I am Jasmina and I am an IVY volunteer at the Interreg Programme Italy Slovenia. This is my first blog so I would like to thank Interreg and Solidarity corps for this great opportunity, especially because it is the first European volunteer project, as far as I know, to allow young people to stay in their country of residence or as in my case, even in my hometown, Trieste in Italy. After two Erasmus+ study exchanges, a youth exchange and a lot of travelling around I decided to stay home again (of course I will not stop travelling!) but I still wanted an international environment around me. As part of the Slovenian minority in Italy, I grew up with bilingualism, multiculturalism and multi-ethnicity. And this is what Interreg is about too. Clap, clap!
On February 28th and March 1st I participated at the annual Interreg communication network meeting, full of workshops, updates and spread of knowledge organized by Interact. In Bucharest, I have learned so many things about Interreg and its communication in only two days. I had the opportunity to meet many colleagues from other programmes around Europe and listen to their experiences.
But besides that, I had the opportunity to visit Bucharest or the so-called “Paris of east”, but I would add “Moscow of west” too.
The city has an intriguing mix of east and west, capitalism and communism, shopping centres and orthodox churches. Unfortunately for me, this was the coldest week of this winter with the temperatures that reached -17°C. But the city organized the spring market and celebrated Martisor, the beginning of spring on March 1st anyway. This is the day when friends and family gives the red and white gifts to each other. The streets were full of snow and while walking around the city center and the boulevard Unirii I met some snowmen.
At the end of the boulevard stands the most amazing building in Bucharest, the second biggest administrative building in the world, just behind the Pentagon in USA, the Palace of the Parliament that was built with the order of the last president of the communist regime in Romania, Nicolae Ceaușescu. His wish was to be the first speaker from the Parliaments terrace but he did not make it. The first one was in 1992 the pop singer Michael Jackson and as many others after him, he made a big gaffe. He greeted the city: “Hello, Budapest!”.
To build the Parliament an entire district of 45.000 people was moved in the suburbs and their homes, schools and hospitals were demolished. Unfortunately for him, the building was done after his decapitation and the parliament itself became a very big issue at the time. Romanians had to decide if to finish the construction of the 30% missing part or to demolish and this way delete this part of history.
I was really happy to hear that completing the Parliament was cheaper then demolishing it. I belive that, no matter who ordered to build it and how the workers and the material were provided, it is awesome and represents the Romanian greatness. The guide showed us the most beautiful rooms that are used for national and international conferences and meetings. We walked 1 km, climbed more than 200 stairs and we saw only 4% of the building. Incredible!
I am a lucky girl, because during my stay in Bucharest, my lovely Erasmus friend Alina has hosted me and told me where to go, what to see, and what to eat! And I will share some local advises with you.
Well, Bucharest it is the capital, the largest city, with 2 million people, the most developed, where many things happened, but…. it is not the nicest city in Romania.So we decided to go on a day trip by train to Transylvania! And we visited a castle. Guess which one? Nope, it is not the famous Dracula’s castle. This is Peles castle that was built in 19th century in the small town Sinaia in the typical transylvanian style. Surrounded by the mountaines it gave me the feeling of being in a mystery story. Inside the castle, the wooden rooms and furniture are really warm, that for this short time we spent inside, we forgot about the cold outside.
The second stop was the town Brasov. And this is the best city of Romania. The city centre is really cute, with some narrow streets and colourful houses. We climbed some dangerous frozen stairs to see the view from the Black tower. This is a great point to look at the “Hollywood style” sign of Brasov in the mountain that surround the city.The city has one on the busiest ski resort in the country and a developed tourism.
Last but not least, let’s talk about food. Romanian food is heavy and fat, completely different from the mediterranean that I usually eat. They have the typical Balkan food that I know really good and I love it, like the grilled meat rolls, mititei or micii (čevapčiči) and sarmale, sour cabbage stuffed with pork and beef. They eat a lot of pork meat and they put cream almost everywhere. But the best dishes are the desserts. I tried the fried papanasi with forest fruits and cream and cooked mucenici, kind of pasta with walnuts, cinnamon and rum. Very delicious. As a souvenir I brought home two packages of mucenici to prepare by myself. I hope they will be as good as those that my friend prepared for me. And of course a handmade magnet for my fridge collection.
So, here are my six tips about Romania:
-Absolutely visit the Palace of the Parliament, its hugeness will amaze you!
-Try typical sweets and do not be afraid of gaining weight. Just choose one of the many parks to have a walk after it!
-Have a drink in a Skybar in the city centre during sunset and see how the colours change!
-Find the secret door to enter the library in Peles castle. Do not give the priority to the Dracula’s castle, just because it is more famous!
-Look at the view of Brasov from the Black tower and the Brasov sign in the mountain behind the city!
-Forget about the stereotypes about Romanian people! They are nice and welcoming!
Pozdravi in poljubčki! Saluti e bacini!
Greeting and kisses!
Jasmina, IVY in Trieste