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Romania Photo Tour in April 2012

In April 2012 I had the chance and pleasure of organizing a photo tour around Romania. For two weeks we had traveled from dawn till dusk trying to take as many good pictures as possible. We were focused especially on the country side, trying to capture with our cameras a forgotten world of peasants living in harmony with the nature. We wanted to capture their traits and hard life, the thoughts, sorrows, happiness and hopes. Also, we wanted to capture the golden light early in the morning, several times waking up at 5AM.

Bellow one can see some of the pictures I captured during this tour. In order to view the slideshow you need to install flash. Also, take advantage and see the pictures in full size (hover your mouse pointer over the right upper corner of the picture and select the full size view). Each picture has its own explanation.

  1. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  2. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  3. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  4. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  5. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  6. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  7. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  8. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  9. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  10. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
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  12. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  13. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  14. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
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  16. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  17. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  18. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  19. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  20. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  21. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  22. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  23. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  24. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
  25. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
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  30. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
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  34. Romania Photo Tour April 2012
 

Easter Egg Hunt

The Peles Castle, one of the most beautiful museums of Romania, in fact one of the most beautiful castles of the world, organized today an Easter Egg Hunt for kids with the occasion of the Orthodox Easter. In this way the museum brought the castle back to life. Kids were running in all directions trying to find as many eggs as possible. Some of the pictures I took captured the innocence of the children and their happiness.

 

Ten reasons for visiting Romania

If you think it might be the right moment to visit Romania but you are not sure about this, then I’ll try to convince you that you are about to take a very good decision.

As a tour guide from Romania I had plenty time to visit the most famous tourist destinations of Romania but also to discover most of its secrets. Bellow you are going to discover the main tourist attractions of Romania and other reasons which will make you to come to the country of Dracula or in the Carpathian Garden as it is promoted now.

1 The first reason is that Romania, as a former communist country, is still not very popular among the big tour promoters which means for you the chance of admiring amazing tourist attractions just by yourself. Imagine how many times you wanted to be alone in one amazing place! Well, this is quite possible in this country where you could have just for you an amazing castle like Peles from Sinaia or you could enjoy a stroll on the cobblestone alleys of Sighisoara – probably the best preserved medieval citadel of Europe, without seeing any tourist.

2 In some parts of Romania the country side is so well preserved that it looks like being frozen in time. It is here where you can observe how the locals get up early in the morning to take care of their livestock. Admire the horse-drawn carts leaving behind them a dust that traps like in a phantasmagoria the shimmering light of mornings. Embrace the local culture and discover crafts long time forgotten in other parts of the world. Meet a blacksmith or a group of old ladies embroidering  in front of their gates while having a vivid discussion. Don’t miss the magical world of the Saxon villages, a stunning living book of the once thriving world of the Germans. Maramures is another rural area famous for its wooden buildings, especially for its tall churches, so tall like their builders were ready to reach the sky. And list remains open with many beautiful and well preserved villages.

3 The cities of Romania are full of life, wild, ready to party anytime, vivid, full of history and culture. Be crazy in the night, get the cultural experience during the day; if you mange to get up after the crazy night. Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is considered even by famous travel sites one of the most rising tourist destination of the world. With so many cultural sights, parks, large boulevards, stunning old neighborhoods, restaurants and bars, Bucharest offers plenty options to any kind of tourist. Other cities like Sibiu, Sighisoara or Brasov are known for their extraordinary heritage and for their medieval architecture while Timisoara is famous for its Baroque atmosphere.

4 The fortified churches, many of the begin part of the UNESCO heritage never cease to impress me, although I had seen them so many times. Located in former Saxon towns, these fortified churches of Transylvania look even today like being prepared for another Tartar or Turkish invasion. Some of them, like Perjmer of Biertan, are so well preserved that they can make the visitors to feel the threads of those invasions or the prayers of the former inhabitants. Many times these old fortified churches are located in remote villages with a wonderful landscape.

5 The painted monasteries of Bucovina, five of them being also part of the UNESCO heritage, are a real testimony of the locals’ faith in God but also a testimony of the amazing skills the local artists had achieved in the 16th century. Their exterior frescoes impress even today, 500 years later, any traveler. To all these add the amazing landscape of Bucovina. One of the best is Sucevita, which beside its mural paintings, impresses with its fortress-like shape.

6 If Romania would have just one tourist destination and this would be the Danube Delta, then it would be a reason strong enough for you to come here. After it had passed through 9 countries and 4 capitals of Europe the Danube River finally reaches the Black Sea. It is here where it forms a stunning and unique natural habitat. You’ll be overwhelmed by thousands of birds, many different species of fish or by the luxurious forests with their trees jutting of the water. To all these add the remote villages, the locals and the scenery. And the last but not the least comes the wide and wild beach.

7 The Carpathian Mountains are so beautiful that they convinced the Romanian Tourism Office to use them as a national brand. Forming an arc on the Romanian territory, the Carpathians are one of the last untouched wild areas of Europe. Beside their breathtaking scenery, the Carpathian Mountains are even today a perfect shelter for big and wild animals such us the beautiful brown bears. One of the most amazing roads of the world, as Jeremy Clarkson said, is to be found also here. The Transfagarasan Road is the best and most exciting way of crossing the Carpathians in time of summer.

8 The locals and the food are going to be for you unforgettable experiences. The Romanians are so hospitable that many times, especially in the country side, you’ll be invited in their houses. Don’t be shy in taking pictures of them. They will be glad to pose for you. The food, simple but so fresh is going to be one of the best moments of your trip. In order to complete your meals you must try the local drinks, the rich wines, the local beer or the “tuica”, a local strong plum brandy.

9 This county is so divers that would be impossible to see all or experience everything in just one trip. There are plenty options for everybody, from cultural experiences to adventures for adrenaline junkies, from cities to villages, from mountains to the sea side. Nobody will get bored in Romania.

10 And finally, but many times very important, the cost. Romania is still one of the most inexpensive countries to travel to. My tourists told me many times that Romania is the Eastern Switzerland but at the half price. So take advantage of this and do not worry anymore of high costs while traveling around Romania.

 

Ten reasons for private tours

I had started as a tour guide with a group of two people then I gathered more and more experience until I started to work with large groups as well. No matter how small or large the groups had been, I always enjoyed this job which is much more than explaining when this was built or what was the life of a famous historical figure. As a tour guide you need to handle all kind of situations, unexpected events or strange requests.  And each time you must work in the interest of you tourists. On the other hand it is great to be able to meet all the time so many different, interesting and intelligent persons. In fact after so many years as a tour guide I don’t consider myself just a Romanian but a person shaped a little bit by my tourists. Each persons I met left, more or less, an indelible mark in my mind. And this can be valid for you as a tourist, as well. Traveling with a tour guide represents the best way of traveling, the ultimate cultural experience!

1 The Cultural Experience

By far the main advantage of traveling with a private guide is that in this way you are going to experience the places you visit like no one else! I like to say that a private tour is like the difference between admiring Mona Lisa in the museum together with a bunch of foreigners or the chance of admiring it in your own house for a week. While traveling you’ll be overwhelmed by so many new things, images over images will pass in front of your eyes one after the other like in a phantasmagorical roller coaster, so fast that many times you’ll miss the essential of that moment. A tour guide can reveal you much more and he can make you to enjoy the moment.

2 Flexibility

Your vacation is not anymore just a series of tourist attractions visited one after the other with no stops. In between two places something extraordinary might happen or you might want to take a break and admire the amazing landscape. During a private tour, small or larger detours can be done unexpectedly at your request. Sometimes, while passing through towns or villages, you might encounter a traditional festival or a local fair. A tour guide will stop and will give you the proper explanations. There is no doubt these kind of tours are the most flexible tours. Also, mornings can start earlier or later, you could skip the lunch and visit more or you could enjoy a good dinner for much longer. All these are part of your own choice!

Do you need some space and time just for yourself? Then your private guide will disappear instantly. He will be back when you’ll need him. That’s why I like to say a tour guide is nothing more than a genie in a bottle :) .

3 Custom-made services

Even from the first email, from the first request, you can specify your main interests and your main preferences. Thus, you’ll have the chance of traveling the way you had decided weeks in advance. All kind of private tours are waiting for you: cultural tours, photo tours, biking tours or hiking tours. And all of them are subject of customization.

4 Off the Beaten Paths

If you travel with a large group or even solo you’ll miss many amazing and interesting tourist attractions located in remote areas, either because a large group is not able to reach those destinations or because a solo traveler is totally unaware of these off-the-beaten attractions. Many times these places can be more attractive than the famous ones. Your personal tour guide knows the country very well and you won’t miss these hidden jewelries.

5 Local Flavor

The private tours will give you the chance of tasting the local flavor and when I say local flavor I don’t mean just the local cuisine but also the local atmosphere which sometimes is quite hard to be noticed. A stroll on the roads of a little village can bring many interesting experiences. You can admire the locals and their daily activity or you can be part of a traditional festival. You might even learn few steps of a local dance.

6 Craft demonstrations

Your private tour guide can take you to local artists where you’ll admire their talented skills. You’ll get explanations straight from them and you might have even the chance to make a pot or to paint an icon. Beyond the craft demonstrations you’ll have the chance of meeting an artist, of exchanging thoughts with him. All these will enhance your personal experience as a traveler.

7 Explanations just for you

All the time you’ll be given all kind of details about history, sights, traditions, local politics or about the social life. Your private guide will be a great traveler partner, especially during the long drives, by telling you many interesting histories or even little trivia. Also, you can ask many questions without waiting for somebody else, thus the discussion will be very smooth and pleasant. Tour guides like to tell many jokes, in this way adding to your journey the fun we all need so much.

8 Accommodation

As private guide I’m always focused on special places for accommodation. During your private tour you could choose your own hotels or you can ask your future private tour guide for assistance in this field. You can have whatever you want, you could stay in a famous 5-star hotel or you could experience a little home stay.

9 Friendsheep

Most of the time, after a private tour you’ll have a friend for lifetime. I’ve been amazed and honored to see that many of my travelers didn’t forget about me and they send me, from time to time, a postcard, an email in which they tell me what they’ve done lately or news related more or less to our trip. For me, this is the best part of my job.

10 Total assistance

You’ll get the best service from your first email till your departure. No one will be more interested in giving you a better service than your personal tour guide. A tour guide is keen to offer you unforgettable cultural experiences and that’s why during the whole trip you’ll be his main focus. In this way you can enjoy a wonderful vacation without being worry at all.

Bellow one can see a slideshow which will probably explain much better why a private tour with your own personal tour guide is a wonderful way of traveling. In order to view the slideshow you need to install flash. Also, take advantage and see the pictures in full size (hover your mouse pointer over the right upper corner of the picture and select the full size view). Each picture has its own explanation.

  1. Be a traveler and experience the country!Make yourself friends among the locals.
  2. Be a traveler and experience the country!Unexpected encounters.
  3. Be a traveler and experience the country!Go beyond the barriers.
  4. Be a traveler and experience the country!Observe the traditions like no one else.
  5. Be a traveler and experience the country!Discover amazing places.
  6. Be a traveler and experience the country!Reach the peaks.
  7. Be a traveler and experience the country!See the life the way it is.
  8. Be a traveler and experience the country!Try it yourself.
  9. Be a traveler and experience the country!Discover the off the beaten paths.
  10. Be a traveler and experience the country!Take the back roads.
  11. Be a traveler and experience the country!Taste the real food.
  12. Be a traveler and experience the country!Be part of the traditions.
  13. Be a traveler and experience the country!Be an explorer.
  14. Be a traveler and experience the country!Learn how it is done.

text and pictures by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

 

Martisor – March charm

The legend has it that the Sun, looking at the people having fun wanted to enjoy the pleasures of men. So he decided to come on Earth as a young man and take part to the festival. But his happiness was shortly lived because an ogre kidnapped and imprisoned him in a castle.

The people were very sad because there was no more sun. The birds would not sing any more, the children weren’t happy any more and the rivers stopped flowing. But still nobody dared to face the ogre, until one day when a brave warrior stepped forward and he went to challenge the ogre. When he arrived at the castle the brave warrior faced the ogre and they fought for days, until our warrior killed the ogre. In the end the exhausted warrior, with almost no strength, freed the Sun which immediately started to shine, thus bringing spring again into the world. Unfortunately the warrior died before he could see the spring season. His warm blood flowed on to the snow until the last drop; where the drops felt a snowdrop rose.

From that moment, young men make white and red strings which they offer to the girls whom they love or to those close to them. The red color reminds us of the warrior’s blood and the white is a symbol of health, purity of the snowdrop and of the first flower of spring.

What does “martisor” mean?

The “martisor” is, in popular tradition, a symbol of weeks, months and years gathered and twisted into a string with two colors, the colors representing the winter and the summer. It represents a present given to the women on the first of March. The richer families had “martisoare” with strings made of silver and gold. Children would wear it tied to their hand, on their chests or on their necks.

It is believed that those who wear it will not be burned by the Sun during the summer and they will be healthy, lucky and beautiful like flowers.

At the beginnings, a “martisor” was just a coin attached to a white-red thread. After some time, beads, beautifully colored, took the place of the coin. Today a “martisor” could be represented by a horseshoe, a clover, chimney sweep or other modern figurines.

text by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

 

Cehetel

Cehetel (Csehétfalva in Hungarian) is a remote village located in the county of Harghita, Transylvania. There are not many old records about this forgotten village but it seems that it exists before the 15th century.

Today, Cehetel or Csehétfalva, is a small village inhabited by Hungarians. The main attraction of Cehetel is the Unitarian Church built on the site of a former church which had been demolished previously. The present one was finished in 1826. Simple, of small dimensions, the church of Cehetel attracts the attention of any visitor through its leaning tower. Finished in 1835, the tower started to lean on one side so badly that the owners took down the bells. The leaning process had continued till 1917. Today it represents a major attraction for the few travelers who dared to adventure here.

For any traveler Cehetel is a fantastic reward. The remote village, surrounded by tree-covered hills, is a great chance to admire the old Hungarian architecture, the dirt roads or the people and their animals. Definitely, you’ll like this forgotten world. A visit here will give you the feeling you can touch the past.

I’ve visited this place in 2006 and I intend to come back. Once in the village of Cehetel ask for the reverend. He and his wife will be happy to show you the little village and their church, all the secrets of this off the beaten path tourist attraction from Transylvania, Romania.

by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide

 

Winter in Bucharest

Who says the winters are not beautiful? Below one can see some shots taken in Bucharest during the winter of 2012.

In order to view the slideshow you need to install flash. Also, take advantage and see the pictures in full size (hover your mouse pointer over the right upper corner of the picture and select the full size view).

  1. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  2. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  3. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  4. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  5. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  6. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  7. BucharestWinter of 2012.
  8. BucharestWinter of 2012.
 
© FelixRomania
Powerd by Daniel Gheorghita.