Until the fall of Ceauşescu in 1989, it was hardly possible to enter Romania. Tourism didn’t exist at all. Due to the fact that Romania was so isolated, the country nearly has not been changed. Just along the coast of the Black Sea and at Count Dracula’s Bran Castle there is any substantial tourism. In some areas tourism is developing, but never on al large scale. On the one hand it is a pity because the country has so much to offer: a stunning scenery and beautiful nature with the largest populations of bears, wolves and lynx in Europe, mountains and vast landscapes, beautiful cities, old monasteries and friendly people. On the other hand this lack of development turns Romania into a country which can be discovered by you. It is a country for adventurers. People who love a special holiday can eat their heart out in Romania, the unknown pearl of Europe.
Before the revolution of 1989, the Romanian people were very poor due to the policy of Ceauşescu to pay back their foreign debts as soon as possible. Since then the situation hardly has improved despite the fact that Romania is now part of the EU. A lot of EU-money ‘remains’ in Bucharest. Romania still is one of the poorest countries in Europe. An average income is about € 300,- or € 400,-. On the countryside many people have a house of their own and mostly without a mortgage. Thanks to Western-European charity you can buy enough second hand clothes in shops. Most of them are managed by a mayor or a priest.
After 1989 many crafty people tried to enrich themselves. The country used to be communistic, so no one knew anymore who was the owner of things. Nowadays people try to reclaim their estate, but the Romanian government discourages this and levies high taxes. Those who can afford it summon the Romanian State to court.
Romania used to be a cheap country but those days are over since they are part of EU. Like anyone else Romanians want to have goods like washing machines and a television and you can buy all these goods on installment. Nowadays most things can be bought in Romania and the offer is shown on the television. Surprisingly enough almost everyone has a television. This is a relict of Ceauşescu-time when propaganda was brought into peoples homes by television.
Until the year 2000 in winter you could not find any fresh vegetables. Because people didn’t have a freezer, they were home canning their vegetables. On the countryside most people have a vegetable garden, a pig for meat and chicken for eggs and some of them have a cow for milk. Of course everything is ecological and biological because people don’t have money for pesticides or fertilizers.
Wood, forrest, wine and water
On the countryside people heat their houses and cook their meals on a wood stove. Buying this wood is very well arranged in this country. First you have to negotiate with the local forester who shows you which tree you are allowed to cut for which fixed prize. Afterwards the plot will be replanted. You risk a high penalty by cutting trees illegally.
Romania can be considered as the green long of Europe and consists of forests amongst which are still many primary forests. In the south of the country you find any forest. There you find vast lands with tractors and combines that leave in the morning and return in the evening and yet worked only one track. In the south you also find the Danube delta, a beautiful nature reserve, full of birds and fish.
The country has many mineral sources and just as much sorts of mineral water you can buy. People wash their clothes in the river and many houses have a well of their own. In poorer villages the well is intended for all inhabitants. This is also a meeting point for the villagers. On the countyside almost no one has a shower and the toilet can be found in the back of the garden. In cities most people have a toilet inside their house.
Viticulture is widely developed in Romania. The country is one of the bigger wine-producing countries in the world and produces about 900.000 ton of wine. The wine is of high quality and amongst them you find also sweeter ones. The sweet dessert wines can even compete with the famous ‘Beaume de Venise’.