Archives June 2014

Times New Romanian – a book about beautiful Romania

Times New Romanian is a book on Romania and Romanians from the perspectives of people who chose to come and live here. In their own words they share their stories and experience of living in Romania. It’s a book for those who would like to know a little more about the country and the way it ticks.

The author of this book is Nigel Shakespear, an Englishman who spent his last 10 years in Romania, traveling throughout the country. Get to know him better here.

The book can be purchased from Anthony Frost Bookshop and costs Ron 50. Learn more about the book and author here.

Trekking through history – discover Histria, the first settlement in Romania

By Oana Pascu

The first month of summer is already almost over and that means that most likely many of those who live in the capital have already had at least one weekend getaway at the Romanian seaside. If you are already planning one (or your next one), consider sparing a couple of hours to visit the oldest settlement in Romania by taking a short detour on the way to the seaside or back.

The ruins of ancient Histria today lie stranded in the desolate inland shore of a vast lagoon barely 50 km north of Constanța. Once an important coastal port, Histria was the first Greek settlement of the western shore of the Black Sea and the earliest documented city in Romania. It enjoyed 1,300 years of growth and prosperity before being abandoned in the 7th century AD. Of particular interest to the visitor are the remains of the ancient fort. Some 70 km southwest of Constanța amidst beautifully terraced hills lies Adamclisi, home to the Tropaeum Traiani , a victory monument built in 109 AD to commemorate the Roman emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians.

Histria was a Greek colony near the mouths of the Danube (known as Ister in Ancient Greek), on the western coast of the Black Sea. Established by Milesian settlers in order to facilitate trade with the native Getae, it is considered the oldest urban settlement on Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios (ca 110 BC) dated its founding to 630 BC, while Eusebius of Caesarea set it during the time of the 33rd Olympic Games (657 – 656 BC). The earliest documented currency on Romanian territory was an 8-gram silver drachma, issued by the city around 480 BC.

The ruins of the citadel, which are located on the shore of the Sinoe lake, can be visited nowadays. At the time when the city was constructed, the current Sinoe lake was a gulf open to the sea. At the moment, you can visit the defense wall, with towers and bastions, which used to close the citadel from the west towards the Sinoe lake. You can also see the preserved ruins of the Greek temples from the sacred area, paved streets and residential districts, workshops, especially Roman, thermal baths, civil basilicas and in the center of the city you will find one of the largest Christian basilicas in the region, from the 6th century AD.

The Episcopal Basilica from Histria, an edifice which is 60 meters long and 30 meters wide, that used to cover around 2% of the late citadel, has been brought to light in 1969 by the archaeologist Alexandru Suceveanu. It was built in the center of the old city and it is the most important discovery at Histria, as it proves that in the centuries 5-6 AD Histria has been declared episcopacy. On the 13th of February 2007, the Histria Citadel has been included in the list of the European Patrimony.

In the early 20s the first archeological museum has been built on site, but only 3 years later the building collapsed. The current museum has been built in 1982 and it hosts pieces of Greek, Roman and Byzantine archeology that have been discovered on the Histria site and around: amphorae, inscriptions, ceramics, glass, earthen lamps, finery and epigraphic documents.

Convinced? Then this is how you get there: from Bucharest, follow the A2 highway to Ovidiu, Constanta. Then follow DN22/E87 to DJ226A and 8 km later you will reach Histria.


Nine beer places in Bucharest

Drinking beer is one of the favorite past times in Romania. Mix that with watching football, and you have a better understanding of what Romanian (men) like to do in their free time. Now that the World Cup is ongoing, this trend is more visible than ever. We know, we’re generalizing, but one must admit: beer is popular (and cheap) in Romania.

The Old Town is one of the main destinations for beer sessions in Bucharest (and for watching football too). Below are a few choices of places where one can enjoy a beer in the Romanian capital’s old district (in a random order).

Disclaimer: We’re not saying these are the only places where one can drink beer in the Old Town, all the pubs, bars, cafes, clubs there serve beer.

Beraria Hanul cu Tei

A beer house (this is what the Romanian word berarie means) that bears the name of a former inn in the Old Town. It is located inside the Hanul cu Tei passage (in fact an interior court), between the streets Blanari and Lipscani. Huge place, nice design, popular for events and for watching football matches (the owner is former Romanian footballer Ilie Dumitrescu).

Caru’ cu Bere

This restaurant is famous mostly among tourists, but also among Romanians. Housed in a historic building, it serves good Romanian food, large portions, and plenty of beer. It goes help to have the word beer (in Romanian BERE) in the restaurant’s name. They also serve a beer of the house. Located on Stavropoleus St.


This was opened in 2013, and hosts a large beer place downstairs, as well as a brasserie on the ground floor. The place has massive oak tables, of course lots of beer, and live music. It has been recommended to us by friends. Located on Selari Street.

Curtea Berarilor

Another one with the word beer / brewers (in Romanian, berari) in its name, this place is also a restaurant. Big place both indoors and outdoors, large portions of food, and beer by the meter. Located on Selari Street.

Club A

This club, famous among several generations of students, now also has a terrace, and is known for its cheap beer. Not a beer place per say, but a place chosen by many for its cheap drinks, and its good music. Located on Blanari Street.


Another very popular place for its cheap beer, just across the street from Club A. And just like Club A, Argentin is one of the oldest places in Bucharest’s Old Town. A classic as they say. Located on Blanari Street.

La 100 de Beri

Again a place betting on the word beers (beri) in its name, this time with an addition, the 100. They do have more than 100 beers on offer, indeed, Romanian and foreign ones, some with names impossible to pronounce. They also sell a minibarrel of 5 liters of beer! Located on Covaci Street.

Beer O’Clock

No confusion here: this place surely serves beer, round the clock. Lots of beers on offer, from around the world, and two locations: one on Gabroveni Street, and the other one in the Maca Vilacrosse passage, near Calea Victoriei.


Oktoberfest has two locations in the Old Town, and lots of space in both. The one on Selari street is open non-stop, while the one on Franceza street is open (just) 21 hours a day. The latter has 500 seats, and is located on three floors. It has 12 large diagonal TVs for watching sports games. Here beer comes in unexpected…formats: beer by the meter, by the bucket, bottle or barrel, among others.


Good-bye, Romania! Hello…..

By Ximena Reyes

The train has come to a final station and whether you enjoyed the trip or not, it is time to leave.

Moving to a new country or perhaps relocating back home is stressful. So many practical things to take care of, some many things to coordinate and decide. Amidst the many things to cope with, every person in the family is living through this change, individually and on their own pace.

Moving means losing, closing, entering the unknown. It is leaving your comfort zone, even if you didn’t feel well, it was somehow what you knew. It means to leave your home, friends, familiar people around you, your known restaurants, parks and more. No matter the age of the children they ARE experiencing the process. Maybe they cannot formulate their discomfort and sense of loss, but for sure it will have an effect on their behavior.

It is a loss, and there is a closure and grieving process to be done and supported.

How can you support your children in this process and facilitate their adaptation to the new location?

First, your own attitude is a guidance for the kids. They will perceive your anxiety, your existing or non-
existing grief, your sudden changes from over-controlling to not caring, they see you when you are reluctant to give away things or learn more about the new place.

1. Use this process of change to change things in your daily life.

2. Embrace the power that change brings.

3. Let your child design a sticker that will be put in all the boxes from his room (buy empty labels and let

them color it)

4. Create opportunities for your family to individually say goodbye to people and places.

5. Let them choose or design their new rooms in the new location, but keep it realistic.

6. Come ahead of time to the new place to let them adapt gradually

7. Help them to be in contact with their friends

8. Accept that things won’t be the same

9. Understand that feelings will be more intense, reduce any added pressure.

10. Be ready to make exceptions in your routines, sleeping, eating and more during this transition phase.

A worthwhile trip for any Dracula enthusiast

The Balteni Hermitage, a UNESCO monument, is a short jog north of Bucharest and may be a worthwhile trip for any Dracula enthusiast.

The legend says that the Balteni Monastery was built at the end of the 16th century after Voivode Radu Negru had a dream about it before a battle with the Tatars.

The place that was chosen for the construction of the Monastery was supposed to be a “natural fortress” in case of danger, and a place of calm and prayer during the times of peace. The land used to be back then an island that was supposed to prevent the enemies from attacking it. The oaks forming the Vlasiei forest used to be an undefeatable “wall”.

The locals are still talking about an underground tunnel that was connected to the monastery and that served the villagers as an escape in times of war. The Cocioc forest that is partially surrounding the place is a natural vestige of the Vlasiei forest.

The monument is considered one of the most valuable ones in the Southern part of Romania due to its medieval architecture. The church is tall and slender, it’s build with unpainted bricks and the roof is made out of shingles. The walls, which are supported by counterforts, are 80 centimeter thick, giving the monastery its citadel aspect.

According to the legend, this is where ruler Vlad Tepes (commonly known as Dracula) has been killed at the end of 1476. In one version of the story, Vlad the Impaler was murdered in a nearby forest, and the monks of the Snagov monastery (which is rather close to this monument, also on an island on the Snagov Lake) took it upon themselves to inter the villain. Perhaps the monks felt indebted to Vlad for the additions he insisted be added to their abode—most bizarrely, a prison and a torture chamber. Whatever the reasons, the monks dressed the body richly and put it to rest in front of the church alter.

Some say that Balteni is more beautiful than the Danube Delta and it’s a true oasis for anyone living in the capital. The temperature there is generally 5 degrees lower than in Bucharest during summer, which makes it the perfect getaway place for its inhabitants.

In case you want to escape Bucharest for a couple of hours the Balteni Monastery is the perfect place for you. It takes only half an hour to get there and there are several places where you can have lunch around it.

You need to drive on the DN1, Bucharest-Ploiesti to Tancabesti, turn on DJ101B to Peris, and then DC179 to Balteni. Once you enter the village you will see the beautiful Balteni Hermitage on the right side of the road.

By Oana Pascu

Swimming pools in Bucharest

The hot Bucharest summer begs for cooling in the pool, and there are a few places in Bucharest where one can cool down and swim at the same time.

Firstly, some of Bucharest’s hotels have pools which are open for guests outside the hotel. We would mention the World Class at JW Marriott and Radisson Blu, the pools at the Intercontinental and the Athenee Palace Hilton.

There are also several sports clubs which include pools: Pescariu Health and Spa (3 Glodeni St.), Club Triumf (2 Primo Nebiolo St.), Complex Sportiv 2000 (3-11 Gabriela Szabo St. – Militari neighborhood), Floreasca club (1 Mircea Eliade St.), Lia Manoliu National Sports Center(37-39 Basarabia Blvd.), Daimon Sport Club (10 Picsului St. in Tineretului park) plus several places which combine lounge/city beach and a pool: the Apa Nova pool (9 Tarmului St.), La Plage (26-30 Odai St., Otopeni, near Bucharest), Player Summer Club (5 Primo Nebiolo St.

For more sports tips, check out online section with sports facilities in Bucharest.