Breaking up my journey to Moldova
My time in Romania was coming to an end. Iași, Romania's second largest city was my last stop in this country. It is a student city, but definitely not a city where there are many tourists. The train ride from București to there took 8 hours and the train resembled a sauna. It was heated up and totally crowded. Fortunately I had reserved a seat.
I had a great guest house where the owner picked me up from the train station, but he asked me what I wanted to do in this city, because he told me that there was absolutely nothing here.
A beautiful palace - but that's it!
Well, he was almost right. Iași, is a stop I could have done without. But I wanted to split my trip to Moldova and Iași is the last bigger city before the border.
The most beautiful thing in the city I found definitely the Palace of Culture. It is a neo-gothic, extravagant architectural work of art and an iconic building from the early 20th century. The palace is one of the biggest buildings in the whole country, it covers an area of 34.000 m². The building has an amazing 298 rooms and 128 windows.
There are also some beautiful churches, but that's almost all. Unfortunately, the next day a heavy rain surprised me while I wanted to see the city. It was the first autumnal and really bad day of my trip! My mild cold, which I had been carrying around for a few days, didn't get any better. I left the city after 2 nights.
Summary of my stay in Romania
Romania is a country to which I NOT intend to go back to. The Romanians are the most unwelcome people I have visited so far and one doesn't really believe that they enjoy foreigners being interested in their country - with exceptions like my friend Victor from Constanța. Yet, tourism could certainly fill the tight state budget. Bulgaria does a good job in terms of tourism. Their parks and seaside resorts are more beautiful and better maintained, and the food is also better. The southern neighbour makes much more of its potential than Romania. For example there's a lot of beautiful hikes you could do in the dense forests of Romania but the touristic infrastructure is so poorly organized that you have trouble even getting there.
The positive exception is the small hippie rock 'n' roll village Vama Veche, which is really unique in its atmosphere. I also liked Brasov and Rasnov with the dense primeval forests in the background and their medieval buildings.