Welcome to Bucharest!

Before you set up all the details regarding your Erasmus period in Bucharest, you need some essential information to have a great time but also to avoid unpleasant situations. We have prepared for you a summary of everything a foreigner must know about Bucharest but also about Romania! Let's begin with something that us, the romanians, are really proud of:

 

Our traditional food and drinks

Cabbage rolls (“Sarmale”) are made of  ground meat (usually pork but also beef, sheep, poultry, or even fish) mixed with rice and other ingredients and rolled into cabbage leaves. In some regions cabbage rolls are served with cooked corn meal and sour cream. “Mamaliga” is the name of a food made from boiled corn meal similar to polenta. Traditionally, cornmeal is used to be cooked in salty water in a cast iron cauldron. Layers of cheese added to the cooked cornmeal and a sour cream topping make this specialty a delicious entrée or side dish.
Bean soup (“Ciorba de fasole cu ciolan”) is one of the core foods in Romanian cuisine, even though there are noticeable differences in the way it is prepared in various regions. “Mici” or “mititei”meaning “little ones” are a kind of grilled
sausages that usually come in a cylindrical shape, consisting of ground beef, which is often mixed with ground pork and ground sheep meat. Garlic, black pepper and hot paprika are used to flavor this tasty food, usually served with mustard. According to an urban legend, “mici” were invented at Iordachi’s Inn in Bucharest, well known for its sausages, when, one night, the kitchen ran out of animal intestines used to press sausage meat into.
Papanash with blueberries

(Papana?i cu afine ” )           Papanash is a dessert made from sweet cow cheese, served with marmalade or jam, and powdered sugar.

 


The main drink in Romania is wine as it is the 9th major producer of wine in the world. The climate of the country is hospitable to the production of many different types of wines, from dry, sparkling whites to rich, aromatic, purplish reds. Romania offers many opportunities to visit wine-producing regions and to discover and sample the many different wines of Romania, from little known local and regional wines to Romanias great wine labels, such as Murfatlar, Cotnari, Jidvei, Dealu Mare and Odobesti.

The other popular alcoholic drinks in Romania is the beer. Romanians prefer a Pilsener-style lager. In Timisoara you can find the oldest brewery of the country which has been opened since 1718. The traditions of beers have been brought to Romania by the Saxons. One of the most famous Romanian brand is Ursus from Cluj Napoca. Some other beers are Silva Strong from Reghin, Ciuc Premium from Miercurea Ciuc and Bergenbier from Blaj.


As Romania is the 2nd largest producer in the world of plums and almost the entire production of plums are used in order to produce a traditional drink,

"tuica""
(a potent alcoholic beverage). Usually, there are three grades of tuica. The strongest comes out of the still at first (55-65 % by alcohol volume) is generally kept as sanitary alcohol. The normal one, about one half of the production would recognize as proper tuica (about 40-50 % alcohol by volume). The weak is the last which comes out of the still (about 5-15 % of alcohol)

 

 

Places to go in Bucharest but also in Romania

 

Palace of the Parliament

This controversial building was built under the tyrannical reign of Nicolae Ceau?escu to become the world's largest parliament complex. The Palace of the Parliament is as breathtaking as it is despised!

Museum of the Romanian Peasant

With its carefully curated display of artifacts from Romanian peasant life, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, a former European Museum of the Year, is perhaps the city's most modest sightseeing essential.

Parks,parks and again parks!

Because we have a lot of .Come spring, summer, or fall, visit a park to ride old-fashioned fairground attractions, rent a boat, or simply wander through every beautifully landscaped corner:Herastrau, Cismigiu Gardens, Izvor, Tineretului, I.O.R. are just a few options you have!

Mogosoaia Palace (Palatul Mogosoaia)

Mogosoaia Palace is located in the village with the same name about 14 km northwest of Bucharest's center. The palace is one of the most beautiful 18C buildings in Romania, a fine example of the Brancovenesc style. It was built by the Wallachian prince Constatin Brancoveanu between 1698 and 1702 as a summer residence for his family and as a present for his son Stefan. The palace is located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by a park and sitting by the shore of the Mogosoaia lake which mirrors its profile.

Bran Castle

Also known as Dracula’s Castle, the Bran Castle can be found in Bran, in close proximity to the important city of Brasov. When you visit Romania, Bran Castle is a must-see. To get there is a short train or bus ride from the capital, Bucharest. It is located in the beautiful city of Brasov.

Peles Castle

The Peles Castle is undoubtedly one of the most exceptional tourist attractions in Romania, boasting a fabulous architecture and a rich heritage. The castle can be found near Sinaia in Prahova County, nestled within the majestic Carpathian Mountains.

Transfagarasan & Transalpina 
are the most beautiful high altitude roads in Romania.

 

 

 

 

The Transalpina is a road that can be found in the Parang Mountains in Romania, and it is currently the highest road in the country.Transfagarasan road was built between 1970 and 1974 under the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, it has around 150 km and it is linking South Romania (Muntenia) with Transylvania through the Carpathian Mountains.  It is reaching 2042 m altitude and it was considered the most beautiful high altitude road in the world by the British “Top Gear” in 2013.

Danube Delta

The Danube Delta is located in Tulcea County, in the Dobrogea region of Romania, and it is one of the largest and most well preserved deltas in Europe. The Danube Delta includes numerous ecosystems, 23 to be precise, which house a significant number of flora and fauna. The delta was formed around the 3 primary channels of the Danube River, and it comprises a complex network of waterways and large bodies of water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Merry Cemetery ("Cimitirul Vesel") is a cemetery in the village of Sapânta, in Maramures county. It is famous for its colorful tombstones with native paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there as well as scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction. This cemetery diverges from the prevalent belief that death is something solemn. These inscriptions imply death is a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life. Salina Turda, located in Turda, Romania, is home to an underground theme park that's nestled inside one of the oldest salt mines in the world.The salt mine, which dates as far back as the 17th century, was used for everything from a cheese storage center to a bomb shelter in WWII after excavations stopped in 1932.Today, it has been transformed into an incredible underground theme park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to not piss off a romanian & useful stuff you need to know about us

 

Do not leave food on your plate

Mark my words: If invited to a Romanian’s home for lunch or dinner, fast for a day or two before the visit. We are known for being a welcoming nation, and one of our favorite ways of showing it is through food.

Here are a few appetizers so you don’t starve before the first course is ready. Some eggplant salad, salted roe, homemade smoked bacon with onions, and stuffed boiled eggs with mayo. Come on, try them all! Do you like the smell of our meatball soup? Here comes the clay pot full of sarmale, next to a steaming polenta and a jar of cream. You have to taste this! It’s our traditional course. You’ve finished everything? Don’t worry, there’s plenty more! The pork roast seasoned with garlic is almost ready.

 

Never refuse homemade beverages

Romania has one of the oldest winemaking traditions in the world. The country once had so many vineyards it’s believed Dionysus, the god of wine, was born in southeast Romania in a region then called Thracia.

As proud successors of the Thracians, Romanians practice winemaking as a popular hobby, so you’ll probably be offered some garage-made wine. Or tuica, a strong fruity beverage.Even if you have reason for concern, do not ask about hygienic conditions or quality control. We take great pride in everything made with our own hands, so turning it down would be a serious insult. Take a sip, two, three, and worry not. We all drink homemade alcohol, and no one has died of it. So far.

Tipping

Tipping is the norm.Romanian waiters are paid very low, as the owners expect them to get tipped.A tip is normally not added onto a restaurant bill.Try to tip the taxi drivers, the hair cutter, the valets at the hotel. Not much but any tip will make your stay far more pleasant,usually it’s 10% of the total bill.There are many waiters who expect to be tipped just because this is the norm and don't understand that tip should be given only in exchange for very good service. Tip just if the people seem to deserve.

Humor

Romanians have a very keen sense of humor, rather similar to the English sense of humor: very ironic and directly unto the person. Becoming the subject of their jokes can be quite irritating, as they have no sense of political correctness. They enjoy poking fun even at themselves, especially as a nation and also have a lot of ethnic jokes about the different minorities living in Romania, like the Gypsies, Hungarians or Jews.

 
Martisor day

On the first day of March, the Martisor day brings the symbol of spring in all regions of the country. It is the custom that men offer to the women in their lives a "martisor", which is a small decorative object than can be worn as a broach. What is particular to this object is that it has a string with white and red (white being the symbol of men wisdom and red the color of women's vitality), and it is said that it brings luck. In the cities, the "martisor" is sometimes replaced by jewelry and gifts, but whatever the choice, it still remains a courteous gesture for women of every age.

Dragobete day

Dragobetele is a traditional Romanian holiday with pagan roots, celebrated in some areas of the country.It is considered to be the equivalent of Saint Valentine`s Day (Valentine`s Day). This day also bears the name of Cap de primavara (Beginning of Spring), Santion de primavara (Saint John of the Spring), Ioan Dragobete (John the Dragobete) or Logodnicul Pasarilor (Fiancé of Birds).It celebrates love, in the time when nature wake back to life.

Christmas in Romania

In Romania, Christmas and mid-winter celebrations last from 20th December to 7th January. The 20th is when people celebrate St. Ignatius's Day. It is traditional that if the family keep pigs, one is killed on this day.Sfantul Nicolae's Day ( St Nicholas ) is celebrated on the 6th December. On the evening of the 5th December children clean their shoes or boots and leave them by the door and hope that Sfantul Nicolae will leave them some small presents!

Carol singing ( Colindatul )  is also a very popular part of Christmas in Romania. On Christmas Eve, children go out carol singing from house to house performing to the adults in the houses. They normally dance as well. The children get sweets, fruit, traditional cakes called 'cozonaci' and sometimes money for singing well. Adults go carol singing on Christmas Day evening and night.

Sorcova - New Year's Romanian traditional customs

On the first day of the year, on St. Basil day heavens are said they stay open and prayers come true, and beasts and animals can speak like humans. This is the day of ceremonials called the Plow and Sorcova, when people are wished well and prosperity. Newly wedded men go caroling the Plow. Last but not least, Sorcova is anther New Year's day custom, and it is the delight of every child. Sorcova is a twig full of buds or a stick decorated in colored paper flowers.