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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Who Knew.... Miscellaneous Things We Learned Along The Way

Brasov, Romenia
Best pizza: in a small pizzeria in Bucharest: thin crust, hand made, tasty. $4 for a large one.
Worst pizza: in Emmen, Netherlands. Ordered the pepperoni pizza but had no pepperoni on it at all!

Who knew people are still allowed to smoke in restaurants, coffee shops and all public places in Romania. 

Who knew that Romanian is very, very similar to Italian. They sound and gesture just like Italians and the words look very similar, ‘formaggio is cheese’, etc.

Did you know that both Romania and Czech Republic do not use euros (yet)? The first has ‘leis’ or RON, the latter uses Czech koruna.

Bran Castle in Romania apparently stood model for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The author was never there but the castle is now famous as Dracula’s castle and you can buy bloodsoaked vampire teeth in the gift shop. I bought a hand embroidered blouse instead, as my Romanian souvenir.

If you travel on trains in The Netherlands you can select the ‘Silence’ car where conversations and cell phones are not allowed. A real treat, especially after spending 3 hours on a train in Romania next to two ladies who rattled like absolute waterfalls, nonstop.

Bakeries in Czech Republic and Romania produce breads, croissants and pastries second to none. 

The Romanian railway system (especially the rolling material) reminded me exactly of the Märklin model train designs I had as a boy 60 years ago. 
Watch out when getting into a taxi in Romania. The fare per kilometer is noted on the fender outside of the taxi. But fares (per kilometer) differ between companies by as much as 400%. Check before you get in any taxi.

The Czech Republic is very ‘western’, modern and clean. Romania is still stuck in the 20th, or even 19th century with a broken down infrastructure. Prague has many beautiful old buildings which have been restored and are maintained. Bucharest too, has many old buildings but unfortunately not many are maintained and allowed to disintegrate. 

Compared to North American standards the food is excellent and cheap both in the Czech Republic as well as Romania.

Who knew that the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heyn is all over here, too? ‘Albert’ was the supermarket of choice in Czech Republic. C & A clothing stores are everywhere too. And Starbucks carries ‘stroopwafels.’ Let’s hope that those wonderful syrup wafers will reach North American Starbucks, too, soon.

Who knew we couldn't afford to eat in Brussels' restaurants? Coffee alone is double from what we've seen so far.

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