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Travel tips to European countries: Romania

About the county Lying in the Southeastern Europe Romania is slowly emerging from the shackles of its dark history. Modern Romania was formed by merging two Principalities i.e. Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 which were ruled by Ottoman Empire for centuries before. Romania is bordered by Moldova, Ukraine, the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary. Bucharest is the capital of Romania. Transylvania and Moldavia constitute the northern half of the country. Romania's main attractions include Black Sea Coast, the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania. The Black Sea Coast is popular for its white sandy beaches and offers a perfect experience for families. The Carpathian Mountains are beautiful and covered by dense forests which offer skiing opportunities. There are many health resorts also in Romania. Transylvania is popular for Romanian Spas which have been known for its many healing powers. Local food specialty includes cuisines like ciorba de perisoare (soup with meatballs), ciorba tanancasca (meat with vegetables), lamb bors, giblet soup and a variety of fish soups. Population & Languages The population of Romania is around 20 million and the official language being spoken is Romanian. The other popular languages are Hungarian and German. Electricity The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plug used are round pin with attachment and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts. Geographic Location It is located in Southeastern Europe bordering the Black Sea between Bulgaria and Ukraine. It is bordered by Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and Moldova to the northeast and Bulgaria to the south. Carpathian Mountains pass through the center of Romania. Climate The climate of Romania can be termed as Temperate and it has four seasons. While spring and autumn are cool and pleasant. Summers are very short and hot occurring in July and August. The winters can be harsh and cold with snowfall between December and March. The best months to visit Romania are May, June, September and October. Local Customs Handshaking is the common custom. It is also customary to kiss when being introduced to a woman. Mostly all normal European customs apply to Romania also. Dressing is conservative and casual. Smoking is prohibited on public transportation vehicles and theaters. Romanians like smoking themselves and thus like if you gift them cigarettes. Tipping is 5 to 10 percent in restaurant, hotels and taxis. Attractions Bucharest: Once used to be known as Paris of the East the city of Bucharest is a city of lights bustling with cafes, night clubs and restaurants. It also has Romanian Opera House and a huge National Museum. The historic sites include the Palace of Parliament, Old Court Church and Athenee Palace Hotel. Brasov: Not to be missed places are Castles in Transylvania which include Bran Castle, Rasnov Castle and also do miss to see Sighisoara about 90 miles from Brasov, the birth place of Vlad tepes. Romanian Riviera: This is along the coast of Black Sea which is huge tourist attraction. It is also home to several resorts and Romanian spas famous for their healing powers. Travel By Air: The national airline of Romania is Tarom. Many popular airlines that fly to Bucharest include Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss. The biggest airport is Bucharest Otopeni Airport which is located like 10 miles north of the city. By Sea: Constanta is the major port on the Black Sea. There are many cruises available which stop at various points of tourist interest like Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Bazias, Giurgiu, Calafat and Bucharest. There is Zimnicea ferry, which is the shortest road in the route Turkey - Bulgaria - Romania - Central and Western Europe. By Rail: Traveling by train from other European countries to Romania takes anything from four hours to about 30 hours.

Cinque Terre- The ‘country’ of Christopher Columbus and Garibaldi

Genoa - the city of Christopher Columbus and Garibaldi and the eternal beauty rival of the city of Venice. With dozens of luxurious palaces, breathtaking old port, high couture shops, and great restaurants, it presents an indescribable life on the Italian Mediterranean Coast. Genoa’s National park "Cinque Terre" (literally means -five countries) is protected by UNESCO since 1997 and presents a set of five terraced-looking isolated settlements on the steep cliffs of the Ligurian Riviera, which can’t be reached by car. Authenticity and lack of commercialization give Cinque Terre a special charm and its vivid houses of pastel colors, and old narrow streets are something that will not leave anyone indifferent. Cinque Terre is a mix of ancient and modern times so that’s why we encourage you to experience such an Italian fairy tale. The Cinque Terre’s history The name ‘’Cinque Terre’’ dates back to the 15th century but the history of the area goes back to the Bronze Age as proven by many bones and tools findings. Due to its great strategic position that strongly rises above the sea, these 5 countries have been attacked hundreds of times by pirates, different North European barbaric tribes, Lombards and Byzantines. However, Cinque Terre succeeded to pass all the troubles and disasters and decided to leave us an insane looking nature and brilliant history. Things to do in Cinque Terre Experience the spirit of each village Your visit to Cinque Terre simply wouldn’t be complete without visiting all five fairytale-looking villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore). Footpaths of Monterosso The village of Monterosso is spread over two bays and is famous as the place from where the first Cinque Terre railway station was found. We recommend you to experience the walking on the historic footpaths and to experience the small piece of history (put your sneakers on). Hidden pearls of Vernazza village Vernazza’s origins date back to the Roman age and its typical tower-shaped buildings and houses hide the internal village appearance from anyone who’s approaching from the sea. So, if you wanted to experience the village Vernazza from the sea- you definitely made a huge mistake! Visit the oldest of five villages If you didn’t know, Corniglia is nestled between the hills and is the oldest of five villages. Since it doesn’t have a port, it relied more on wine-producing skills than fishing.  The village’s unreal looking terraced fields like Saint Mary’s Terrace are perfect for making breathtaking photos and there is one more interesting thing about this village. It has only one ‘easy-to-get’ beach called Spiaggione that was accidentally created for the train station purpose. So, if you want to go to this beach, you’ll need only a few steps from the station. Visit the breathtaking beaches of Riomaggiore The village of Riomaggiore is definitely tourists’ favorite Cinque Terre’s village because of its wonderful beaches and colorful buildings randomly settled on the high cliffs. Rent a boat To get a better impression of Cinque Terre’s beaches and landscape, we recommend you to rent a boat. Discover all Cinque Terre trails Since you can’t get to Cinque Terre by car (only by train), then you can discover all its historic trails by your feet and not only that….you’ll also get the opportunity to visit timeless Ligurian monuments like Chiesetta dell’Angelo Custode, Oratorio di San Rocco, Oratorio di Santa Maria, Church of San Francesco… Café’s in Cinque Terre Er Posu Café Via Fieschi 5219018 Corniglia, Italy +39 329 443 6460   This old-school Italian café will definitely provide you with a domestic Italian experience. It’s a great place to take a break after hiking the cliffs or to have a morning espresso.     Caffe Matteo Via Fieschi 15719018 Corniglia, Italija +39 0187 821044   Caffe Matteo is the place where you can get not only a coffee but also a croissant and beautiful freshly squeezed orange juice. In fact, you can visit it at any time of the day because it offers you different tasty meals. Good restaurants for Lunch in Cinque Terre A Pie de Ma Via dell'Amore 55, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy +39 0187 921037   If you want to enjoy both lunch and wonderful sea view then this is the right place for you. We recommend you to try local Ligurian wines, olives, and cheese ‘cause there’re no many life opportunities to taste such a hedonism. Trattoria dal Billy Via Aldo Rollandi 12219017 Manarola, Italy +39 0187 920628   This is definitely an unforgettable place where you can enjoy seafood in all shapes. We highly recommend you to try the Mixed Antipasto Di Mare ‘cause it’s great for those who want a little bit of everything (aromas of herbs mixed with the finest seafood).   Good restaurants for dinner in Cinque Terre K&Pris Pizzeria Pinseria Via Telemaco Signorini 673/B | Via Telemaco signori 643/B19017 Riomaggiore, Italija +39 324 548 9905   Let’s admit! No visit to Italy would be complete without eating an originally prepared Italian Pizza. The staff is friendly and it’s so fun watching a chef while making pizza. It’s simply the best way to finish your day.   Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre Località Punta Bonfiglio19017 Manarola, Italija +39 340 888 4133 This restaurant is definitely the highlight of Cinque Terre. You’ll get all in one place- kindly people, pleasant atmosphere, wonderful view and the most important- tasty local food with a long tradition. It’s equally good to visit it for lunch or dinner!

Glacier National Park - A Slice of Heaven!

Glacier National Park is situated in the Rocky Mountains of Montana in the United States of America (USA) close to the border of Canada. My husband, my daughter and I drove from Seattle through the scenic highways to Montana, then down to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Many people do not know that you only need one ticket per car which costs $80 to see all the National Parks in the US, valid for one year! Maps are provided and there are visitor centers that have friendly and informed staff. You can find lodging in the Park itself but you need to book well in advance as it fills up quickly. Since we are big procrastinators, we could not find a suitable Airbnb in the US. This worked to our advantage since we stayed just across the border in Alberta, Canada and were able to also see the Waterton National Park and breathtaking views of the sunset in the countryside. If you decide to go to Waterton, make sure you have a meal at the Prince of Wales hotel which has a spectacular view and friendly staff. Unlike Yellowstone National Park, you need to hike to get to scenic spots and hidden lakes. The hikes are relatively easy but it’s worth to invest in a good pair of hiking shoes. The east part of the Park is much prettier than the west side - so if you only have a day, it would be best spent on the east side. There are also water falls in Glacier Park and you can jump into the water from a height so don't forget your swimming suit if you are interested. There are bear signs everywhere, so if you are going with young children or don't fancy running into them, be sure to carry a bell that comes with or without a pepper spray! We were told that 25% of the glaciers have already disappeared due to global warming - they estimate that by 2038 there will be none left if it continues at this rate. So be sure to visit while the glaciers are still there and the water level is relatively high.