Maramureș (Maramu’ for friends and locals) is a region in lovely Romania which has many natural wonders and remarkable pieces of art, all linked somehow by the natural resource „wood”.

In a tiny village called Săpânța, a tourist could find an open-air museum, unique in the world. Strangely enough, The Merry Cemetery gives you lots of laughs because of the funny lyrics on the crosses which evoke the dead people’s life. The words gain life right in front of the visitors while they simply read the poems painted on colorful wooden crosses. All the drama is free in probably the only place in the entire world where death can and will make you laugh, laugh out loud.

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Moving back 100 kilometers, we found deep in the mountains, near the Borșa town and ski resort, another unique place – The Iezer Lake. Located at 1.825 m above sea level, in Rodnei National Park, its emerald color impresses any viewer as same as its form which is a surreal copy of Romanian territory. Quite impressive! We are quite sure that only Romania has a lake which borrows the country geographical form. Only two hours of hiking from Borșa’s hospital give you the opportunity to see this spectacular natural wonder.

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Back at lower altitude, we propose you to discover the religious attractions that made Maramureș a well known tourist destination. We talk about the wooden churches; astonishing sacred spaces build in very modest architectures with very tall towers. Bârsana, Ieud or Șurdești are some of the most famous wooden churches also because they are included in Unesco World Heritage. Just take a deep breath and introvert your mind!

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Above all the beauties in Maramureș style stands its queen – Mocănița. It’s a wood-burning steam locomotive which travels along the last remaining forestry railway in Europe. Hop on at Vișeu de Sus train station and embark in a journey that will lead you through an almost untouched part of Europe, the wild a romantic Vaser Valley. The adventure isn’t for free, it will cost you 45-48 RON (about 11€), depends on the season, but we guarantee you that will be worth every penny, or every “bani” in our Romanian case :D.

This is Maramureș, the land governed by wood in various and beautiful forms that will surely make you fall in love and be anxious to come back again. If not for its charming sceneries and delightful touristic sites, you will be here again, without any doubt, for its energetic traditional music which vibrates up to the sky and for the delicious meals that every hospitable local will charm your culinary tastes.

by Anda Stanciulescu, our blogger partner      http://www.hailabord.ro/

 

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Man is not different from nature, man IS nature.

And when saying this, you realize that this is what we are all searching for during our getaways- spending time in the natural environment and enjoying its wonders.

And there is a perfect spot, in the heart of Transylvania where one can have such experiences.

The Saxon villages in Romania bring a very picturesque view to Romania, thanks to symmetry shown by the fortified churches and the beautiful houses with barns which create a second fortification. Imagine that these villages have remained almost intact since the 13th century!  Unpaved roads, village or house wells as primary water source and the scythe as the main farming instrument. This can be a normal description of such areas where traditional ceremonies, superstitions and magic charms are still performed.

HRH Prince Charles has been very attracted by these villages which are now UNESCO world heritage sites, in particular by Viscri where he has even bought a few properties and has started developing projects for the local community.

Other villages worth seeing are: Archita, Saschiz, Biertan, Prejmer, Valea Viilor or Dârjiu. You can serve a great lunch or dinner at the local inns throughout these villages. These places serve traditional Saxon and Romanian food from local production which makes the culinary experience even more pleasant!

After a day of driving through these villages, the best place to stay overnight would be in Sighișoara, the best preserved fortified town in Transylvania. This town is actually the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and still hosts a Medieval Festival every summer.

Sibiu, medieval city has eyes!

Posted: August 3, 2013 in City Breaks

Is it Sibiu one of the most beautiful cities in Romania? Yes! Is it Sibiu also a medieval, well-preserved town? Yes! Was it Sibiu the Cultural Capital of an entire continent, Europe, in 2007? Yes!

Well, I think all of this is very impressive of course, but above all that I found out that Sibiu is also a very complex, lively city, where you are charmed not only by the historical buildings, churches and but also by the streets,  people, nature.

Sibiu answers all your imaginations: romantic, party opportunities (lots of great discos, bowling alleys, etc), great food at very nice restaurants, relaxing on pedestrian streets full of terraces, sporty – visiting the city by bike and making trips around town surroundings, you name it!

But did you imagine it can also be very spooky? Stroll one evening at sun set and look at all the old houses: their roof tops have eyes which are watching you as you go by! If you headed towards the Old Church, crossing the Bridge of Lies (where legend says that if you tell a lie you turn into a stone) you will reach to Casa Calfelor (the House of Apprentice) where you will be not-welcomed by a pole full of nails .. At a window you can see a human skull … Who lives there??? As you continue this route, getting down the stairs, just nearby windows you will see an exhibition of clay figurines …

Follow this trail and uncover yourself Sibiu’s mysteries!!!

Bucharest Tales (3)

Posted: June 20, 2013 in City Breaks

 

One first perfect summer week-end!

Summer finally arrived in Bucharest, late, but still, it’s here to stay for 3 whole months! And this week-end, mid June 2013, it was a perfect one: no rain, shiny sun, fluffy clouds, 30degrees or maybe more (but I love this!!!) and not at least, a lot of cultural events! So, I decided to do nothing but to walk through Bucharest as a tourist! Good choice as I enjoyed every second 🙂

My itinerary started with Romanian Peasant`s Museum (Muzeul Taranului Roman) which beside being a beautiful old building  and museum with traditional costumes, pottery, photos, embroideries from different areas of Romania, it is also a very active cultural place: movie screenings, unconventional theater, live bands concerts, traditions and ethnic festivals, creativity workshops. I like here the terrace, a simple one, but with cheap beer, food and always full with artists.
This week-end took place a Peasant Fair-Market with artisans, painters, wood carvers, jewelry, antiques and free entrance. After I made a tour admiring the products, I`ve decided to take the opportunity to buy some authentic handmade souvenirs for our next groups visiting Romania and I think this was just the perfect place for that. And I have to mention also the traditional cakes, homemade chocolate, cheese, jams all reminding me of my grandmother goodies! Unfortunately, I was so captivated by all of these, that I forgot to take some photos 😦

Friday evening, it was rock time!!! Again free entrance to a local fest called Rock in Park. We were impressed by some very skilled Romanian bands, like Burning Table from Timisoara that opened for no one else but famous The Animals!!!

Saturday evening was again a very beautiful warm weather so our choice was this time a more quite place. We went out to a very beautiful, intimate and quite secluded bistro garden J`ai Bistrot, not far from Bucharest center. Again, a very bohemian place, crawling with local artists, good, quiet jazz, among small trees, bicycles and pebbles on the ground. A beautiful atmosphere of cozyness , friendship, really reminding of and old Paris from the beginning of century.

On Sunday, more of a daytime program: Street Delivery it’s organized by the Architect Association in Bucharest for several years, then Timisoara and starting this year also in Iasi. Their main idea, that I like it so much is: residents have a right on heritage fund, quality architecture and landscape, as much as they have to health and justice. Arthur Verona Street located in the middle of the city was for 3 days a promenade for workshops, innovative ideas about architecture, urban-ism, landscape, ecology, environment. Such a beautiful ideas were combined in a perfect atmosphere with music, visual arts, film, theater, dance, good music on the stage! We enjoyed a lot  Space Needle aka Purje, an interesting  project making everyone acknowledge that the grunge scene is still worldwide active.

So, take a chance and come to visit the never sleeping, lovely Bucharest!!!

Madalina

Bucharest Tales (2)

Posted: June 9, 2013 in City Breaks

 

An exotic  and relaxing escape, not as far away as you would imagine but in the heart of Bucharest! Definitely, I recommend Radisson Blu, as a special place for a special celebration!!!

As our business is defined “First we check, then we recommend”, I have decided to celebrate 3 years of my marriage in one of the best hotels in town: Radisson Blu 5*. After one week-end spent in this oasis, I can really say that Radisson Blu is an amazing place and definitely  we recommend it to our friends and clients for leisure, Business or a special celebration like mine.

We bought a package called “Second Honeymoon” at a reasonable price of 120 Euro for 2 persons including one overnight in Business Class room, full access to World Class (Jacuzzi, outdoor/indoor swimming pool, dry/wet sauna, fitness),  early check in at 09:00, late check out at 18:00, so in total two full days, of course a Super buffet breakfast and above all, we found in the room a good quality red wine and a plateau with exotic fresh  fruits and fine chocolate!!!

Our comfortable room had a wonderful swimming pool view  and full access to Business Lounge which means refreshment drinks for the whole day, Lavazza coffee, fine  teas, a light evening buffet with tasty and good quality dishes, relaxing and intimate atmosphere, of course business facilities and an spectacular panorama of the Parliament`s House or Lutheran Church in contrast with gray blocks of  flats…which reminds me of the communism era and makes me enjoy better this short holiday and life!!!

The fancy interior design with the ice bar in the middle of the lobby, all the details, decorations, the background music, the atmosphere, the swimming pool, everything makes you fill like in a holiday hotel on a beach destination. Moreover, I`ve been positively impressed about the good service and well trained staff always smiling and I think this detail is the most important one.

Radisson Blu is also famous for its restaurants. We have tried only two of them: Café Citta and Sharkia. Caffe Citta has a colorful, cheerful design and Italian food. Our dishes were very tasty and we recommend it especially for lunch.

For our special dinner we tried Sharkia restaurant! I and my husband, we are gourmand and we always explore for new culinary experiences and I can say that Sharkia was a very nice surprise for us, a fusion of East Mediterranean cuisine  that must be tried! I had the most delicious falafel and tahini in my life and I have tasted many as I love Arabian food! I recommend also the sea food that was very fresh and flavored! All these due to chef Stefan Paraschiv!!! I  must confess that we were lucky to meet personally chef Stefan Paraschiv, a  lovely person who took care of us, cooked for us and explained us in detail every dish. Thank you, Stefan you are a great chef!!!

Thanks also to the nice smiley and friendly girls from the staff!!! All of you, made our celebration more special and unforgettable!!!

I heard also that Prime restaurant is famous for steaks and maybe when we celebrate 10 years of marriage will try it, I’m sure it’s worth every … leu 🙂

And one more thing, the prices from the places checked by us: one dish is about 8-15 euro,  fresh lemonade 4,5 euro, draft beer  3,5 euro, one glass of Romanian wine 7 euro and one bottle of Romanian wine 30 euro. For a 5* hotel, I think it’s OK for foreign person. For a middle Romanian pocket, it is expensive, especially the alcoholic drinks 😉 and as it was a special event we refreshed ourselves with some beers and good wine. Time is running so fast and we have to enjoy every second of our life!!!

I advertise Radisson Blu because it’s worth it! They have many packages for couples on different budgets. So I warmly recommend to everyone from Bucharest, Romania or abroad, to try our experience! If I made you curios, you can contact us for more details and to book for you at special rates an unforgettable celebration at Radisson Blu Bucharest hotel!

Madalina

I was born here. I’m happy for that. And I say it because I can’t stop thinking of all the people in the world born in so hush environments, so poor countries. I know it must sound like I am running for Miss Universe, but we should all find resources to be as happy as possible. So, I’m happy I’m “Buchurestian”!

This city is like any other city I suppose, with “goods and bads” like Romanians say. I think it is easy to find a lot of stuff good or bad about Bucharest as in the end it is the capital of a country of ab. 20 million people, right? How I see it: very lively, emerging, changing from day to day, effervescent, growing, improving. Its top attraction point in the last years was the ever changing historical center of the Bucharest “Old City” which became such a crazy spot for night life that is  rapidly insufficient for hosting so many people. In the last years it looks more and more similar with “Amsterdam during weekends” or with Dublin’s Temple Bar area.

If you visit Bucharest don’t miss the chance to stroll and take pictures in its parks: the old Cismigiu park, set officially in 1854, or in the huge park & lake Herastrau set-up in its actual form a hundred years later in 1951. ????????????????????????????????????????

Image  —  Posted: April 29, 2013 in City Breaks

Classy Romania blogs

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

We are passionate about Romania. Period. It might not be the perfect country, its people might not be perfect (but then again, who is), but we are passionate about it.

Apart from being born here, we had the chance to visit the country more than the regular Romanian. That’s why we know Romania has something to offer to every tourist in the world. Whether it’s about city life (and city night lights), or about sightseeing, about mountains or sea, Romania has them all. If you are interested in history, in music of all sorts or spent you life as a keen wildlife photographer, there is something here for you.

Our purpose is to give you the chance to see Romania through our eyes. At least in a way. We want to show you a different country from what you read in the press. With nicer people and more civilized cities. With better services than expected and great food.

Classy Romania is an in-country travel agency founded in 2012, which plans to introduce you to the last wild corner of Europe. Wild as in untamed and fresh. Classy as in good taste, quality services at the fair price. You can always check our website or this blog for the newest offers to visit Romania.

Furthermore, when we don’t organize your next vacation, we intend to introduce you to Romania as it is, through our blog posts. Make sure you follow us here and discover something new about this country. We plan to write about good food, good wine, shopping, post exquisite photos, introduce you to places and people.

So take your time to understand the Romania we grew to love. Think The Danube Delta, Garana jazz Festival, Vama Veche, Transylvania, the churches in Maramures. Think Bucharest and Cluj, the night life, talented artists. And then come visit us at home.

Madalina & Gabriela