Travel Misconceptions: Romania

Travel Misconceptions - Romania

One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down travel misconceptions or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.

My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.

So, I’m starting my first ever guest posting series about these travel misconceptions we find throughout our lives and epic journeys. I’ve asked a few writers to talk about their own misconceptions and perhaps how they were proven wrong in their travels.

Without further ado, I’m happy to introduce the next guest posters on this blog – Eride and Odoardo from Queidue – talking about their time traveling through Romania and what they found there. Take it away Eride & Odoardo!

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For many foreigners, especially in Europe, Romania is a place where a lot of misconceptions exist. While every stereotype usually has some sort of truth behind it, a lot of those about this beautiful country are completely false.

The Roma people

In the last years, according to the European public opinion, there has been a huge invasion of Romas and it is due to the entrance of Romania into the European Union. The Balkan country is considered the home of the Gypsies, but this is completely false.

Only approximately 3% of the Romanian population is of Roma ethnicity and most of them are secluded in the northern part of the country. Furthermore, they are victims of racism in Romania as well, as they were brutally kicked out of the centre of Bucharest during its reconstruction. The Roma people came from India centuries ago and are now spread all over Europe and not only in Romania.

Dracula

This is a topic which brings some of the most misconceptions with it. First of all we are happy to tell you that vampires don’t exist, so Dracula doesn’t either! Don’t worry, your blood is safe in Romania and no one will try to bite your neck.

Travel Misconceptions - Romania

Dracula is the main character of a novel written by Irish writer Bram Stoker in 1897 and the character is actually inspired by a real person – Vlad III the Impaler who ruled Wallachia in mid-XV century. Now Vlad didn’t seem to be the nicest person, as his title may imply, but he certainly didn’t go around sucking blood from his victims, he preferred rather to impale them!

One of the biggest mistakes regarding Dracula is about his castle. Everyone visits the Bran castle, the world-famous Dracula residence. Unfortunately, Vlad never lived in the castle, probably he only spent a few weeks imprisoned there.

The Bran castle became famous because apparently Bram Stoker was inspired by some drawings of it when describing Dracula’s dwelling. It is such a beautiful castle that it became one of the most visited tourist attractions of Romania.

If you want to visit the place where Vlad the Impaler lived, visit the Poenari Fortress, a much less known castle situated on one of the most beautiful panoramic routes of the world, the Transfagarasan.

Transylvania

Strictly related to the vampires and Dracula’s tale is Transylvania, the fictional region where those beasts are supposed to live. Well, Transylvania is an actual region of Romania – and it is wonderful!

We had the pleasure of visiting it on the road, starting from Timisoara, crossing Transylvania and then down to Bucharest. You can visit amazing cities like Sibiu, Sighisoara (where Vlad III was born) and Brasov, incredible fortified churches like Viscri and Biertan, as well as stunning castles like Bran and Hunyadi.

Language

Being an eastern European country makes everyone think Russian will be the language of choice. All the tourist that go to Romania are ready to show off their Slavic vocabulary and are prepared to order “pivo” or “voda”, but they get disappointed when they learn that Romanian is a completely different language. It is one of the closest-related languages to Latin, like all the other Romance languages such as Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Eride & Odoardo from Queidue - Romania
Eride and Odoardo are a couple in life and in travel. They are long-term expats who love slow travel and have lived in 6 foreign countries
together – the most recent was their move to Cambodia from Malta. One of the best trips they ever had was visiting Romania on the road, an amazing experience in a wonderful country where they could visit some of the most stunning places of Eastern Europe. Find them on their blog, Queidue, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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Travel Misconceptions in Romania

Feel free to pin this image for future reference by clicking on the top right hand corner.

Interested in being a part of the travel misconceptions series? Make sure to contact me with an idea for your story, I’d love to have you on board! 

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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32 comments

  1. We are currently living in Germany and I was happy to be aware of all these great facts ahead of time! Because of the flood of refugees from other countries and the very large Roma population we have been getting mail and other notices from city officials to watch out for them. Here the racism against them is large. Only a week ago German people were cheering at the burning down of one of their camps.

    It’s sickening to think that this is STILL a problem in today’s society. But I honestly can’t wait to go to Romania. The history alone with its beauty is something to be truly inspired by.

    1. That’s so interesting and really sad, but I guess it’s true that racism is something that exists all over the world, unfortunately. I would love to discover Romania on my own as well to learn more about the history, it looks like a great place to travel.

  2. Romania has been on my list for awhile now… I know a few Romanians and if you bring up Dracula you can see them become visibly annoyed. So obviously I bring it up all the time… what are friends for? haha all in good fun!

    1. Haha – I can only imagine how much Dracula is brought up if you’re Romanian. It looks like such a great place to travel around, that scenery, I can’t get enough.

  3. I love Romania! I have only been once but it was stunning! And the history {like all of Europe} was a treat! Thank you for sharing… I hope more people get the chance to fall in love with Romania, too!

  4. Oh my gosh! I am so travel jealous. Someday I would absolutely love to visit Romania and see Transylvania. Your photos and descriptions are so enchanting. I’ve been bit with the European travel bug! 🙂

  5. This is great! I’ve never actually been to Romania but I’ve wanted to go and this made me want to more! I’m loving the photos 🙂

  6. I would love to visit Romania! And if I didn’t already want to go there, that first picture is enough to make me want to book travel right this minute. I think this series is a great idea – there are so many misconceptions about different countries and it’s important to broaden people’s minds and break down those stereotypes.

    1. That’s awesome Rebecca, I need to explore more of the eastern side of Europe next time I’m on the continent. Romania looks gorgeous and is steeped in so much history – the perfect combination for me!

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