If you’re travelling to Romania, and expect to find only cities and places that are beautiful in the conventional meaning of the word, you will have to choose your itinerary carefully.
I’ve only been to Romania once, but I can confidently say that not always is it appealing and charming in the conventional meaning of the word. Of course, there are exceptions (Brașov, anyone?) and, of course, as I’ve just said, I’ve only been to Romania once, and only for a few days, so I’ve only seen one infinitesimal portion of the country.
Yet I don’t believe I’m making an unfair judgement if I claim that cities like Bucharest or Constanța do not quite meet the habitual standards of urban beauty the average traveller (let alone tourist) would expect. Nor do I mean my remarks in a derogatory way.
In fact, the opposite is true.
For one thing, there are countless shades of urban beauty (definitely more than fifty). And what’s more, one (supposedly) travels to uncover new places, and grow familiar with new cultures, and learn something one doesn’t know. That, as a whole, amounts to much more than simply admiring some charming architecture, quaint neighbourhoods or natural scenery.
I find non-conventionally beautiful architecture and urban landscapes extremely fascinating by default, and that probably explains why Bucharest turned out to be as intriguing as it was for me, and the same applies, to different extents, to the other places I visited during my short-but-intense trip.
In conclusion, if travelling is supposed to teach you something and prove an enriching experience, well I did learn a lot, and I do feel hugely enriched.
Romania reminded me, one more time, why I keep travelling to Eastern Europe, and why, every time I leave, part of me invariably knows and feels that I will want to do it again. That part of me has always been right so far.
As for the Romania-themed post series, I had to give it quite a thought to figure out how I’d be writing about the places I’ve seen. In the end I resolved to privilege the visuals, so there won’t be any walking tours (as with Helsinki) or multisensory experiences (as with Copenhagen – still work in progress).
On the contrary, there will be lots of photos, duly paired with their respective captions, as well as brief explanations of what each shot displays and where to find the street or monument photographed. I made this choice for one reason above all others, i.e. that a lot of what I saw and experienced struck the eye more than any other sense.
So, ready to go and explore Bucharest, to begin with?