When in Rome-ania: My trip by the numbers

The customs agent scoffed upon reading my boarding pass. He thumbed through a few pages of my passport (which recently turned five) and gave me a puzzled look.

“I guess if you’ve been everywhere else, the only destination left is Romania,” he said, adding a fresh Barajas stamp to my documentation.

Spaniards have an aversion for Romanians, even when the better part of their gypsy population (and, therefore, flamenco, are of the same country). Many of the supposed criminals, and indeed residents of Spanish prison systems, come from the former Soviet country and their disgust in Romanians is far from hidden. Like my trip to China, I didn’t expect to have Romania at the top of my list, despite my long obsession with gymnastics and need to see every corner of Europe.

But my friends went, so I tagged along. What transpired was a great number of miles driven in our keyed but Soviet-strong Dacia and several laughable screw-ups. Here’s our trip by the numbers.

Hours spent in Bucharest: three. Hours spent trying to get out of Bucharest: nearly two

Size of the Parliamentary Building at the end of Blvd. Unrii: 270m by 240m by 86m, making it the second largest in the world, after the Pentagon

Year of our Dacia: 2001, we think?

Number of stray dogs we saw: Good one. Multemesc, Chow-sess-cuu

UNESCO sites visited: four, we think, which were the Saxon fortified churches, painted monasteries of Bukovina, the historic center of Sighasoara and wooden churches of Maramures

Number of times we thought we were in Ghimbav before we actually got there: two

Width, in inches, of Sforii Street in Brasov: 44 at it’s slimest

Cost of entering Dracula’s Castle (really called Bran and never home to Vlad the Impaler, or Jonathan Harker’s captor) on a student entry: 10 lei, or 2,50 euros

Inhabitants of Botiza, Maramures, where we spent two nights: 2,500 according to our host, George

Wooden crosses marking the lives of the dead in Sampanta: 800, all carved with the deceased’s most important life moments

Cost of an overnight train from Gura Humorului to Bucharest: 44 euros (154 lei)

And, it goes without saying, the amount of fun we had was immeasurable.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


    • How the hell did you got a Dacia from 2001 ? Did you rent it ? Are there companies using that ? U managed to get to Bukovina from Bucharest with it in one piece ? i guess not since you returned by train :))))) a lot of fun facts :)

      • Yes, we rented it, but I didn’t make the plans! And I only returned to Bucharest by train because my friends stayed longer than I did, and I had no choice!

  1. Romania was never a Soviet country, glad you had fun though ! .


  1. […] a Sevillian primavera. I spent Easter Week in Romania with my camp buddies, driving a beat up Dacia from one forlorn corner of Romania to another. I […]

  2. […] If you prefer good old-fashioned numbers and statistics to rambling, adjective-stuffed prose and photoshopped images, check out this post by Cat from Sunshine and Siestas who documents her trip to Romania in numbers. […]

  3. […] handy, or head to a hotel or tourism office. In a more memorable episode, some friends and I were turned around in rural Romania and had gone nearly an hour without seeing another human being. We pulled into someone’s […]

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