An Englishman in Romania

Photo cropped from an original by Paul Chiorean, used under the terms of a Creative Commons license. 

An Englishman coming to live in beautiful Romania...  What could possibly go wrong?

Did Dracula stalk his victims under this light?

Well, let's be honest, of course he didn't.  Probably because he's a fictional character and all that.

But still, a visit to Bran Castle is well worth taking; partly because it's a really interesting building (and allegedly for sale - if I find a spare €60million or so tucked under a mattress I'm having first dibs, I could see my self retiring there), partly because of the beautiful views and area, and partly because of the shops in the village at the bottom of the road to the castle.

I speak not of the souvenir Dracula keyrings and the like (although they are all, of course, available.)  No, it's worth it for the cheeses (I am the proud owner of a splendid Brânză de burduf, but not for long because it tastes fantastic,) for the incredibly morish Kurtoskalacs chimney cakes, and for the moonshine Țuică that can knock your socks off.

I suspect the Țuică can also be used, at a push, to dissolve corpses if you happen to need to. I wonder if that's why Dracula did set up shop here...

 

Anyway, here are a few snaps of Bran and Brasov generally.  Alas, my real cameras are all somewhere in a shipping crate on their way from the Isle of Man to Romania - but I'll be heading back when I have them!

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Random Observations on Moving to Romania

OK, so I promised to keep this thing up to date.  The problem with that is I find I have precious little to write...  Maybe a literary career is not for me - who knew?

But, as I've been living here for all of four days now, I really feel I ought to write something.  So here are some bullet points...

  • The bureaucracy.  Actually, not as bad as I was expecting.  OK, so everything seemingly has to be stamped (and given a number) by some mysterious official before it is valid, but so far so good; this opinion may change when I apply for my residency permit...
  • The broadband speeds - well, in Buc, anyway.  People of England, prepare to be very jealous; I decided the 500Mb/s was overkill, so I went with only 150Mb/s.    Combined with cable TV and phone service, the total cost is less than telephone line rental alone in the UK.
  • Speaking of TV - Balkanika MTV.  Music videos here follow a very simple formula. And what a splendid formula it is...
  • Crap.  I don't know what it is yet, but there's a lot of it sold in pots next to the fish in my local shop.  Will I ever dare to investigate?
  • Sausages.  I fear I am going to miss the British banger more than anything else.  On the other hand, Cremewurst for breakfast is a thing.

Most of all though, something I already knew:

  • The people.  As friendly as they are beautiful (which is to say, extraordinarily.)

So, that's first impressions done with.  I am going to get back to the untold and near forgotten pleasure of a beer and cigarette, indoors, at the same time.  Europe's smoking room is a beautiful place...

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Packing...

So, in less than 24 hours I board a plane for ostensibly the last time to leave my current home on the Isle of Man. A couple of days in London and then I'll be in my new home in Bucharest, Romania on Wednesday.

I really should be packing my life into boxes right now.

But I really hate packing.

SO instead of packing my video camera into a box as I was meant to, I instead discovered this video of Vlad the Travelling Bear leaving Bucharest the first time he visited, almost exactly a year ago.  He's on his way to Budapest on the EuroNight Ister sleeper service, but he'd already fallen in love with Romania - hence the move.  I just travel in his wake...

 

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A big move...

The one person reading this site who knows me...  Actually, scrub that, the one person reading this site knows that when I'm not updating yarki.net (which is to say all the time, given I never keep it updated) I work in the betting and gaming industry.

Now you can say a lot about betting & gaming (there's a good chance I'll agree with a lot of it) - but one of the great things about this business is it's truly international.  Last week I was at the industry's annual UK bonanza the ICE Totally Gaming exhibition in London's ExCeL centre.  Over evening beers on the last day the MD of the organisers proudly told me they had visitors from over 140 countries attend - a pretty good innings given there are only 193 countries in the United Nations.

So, it's in that spirit that I am making an international move of my own - upping sticks from the relative calm of the Isle of Man and indeed the United Kingdom, and emigrating to beautiful Romania - Bucharest to be precise.

 

So, lucky me; why am I bothering to write this..?  Well, I figure it's an opportunity to revive this site, maybe.  I'm not going to promise to start writing trenendously witty 'An Englishman Abroad...' content that will one day be serialised in the travel section of The Times - but who knows, maybe I'll get my photographic mojo back?  If living in the Paris of the East can't do it, nothing can.

So here's my stake in the ground - I'll give it a go.  And yeah, I'll leave the E6 article up, don't worry...

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