You need to be careful if you travel to Romania. The capital city, Bucharest, is a place where you need to be even extra careful. The danger isn’t crime or pollution. You won’t get gunned down or go hungry. No, Romania is a place where you will find friends that you never knew you could have.
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. – W.B. Yeats
Angela and I traveled to Romania in a big part out of necessity. We had been hanging around Western Europe for too long. The rules state that we can only stay in the “Schengen zone” for 90 days out of every 180 days. Well, May 29th 2015 marked day 90 for us and we had to get out. A month before, we booked a flight to Romania for no other great reason than the fact that it was Eastern Europe. We knew we would have great time no matter where we ended up and thought that maybe we could hunt down Dracula in Transylvania 🙂
As the time ticked closer to our flight we started doing our usual dance of figuring out what we would do when we arrived. We reached out on social media and crawled through the web. However, our opportunity would come in the form of a very lucky Facebook message. The owner of ABC Travel Romania, Roxanna, sent Angela a message about her tour services company and how the organization could personalize a tour to fit our needs . She didn’t even know that we were on our way to Romania in just a few weeks – pure luck.
The Fun Begins
We found ourselves searching for treasure on our very first night in Bucharest, Romania. The goods in this case were some of the lesser known gems found around the central part of the city. It’s called the Hidden Treasures walking tour and it’s put on by our new friends at ABC Travel Romania. The tour itself takes anywhere from two to three hours. You’ll be given an extremely knowledgable guide to point you around the city and answer any questions you may have. Our guide was Carmen and she was so much fun to be around (remember what I said about friends).
We started our tour at the meeting point Piata Romana. Since we arrived early we took the opportunity to grab a coffee at one of the local cafes. We had been traveling since 4:00am and needed the caffeine boost!
The walking tour took us all around the back streets of the city. Carmen seemed to have Google-like knowledge of every little place we turned. Angie and I even tried to stump her up a few times by pointing at obscure looking places or statues, but her answers came without a blink. The tables started to turn when the questions came our way. I think we held our own, but we would have some homework to do.
We walked around the beautiful back streets of the city.
And found some neat hidden pieces of the old city.
There were a few churches along the way. During our stay we witness an Orthodox baptism, a confession, and even saw a bride and groom!
As the night drew on we ended up in a local bookshop with a wine cellar. Love.
Friends Are Made
Originally, the tour and this post were supposed to be part of a trade off. We would get to experience some of what the company has to offer in exchange for some social media coverage, pictures, and this post. However, we ended up with so much more than we bargained for. This story and all of our experiences are now part of our travels. We have gone beyond a business transaction and made some lifelong friends.
Roxana and Carmen proved to be invaluable resources while we spent our time in the city. We didn’t just do one walking tour, but took part in two day tours. You can follow along on YouTube as we go Exploring Monasteries and A Palace In Romania and tour some castles and Brasov. Still, even after we were done with our tours Roxana still had the will to hang around with us. She kept us in the loop with what was going on around the city and even joined us a few times as we experienced some local culture.
When we needed some help she was quick to reply to messages with custom subway maps and she would even make phone calls on our behalf. Roxana wasn’t shy to talk to locals, ask questions for us, and generally get us to amazing places. This is how Roxana and ABC deal with their clients – they add the personal touch.
This beautiful chandelier is inside the National Theater in Bucharest. We were part of a small tour all given in Romanian, but we had a translator 🙂
The Personal Touch
Traveling to Romania with some new friends isn’t a good idea – it’s a great one. We saved so much time and pain by working with locals that knew their city and surroundings inside and out.
A custom little map that Roxanna drew up to help us find where we were going. Sure, we could have Googled this ourselves, but she did this in anticipation of what we would need. We didn’t ask – the map just showed up.
Having an awesome time in Bucharest by just showing up and taking in the sites? Win. Hanging around the city learning all about the local hangouts, bars, and restaurants? Win. The time savings alone are well worth working with ABC. Their tours are top notch and their people are the best.
The Fabrica Restaurant. A very awesome industrial themed place that the locals love. We wouldn’t have found this without Roxana and Carmen.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out ABC Travel and pack your bags. You’ll be traveling with Siri on steroids.
Sector 3, Bucharest, Romania