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Hey guys, my name is Nouche and I am an addict...

We are often advised that “traveling is the best cure for narrow-mindedness”; My intention via this space is to share with you how beautiful the world out there is and how traveling is a lot more enjoyable than what most people think. So, sit back, relax, and read on.

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Journey through Dracula's country

This article is about 2 countries I have visited that had some friends asking what would take me to this part of the world. The first country is about the legend of Dracula and the many tales that surround him around his origin and others, but I think it is widely agreed which country he is from. It has been settled that he was (or is, since they live long lol) from the current the 12th-largest country in Europe. Also the country of the Carpathian mountains, salt mines, medieval fortresses, Dacia cars, and the Black Sea. It happens to be one of those countries I was so inquisitive about as although I do not speak the language, I could understand most of the panel on the street thanks to the language being similar to French - That's Romania!

The other country visited is actually Europe's least visited country and the third least visited worldwide. Funny enough it is known for its wine next to Italy however has not managed to boost its tourism (Less than 130,000 foreigners recorded on the territory) - Have you heard of Moldova? Well, that's where we're going too...

Buckle up...



How to get there?

Well, the usual way. There are so many flights to Romania, be it Timișoara, Cluj-Napoca or Bucharest but I chose Timișoara on this occurrence. The return ticket cost me about £30, the car rental about £45 and the food was about £10-15/day. Even to my standard, I would qualify it as an affordable destination.



Where to stay?

As I was city-hopping, just booking my Airbnb on the way is just a suitable strategy (With rate going, on average for £20/night). Last-minute bookings won't hurt your purse and based on how you like a city more than another you can choose where to spend more time - That is the beauty of self-driving. You can just move in your own time and 24 hours per day.



The itinerary

Our route will take us from the beautiful city of Timișoara then a quick stop in Sibiu on my way to Sovata before ending in mysterious Chișinău. Literally going through the whole of Romania. My initial plan was to also visit Odesa for 2 days but at the Moldovan border with Ukraine, the officers were not convinced I was just a mere tourist who was just going with the flow. Perhaps, I should apply for a secret service job so the suspicions I have been subject to in 4 countries could actually be justified.

If I did in one go, I would have covered a little over 800kms, even more than my Osaka to Tokyo.


Romania

Quietly the world's 45th largest economy and the 7th most populous member state of the EU, Romania is a thriving economy and has a huge touristic potential thanks to its mountainous regions, dramatic landscapes, and exposure to the black sea.


Piata Unirii (Timișoara)

Known as Union Square in English, Piata Unirii is the oldest historical square in Timisoara. This place has witnessed many historical events such as the takeover by the Turks of the city which resulted in the killing of the ruling Count, Stefan Losonczy in 1552. The plaza has retained its Baroque style to this day welcomes numerous visitors daily.

On a good day, it is pretty chill as I try hard to show on this pic...


Parcul Rozelor (Timișoara)

The roses park is one of the many parks in Timișoara and was built in 1891 for an exhibition but turned into the main attraction in the city with an open-air theatre and even an ice rink.

This is what I was traveling through at times...


Podul Minciunilor (Sibiu)

Sibiu is a city in the central region of Romania. It is known for its medieval vibe. One of its most famous landmarks is the bridge of lies. There are a few legends about the origin of the name of the bridge:


  1. It is said that the bridge is a lie detector and if someone is lying while crossing the bridge, it will make a noise to let the person know he/she is not telling the truth.

  2. The other one is that students at the military school would meet girls on dates at the bridge and make promises which they never intended to keep.

  3. Young ladies, ready to mingle would swear to their virginity on the bridge, and apparently, should that actually not be true, they would be thrown from the bridge

  4. Also, there is a trading place near the bridge, and crooks used to be unmasked by the bridge hence every trader resorting to being honest while in the area.


Salina Praid (Sovata)

Located some 148kms from Sibiu, Sovata is one of the newest cities in the country yet leading the touristic boom in the country thanks to its salt mine. Healing therapies are offered in its saltine springs which offer a cure for all sorts of health problems.

I only realised after taking the photo that my pants were ripped a little bit...


Lacul Ursu (Sovata)

Sovata has overtime shaped into a resort town with loads of pampering facilities. Another attraction that makes Sovata a great holiday destination is Lake Ursu. Ursu means bear in Romanian and the lake got the name from its shape. The lake's surface spreads over 40,235m2, which makes it the largest heliothermal lake in Europe. Although its temperature at the surface tends to be around 10-20ᵒC, it can quickly ramp up to 40ᵒC should you go deeper.

To preserve the heliothermic effect, bathing is restricted every day for two hours...

A park around it is open and leads through the woods that surround the lake...

There are also some lodges around the lake for those who would like to be very close...


Hotel Pacsirta

This hotel can be the standard for hotels in Sovata. Pacsirta pretty much has it all from massage chair to sauna, even a pool table so you can be tempted to spend your time in the hotel as opposed to in Sovata.

Isn't she just pretty?


Moldova

Moldova is a landlocked country that gained independence from Russia in 1918 after annexation by the Ottoman Empire and forming part of Romania at some point. It is also a major supplier of agricultural products in southeastern Europe thanks to the quality of its soil.


The Triumphal Arch (Chișinău)

The Triumphal arch is a monument ]in Central Chișinău located in Piața Marii Adunǎri Naționale and directly opposite Government. The arch was built in 1840 in commemoration of the Russian Empire over the Ottoman Empire during the Russo-Turkish War between 1828–29.

This is the nativity cathedral...

The plaza is always buzzing due to its central position in the city and its surroundings...

Casualties of war...

And they never admit who did it...


Eternity Memorial Complex (Chișinău)

The complex was formerly known as Victory Memorial. It was built in 1975 to honour the Soviet soldiers who died in the Great Patriotic War.

The pyramid is made up of 5 tall stone rifles ...

I could not someone to tell me what this monument represents but just thought it is also worth sharing...

A closer view, with me standing in the way as usual...

Right in the middle of the monument is an eternal flame ...


I feel I learned a great deal from getting lost in the dramatic landscape of Romania and wandering around the main landmarks and asking the locals about the importance of some of these places. Moldova was a big wake-up slap as I was impressed with how the country was despite not being known. I do not even know many people who know where Moldova is. Although I had a bit of an argument with a policeman whom I think only targeted me because I was a tourist (not to mention the colour of my skin), I find it to be very well worth visiting. I've now added a few more countries to your list and I hope you will make use of it one day. Thanks a lot for reading me!







Until next time...
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