Thursday, 27 October 2016

An American in Romania

Lindsay ventures to Romania for a weekend to cross another country off her travel bucket list

My first couple stateside letters implied just how different the culture and customs of the UK are in the eyes of an American citizen. As someone who likes to test her boundaries though, I decided to fly the coop once more and place myself where few Americans that I know have ever trod before: Eastern Europe! (Specifically, the Western portion of Romania.)

I had grown envious of my flatmates already traveling to various destinations this early into the school year, so I explored good ol' RyanAir-fare and purchased tickets to Timisoara in an adrenaline-fueled rush. I knew nothing about it, nothing about Romania in general, and have zero knowledge of the language. I must quickly diffuse the questionable looks by stating that this formula actually became an extremely interesting and fun adventure in the end.

After arriving in Timisoara in the middle of the night and having to sleep on my own in the tiny airport for six hours before the sun rose, I was able to venture downtown and unlock the door to my AirBnB flat. I have never been to a Communist country before, and although Romania hasn't been Communist since 1989, there is an architectural air of past Soviet presence in the lower class community.

The simplicity in layout and design actually appealed to me for my stay as I lived out of my backpack and was able to collapse in my cozy digs above the city. As I made my way through the cobblestone streets of the historic district, I recognized that Timisoara prided itself in being the first city of Romania to rise up in revolution against the former Communist government, and the buildings in the center of town were painted over in beautiful, bright colors that shone of liberty. Meeting the residents of the town filled my heart with just as much warmth and color, as they provided smiles, fabulous Romanian cuisine (tripe soup - yummy!), and patience to me through our obvious language barrier.

Lastly, I couldn't make a trip to Romania in October without attempting to see a castle in Transylvania! Although I was too far from Dracula's castle, I did manage to achieve a long train and bus ride out to Hunedoara Castle for a day, where it was said that Vlad the Impaler had once been imprisoned. Yet again, I was blown away by this architecture and the freedom that the Romanians provided for tourists to bound in and out of the spires and rooms as long as one pleased.

To put all of the details and mini-adventures into one phrase, I'd have to say that Romania was an enchanting experience. The city, its former struggles, and its deliverance from oppression gave a huge sense of freedom to compliment my solo-lady travels. Going between Romania and the now familiar UK as an American tourist, I can say that smiles, laughter, music, and admiration of each other can be the most simple, universal traits if we only throw ourselves out there and drink it all in!

Follow Lindsay on Twitter @Linds_Robins and Instagram @Linds_Robins 

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