Archives 2014

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.

Reflections on Romania

By Aideen O’Brien, guest writer, writes about her life in Romania.

I write to you from Bucharest, Romania. I came here with my husband and 3 daughters in May 2013. I came with no expectations, no pre-conceived notions….or so I thought. When I broke the news of our impending departure, most of my friends exclaimed “What!” followed swiftly by “Why?! I left Ireland with 4 bags, 3 children, 2 bikes, 1 husband and myself. I felt a little like the emigrants of old….nervous, anxious and somewhat desolate. As if I would never see Ireland again.

I spent much of my childhood living in Zambia, Africa. A protected and sheltered childhood, full of wonderful memories. I would have absorbed and assimilated much of the sights and smells, the language, the culture and the people. It would have soaked into my blood, slowly but surely. Upon our return to Ireland, an adjustment was required. It was cold and rainy and they spoke strangely. My first major culture shock. But I was still young and I adapted well and settled quickly. In later years, I travelled extensively through the USA, Western Europe, South East Asia and Australia. These experiences make you who you are, they open your eyes to the world and your heart to the people. I thought I knew it all…..until we came to Romania.

All I could see then was the old, crumbling buildings; the beggars missing limbs on the street; the hanging wires waiting to strangle; the huge gaping holes in the road and the pathway lying in wait to trip you up; the stray dogs eying you warily or trying to bite; people staring as I travelled on the metro, tram and bus with 3 girls; the traffic and the honking horns and the sheer volume of noise grinding on my nerves; the intense heat burning our pale skin. My second major culture shock.

I desperately missed my friends and family; the misty rain on my face; the green hills; the certainty of life and knowing what to expect every day. I often felt like crying when it all got too much, indeed have done so only to emerge feeling washed out and exhausted but also renewed, invigorated and definitely calmer….for a few more days at least.

But a year on and what have I gained as a person and how have we matured and grown as a family? My children laugh and play with their Romanian friends, completely at ease, though neither child knows the language of the other; Culture, music, wine and food; The ability to communicate whether that be in English, Romanian, French or German; New friends…some will move on…some will stay…some will remain friends for life; Interacting with the country locals in the mountains..helping a stranger to put a wheel back on his horse and cart loaded with wood (using a car jack); Travelling in the Balkans…Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Turkey – countries previously only vaguely heard about; Campfires by the Danube; Boating in the Delta; Hot summers and cold winters.

We, as a family, have become stronger and we have found our niche in Bucharest. We play football with the Brits, go on camping trips with the Americans and drink with the Paddies. But we go to school, children’s parties and Mozart concerts with the Romanians. Every day I am surprised and at times overwhelmed by their indomitable spirit, hospitality and generosity.

When the time is right we shall return home. My friends and family will be there always. But I have the advantage. My heart, my ears and my mind are open again. Will I be different, will I be changed? It may be painful to change but change is inevitable. If we resist change, we grow stale and stagnant. If we embrace it, our life cannot but be the richer for it. I feel blessed. I hope you, my reader, will too.

Valea Doftanei – a beautiful beach in the middle of the forest

By Oana Pascu

A beautiful beach close to Bucharest which is not even close to the seaside

The summer has already taken over Bucharest and most of Romania and many of the people living in the capital are already planning a weekend getaway at the seaside in the following weeks. If you are not necessarily the kind of person who likes to go to the seaside, but would rather prefer a location that is closer to Bucharest and in the middle of a forest, we know a beach that would be the perfect place for you. Most likely it will not take you more than 2 two hours to get there, as it is 130 km away from Bucharest, and close to Campina.

Valea Doftanei (Romanian for “Valley of the Doftana”) is a commune in Prahova County, Romania. It is composed of two villages: Teşila (the commune center) and Trăisteni.

Located in the northwestern part of Prahova County, the commune has an area of some 286 sqm. Its population primarily inhabits the central and southern areas, with the north being taken up by mountainous terrain. The Doftana River crosses the commune for some 30 km from north to south before ending in the Paltinu Dam and reservoir.

The Paltinu Lake is a reservoir lake for drinking water located in a mountainous area at an altitude of 650 meters and it spreads over 3 km, offering an incredible view. Both shores are suitable for summer activities.

In case you want to explore further, Glodeasa is a beech and fir virgin secular forest, located in the Valea Doftanei commune. The forest is a live testimonial of the evolution of the forest coating of our mountains, and it is protected from logging. The trees you can see there are 200-300 years old and have heights of 40-45 meters.

The Glodeasa forest is one of the few virgin forests in Romania, presenting remarkable landscape diversity: forests, cliffs, meadows, sweet waters, and piers. The landscape is adorned with rare plant species, protected by the law.

If we stirred your interest and you want to go to Valea Doftanei, this is how you get there: you need to take DN1 in the direction of Brasov to Comarnic, and then follow DJ101S for another 14 km.

Romania in Focus – Through the Lenses of Expat Women

For the fifth year, Expat Women in Romania, are doing a Photo Charity Project, this year under the name  “Romania in Focus – Through the Lenses of Expat Women!”

The informal group ‘Expat Women in Romania’ is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, initiated in 2010. Profit from the project goes to established and well known charities that are carefully selected by the group. The project consist of a published photo book containing photos of Romania taken by the women in this group, an opening exhibition at Crown Plaza and the following exhibitions. Sale of books and prints are the main fundraising activities.

The photographs can be ordered as wonderful leaving presents for friends moving out from Romania this summer. The books can be purchased from Carturesti for 50 LEI and are currently exhibited at Jolie Ville in Pipera. All proceeds support 6 local charities.

Info here.

Good bye Romania – What are you taking with you?

Spring is here and for many the time has come to prepare to leave.

A new chapter will come after the summer break but, until then, there’s still precious days to enjoy Romania.

In an informal survey we asked foreigners who have lived in Romania what they will be taking with them when they leave the country.

Here the top 7 answers:

1. It took me a while to understand that not everything has to be in a certain way, the Romanian “Merge si asa” which can be translated as ” it works this way too”, has been a liberating thing for me, and I think this was a precious thing to learn from my time in Romania.

2. My wife was in shock for the first 6 months, regarding the parking, it just seem chaotic and random, however I have adopted this and now I park wherever there is space. It is faster and comfortable, though I have to admit I won’t be able to do it back home.

3. I had a thrill driving in Bucharest, I know many complain, but seriously, there aren’t many other European capitals where you can park everywhere or pay 1,5 lei for an hour.

4. Pufulets! I found them at the playground as many kids bring them and their kind to share it with other kids in the ground. My kids like them and they are not pricey.

5. Fresh products and slow food, I like that Romanian restaurants offer a variety of soups and almost homemade dishes, I have now always a soup and the other important fact is that there is an open market open daily in every neighborhood,

6. A sense of family, I see many grandparents taking care of their grandchild. I also see many teenagers doing things with their parents.

7. Easter eggs, I have spent the last 3 years finding new designs and colors, it is really nice to see traditional crafts done in such a delicate form.

Most foreigners admit they will miss Romania and, agree that they learned to love the place and  the opportunities and adventures it presented. But many add it requires a proactive attitude and an ability to let yourself go and  planning everything to the smallest detail.

So what will you take with you?

Send us your answers to [email protected]

Restaurant Review: Beer O'Clock

By Richard Fox, guest writer

Beer beer beer! You may say to yourself yet another bar to open in the Old Town, which is a fair observation as the streets are lined with bars and it can be a struggle to point out the differences between them all.

Beer O’Clock manages to create a different feel, in the fact that they only serve beer! This is bound to rule out some party goers. However for those who love beer, and I have to confess I am one, this is a paradise. Offering 135 different bottled beers imported from 7 European countries, it’s a unique place in Bucharest.

The bar was opened a month ago, fitted out in a very simple way. A long wooden bar behind which are large glass fronted chillers housing all that beer, with the drinking area made up of round wooden tables with chairs to match. If you are uncertain of your choice, I would suggest rather than ordering from the menu to have a look in the fridges to see if you find a label you recognise, or to find something that looks interesting. They have enough seating outside on the street terrace for around 40 people, so the ideal spot to sip a cold beer in this heat.

Beer O’Clock is a fantastic find for those who enjoy a beer and enjoy trying something different. Everything is very reasonably priced.

“..we’re only here for the beer..”

Restaurant Review: Ici et La

By Richard Fox, guest writer If you are looking for good French cuisine in Bucharest then Ici et La will fit the bill. Opened two and a half years ago in Piata Romana by French owner and Chef Philippe Dupre, this seventy- seater restaurant offers a very comfortable environment in which to enjoy the culinary delights served up by Monsieur Dupre. The interior is fitted in a modern style without fuss. The food is high quality cuisine, with a menu offering a wide selection of classic French dishes with regional tastes that are inspired by a Chef whose roots are from Lyon. The menu card is presented alongside a suggestions board, all written in French. Favourite dishes would include the Terrine de Foie Gras and the Escargots. It would have to be said that the Steak Tartare is the best in town! The menu prices are all very reasonable and include the wine. The wine list is made up of half Romanian and half French, giving a good balance and offering a cross section of wine styles. The lunch time menu is served between 12 noon and 3pm, 2 courses for 30 Ron representing excellent value. Philippe Dupre also offers outside catering for parties and corporate functions. Beaujolais Nouveau day is only a few weeks away, so Ici et La will be hosting an evening to celebrate the occasion with a set menu including wine. Be assured that the food at least will be good! Address: 43 Mendeleev St., Romana Square Phone: +40 731 453 608 Web: www.icietla.ro source: romania-insider.com

Palm Sunday in Romania

Palm Sunday or Florii (In Romanian) is a Christian tradition that always takes place on the Sunday before Easter.

Floriile or Duminica Floriilor (the Palm Sunday) is celebrated by all Romanians, and it announces the beginning of Easter cycle, which ends with the Ascension of Jesus (40 days after Easter).  Jesus is welcomed with a lot of flowers and cheers while enters Jerusalim. Palm Sunday is both a celebration in which the pre-Christian and Christian elements combine happily, resulting beautiful customs and traditions. It is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the liturgical year, and is the beginning of Holy Week.

The name of the feast in Romanian (Florii) comes from the Roman goddess Flora. The green branches called ‘mâţişori’ (kitties) are used as a ritual which embodies the symbol of chastity and the annual rebirth of vegetation. The day before people gather willow branches, they tie them in bundles and go to church to be sanctified by a priest. After sanctification the ‘mâţişori’ are taken home to adorn with the icons, windows, doors, entrances to sheds or to put in wells and the eaves of houses. The women stick them on newly seeded layers, put them into animal feed or on the graves.

Also, on this day, all who bear a flower name are celebrating their name-day.

Global Mobility being effective across cultures

By Ximena Reyes

International Assignees, multinational managers, people working with remote teams are being put to the test on a daily basis. Their cultural adaptability, their ability to understand, are key factors for the smooth running of international business.

Understanding how our behavior and actions are perceived by those we interact with, it requires to identify strengths and perspectives as well as being able to manage complexity.

A multi-national work is no longer just about the task itself or a matter of expertize but about the resilience to adjust and to actively look for opportunities to understand current events, mindset and priorities, in the host country.

It also requires the adequate support of the Human resources department that provides the expatriates with counseling or training opportunities and information.

At City Compass intercultural consulting we make a priority to facilitate the adaptation of expatriates and provide with training and information that enables their effectiveness.

If you would like to know more contact [email protected]

Restaurant review: Madame Pogany

By Richard Fox, guest writer

Located near the Floreasca farmers market, on the ground floor under the large office building at 40 Str. Banu Antonache, madame Pogany is bar and restaurant fitted throughout with natural, light colored, wooden flooring giving the space a bright and open feel. It is open daily from 9am, the kitchen closing at 12 midnight and provides a very comfortable environment to be in at any time of the day.

The space is divided into 3 main areas: the restaurant with seating for around 80, the bar area serving very good Tapas and a large terrace outside.

The tables and bench seating on the terrace are all created from the wooden decking as used in the floor, a modern and functional design. The food in the restaurant is an international mix with a wide variety of choice, described by Razvan the General Manager as his ”urban kitchen”. My regular choice has become the Asian Chicken dish, very tasty and reasonably priced at 30 Ron. The seared fresh Tuna cooked rare is also a favourite. The staff are very friendly and attentive and it is true to say “service with a smile”.

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Madame Pogany also offers a variety of regular weekly events, from Wine and Whisky tastings to bar tending courses. Live Jazz is played on Friday nights and the DJ operates on Saturday nights until late.

We have here a good environment to meet and discuss business or pleasure over a coffee, a glass of wine, lunch or dinner.

ADDRESS: Str. Banu Antonache 40-44, Floreasca

Web: www.madamepogany.ro

Phone: 0743 661 782

source: romania-insider.com

Restaurant review: Collage restaurant

By Richard Fox, guest writer

Collage is an interesting and high-end restaurant, an art gallery lounge with a retro design which becomes a cafe restaurant and music venue after dark. Then a wine tasting room in the cellar, with a fine Whisky, Cognac and Cigar bar up stairs. All things to all people, you might say! I embarked on the full-guided tour for research purposes, including the kitchen, which was very impressive.

We had dinner in the lounge bar area and the food was excellent. The head Chef is Italian and creates what I would describe as modern European cuisine. Innovative dishes, excellent presentation, very tasty. The menu in the main restaurant is similar to that of the lounge with some small variations. The main restaurant would perhaps suit a more formal occasion or a business dinner, it has seating for around 50 with some private areas that can be reserved.

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With the four separate areas this venue does offer flexibility and can provide many things to many people from morning until night. Collage opens for breakfast from 8am, offers a business lunch menu from 11.30am till 3pm, then dinner. The restaurant closes at midnight, although the party goes well beyond. Menu prices at the upper end of the Bucharest price scale but in keeping with the surroundings.

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The service was very attentive, first experience very good so definitely going back for more research.

Collage restaurant is placed on 10-12 Mihalache Blvd, near Victoriei Square.

Reservations ca be made by calling  0758 10 10 40. More info on their website.

History of Romanians book launched in Bucharest

An English translation of Neagu Djuvara’s A Brief Illustrated History of Romanians, was launched on Thursday, April 3 at the Humanitas Cismigiu Bookstore in Bucharest.

Speakers at the event where His Excellency Martin Harris, Ambassador of Great Britain, His Excellency Gerard Corr, Ambassador of Ireland, Neagu Djuvara and Cristian Anton, the translator of the book.

The 352-page book is priced at RON 69 and can be purchased online from Humanitas’ website.

“This translation has begun as a personal endeavor, started from my desire to offer my wife, who is Polish and doesn’t speak our language, the chance to read a book about the history of Romanians, that is easily approachable and sincere – and I am still amazed at seeing this book now,” said Cristian Anton.

Neagu Djuvara, 97, is a Romanian historian, essayist, philosopher, journalist, novelist and diplomat.

source: romania-insider.com

 

Restaurant Review: Caru cu Bere

By Peter Fay, guest writer

I first visited Romania to meet up with a friend I’d made. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I quickly fell in love with the place and the people. Since then, I have revisited Bucharest and Romania as often as possible.

I have often told my friends in England that if I spent the rest of my life touring Romania every summer, I would probably still miss some of the many beautiful sights.

On my second visit to Bucharest, I stayed at a hotel, which provided bed and breakfast, but no dinner. The excellent receptionist suggested when I asked, that the “Caru cu Bere” was a good restaurant. That was when I first discovered this fantastic restaurant.

Translated into English, “Caru cu Bere” means “Beer Cart”. However, the English phrases “Never judge a book by its cover….” and “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet…” are most relevant. Yes, we British are quirky.

From my third visit onwards, I have always rented an apartment. It is much cheaper than a hotel and I can cook my own breakfast at whatever time I wish. The cleaners come once a week. I have the use of a washing machine. If I have a problem, the owner is but a phone call away. It is like a home, away from home. The freedom is wonderful.

Since that first visit to “Caru cu Bere”, I have always regarded the restaurant as an experience… rather than just a superb restaurant. The architecture of the building alone is something special.

Take for example, the experience last Saturday night. I arrived there early evening, just before 20:00 and they were busy, busy, busy.

One of the good looking, hard working young waitresses took me to a table. In fact, all the waitresses are young and pretty. Definitely a distinct advantage. I remember the song, “Back in the USSR” by The Beatles, “Ukraine girls really knock me out…” Clearly they never visited Bucharest.

I never book up in advance, I just arrive. Not recommended at busy times for large groups, because you may be unlucky.

Having visited so many times, I am becoming well known. Sometimes I have shared a table with either native Romanians or tourists. Whosoever it is, there is usually some form of communication and conversation. My ‘limba Romana’ (Romanian) is still a little basic, but fortunately, most Romanians and tourists have some knowledge of English and I have a basic knowledge of many languages. So, on the whole we get by with a “pigeon EU limba mixture” and a few hand signals and smiles. The result is usually a pleasant and friendly agreement.

Fortunately, nearly all of the staff there are fluent in English. The only problem I have is that their name tags are always family name followed by Christian name… the opposite to what I am used to.

As usual on almost any night, my waiter swiftly asks what I would like to drink and eat. Often the food is delivered just as swiftly. It is also extremely inexpensive compared with a restaurant in England.

Read the whole article here.

source: romania-insider.com

Sinaia

Sinaia is known as the Pearl of the Carpathians and can be reached in less than two hours from Bucharest if the traffic permits. The former summer residence of the Royal Family has the largest number of monuments per capita, it is a must-see for those living in Romania. Just passing Sinaia by the national road leads to the impression that the glory of the past has gone by far, seeing mainly broken factories from communism time. But the real charm of this village will be revealed once you enter the centre. Take the road towards the Stana regala that will you let you pass at several beautiful sights and fairytale villas from the beginning of the 20th century.

After leaving the village a small country road of about 5 km through the forests will bring you to the Stana regala – “Royal Sheepfold”, a small restaurant and terrace in the mountains with an astonishing view to the Bucegi Massif. Don´t be afraid of the large signs “Beware of bears”, but anyway, an extended walking trip in the forests is not recommended, unless you are in a group.

Descending back to Sinaia there are many places to visit: The Monastery of Sinaia, the Casino and, for sure, Peles castle, one of Europe´s most impressive castle, built by king Carol I who felt in love with the surroundings of Sinaia and decided to establish his summer residence in the area.

If you stay the night visit also Cantacuzino castle, just 10 km from Sinaia in the direction of Brasov.

A new restaurant was recently opened in the castle called Canta Cuisine and had become a top address for gourmets. See our restaurant review;

Places to stay in Sinaia

Places to eat in Sinaia

City Compass tour offer for Sinaia:

Carpathian Mountains and Medieval Transylvania Tour

More information about Sinaia:

Travel Planner:

Sinaia revisited – the Pelisor castle 

–  Sinaia revisited – Peles castle

– Sinaia revisited- a Royal resort with a wealth of natural beauty and a gateway to the mountains

Travel planner: Sinaia, the pearl of the Carpathians

Please contact us if you plan a trip/ tour to the Sinaia and you need more information about accommodation options or sightseeing.

 

Multicultural complexity, the new trend in the labour market

By Ximena Reyes

Globalization is a huge wave that has shaped the world’s economy for the last 15 years. It established a new ground for companies and changed the game rules. After a while people were talking about Globalization as a way to recognize the unique importance of local knowledge and experience amid the impact of companies with “global” operations.

So now we are at a point where ” More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own” as global author, Pico Iyer mentions at “Where is home” ,Ted conference.

There are companies intentionally relocating their employees looking for the added value that their experiences abroad can bring to day to day operations and problem solving.

We could now rename the process to Gloxal, Global + local + complex.

Nowadays leaders need to understand and manage complexity, they need to understand unclear situations and make sense of them whilst leading their teams.

In order to perform upon arrival, these leaders require a set of tools and mindset that can help them feel at home and comfortable in the shortest time possible.

At City Compass we provide trainings that work and explain these tools and skills, we speed up the process of “Feeling at home”, while living internationally.

If you would like to know more about this, please contact [email protected]

See more of inspiring Ted talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_where_is_home.

 

Sunday lunch at Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni

By Roxana Baicu, guest writer

On the way back from Covasna to Bucharest, we made a short stop in Busteni, curious to check what we’ve recently heard to be a great place to dine, Canta Cuisine restaurant. Located inside the Cantacuzino Castle with neoromanesc architecture style and sumptuous interiors, the Canta Cuisine restaurant makes for a unique place in Romania.

The aristocratic charm, combined with exceptional food and very good customer service made it an unforgettable experience. We enjoyed their specially crafted menu complemented by a comprehensive wine list in comfortable yet sophisticated surrounds.

They create twists on the ‘classics’ and traditional dishes. It is one of the places with great service exemplified by the chef coming out of the kitchen asking you what you think about the dishes.

Canta Cuisine, 1 Zamora St., Busteni, Prahova county, +40737299464, [email protected], www.cantacuisine.com

source: romania-insider.com

Global Mobility, Romania

By Ximena Reyes

Diversity and complexity, more and more the business scenarios are expanding internationally, combining more operations, outsourcing teams and bringing together people from different parts of the world.

This new level of operations requires the development a level of cultural understanding within and among groups and individuals so that they can contribute with their unique insights and integrate them.

Expats in Romania bring international experience but at the same time they are immersed in a “new and different” way, the local way. Global leadership requires striving for learning and an understanding of the added value of the locals amid the umbrella of globalization.

Successful global leadership does not transplant models but requires a sharp eye to change perspectives and see beyond the day-to-day obstacles. It is a two way flow that is growing constantly.

Intercultural awareness trainings help to visualize and understand the keys to movinge from the initial cultural/ work shock towards effective management and strong global leadership. It bridges communications between diverse groups and enables them to read between the lines and to easily understand sources of miscommunication.

If you would like to know about our trainings and services, contact [email protected].

Where to? Common meeting places in Bucharest

Everyone nowadays seems to meet in the Old Town, which is usually vibrant, lots of fun, but also very crowded. So apart from the all-purpose Old Town, where else is there to meet before going out in the city? Here are some suggested meeting points in Bucharest, which are very popular among Romanians. Most Romanians who’ve been living in Bucharest for more than six months (and foreigners, too), will know these.

Universitate

Probably the number one meeting point in Bucharest is at the Universitate Square (in fact, the correct name is Piata Universitatii, which translates as Universitatii Square; the simpler form is Universitate. You guessed it, this is the word for University in Romania).

If someone sets a date there, make sure you ask exactly where you will meet, as there are several specific meeting points at this very downtown Bucharest square.

Probably one of the most used is in front of the National Theater, at the metro exit. Day in and day out, there will be people waiting for their friends there. Most people sit on the large stairs that you can see immediately after existing the metro station, facing the tall Intercontinental Hotel. It’s also an interesting place from where to observe the social dynamic of meeting in Romania, or just to see what people wear, how people look like in Romania. Or just to sun bathe, if you can find a spot during spring. The code name for this place is Universitate, teatru, scari/University, theater, stairs.

When it rains, the meeting usually moves underground, into the passage (in Romanian Universitate Pasaj), where the several cafes serve as landmarks and meeting points.

Other meeting areas in the region are, of course, the other three exits of the metro station, one near the Coltea Hospital ( in the small park with the violin sculpture in the middle), one near and in front of the University building and going further on the boulevard towards the crossroad with Calea Victoriei, and the third one at the exit towards the Bucharest Museum. This museum hosts all sorts of open air sales (antique objects, hand made items) now and then in its yard, so you could hang around there while waiting.

On that side of the square, the large pedestrian area above the car park is yet another meeting place. The area was turned pedestrian about a year ago. The four statues in that square have long served as landmarks for meetings. “Where do we meet? At Universitate near the statues! Keywords: Universitate Statui!

When making plans to meet there, keep in mind that around Martisor, Easter and Christmas, these areas become the sales ground for itinerant businesses, selling trinkets and all sorts of seasonal gifts. That is to say the area will be extremely crowded. The same applies for other meeting points which involve a metro exit downtown Bucharest.

Unirea

‘In front of the Unirea Shopping Center, at McDonald’s’ This is another meeting place in Bucharest. The place was recently revamped and some benches were installed.

Every day there will be an impressive number of people waiting for their friends there, some go into the shopping center and stop at the cafes and restaurants on the last floor, others head to the Old Town (which is accessible via the meeting point at Universitate as well, same distance). This meeting point has the advantage of being near the metro and near a cab station in case you decide to go to another part of Bucharest.

Romana

The Romana square and its respective metro station are not as popular as Unirea and Universitate, but still important ones to take into account, especially when you’d rather avoid the crowded areas. It can still be crowded at times, as it is in the vicinity of another university center – the Academy of Economic Sciences ASE – but it gives access to some quieter cafes, bars and restaurants on Dacia boulevard, and on the little streets between the Magheru boulevard and Calea Victoriei.

Victoriei

Yet another square in Bucharest. This one hosts several office buildings and the Government building, so quite popular for after work meetings of people who work in the area. The square is very large, so not always a great choice especially if you mistake the exact point where you’re supposed to meet, you have to cross a lot of streets to get to the other side. But it is close to a greener area of Bucharest, and it can be the starting point of a nice weekend walk to the Village Museum, Triumphal Arch and Herastrau Park. All these three landmarks can also become meeting points.

Herastrau park & Charles de Gaulle

This is probably the most popular entrance to the Herastrau park, as it is close to the Charles de Gaulle metro exit, close to the office tower by the same name. You will recognize this park entrance by the large statue of French general Charles de Gaulle.

Cismigiu park

The most common meeting point is at the entrance towards the Regina Elisabeta boulevard, as you walk down from Universitate square.

Cinemas and malls

With many meetings ending up at the movies, meeting places are usually close to the cinema too. CinemaPro is close to the Universitate square, while Patria cinema, Scala and Studio are close to the Romana square. The Cinemateca is easily reachable if you meet at Universitate and then walk towards the Cismigiu park

To get to the Bucuresti Mall and its Hollywood Multiplex Cinema, you can meet at Unirii and take the 123 bus from there.

You can also meet directly at the mall: Bucuresti Mall is in the East, Plaza Romania and AFI Palace Cotroceni in the west, Sun Plaza, Grand Arena and Vitantis to the South, and Promenada and Baneasa Shopping City to the north.

Old Town

We saved it for last, as this hotspot has several possible meeting points. Less crowded is the Roma square at the crossroad between the Lipscani street and the IC Bratianu boulevard, which connects Universitate and Unirea squares. You will recognize this meeting spot by the statue of the she wolf and of the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The square was revamped and is a good entry point to the Old Town. (Roma here is the name of the Italian capital, hence the She Wolf statue)

Then you could meet at Universitate and walk past the BCR and National Bank headquarters.

Another possible meeting point is at the National Central Bank on Lipscani street, very close to the central square of the Old Town (which is at the crossroads between Lipscani and Smardan streets). Some benches are in front of the BNR (this is in fact the back of the bank, as the official entrance for staff is on the other side, on Doamnei street).

You could also meet on Stavropoleus street, which also has a few benches, and a nice little church by the same name as the street (you could explore the church if you happen to arrive earlier).

Another meeting point many Romanians like to use, is the Old Town entry towards the Dambovita river (it’s called La bariera – at the barrier, there used to be a barrier there).

A new entry among possible meeting places is the Sfantu Anton square just in front of the Hanul Lui Manuc /Manuc’s Inn. Make sure you and your friends refer to the same ‘front’ of the inn when setting a date. The official entrance to the inn’s inside courtyard is inside the Old Town, while another entrance to some restaurants hosted by the Manuc Inn building are on the side to the Unirea Square and park.

Whatever meeting point you choose, make sure you ask the exact name of the street and google map it – it’s safer this way.

As you will become an expert and a Bucharest connaiseur, these will become second nature to you whenever you need to set up a meeting point.

source: romania-insider.com

How to best support expats at work

International companies having operations around the world are investing a great amount of resources into shaping their teams and getting the right talent.

So how to speed up the process of adaptation and facilitate things for the newcomers?

Information empowers, one of the main thing expats mention as a hindrance is “not knowing” this goes to practical things but also to more elaborate elements, and this is why I always recommend expats to stay up to date wherever they are.

Usually what happens is that not being able to speak the language keeps them isolated from current affairs and mainstream news.

So 3 quick steps into “knowing” faster:

1. Register at Romania-Insider.com to receive a daily digest of Romania’s current events in English, every morning you will be able to screen quickly through the main topics and be able to understand better what the locals are discussing or wondering about.

2. Join your community association or an international group, by this you will be able to expand your contacts, and by doing it increase the options to receive insightful information from people in similar situations.

3. Do something out of your routine, and be flexible to get lost, find new things or understand something better. By planning or leaving one day to “go with the flow” you will be able to give yourself time and space to “control” the unknown

If you would like to know more about how to support expats at work, contact [email protected].

Restaurant review: The Artist – for all senses

By Roxana Baicu, guest writer

Located on the edge of Bucharest’s historic center, The Artist offers emotions and unique experiences created by the Dutch chef, Paul Oppenkamp. He plays with modern cooking techniques, revealing flavor, texture and colors in complex recipes. Overall he is adding a new dimension to our culinary experience.

Enjoying a dinner at The Artist reminds me of words from the father of Molecular cuisine, H. Blumenthal: “cooking is about intuition and emotion; about following your instincts, trying things out, having fun. Much of the pleasure of eating comes from the flavors, textures and aromas you coax out of the ingredients, but a lot comes from the memories and associations and nostalgia that food evokes. Great and memorable meals come from somehow tapping into these feelings and capturing them in the food on the table. ”

A dinner at The Artist involves all the senses simultaneously. If you are into creative and experimental molecular cuisine, give The Artist a try. As far as I can think, the place is a highlight in terms of dining in Bucharest.

Foie Gras and Smoked Eel with Red Beet Marshmallow / Brioche, Paired with Lacerta, Muscat Ottonel 2012

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Oxtail Tortellini, Parmesan Foam / Mushroom / Truffle / Smoked Salt paired with Domeniile Dealu Mare Urlati, Incantation 2009

parmesan-foam-the-artist

Duck Breast Steamed Eggplant / White Soy / Sichuan Pepper / Chili Pears It was paired with Aurelia Visinescu, Anima Syrah 2011

duck-breast-the-artist

Brie Cheese Parfait Celery / Granola / Fig / Vanilla Paired with Barros, Tawny Porto

brie-cheese-the-artist

72% Dark Chocolate Mousse, Violets / Organic Merlot Tea Forte / White Ganache, Paired with Purcari, Ice Wine, Republic of Moldova

dark-chocolate-mousse-the-artist

The Artist: Nicolae Tonitza Street, Nr. 13, Historical Center, Bucharest, +40728318871, [email protected]

source: romania-insider.com

8 March – Woman’s Day in Romania

Every year, on March 8, Romanians cerebrate the International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day. The custom, similar to all customs in the countries that celebrate the day, is for men to give all the women in their lives flowers or gifts. Female teachers receive small gifts from their students too, whether boys or girls. The idea that the female teacher is the equivalent of a mother figure prevails.

On Mother’s Day, there are usually flowers at every street corner in Romania, either in shops, malls and supermarkets, together with gifts for the occasion and special offers. The peasant markets are more colorful than ever as a lot of people come from the rural side of Romania with huge bags full of fresh flowers picked from their gardens.

In your search for gifts for the woman or women in your life, have a look at our online guide , where you can find a wide list of flower shops and jewelry stores as well as restaurants and pubs where you can take her out for a nice dinner.

 

Restaurant review: Readers Cafe

I had never been to the Readers Cafe before but, on my first visit, I spent about four hours there to make up for lost time. I wish I had discovered it earlier. Partially this was exactly because of the fact that many others did not seem to have discovered it, which makes it a nice quite place to eat, have coffee and meet friends.

This time I was there for business, meeting several business partners. In between everything, there was time to check out the menu, try out some things, and get a feel for the place.

Before we go into that, however, let me just say that this cafe/lounge/bistro is not where you’d expect it (not in the Old Town!). It is in an office building on Iancu de Hunedoara boulevard, close to Victoriei Square. You gotta love this building – it’s called Metropolis, and years back when I was writing about real estate I was so impressed with it (I still am). It used to be a printing house, and the owners kept some elements of the former building in the new one – like the brick facade.

So Readers Cafe is inside this office building, a bit tucked away, like many good things are. But it is easily reachable as you enter the building, close to the entrance to the Mega Image.

The whole first floor is a non-smoking area, which is brilliant nowadays (and ever since I quit smoking a few years ago). It is nicely decorated and you will know what I mean when the waiter explains to you that you have to go through the circle of books to get to the bathroom! Now that’s an experience!

Kudos for making the place feel so cozy, with nice couches and antique chairs, all in a glass office building.

I was amazed to see how many food options they have on the menu, most of which at reasonable prices. When I was invited there for a business meeting, I thought this was a cafe and we’re going to drink coffees and tea, and eat some cookies. But boy, was I wrong! When I arrived my business partners were already ordering food (it was between 11 and 16, when a lunch menu is also available, including soup!).

The salads were very good (ok, probably by now some food afficionados have already discarded me and this review for saying a salad can be very good. But I’ve had so many salads thrown into a bowl directly from the supermarket bag, sprinkled with some Parmesan and served at three times the price that I can definitely enjoy something well done)

Then the pasta – I’ve been recommended the Linguine al pesto, which a friend says are delicious, and very reasonably priced. On my next visit, I’ll try those. The friend who tried it was happy with both the taste, and the size of the portion.

They even have sushi. That’s a must try on my next visit. Sushi in a cafe in Romania? If you’re curious, the whole menu is here. Ah, and the wines, lots of wines on the menu.

So all that being said, I only have two negatives to add (one of which is, on second thought, a positive): why not put a bigger sign so that people know you’re there, and why not call yourself something more than a ‘cafe’, since you’re obviously much more than that, and doing a good job at it?

Ok, none of these are real negatives, and perhaps I should take them out completely (and even change the headline). This place should continue to be for insiders.

Readers Cafe, 56-60 Iancu de Hunedoara Blvd., Metropolis Center, Ground Floor

+4 073 READERS/ (+4 0737 32 33 77)

by Corina Chirileasa, source: romania-insider.com

 

JOB: Tour & Event Manager (no longer valid)

ABOUT US:

City Compass Group has been founded in 2008 and offers a variety of high quality information & services for expatriates, international companies and foreign tourists in Bucharest and Romania. City Compass Tours & Events – founded in 2013-  is part of City Compass Group and offers tours and corporate travel services (corporate events, conferences, teambuildings, culinary tours etc).

JOB DESCRIPTION: Tours & Event Manager (Junior) for our Bucharest office

Tasks:
– Organisation of Bucharest & Romania tours
– Organisation of corporate events (wine events, culinary events, teambuilding etc.)
– Online-Marketing (Website, Facebook, Newsletter etc.)
– Search for new providers/ Supplier management (hotels, guest-houses, restaurants, wineries)
– Proposal writing & offer calculation

Profile:

– University degree in tourism or brevet de turism
– Romanian native with very good English proficiency (writing & speaking)
min. 1 year experience within a tour operator or event agency
– experience in proposal writing for corporate clients

Other skills:

– good organisational skills
– good communication skills, team player
– good command of Excel, Word, PowerPoint
– pro-active, solution-oriented attitude
Please send your CV to: tours (a) citycompass.ro

Date: 04 March 2014

Restaurant review: Alioli, the Spanish restaurant in Bucharest

By Roxana Baicu, guest writer

If you’re into Spanish traditional cuisine, Alioli is your place!

You’ll find it on Popa Tatu Street close to Stirbei crossroads near one of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in Bucharest – Cismigiu. The restaurant is the first choice among the Spanish community in Bucharest offering a great variety of good food, very nice Spanish and Romanian wines, a relaxed atmosphere, a passionate owner trying to ‘put on the plate’ to his customers a great experience at decent prices.

This time we went there for lunch and were unintentionally inspired to park the car 3 minutes by walk from the restaurant. This way we entered a bit into the atmosphere of that old part of the city while admiring beautiful details of the old houses on our way.

We’ve been several times to Alioli with friends or for farewell parties and have always had a great time.

For today’s lunch we were looking for very fresh seafood, savourous traditional Spanish dishes, a smiley staff and efficient service. We realized once more that this place is a must-go if you’re looking for an intimate, family run place.

alioli-2

As you enter the restaurant, you notice the friendly set-up, the walls decorated with photos with some of Alioli’s happy customers. Many times you are welcomed by the owner himself, Sorin. The music is either low or off when it’s crowded and you really feel you’ve entered a cozy, vivid restaurant in Spain.

Despite other places with inconsistencies in client experiences, this restaurant continues to serve delicious, authentic Spanish food time and time again. Portions are more than generous and of very good quality.

On this occasion, for example, each of us ordered a different appetizer and entree and we were all thoroughly pleased to share. It seems that sharing dishes is actually a custom in Spain. Wait staff could not have been more accommodating to us throughout our meal. First thing upon arrival we were served the Alioli sauce and toasted bread. After that, we imbibed everything from fruity sangria to icy gins, while devouring crunchy-tender shrimps and the Gazpacho Andaluz to start, continuing with the Mejillones picantes, Mejillones a la Marinera and much more seafood.

Many times we shared the paella for two and it was as good as the one I had in Spain. This time we had the Fideuá de Marisco. Everything else on the menu is great too: Meloso de Mariscos, Paella de Mariscos, Almejas a la plancha, Pimientos de Padrón (from Padrón, Galicia).

alioli-3

Much of what is served there was grown or reared in the vast and beautiful Spain. Try the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota- it is prized for its unique taste, created in part by the aroma of sweet acorns that the pigs feed on. When the slaughtering time approaches, the pigs are only fed with acorns and olives, for the best quality of jamón Ibérico. The jamón is cured from 12 months up to 4 years before it is ready to be sliced and served. I find the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota very rich and intensely flavored. It is very well paired with a traditional Rioja wine.

All in all, the atmosphere was fun and we truly enjoyed our time in Alioli. We found out that Alioli stands for „oil and garlic”, being a Catalan word.

Despite feeling way too full from so many dishes, I indulged a “Tarta de manzana con helado de vanilla” and at the owner’s advice, I tried the ‘Bombon’, the Spanish ladies’ coffee. Quite a treat!

I think every single one of us left impressed with both the service and the food. Sorin is a great host and most of his staff speak very good Spanish and English.

Be sure to reserve in time especially in the weekends..or you can try your luck, anyway!

Alioli: 4 Popa Tatu St., +4021 311 80 27, +40721 38 49 83

The relevance of providing Ongoing Post-Arrival Support

By Ximena Reyes

International assignees are expected to perform upon arrival to bring their skills and expertise from the first day, to contribute with their added value to the company.

Companies have understood the importance to speed up the process of adaptation by facilitating support with Settling-in assistance, an invaluable platform for families and spouses. This is usually an orientation to the city, available schools, residential areas, basics of daily living (shopping, healthcare, transportation, etc.)

However though this first platform is covered few is done on the long term, once the urgency of the initial few weeks has passed.

Initial chaos of an international relocation is usually concentrated on the basic needs. Routines have to be created, the brain is constantly making sense of the new place, but once this is done, most spouses are left to fend for themselves. Once the initial overwhelming part of setting up has passed comes a new stage when expats have to redefine their identities, reroute or prelaunch their careers.

HR support in this new stage is vital since it will help them to consolidate their experience on a new location. The more savvy expats that have managed multiple locations are resourceful enough to tackle challenges as they come.

Ongoing support on the forms of expat specialized coaching and psychological support are now considered a second stage into smooth running and facilitating a more successful international relocation.

If you would like to know more about this contact Ximena Reyes Partner and Director at City Compass intercultural consulting [email protected]

 

Martisor, Romania’s spring celebration

On March 1, Romanians celebrate the coming of spring in their own unique way – through the symbolic martisor (or trinket). The tradition is said to have originated in Roman times.

Martisorul are small objects that women receive on this day from men, as a symbol of their respect and admiration. Initially made just from two twisted threads of wool, one colored red and one white, the trinket has evolved, incorporating a small piece of jewelry or something hand crafted attached to the red-white lace. The red is said to represent the summer, and the heat, while the white represents the winter, and the cold. Some people say that the two colors represent love and honesty.

Men offer martisoare to women between March 1 and 8 as gifts, and most Romanian women expect to receive something – either a trinket or its more expensive version, jewellery with a red-white thread, or a flower, during this period from the most important men in their lives, as well as from colleagues and business partners.

Women wear the martisor all March, as it is believed to bring strength and health for the year to come. Some women pin one or more ‘martisoare’ on their blouse, while others just wear a red-white lace on their wrist. At the end of March, the red-white threads are tied to a branch of a fruit tree, said to bring wealth.

Women too can exchange flowers and trinkets during this period, but it is not a must, some choose to do it, others not. Some decide to give trinkets only to some close friends and family, rather than to every woman they know and happen to meet during that period.

On March 8, Romanians have another celebration – Women’s Day. It’s the day when, as a sign of respect and gratitude, all women should receive flowers and gifts. Women’s Day ends a cycle of celebrations, which begins on February 14.

 

Effective HR support help families to adjust better

By Ximena Reyes

For over the last 20 years, research has shown that a key factor for international assignment’s failure is generated by spouse’s dissatisfaction. In this specific point it is extremely relevant that attention and support is given to the accompanying partner, mainly because during an international relocation the success is reached by working as a team where each part tackles the different challenges and things to get done.

Most trainings and workshops are considered for the person with the international assignment as this is clear and most times the accompanying partner is perceived as a passive almost ornamental element in the equation. While one side can have clear goals and achievements the other part is left with the sensation that time just passes by and that their time is spent on irrelevant daily tasks.

As Yvonne Mc Nulty mentions in her book “The Trailing spouse survey” expatriation is “a gain and losses event for the trailing spouse” mainly because this part of the process has been less documented and it has been given less attention.

However with coaching and training it is possible to understand that resilience and ability to manage complexity are key skills for a successful international assignment.

The objective of these workshops is to gain awareness of the skills gained, of the real process behind the daily life routines and to develop a clear understanding of the process of cultural shock and how this will impact the relations and roles within a family.

More and more Human Resources are investing in providing adequate expat spouse support beyond the logistics of house hunting, the ongoing Post – Arrival support, coaching sessions, psychology and support groups are now giving an extended frame in order to cope with the balancing act of moving, adapting, accepting, integrating and most of all to have a successful, meaningful international relocation.

If you want to know more about this, contact [email protected]

Ximena Reyes is the Partner and Director for Intercultural Consulting

Dragobete – Romania’s traditional celebration of love

Western Europeans and Americans may have St Valentine’s day, but traditionally Romania has its own special day for lovers, celebrated on February 24, so 10 days after Valentine’s. It’s called Dragobete, and people familiar with Romania might have heard of it, because it has became quite popular again in recent years. The youth in large cities are celebrating it again, maybe to rebel against the Western ways?

But only the name and the symbol seem to have stayed, as Dragobetele used to be a complex celebration – perhaps it can still be found in more traditional, remote villages.

Dragobete was the son of the old lady called Baba Dochia, who marks the return of spring. Dragobete’s other name is the bird’s fiance or ‘head of the spring’, because it too marks the beginning of spring.

On Dragobete, girls and boys dressed in holiday suits usually meet in front of the church and go searching for spring flowers. Then, they sit and talk around the fires lit on the hills in the village. At noon, the girls go back to the village running, each followed by the boy who fell in love with her. If the boy catches the girl he chose, and if the girl likes him, they will kiss in front of everybody. This kiss signals their engagement for one year, and Dragobete is an opportunity to show an attachment in front of the community. The traditional saying is that Dragobetele kisses the girls (Dragobetele saruta fetele in Romanian).

Dragobete traditions vary from region to region. There are a number of Dragobete customs in rural areas, many of which are not kept up by modern Romanians. The tradition also says that those who take part in Dragobete customs are supposed to be protected from illness, for the rest of the year. Region to region, even the date of the holidays varies, on the Wallachian plains, including Bucharest, it is celebrated on February 24, but in other areas, on 28 and 29 the same month.

In some areas of Romania, married women have to wash their faces with snow so that spring finds them joyful and healthy. Another custom is for a young girl to eat a salty bread baked by the eldest woman in the household, then place some basil under their pillow. During the night, if they are to get married withing 12 months, they’ll dream their future husband. The explanation is that the salty bread would make them thirsty and they’d dream of a man who brings them water.

Source: romania-insider.com