Bidding farewell to Romania

We’ve spent almost 3 months in Romania so far, with the lion’s share of our time in Transylvania. Ever since I was a little kid watching monster shows, I’ve wanted to be in Transylvania. And we got to be here for Halloween! While it was completely a nonevent, it’s just fun to say we were here for that holiday.

Romania has been an unexpected surprise really. I figured I would like it, but I didn’t anticipate completely falling in love with the country. Even though it does need to get past that whole homophobia thing.


Blending of times in Romania

I think the biggest surprise was enjoying the food so much! In my mind, I expected lots of potatoes and bland dishes. Boy was I wrong! The food has been incredibly flavorful. The produce is the best I’ve had. Even Tigger fell in love with it all and has eaten things I couldn’t get him to before “because the food tastes so good here!”

When I asked Tigger what his favorite part of Romania has been, he didn’t pause an instant before replying, “The food!”

I had expected the people to be on the cold side. Sure, you’ll find some of them here, just like anywhere else, but for the most part I’ve found Romanians to be friendly, helpful, and kind.

I absolutely adore the blend of old and new, and how it’s like stepping into the past whenever you travel outside of the bigger cities. Sometimes even just by crossing the street in a city.

Romania rural transportation

Grocery shopping has often been a bit of an adventure. There are about 50 different types of sugar in the store. Trying to find cream will go down as my #1 shopping memory in Brasov, though. I still laugh about standing in the dairy aisle staring at containers, my phone with the translation app in hand, trying to figure out which one was cream only to discover it is kept in the aisle with the boxed and unrefrigerated UHT milk.

I’ll also remember our joy at finding taco shells, even if the box did cost about $6 USD, and tortillas for burritos.

And it’s hard to be unhappy with stores consistently having 2 sides of an aisle loaded with different types of chocolate. Can we say dark chocolate with black salt? Oh. My. Gawd.

Although, I’m not sure why Romanians don’t seem to like peppermint or licorice.

Sibiu, Romania

There is so much culture and history in this country, and I love how mixed and varied the language is. Talk about a melting pot!

I will also miss stepping into Brasov’s historic town square to find something new, be it a surprise market, a 12-meter Christmas tree and lights, or some new festival.

Vlad's hometown

Brasov has been the first place in a long time that has felt like home. It’s been a great place to just chill and enjoy the comforts of being “home.” And I can’t complain about the low prices for things either. Having a full kitchen and being in a place that sells whole turkeys made this year’s Thanksgiving even more enjoyable.

It’s hard to say goodbye to Romania, and especially Brasov, but at the same time we’re ready to hit the road again and experience new places, cultures, foods, and all that good stuff.

Our favorite restaurant in Brasov

But don’t fret, Romania. It probably isn’t farewell, but more like until we meet again! No matter what, though, this place will always hold a special place in our heart.

Have you considered adding Romania to your list of places to see? If not, why?

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  1. Loved Romania, went there for a month on a whim with family. It was fascinating, cheap, lots to see, nice people. I remember meeting a romanian lady on the plane who was astonished that we were going there…..

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    • Most of the people we meet here are stunned we want to live here. “But why?” They just don’t see what we do.

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  2. It’s so great reading such a positive article about my birth country! Glad you enjoyed it there!!!

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  3. Happy you enjoyed our country and really hope you’ll come back again one day 🙂

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  4. Do you think it is the absence of GMOs that makes their food so much tastier? You and Steven are truly an inspiration! Love this blog! Wishes to you both for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, wherever you land! 🙂

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    • Hmm. I hadn’t considered that, although I’m sure I’ve been in other places that didn’t have GMO foods and didn’t have food this good. I think the big difference is the produce is all locally grown, so it is allowed to fully ripen before it’s picked whereas in many other places the produce is imported or picked before it’s ripe so it can endure being shipped. But I don’t honestly know because I’ve had farm fresh stuff in the US, and it didn’t taste this good.

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  5. “… finding taco shells, even if the box did cost about $6 USD, and tortillas for burritos.”

    OMG, you uttered the “t” and the “b” words! Shoot, even here in Chiang Mai, I’ve yet to unearth flour tortillas or (holy smokes!) bonafide crispy taco shells. Serious drool here…

    That said, I’d be very much interested in the basic costs of expat living there in Romania. As you know, I’m looking for a new corner of the globe to settle.

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    • You mean you haven’t found the Mexican restaurant there? I think it’s called Miguel’s. That should help your cravings at least a little. 😉

      Bucharest is more expensive, but it’s pretty easy to get a 1-bedroom, furnished apartment for less than $300 USD a month. Obviously, studios are even cheaper. Utilities cost around $125 per month. Groceries are pretty reasonable. I just bought a bunch of apples, oranges, pears, and bananas for around $5. Beef and turkey are more expensive but not unreasonable. You can get a liter of raw milk for $1. UHT milk is about $1 for 750 ml. Cheese is pretty cheap as is alcohol, esp beer. We eat out a fair amount of the time, and generally I’d say a meal for 2 people with drinks is around $15-17, although there are cheaper places with good food, too. Transportation is VERY cheap. The bus system is quite good and each trip is about 60 cents. Taxis charge about 40 cents per kilometer in Brasov. Most cities are pretty close to that. Trains around Romania are also quite inexpensive. We’re going to Bucharest tomorrow which is a 2-1/2-hour trip, and the total fare for 2 people is $22.

      And for digital nomads, Romania is EXCELLENT. They have some of the fastest Internet speeds in all of Europe, and reliability is top notch, too.

      If you want to make money teaching English, you’ll probably have more clients than you can handle, especially in big cities. Most parents are desperate for their kids to become fluent.

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  6. Way back last Millennium we studied in Eastern Europe. Our base was the Czech Republic and we never did get to Romania. We’ve even more determined to visit after reading all about your experiences.

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    • I’m glad to hear I’ve enticed you to visit! We’ll be heading to Czech probably next month.

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  7. Romania sounds great! I have made the same assumptions you have made about the food and people and didn’t expect it to be so picturesque either.

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    • Its beauty definitely surprised me. I would love to come back during warmer weather and do some camping and hiking, traveling the mountain passes, etc. It is such a beautiful country!

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