Why I’m going back to Romania

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December 25, 2016
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A Digital Nomad in Budapest
January 2, 2017

Why I’m going back to Romania

Three years ago, my first impression of Romania went something like this: “Wow, there are horse carts here. And people really still use them for transportation!” That was followed by: “Wow, Romania has some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world!”

So yes, it’s true that that Romania has the sharp contrasts of ancient traditions and modernity. I think that is something that many travelers find interesting anywhere in the world. But few places have it.

I’m back in Romania for the second time this year. In the fall I wanted to include another Romanian city in this year’s Eurail trip. Sibiu left me with another good impression after last year’s visit to Brasov and Sighisoara. All of these cities are three of the original seven fortified Saxon towns of Transylvania.

Two short visits to Transylvania were not enough for me. This is a region I knew I wanted to explore more in depth. After discovering my love of the Carpathians in Ukraine this year as well as in Slovakia, I knew also this was a mountain range that deserved more attention.

why go to Romania

Village life is anything but dull.

Why I’m returning to Transylvania

Transylvania is the region of central Romania tucked into a fold in the Carpathian Mountains. It’s changed hands numerous times over the centuries, but it’s the Saxons who left the biggest imprint. They started colonizing the region in the 12th century after leaving home in Luxembourg, Rhineland, and the Moselle Valley. A few remain to this day, but mostly it’s their fortified churches, castles, and uniform houses that are left.

As I’ve said, Brasov, Sighisoara, and Sibiu each deserve a stop on a trip through Transylvania and I was able to visit each of those by rail. But I also wanted to stop in the villages and small towns not accessible by train. I wanted to get a feel for rural life here and look around the countryside. And then it occurred to me, this place is so great, I want to share it with other travelers.

why go to Romania

Stopping in a village to meet a Roma coppersmith.

Developing a small group tour to Transylvania

In November we attended the World Travel Market Trade Show in London, looking for new partners in countries we liked, but don’t know enough about yet. That’s where we met Alex from Slow Tours Romania. He developed the company out of his love and knowledge of his home country and knows the region like nobody else. Who better to plan and run our tour? It’s still in the works, so lookout for our Experience Transylvania tour in September of 2017.

This trip is guaranteed to give you the best experiences: eating home-cooked food, staying in atmospheric small inns, walking through the countryside, and getting an understanding of the history here. Experience the real Transylvania with us!

why go to Romania

Brasov’s Black Church is the biggest gothic church east of Vienna.

Staying for a month in Bucharest as a Digital Nomad

After our trip around Transylvania, we’re spending a month in Bucharest, renting an apartment and working from our new temporary home. We hope to explore the city on our off days and see what makes this a up-and-coming base for digital nomads. Blogger Wandering Earl starting the trend a few years back after he was determined to make Romania a semi-permanent base. Bucharest is not yet very popular for tourists, but it’s pushing its way out to be re-discovered. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are some more photos from our trip to Transylvania:

why go to Romania

Every year before Christmas, people dress up and parade through the streets to scare away the bad spirits.

why go to Romania

Transylvania is still a mostly rural region.

why go to Romania

Horse cart is a common means of transport in the villages of Romania.

why go to Romania

Sibiu is one of the original seven Saxon fortress towns of Transylvania.

why go to Romania

The old center of Sibiu is situated up on a small hill.

Althought Romania is predominantly Othodox, in Transylvania you’ll see lots of Luthern churches, built by the Saxons.

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 15 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Google +, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. Dima says:

    Great idea. Did a very quick dash through Transylvania on a road trip in October and went from “there is probably not that much to see here” to “holy crap, what a contrast!” And I didn’t even have time left for the eastern part except for a half an hour leg stretch in Sighisoara.

    My download speed peaked out at 256 Mbps inside an old soviet style apartment block. I didn’t see speeds that fast even in Seoul.

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