Romania. Five years ago, all I could have told you was that it was in Eastern Europe. I probably would have said that that’s where Dracula came from. Because Transylvania is there, right?
All of that changed when I met L, who has roots in Romania. I learned so much about it in a short period of time – that yes, it is in Eastern Europe, and that it boasts both Black Sea beaches and peaks in the Carpathian Mountains. I learned that no, the language is not Slavic, it’s much closer to Latin, as well as the Italian that I studied in college. And finally that yes, Transylvania is in Romania, and that Vlad the Impaler is a historical treasure of sorts.
It took four years of dating for us to finally make the trip, and by the time I stepped off of the plane in Bucharest in September 2015, I had high expectations. Boy, did it impress. Romania is beautiful – it’s a bit gritty, and still has scars from the Revolution – but my goodness is it lovely. From the architecture, to the land, to the sounds and smells, every bit of it takes hold of you. Moreover, the people were fantastic: from L’s extended family, to any person who we spoke to in shops, restaurants, and museums, to the people who patiently listened to my halting attempts to speak Romanian.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing photos and thoughts about some of the cities we visited. Hopefully, you’ll see why I loved it so much, and why I look forward to returning. It really was an exceptional trip – maybe you’ll even be tempted to visit yourself!