road signs in the city centre have kept the Parisian tradition alive but most of Bucharest now consists of huge apartment blocks. And now in 2008, the city is going through another period of drastic transformation.

Posted by Bruno

Having money or not having money was hardly decisive for the quality of people`s life during communist times in Romania. Everybody had money, and most people could count on earning wages that were similar to the ones of their peers. The comfort of life was decided by the overall availability of goods, rather than anything else. Having money is one thing, but there also needs to be something you can buy from it. Which was oftentimes not the case in the 1990s. The trend has now reversed. Shops are full, but many people`s wallets are not: a good reason to take a closer look at the way young Romanians think about money.

Posted by Bruno

Spare time is becoming a scarce commodity in current day Romania. The rapid economic growth requires people to choose: jump on board or miss the train. There is no time for bumming around, or maybe there is. Today, I am asking young Romanians what they do when all other obligations have been fulfilled.

Posted by Bruno

Until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of the Twin Towers, communism was seen as the greatest threat to Western civilisation. The positive sides of the communist system were systematically disregarded or even denied by Western powers. Hidden behind the Iron Curtain, Romania lived both the best and the worst of communism. Opinions about the communist years range between idolization and disgrace.

Posted by Bruno

Work in Progress

I ended my Bulgarian adventures in Varna and will continue my European mission in another `fresh` EU member state. Romania lived through many ups and downs during the 20th century is currently undergoing massive changes by its attempts to lift its economy and political system to European standards.

Posted by Bruno