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September 18, 2017

5 misconceptions about Romania (Romanians)

Without any introduction let's dive into it:

Romania is a dangerous country from Eastern Europe

First, as my good friend would argue, geographical we are kinda in the middle of Europe. I don't have a problem being included intro the Eastern European group as long as it is not pejorative. I do like our group, I've met some lovely Bulgarian girls and on my visits I've loved Bulgaria, I like Hungary and Czechia and Poland and all the other countries in the Eastern block.

Still, Romania is not a dangerous country. Nothing new will happen to you if you visit Romania, different from what could happen to you in Western Europe. Yes we have pickpocketers, yes we have madly traffic, yes we do have prices inflated for tourists, but so do London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, just to name a few. So if you've been to London and survived, or if you drove in Brussels and you still have a car, Bucharest is just a peace of cake compared to those two.

Romania has stray dogs and beggars

On the same note as the previous point is this one. I do have to say that the stray dog problem is somehow in the past. On my last trip to Bucharest I've found just one stray dog and he was on a neighbourhood far away from the centre and even him, I think, was owned by a store lady, cause was hanging around a store. So yes we had a stray dog problem, I'm kinda afraid to ask how that was handled, but... Still Romanians have a deep love for their dogs so you will see a lot of people walking their dogs on the street, with a leash and everything. And what is even a plus point for Romanians is that you will see a lot of former stray dogs walked on the streets. So Romanians prefer to adopt than buy, which is so positive I can't even tell you...

Beggars. Yes we have and we seem to export them to Europe. So yes you will see beggars in bigger cities, but they are civilised and not aggressively begging as I saw in Paris. So yea, they are ours and Romania still has this problem, but little by little I think things are improving.

Traffic is horrible

Yes. No argue on this one. Traffic is terrible especially in the big cities. That is why I advise you to walk. So if you lived your whole life in a quiet town such as Arlon or you drove in Ireland, taking the Bucharest traffic is too much for you, but if you live in Paris or Brussels, the Bucharest traffic is no match for you. It all depends on what you are doing in Bucharest or Romania, if you really need to drive or not.

All the gypsies come from Romania

No they don't. If you look just a little bit back into history you will probably hind out that at their origin gypsies come from Asia. It was just unfortunate that the 50 years of communism that Romanian people endured, forced them to stay in Romania. If you are familiar with the traveller communities in Ireland, originally gypsies were migratory people, too. They are now doing what is in their nature, which is to migrate. I am aware of the negative press about gypsies, but if you take your time and get rid of any misconceptions, you will find out that they are fascinating people, with a lot of traditions, culture, a universal language and colourful clothes.

Dracula

I don't know how I jumped from gypsies to Dracula, but here it is. Actually Dracula is not Romanian. When I've lived in Dublin, I've researched a little bit Bram Stoker's life and found out he never went to Romania or Transylvania. Still, he placed his novel in Transylvania and we thank him for it. Dracula is a never-ending well of revenue and some of it is spilled into Romania, so thank you mister Stoker! I've heard there are thematic tours around Transylvania, there are books about Dracula, there are dishes and restaurants themed around the character, there are hotels and motels all around the country so why not, Dracula comes from Romania.

I do have to say though, that there is a little bit of truth around Dracula being Romanian. Apparently Bram Stoker heard about a Wallachian price who used to impale his enemies. That one is ours and he is called Vlad Țepeș, the son of Vlad Dracul. You can read about him from wiki, but from what I remember from the history lessons in school, he did a lot of good besides impaling people.

Transylvania is a real land

I don't know how people could think that Transylvania is like the Shire or something, but yes Transilvania is a region in Romania, it is real and it is lovely. If you have a chance to visit it, Dracula fan or not, you grab it with both hands. You will discover picture perfect towns and a lot of legends far more interesting than the Țepeș one and good food and adventures to last you a lifetime.

Romanians speak good Russian

Actually I was asked a couple of times myself, if I speak Russian and I don't, but yes, at some point Russian was studied at school as a second language in Romania, so the generation of my parents maybe remember some Russian words. My generation though studied English or French so no Russian speaking Romanians from the age of 40-45 down, it think. Except, of course, the ones that actually liked Russian language and studied it.

To make things a little more clear, Romanian is a Latin language so it is closer to Italian, Spanish and French in this order. Still, Romanian language has a few Dacian words, a few Turkish words and a few Slavic words and you can find the explanation for that in the history books. So maybe that is where the confusion with Russian language is made. We have Slavic words in our language, but we don't speak Russian.

When speaking English, we speak it with a Russian accent

No we don't. We don't speak any language for that matter with a "Dracula accent". If all my English teachers throughout the years could read this (maybe they will pas over my grammar mistakes) they would tell you I am right. There was such a pressure on us as students to speak the posh, British English, that I don't think any Romanian speaks English as Dracula does. Actually the posh accent is considered the right one by Romanians even now when we have the opportunities to travel and work in English speaking countries. Personally I love the Dublin accent, the Irish accent on television (which of course is not the true Irish accent) and the Scottish accent, in this order. I try to speak English without an accent, cause that was what I've aspired towards when doing radio in Ireland, but I would love to have the Dublin accent on my English. It pops up from time to time, especially when I'm in Dublin, but it doesn't stay with me :(

Bucharest is the capital of Romania and not Budapest

Ever since the 90's when Michael Jackson first came to Romania and said "Hello Budapest!" this confusion is being made and I've heard that it has reached such a scale that people booked flights to Budapest instead of Bucharest and the other way around. So, just to make it clearer, Bucharest is the capital of Romania and Budapest is the capital of Hungary. Still, if you made the mistake, both cities are worth a visit, so no disappointment there, it think.

Romanians are welcoming towards foreigners/tourists

No argument here, it is true. I've experienced it when I've took my friends to Romania, so yes it is true. I don't like it, but that's it. And I don't like it because I am a foreigner living in a foreign country and travelling to foreign countries and I don't experience the level of friendliness as the Romanians are capable of giving. We love to host guests and we give them everything and the legends are true, if you go to a Romanian's house you will be treated like family. We try as much as possible to take the same friendliness with us when we move to different countries, but not all the people are as friendly as we are. No finger pointing at anyone at this moment, but I do miss this level of friendliness which you can find in Romania.

So here they are, all the misconceptions I've heard about Romania. They are more than 5 as the title indicates and some of them are not misconceptions at all, but I've liked the title and I think it will go well on google so it will stay like this.

If you liked my post and find it interesting please do share it on social media. You can find me at my fb. page: Dichisuri.ro
Raluca


This is an interesting video, long video, about Romania. It is focused abound an Irish guy who discovered Romania and made it his second home, but in the video he ticks most of the points from my post. So do watch it!

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