Methods of Transportation

Other than the obvious transportation such as cars, buses, trains, etc. (or even more unique ways such as the four-wheeler in the picture above), many Romanians still use one old-fashioned way of getting to town.

You guessed it: horse and buggy.

Believe it or not, this is a very common sight in Romania. Not so much in the big cities, but many people in the rural communities and small towns such as the one above, many people still rely on horses and buggies to get around. I’ve never had the chance to go for a ride, but it looks like fun to me (as long as the weather is nice)!

Most people walk to where they need to go if they live close to town, but the majority of Romanians own some kind of vehicle. Dacias are very common there.

Have you ever used a horse and buggy as transportation? If so, where?

I personally would love to have a Dacia since they’re very fuel efficient. But I have to say, the little guy below looks like fun… 😉

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Religions of Romania

I was raised in the “Bible Belt” of United States, where you can find some kind of Protestant church building on just about every street corner (so it seems). The “Bible Belt” covers practically all of the south-eastern and south-central states.

In Romania, however, this is not the case. Church buildings are generally more spread out, and the majority of them are for those who follow the Eastern Orthodox religion rather than Protestantism.

Click the image below to view an interactive infographic of the different religions in Romania.

Click the link to view the interactive chart

Below are some pIctures I took of church buildings in Sălaj County, which is in the northwestern region of Romania. (I apologize for the quality of the last four photos. I was on a bus when I took them, hence the odd reflections.)

I really love the architectural style of these church buildings. Don’t you?

Friday’s Findings: Five Things You May or May Not Have Known About Romania

Here are five fun facts I found about Romania that I thought you all would enjoy!

#1 – The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania, is the heaviest building in the world! (World Record Academy)

Photo source: Daniel Korzeniewski Photography

The building is made of a combination of steel, bronze, marble, crystal glass, and wood, weighing over 700,000 tons. The Palace is also the world’s largest administrative building that is open for civilian use.
Be sure to check out Daniel Korzeniewski‘s page for some great detailed shots of the building!

#2 – The fountain pen was invented by a Romanian!

Photo source: Romania Tourism

Petrache Poenaru was a Romanian professor whose fountain pen creation was patented in 1827.

#3 – A Romanian was the first person to ever score a perfect 10.00 in the gymnast division of the Olympics.

Nadia Comăneci was only 14 at the time of her big win at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Because the scoreboard was not designed to be able to display a 10.00, her score was displayed as a 1.00. The audience was confused at first, until Nadia was announced as being the first person to score a perfect 10.00 in gymnastics. You can see her winning performance in the video above.

#4 – One of the narrowest streets in Europe can be found in Brasov, Romania!

Photo source: Wikipedia

Although it doesn’t hold the title for the narrowest street in Europe, Strada Sforii (“Rope Street”) certainly cuts it close. This alley was initially made for firemen to use in the 15th century. You can see more pictures of this street and Europe’s other narrowest streets in this article.

#5Dracula’s castle is in Romania!

Bran Castle is located near Braşov, Romania. Although there’s no evidence that Bram Stoker, the Irish author of Dracula, drew his inspiration from here, Bran Castle is widely marketed as being associated with the story of Dracula.
Check out more awesome pictures in the castle website’s photo gallery.

Do you know any other cool/interesting/funny facts about Romania?

“Is That a Nest?”

That’s what I said when I saw this for the first time:

Huge nests atop power lines are not an uncommon site in Romania. These nests belong to white storks (yes, the very same bird that is associated with delivering babies), and can weigh hundreds of pounds! White storks can be four feet tall and have a wingspan of seven feet, so with two adults plus around four chicks, you can see why the nest needs to be so big.

Stork nests like these can be seen in other European countries as well, but they are very common in Romania. Have you ever seen anything like this?

The Delicious Plăcintă

As much as I love Romanian Joe candies, my favorite Romanian treat has to be what is called a plăcintă (plah-CHIN-tah).

Photo source: Food Crafters blog

A plăcintă is basically a type of stuffed pastry that you can get with either apples, cabbage, cheese, or whatever filling you want inside. My personal favorite is plăcintă cu finetti, which is a plăcintă filled with a chocolatey spread similar to Nutella. The cheese plăcintă (plăcintă cu brânză) is good, but Romanian cheese is oftentimes very strong!

During my trip to Romania this past summer, my fiancé and I took many trips to a particular plăcintă shop. The store owner was really friendly, and although he spoke little English and we spoke little Romanian, we all enjoyed trying to communicate with each other.

One day while at the piaţă, my fiancé and I spotted Dan, the store owner, in his plăcintă stand selling them people in the market. He was so happy to see us that when we tried to pay, he said in his broken English, “For my American friends… bonus!” (He meant to say “free,” but we got the idea. ;))

So if you ever go to Romania, be sure to try a plăcintă at some point during your visit. And try different kinds (if you can get finetti, I highly recommend it). Each person prepares them in a slightly different way as well, so be sure to try more than one. Plus it’s a great way to befriend local store owners. 🙂

Romanian Climate

I live in the Southeastern part of the US, so I’m used to hot, humid summers and wet, nearly snowless winters. Romania, on the other hand, is quite different.

Even though it can get really hot in the summer (especially with no air conditioning to help you cool down), the humidity level in Romania is relatively low. So if it’s a rainy or simply overcast day, the temperature can cool down really quickly. I’ve only ever traveled to Romania during the summertime, but even in the middle of summer there were some days where I found myself wearing a jacket!

Some days look like this:

…while others look like this:

Rain or shine, Romania is still pretty awesome. 😉

I have never been to Romania in the winter time, but it’s safe to say that my hometown in the South has never seen as much snow as Romania gets. In fact, last year Romania made international headlines with its record amounts of snowfall. A blizzard buried some villages in as much as 16 feet of snow!

Check out this article from The Washington Post to see more photos from the incident like the one below. I can’t imagine seeing (let alone dealing with) so much snow!

Photo source: Reuters

Photo source: Reuters

Being used to the humidity of the South in the US, I’m not a huge fan of the cold. But it is nice to not be nearly as hot walking around outside in the summertime in Romania as I would be back home.

What about you? What kind of climate do you prefer?

Friday’s Findings: Carpathian Mountains

Photo source: wakpaper.com

Any mountain lovers out there? 😉

I prefer mountains to the beach any day, so the Carpathian mountain range is one of my favorite things about Romania. It’s the second longest mountain range in Europe after the Scandinavian Mountains, covering parts of Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia.

The highest peak is 8,709 feet tall and is in Slovakia, but the Romania’s tallest peak, Moldoveanu, is not far behind at 8,346 feet.

I’ve never done any hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, but I would love to someday. People who have been to these mountains would probably say that pictures don’t do them justice, but for those of us who haven’t gone, they sure are breathtaking!

I found a documentary about the Carpathians that I’ve posted below. Check it out if you’ve got time and want to enjoy some amazing scenery!