The Real Magic of Romania
Photo : Camil Ghircoias / Wikimedia Commons
Before boarding the plane to Brasov, I had no idea what to expect as Romania is portrayed as a land of mystery and magic in Australia. Most exposure to Romania comes from movies and television shows, most of which focus on the Dracula myth. A mixture of ideas including vampires, Gypsies, magic, and strange, upbeat opera (thanks to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest), all sprang to my mind. After my first few days in Romania, it became very clear that the stereotypes presented by Hollywood don’t reflect the real Romania at all.
As soon as I boarded my third and final flight to Bucharest in Amsterdam, my initial ideas about the country began to dissipate. Firstly, the Romanian man sitting next to me did not seem to be a vampire at all. In fact, he was a friendly gentleman, who helped me with my bags and seemed generally interested in why I was travelling to Romania.
After landing in Bucharest and picking up my luggage, another thing became apparent – Romanians love football. Waiting in the arrivals lounge were hundreds of singing and chanting fans, television crews and photographers for a Romanian football team who were also on my flight. While Australians love their sport, they don’t often cheer their returning, victorious teams in the arrival lounges of the airports.
Over the course of the weekend, my preconceived view of Romania had completely disappeared and was replaced with the view that Romania is one of the friendliest countries in the world. Everyone was happy to point you in the right direction if you got lost, explain something to you, or even show you directly to your building’s door, as my bus driver did on my first day. This friendliness made me feel safer than I ever would in some of Australia’s big cities, like Sydney, where no one has the time to help you.
One thing that Hollywood did get right about Romania was the magic, but the magic here lies within the beauty of the country and its’ people. From the deep forests, majestic castles and looming mountains in Transylvania to the sunflower fields on the edge of Bucharest, Romania looks as though it has been plucked straight from a fairy tale. The people themselves appear to be the kind-hearted, happy and passionate people living in Prince Charming’s kingdom, but there are no wicked witches or vampires in sight.