I have visited Romania recently. My time there was a really pleasant surprise because my expectation was quite different from what I encountered.
It turns out that Bucharest is a lovely city, Romanians are very chill and I have encountered maybe one stray dog (maybe I was lucky, huh?). The architecture in the centre is quite astounding with the heaviest building in the world – The Palace of the Parliament – or frescoes decorated churches.
There are also areas, that I personally adore, of neglected old buildings with big potential. Areas, which when renovated would be worth millions, but still even now, one can feel the great atmosphere and soul of these places. I had the same feeling walking around Havana.
But, anyway, what’s your first thought when somebody asks you about Romania? The answer usually is Dracula. When I got to Bucharest, I even thought about going on a trip to Dracula’s Castle, because when you’re there it’s one of these “must-see” places. These trips are advertised everywhere. It turns out, however, that the castle, where they take you, has nothing in common with Dracula 😀
He is a fictional character created by Bram Stoker in his novel published in 1897. At that time, Transylvania was not even a part of Romania 😀 Over 200 movies were made and Dracula became popular in the traditional Western culture. Still, almost nobody heard about him in Romania until 1990. Since then, Dracula has been used chaotically and inconsistently (hence the trips to the castle which is 300km away from the location mentioned in the novel). And this is how this story got featured in the Bucharest’s Museum of Kitsch. Which I recommend by the way.
Anyway, isn’t Romania a great example of “fake it till you make it” philosophy? I wouldn’t know about those facts if I hadn’t gone to that museum. And Dracula is still the most famous Romanian brand.