Romania Travel Guide
New Routes / LCCs / Wizz Air / Romania Travel / Italy Travel / → All Tags
How about heading to Romania? It's like Italy, but cheaper! And further east! And they spell "pasta" like "paste!" With all these charms, how can you not give up some Milan action for Transylvania? Now thanks to the Wizz Air, you won't have to decide between the two since you can have both.
The European low-cost carrier, which already offers some tempting routes between Italy and Romania, is adding even more to continue the stream of tourism. Beginning on September 21, you'll be able to hop between Catania, a major Sicilian city, and Bucharest. Then, on October 28, Bucharest will also welcome flights from Bologna-Forli.
Although the flights will only be twice a week, it's a huge improvement over the state of Italy-Romania flights only a few years ago, when we were dying to get from Rome to Cluj-Napoca without, well, dying on government-owned Romanian airline TAROM. That route is also available now on Wizz Air, and even from Rome's main Fiumicino airport and not the dinky, Ryanair-happy Ciampino airport. Anyways, we digress. Get thee to Romania cheaply!
If you wanted to follow in the path of this week's "Amazing Race" episode, you'd probably fly through Henri Coandă International Airport, the largest in Romania. From there, you could visit the Arcul de Triumf (a pint-sized version of the Paris landmark), take in some masterpieces at the National Museum of Art in Romania, or just put on a leotard and go to an all-night gymnastics party.
But beware, that coverage might not stretch the way you expect it to! The airport's website says a connection is available in the international boarding area at €5 for laptops, but one of our Twitter friends found free, if spotty coverage through an official-looking webpage. Have you visited Bucharest or other airports with hidden free WiFi? Let us know and we'll put them up on our Airport WiFi map.
· This Week's "Race": "I'm Not Wearing That Girl's Leotard!" [Jaunted]
· Hillary Clinton Can Check Her E-mail at Ben Gurion Airport [Jaunted]
· Great Ballet Rip-Offs: Swan Lake with Fewer Swans [Jaunted]
· Airport WiFi Map [Jaunted]
Chasing Racers is back, with a brand new Amazing Race 14 mashup. This map will update the morning after every new episode. Send along tips, rumors, gossip, locations and spoilers to our map editors, become a member and comment on the stories below and add to the Jaunted-Flickr photo pool to get in on the fray. Remember to zoom in, out and around on the map--with so
much happening in each episode, it's easy to miss a map point.
Remember to zoom in, out and around on the map--with so much happening in each episode, it's easy to miss a map point.
Well, it's another exciting week, Race fans! We're down to nine teams, and the
competition is definitely heating up. After losing the two most distracting teams
right off the bat, we were left wondering just who are the rest of these people? We
haven't seen most of them except in the opening credits. Guess we better start paying
attention. Will Victor and Tammy build on their impressive win last week, or will
sibling rivalry derail their victory train? Can Mel and Mike call on a higher power
for an assist, or will Mel's injured groin be their doom? Also, what's going on with
flirty Luke and those Dolphins cheerleaders?!
LET'S FIND OUT!
Up there, where the air is blue, that's where Romanian low-cost carrier Blue Air flies. Despite flying since 2006, they've only just popped up on our radar because of a rumor they're starting London Stansted to Brussels flights--a slightly odd route for a Romanian-based airline.
But it's cheap: For the launch of the London route, they're offering some 1 tickets (plus taxes, of course). Other routes are also going cheap--if not for a euro.
Blue Air have got just eight aircraft at the moment with at least two more on order, and passenger numbers are up over 20 percent on the same time last year. But we don't have any personal experience yet, so all we can hope is that flying on Blue Air doesn't leave you feelin' blue.
[Photo: Andrei Dimofte]
Romania Travel / Animals / Bears / Restaurants / → All Tags
It's definitely bear season in the northern hemisphere. Over at HotelChatter they've been spotting bears taking dips in hotel swimming pools in Orlando and Colorado. But in Romania, bears are going beyond cooling off in the pool.
In Sinaia, a whole family of bears recently ambled into a restaurant and, well, sat down at the tables. When they didn't get any service--everyone fled the restaurant--the brown bear and two cubs found the kitchen and ate their fill.
Police and rangers were called out, but the bears had gone before they arrived. They didn't even leave a tip.
Funny, we were just considering buying tickets to an upcoming performance of Swan Lake--it's an attempt to be cultured--but then we read about a Romanian version that's being investigated by the Consumer Protection Office.
In case, like us, you didn't know, there should be 24 swans on stage in the famous Tchaikovsky show. But recently at the Romanian National Opera House in Bucharest there were just 16, and one member of the audience made an official complaint.
As far as our rusty Romanian can translate, the Swan Lake show is still running, under the less romantic sounding Romanian translation of Lacul Lebedelor. If you go, you'll have to be prepared to make do with fewer swans than Tchaikovsky prescribed.
Until now, our coverage of Bucharest has focused on Dracula, but come this April, there'll be more scary creatures there: lots of politicians. The 20th NATO Summit will take place in the Romanian capital between April 2 and 4, carefully avoiding the prospect of starting talks on April Fools' Day.
So who and what will we see in Bucharest this April? Well, surprisingly, Russian president Vladimir Putin has agreed to show up, the first time a Russian leader has been there in six years. Along with him, the usual suspects--that is, heads of government of NATO members--will be in town, too.
Whether they'll take a countryside trip to haunt Dracula's region or spend more time at some of the sites made famous during the 1989 revolution (remember Ceausescu?), we are sure to see some pretty Bucharest churches in the background on TV. If the delegates have too much fun, we'll just be grinding our teeth about where our taxes are going.
[Photo: mircea tudorache]
Remember last year, when New Yorker Dominic Habsburg was celebrating getting the deed for Dracula's haunt? Well, fast forward a year and the castle is going back on the market.
If you're shopping for a $135 million house, you may have spotted a listing over the weekend for the 17-bedroom Bran Castle. The Romanian fortress is better known as Dracula's lair because its former inhabitant, Prince Vlad the Impaler, inspired Bram Stoker's vampire. It is situated on the border between the towns of Transylvania and Wallachia, on Highway 73.
The castle was put up for sale by its ancestral owners, the Habsburgs, to whom it was returned in 2006. Owner Archduke Dominic Habsburg must really want the place off his hands -- he offered to sell it to the state of Transylvania last year, but they turned down his bargain price of $80 million.
We hear Kiefer Sutherland is in the neighborhood. Maybe he should settle down in the 13th-century place -- it would make a great remote torture location for Jack Bauer, plus he'd have room for Chloe 'n' the gang.
These Romanian brown bears might look cute, but we've got a bad news story today and they star in it. A group of American hikers wandering through the Carpathian Mountains north of Bucharest over the weekend were attacked by a brown bear who eventually killed one of them, a 31-year-old woman.
We know Europe's nervous about roaming bears--just see the hysteria created in Germany over Bruno the Bear. It's an uneasy truce between dense populations and the few remaining bears. About half of Europe's brown bears make their home in Romania, and although attacks on people are really rare, they obviously do happen; if you're stressed about it, check some tips on surviving bear encounters.
[Photo: tim ellis]
A reader of the gossip site TMZ got mighty spooked the other day when he asked for a light outside a bar in Bucharest, Romania. Who came to his rescue? None other than Kiefer Sutherland, dressed in black! The "24" star acknowledged what a treat it was to come across other English speakers, then vanished in the night.
Sutherland is shooting a remake of a Korean horror movie called "Into the Mirror." For more Romanian experiences that give you the willies, we recommend the Hotel Lebada, a former Roman fortress and prison located on the spooky St. Pantelimon Island. Most people looking to get freaked out in the region will head for the Carpathian mountains on tours like Haunted Attraction Magazine's Dracula tour or the Company of Mysterious Journeys. Maybe next season on "24," Jack will hunt down and kill the descendants of Dracula!
· Romania Travel [Jaunted]
[Photo: The Lycos 50 Blog]
Who would've thought that joining the European Union would be such a boon for Romanian witches? Earlier we were worried that they'd all be losing money as they splashed out on English lessons, trying to prepare for what they thought would be a huge wave of English-speaking clients. While we're not sure if Tony Blair or Angela Merkel are rushing to Romania for some witchly assistance, it is apparently true that Romanian businesspeople are frantically making appointments.
Witchcraft is recognized as a "real profession" in Romania, and the local witches say that in response to EU entry,
They have adjusted their services as entrepreneurs turn to potions and spells to get the money they want.
These services include, just to name a couple, splashing application forms for EU funding with special potions and helping gay men (now protected under EU law) get more feminine features. As one witch said:
You cannot pretend you are a real witch if you cannot help a businessman get the European Union funds he wants.
Skiing / Snowboarding / Romania / → All Tags
In most parts of Europe this year, snowfall's been dismally disappointing and many skiiers are swooshing down the slopes on artificial snow. But what can you do about it, really: that's just nature!
That's not the attitude being taken, however, by a bunch of disgruntled Romanian snowboarders. They held a sit-down protest in front of the National Weather Institute in Bucharest this week. Their complaint--quite simply, a lack of snow.
With nothing better to do (and their snowboards still in their cupboards) they stayed at the institute until officials told them their complaint "would be passed on to a higher authority." Al Roker?
[Photo: Thomas Hawk]
· Snowboarders Stage Protest [Ananova]