Posts labeled with Country ' Romania'

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Video Highlights – Germany – Austria – CzechRepublic – Poland – Slovakia – Hungary- Romania and on to Montenegro.



Nightfall in Krakow Poland.


The Route Travelled by Train.


Red For Train. Pink For Plane. Blue For Road. Green For Boat.

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Shot by TotalAdventure’s Blaine Zuver and Martin Zuver.



A an overnight first class sleeper train ride from Budapest had us arriving fresh and rested on the first morning of summer, June 21.


The”Dacia” Boarding in Budapesti Keleti.


Brasov – Romania’s Hollywood ? Brasov is the center of Transylvania.


Dracula’s Castle, known as Castle Bran, is about 25 km from Brasov. Building began in the 1200s and was added on to over the centuries.


A hidden stairway deep in the interior.


The modern day ( 1883 ) Peles Castle, in Sinaia. was built by King Carol.  It was built with electricity,telephones,telegraph and other modern conveniences.

IMG_7456A comfortable drawing room in Peles.


The Carpathian Mountains are quite undeveloped. There are a few small ski areas, with a long powdery season, rafting,climbing and seeing rare animals that are extinct in Western Europe. For many years only Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was allowed to hunt.


While forcing his subjects to live in poverty and half-starvation,Ceaușescu lived in the grand style of a Communist Emperor .An entire section of Bucharest ( not just a neighborhood, but comparable to the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Soho in London  ) in order to build the People’s Palace – the world’s second largest building in terms of square footage , just after the Pentagon. It took 18 years to complete – from 1978 to 1996 – 7 years after the execution of he and his vile wife Elena.


A chandelier weighing 5 Metric Tons  – one of over 100 in the building – constructed at a time the populace was relegated to one 40 watt lightbulb per apartment.


The Dictator. – “Genius of The Carpathians” was one of his many self-bestowed titles.


One of many grand staircases. Many had to be rebuilt several times in order to make him seem taller than his  short stature.


The view from one of the balconies from which Ceaucescu would never make a speech.


One in three adults were rumored to work for the Secret Police – the Securitate.


In a nautical mode.


In Nicolae and Elena’s villa – solid gold water faucets. Commoners were rationed to half an hour of hot water every other Sunday.


Modern radio – circa 1988.

5pp 3pp

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This evening TotalAdventure departs Miami, flying to Munich via London. From Bavaria we go by train through Austria,Czech Republic,Poland,Slovakia, the Carpathian Mountains in Romania , the Balkans in Bulgaria, Bosnia,Serbia,Croatia and Montenegro, arriving in Turkey by ship.


Tonight’s Route.

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As I was getting ready to leave Debrecen, Hungary , I met a  group of backpackers checking into the hotel. When they found out I was going to Romania – from where they had just returned – they warned me to stock up on food – the markets there were almost empty – the only meager supplies reserved for citizens with ration cards. Though the evil Dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and his vile wife Elena had been overthrown and executed 9 months before, Romania was still struggling to begin a market economy.

I boarded a night train from Debrecen. During the night we were awakened by the Romanian border guards who stamped a visa into my passport. Clocks were turned an hour ahead

Dawn broke over an endless wasteland of factories and slag heaps of coal.

Around 8 AM the train arrived in the beautiful Medieval town of Sighisoara, Transylvania – where Count Dracula once reigned.

My hotel – The Steara .  After walking though the desolate,beautiful streets, reminiscent of 1910, it was a culture shock to see MTV Europe on a satellite TV in the lobby – playing DJ Jazzy Jeff’s  “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand ”  – featuring spoled American teenagers riding their parent’s Cadillac through Beverly Hills.  Romanian kids certainly did not undersand – what they were complaining about.

Dinner in my room that night – with food bought in from Hungary – sardines,bread,cheese,Mongolian Vodka. Currency – Romanian Lei is on the table.

Lining up for meat.  I didn’t see any, but perhaps they were expecting a delivery.

Window shopping behind the recently collapsed Iron Curtain.

A Gypsy Woman selling wooden spoons. I was compelled to buy one after she was about to give me the Evil Eye. Most Gypsy women do not want their picture taken as it  ” Steals the Soul ”  and will cast a curse upon the photographer. I was reprieved.

Many people were reluctant to speak to foreigners. Under  Ceaucescu’s Securitate – all contact with outsiders was to be reported within 24 hours under pain of being sent to a labor camp.

FInally , some food – fresh melons.

Roma in the marketplace – mostly selling off household items for cash.

The most common form of transportation in Sighisoara. 20 years later Romania is a modern market economy, but the evils of Communism will never be forgotten. After two days in Romania, it was time to return to New York. I boarded an overnight train to Belgrade Yugoslavia , where I could not leave the station because I did not have a visa – and then on to Vienna to catch a flight Stateside.

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In October of 1990, just after official German Reunification, I traveled from Berlin, in the former East Germany, to Czechoslovakia ( now two nations) ,Poland,Hungary and Romania. While today the Eastern countries are much a part of the modern world, the East 20 years ago was a group of lands newly awakened from a long and stifling slumber.

In the next few days, ArcticTropic will feature a photo series  – Eastern Europe at the Fall Of Communism – to be interspersed with our regular adventure news and updates. Eastern European travel at the time was an adventurous undertaking, given the lack of infrastructure, the lack of any understanding of tourism and the unfamiliarity of many people with the outside world.

Mar 23rd
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Romania has great hunting and trekking in the Carpathians . Many villages have the old feel of Middle Europa before the World Wars.