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‘Fuck your mother, fuck your brother’ and smuggling

I was heading out of Romania, to Serbia, with some apprehension, a little upset after two weeks mostly enjoying Romania. There was still so much I hadn’t seen: the Danube Delta, the Black Sea, Maramureş… The train hurtles at a scary 30mph along the valley. The carriages mostly still have cabins for six or eight … Continue reading

European City of Culture: where I learnt about farting

Summary for the hard of reading: Sibiu – a nice old town; English girl said ‘fart’; nasty hotel people; Romanian woman with dalmation and German goat farmers; Romanian telly; lots of rules and rain at an open-air museum. **************** So I arrived at Sibiu (Hermannstadt), and yet again first impressions were not good. It seems … Continue reading

A country life

(So internet cafes haven’t been that accessible. And searching for them hasn’t been such a priority. So I have a lot to say, sorry). ***************** After the rigours of Bucharest and the routine of towns and museums and churches in the towns of Transylvnia, I wanted to head for the countryside, to see if the … Continue reading

Fangs for the memories, Transylvania

Coming to Transylvania, I expected ‘Dracula’ to be everywhere. As I start to plan my last days in the region, I realise it isn’t the case at all. Here and there you see some souvenir of Vlad Ţepeş (Vlad the Impaler), but it’s minor, hidden at the back of the shop or the stall. No … Continue reading

Where are all the Brits?

One night in Braşov, I was sitting in the Auld Scots Pub, a theme pub of sorts where guys in Celtic and Scotland football shirts and girls in tartan miniskirts serve you London Pride, Strongbow and Wembley Gin. (Wembley Gin?! I love Brent but really! It reminds me of seeing t-shirts with ‘Hammersmith’ across northern … Continue reading

DO NOT FEED THE WILD ANIMALS

Romania seems to be full of rules. Having finshed my venison meal in the rain in Sinaia, I wandered on through the woods to Peleş Castle, the spectacular castle built by the first King of Romania in the late 19th century, considered by many the most beautiful castle in Europe. It is indeed beautiful. It … Continue reading

“It’d take a lot of steam cleaners to clean that puppy”

“Hello. My name is Emil and it is my pleasure to show you around the Palace of the People,” said our tour guide, finishing with a flourish. Forty of us had gathered to hear Emil at Ceacescu’s palace, which the dictator never lived to see in use. I know that it was forty, because Emil … Continue reading

36 hours in Bucharest

“Very important,” the man serving breakfast said. “Très important, molto importante,” he said to other guests as they wandered into the dining room. What was so very important was to walk a couple of metres to the reception to get a signed coupon for breakfast. Who knows what chaos could ensue if the right coupon … Continue reading