May 122017
 

Enter Pyongyang presents a daily kaleidoscope of the North Korean society trapped in the dynastic communism of the dictator Kim Jong-un and a historical reality propagandistically governed by the myth of the “besieged fortress.”

The touristic outlook of the video could not avoid details of the daily life impossible to translate into the triumphal fiction of the propaganda.

Tired faces and empty eyes are captured on tape as the citizens of the North Korean capital are spotted at the subway or along the nearly deserted boulevards overseen by the mammoth buildings of the brutal architectural style.

Video: Enter Pyongyang promotes North Korea’s tourism

Sep 032016
 

The best in-flight food services brings into traveler’s attention a couple of airline names:

Turkish Airlines seems to have an excellent reputation because their meals are served on time and are delicious enough even on short flights. Their catering company Do & Co is known for preparing some of the finest menus in the world.

In-flight meal (public domain photo)

In-flight meal (public domain photo)

Singapore Airlines is usually recommended for its “Book the Cook” service usually designated for First Class or Premium passengers. It’s like having dinner in a private restaurant at 10,000 meters altitude where lobster and caviar are always on the menu.

Culinary info from other airlines:
Low-cost air operators Peach and Pegasus Airlines are renowned for their delicious steaks and sushi.

The best wines are found on Qantas flights.

Air France offers a delicious menu created by the Lenôtre chefs.

The best US airlines in terms of food are Jet Blue, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines.

You can savor the taste of Greek cuisine with Aegean Airlines. The company launched recently a campaign called Closer to Greece, which promotes traditional Greek food.

Throughout Asia, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines meet the best gastronomic standards.

The best children’s menus are offered by Lufthansa / Eva Air.

Air Baltic is the number one when it comes to innovation as their passengers are able to choose the content of their menu.
Source: CNN

Apr 102016
 

The newest tourism advert featuring Romania went viral after being broadcast by the famed American digital cable and satellite television channel “National Geographic”. Millions of people admired the beauties of their country by watching the promotional video clip entitled: “Your weekend in Romania”. The video was posted on the social network Facebook on April 7 and gathered more than 2,610,000 views in just 2 days of public appearance.

“You have searched so many places to feel something totally new? You’ll find in Romania; where kings came to play, where Greeks, Ottomans and Genoese met under perfect sun. You’ll walk on beaches of the finest sand and indulge in luxury, likely Europe’s best. Romania’s Black Sea coast: Your weekend in Romania”, that’s how it sounds the description of the promotional material.

ORAȘE INTELIGENTE: BUCUREȘTI

Posted by National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mar 122016
 

Bran Castle is a magnificent fortress and an attraction point in Romania. It is located near Bran on the border between the Romanian provinces of Transylvania and Wallachia, along the route between Brasov and Campulung (Arges).

bran castle dracula castle

Bran Castle aka Dracula’s Castle in Romania

It is also widely known as “Dracula’s Castle“, the home of the main character in Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”.

As for Dracula, the fictitious bloody vampire count who delighted those keen on thrilling stories and sensations, probably everyone heard of it.

The writer who gave life to the notorious vampire used some historical references for his legend being reportedly inspired by the Transylvania-born Vlad III Dracul of Wallachia, a real life king better known as Vlad The Impaler (Tepes) for his terrifying method of punishing (impaling) the enemies he captured during the battles, many carried against the Otoman Empire invaders.

Stoker discovered accidentally the name Dracula while reading about the Romanian history, and liked it so much that decided to change the original name (Count Wampyr) of his hero.

Ancient house: entering Brand castle estate

Ancient house: entering Brand castle estate


Despite various claims that Stoker had little knowledge of the historic Vlad III except for the name “Dracula”, the author mentioned in his book about a “Dracula who fought against the Turks, and was later betrayed by his brother”, historical facts which clearly point to Vlad III.

So, if you want to get deeper into the fascinating history linking Dracula, Vlad The Impaler and Bran Castle, it looks obvious that you have to travel to Romania and start with visiting Bran Castle. Don’t forget that besides Bran, also other locations including Poenari Castle and Hunyad Castle, are connected to the supreme boss of the vampire world.

bran castle dracula

At the foot of Dracula’s Castle: sidewall view

dracula castle inside

Inside Dracula’s Castle in Bran, Romania (foxcrawl.com)

A piano in one of the rooms of the splendid fortress

A piano in one of the rooms of the splendid fortress

Just two comfortable armchairs (photo credit: foxcrawl.com)

Just two comfortable armchairs (photo credit: foxcrawl.com)

castelul bran dracula castle

Ancient furniture inside an ancient castle

bran dracula castle

Dracula’s Castle: medieval interior design

Great view: Overlooking the valley from the top of Bran Castle

Great view: Overlooking the valley from the top of Bran Castle

Rooftops and inner yard (photo: foxcrawl.com)

Rooftops and inner yard (photo: foxcrawl.com)

Back inside again: classic furniture (foxcrawl.com)

Back inside again: classic furniture (foxcrawl.com)

castelul dracula interior

Even vampires would be jealous on such a bedroom

Ancient, traditional oven used to warm up the castle's rooms

Ancient, traditional oven used to warm up the castle’s rooms

Vlad The Impaler: Mysterious Romanian hero at the origin of Dracula legend

Vlad The Impaler: The mysterious Romanian ruler at the origin of Dracula’s legend

vlad tepes genealogy

Genealogy record: family tree of Vlad III The Impaler (Tepes) @ Dracula’s Bran Castle

Mar 122016
 

Bear Lake (Lacul Ursu) is located in the Romanian resort of Sovata and boasts three world records: world’s largest heliothermic lake, only salt-water lake surrounded by rich vegetation due to time-deposition of volcanic soil and world’s only natural lake whose birthday is doubtless known with high accuracy: May 27, 1875 at 11.00 a.m. when a landslide led to the appearance of a hyper-saline geological formation.

bear lake sovata romania

Spa on the Bear Lake in Sovata, Romania (picture: Foxcrawl.com)

The Bear Lake was named after its shape which resembles kind of bearskin. It is located at an altitude of 502 m on a mountain containing a 3-km-deep salt layer. The lake has a surface area of 40,235 square meters, a depth of 18.10 m, a width of 170 m and an average salinity of 250 g/l. The lake is listed as a natural heritage of Romania.

Its hypersaline waters has unique properties beneficial for those suffering of various rheumatic, endocrine and cardiovascular disorders. Those under the therapy are recommended to have baths of about 20 -30 minutes (10-15 minutes for children). The slurry that is formed on the bottom is also used for various treatments.

The heliothermic effect (i.e., gaining heat from sun) of the lake was discovered around 1900, being determined by the “thermal stratification of lake’s saline water levels as a result of the uneven heating of these layers by solar radiation.”

lake bear sovata

Bear Lake appeared in 1875 when a salt mine experienced a massive landslide

“Having a lower specific weight, the freshwater stretches at the lake’s surface forming a several centimeter thick layer. During the spring season, the lower salty layers (1.40 to 2.50 m) are heated by sunlight up to 40-50 degrees Celsius (in late June). Due to its higher specific weight, the salt water does not rise to the surface and retains the stored heat till the middle of the summer season.

In the summer of 1900, the Bear Lake reached a temperature 71 degrees Celsius at a depth of 1.32 meter. In the coming years, due to increasing number of visitors, the water temperature has not risen to same value. When opening for public, the lake temperature goes as high as 50-55 degrees Celsius. In summer, the water temperature decreases gradually.”

Sovata is also famous for other tourist attractions: The Mountain of Salt (located behind the Red Lake (Lacul Rosu) and Green Lake (Lacul Verde)), The Aluniş Slope, The Black Lake (Sovata’s first lake which formed back in 1710 after the collapse of a mine) and Spring Ghera. In 1884 Sovata was officially certified as a spa resort.

heliothermic lake sovata romania

As world’s largest heliothermic lake, Bear Lake is a frequented tourist venue (pic: foxcrawl.com)

saline water lake sovata

Hyper-salinity: 1000 grams of water contain 330 grams of salt at Sovata’s Lake Ursu

sovata romania

Downtown Sovata (photo credit: foxcrawl.com)

Beautiful architecture and colorful design of the villas in the health resort of Sovata (foxcrawl.com)

Beautiful architecture and colorful design of the local estate (foxcrawl.com)

Sovata is a traditional tourist destination with plenty of luxury accommodations (pic: Foxcrawl)

Sovata is a traditional tourist destination with plenty of luxury accommodations (pic: Foxcrawl)

Wooden church in the spa resort of Sovata, Romania (pic: Foxcrawl)

Wooden church in the spa resort of Sovata, Romania (pic: Foxcrawl)

Mar 072016
 

About 20 kilometers north of the Romanian city of Alba Iulia, the nature seems to have formed a fabulously beautiful heart-shaped forest glade. The “special” heart appeared hundreds of years ago in the midst of 250 hectares of oak forest and villagers called it the “meadow of love.”

The magical landscape has been known by locals for decades and is located near Piatra Craivii Massif in the proximity of the Dacian fortress of Apulon.

heart-shaped forest glade

Heart-shaped forest glade (pic: adevarul.ro)

Villagers in Bucerdea Vinoasă, a settlement about three kilometers from the forest of oaks, remember that long time ago they used to gather in the clearing where they were singing folk music and dancing traditional “hora”.

According to local legends, Piatra Craivii hides the treasures of the Dacians, a special branch of the Thracians, who lived 2000 years ago on the territory of the present day country of Romania. The elderly say that those who have tried to search for these treasures, never came back. The legend also claims that even nowadays their screams can sometimes be heard in the heart of the forest.

“It looks like only the foreigners noticed the peculiar form of the glade, otherwise there wouldn’t have been any story about its existence. Locals did not pay any special attention lately,” said Traian Rusu, the Mayor of Ighiu, quoted by website adevarul.ro

However, Rusu argues that the gorgeous forest clearing has been existing in the current form only for the past 80 years and emerged as a result of deforestation of an area of ​​approximately 3 hectares.

Mar 062016
 

Poiana Brașov (translated in english as Brasov Glade) is among the most famous ski resorts and a crucial tourist attraction of Romania.

It lies at slightly more than a kilometer above sea level in the proximity of the picturesque city of Brașov in the heart of country.

Poiana Brasov

Poiana Brasov: street view (pic: Foxcrawl.com)

Despite being generally dedicated to winter events, the lavish mountain resort turns out to be a perfect place for leisure also during summer time.

Once getting in Poiana Brasov, there is plenty of stuff to do with the time. The tourists may opt to do a variety of things like visiting the beautiful area, enjoying a drink at one of the fancy terraces such as “The Dacian’s Barn” or “The Outlaws’ Shack”, or jumping in one of the cabins of the gondola line or the aerial tramway which will take them up the mountain where they can admire Brasov surroundings from the heights of the looming Postavarul Massif.

Just take a look at the astounding photos below and make your own impressions, opinions about Poiana Brasov and its neighborhoods!

Beautiful wooden church in the heart of Poiana Brasov

Beautiful wooden church in the heart of Poiana Brasov

poiana brasov cable car

Aerial tramway cabin: starting journey to Mount Postavarul

Aerial view of the glamorous scenery around Brasov

Splendid view of the glamorous scenery around Brasov

poiana brasov air view

The charm of the landscapes seen from higher altitude

The Carpathians spotted from inside the cable car

The Carpathians spotted from inside the cable car

lac artifical postavarul

Moving over an artificial lake on the way to mountain tops.

brasov postavarul

Heavenly scenery pictured off the mountainside

vf postavarul

Postavarul Massif is 1799 m high according to this sign.

cloud photo poiana brasov

A picture that is worth 1000 words: above the cloud ceiling

postavaru poiana brasov

Cloud view from the peak of mount Postavaru near Poiana Brasov

postavarul mountain

A perfect mix of clouds, landscape and Sun in the Romanian Carpathians

postavarul mountain brasov prahova

Prahova Valley as seen from Postavarul Massif

The return trip to Poiana Brasov via same gondola lift

The return trip to Poiana Brasov via same gondola lift

Traditional mountain cabin in the proximity of the ski slopes

Traditional mountain cabin in the proximity of the ski slopes

Almost at the base of the cable car station

Almost at the base of the cable car station

Poiana Brasov back in close view

Poiana Brasov back in close view


Photo credit: Foxcrawl.com

Mar 052016
 

Durau resort is situated in the village of Ceahlau, Neamt County, just 8 km from “Lake Izvorul Muntelui” (also referred to as Lake Bicaz), in a nice area in the north-west side of mount Ceahlau.

The settlement can be accessed via DN15, a national road which goes around the neighboring lake and the county road, DJ155F, an “axial” route that connects Bicaz – Izvoru Muntelui – Durau – Ceahlau – Bistricioara. The DJ155F traffic is restricted for a good period of the year due to landslides, but if taking DN15 from Bicaz city via Poiana Teiului, the traveler will first see a large 20m-high rock at the end of lake Bicaz before reaching the village of Ceahlau and finally Durau, a place famous mainly for its fresh air and the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.

lake bicaz ceahlau

Great view of Lake Bicaz from Ceahlau Mountains (pic: Foxcrawl)

Because of the clean air and quiet atmosphere, Durau resort is the perfect place to relax and escape the daily stress. Located at the foot of the pine forest and surrounded by beautiful scenery, Durau has a tonic-stimulant bio-climate that works throughout the year, and the resort has numerous accommodation options both winter and summer seasons.

The place is also a starting point for the best trekking routes across Ceahlau Massif to Dochia and Fantanele Chalets. The guiding routes are marked properly and seen as a main attraction in the local tourism. Hikers can climb the mountain all the way to the top, reaching “Ocolasul Mare” (1907 m) and “Toaca” (1904 m) peaks or admiring “Duruitoarea Waterfall“.

Durau monastery (pic: Foxcrawl)

Durau monastery (pic: Foxcrawl)

Another place worth to visit is Durău monastery which was built in 1835 and painted by famed Romanian artist Nicolae Tonitza who used colors diluted with wax for his artworks.

Summary of touristic objectives in the surroundings.
Ocolasu Mare Peak-1907 m and Toaca Peak-1904 m),
Duruitoarea Waterfall,
Natural Reservation of bison from Ceahlau Mountains
Nearby monasteries of Secu, Sihastrie, Neamt, Varatec and Agapia),
Monasteries from the north of Moldavia, – Humorului, Sucevita, Moldovita, Putna, Dragomirna, Voronet,
Bicaz Gorges, Rosu Lake, Borsec and Vatra Dornei resort.

Herd of sheep on Ceahlau mountainside

Herd of sheep on Ceahlau mountainside

A playful goat kid jumping on the back of the sheep

A playful goat kid jumping on the back of the sheep

ocolasu mare ceahlau

Far view of Ocolasu Mare Peak in the Ceahlau Massif

durau hotel

Durau resort features plenty of 2 and 3-star hotels.

Ceahlau Massif wildlife

A rich and diverse wildlife developed around Ceahlau Massif

A street picture from downtown Durau

A street picture from downtown Durau

Pension in Durau at the foothill of Ceahlau

Pension in Durau at the foothill of Ceahlau

Durau features plenty of fancy accommodations for tourists

Durau features plenty of fancy accommodations for tourists

You can not miss the famed Romanian tripe soup (ciorba de burta)

You can not miss the famed Romanian tripe soup (ciorba de burta)


Credit photos: Foxcrawl

Mar 052016
 

The splendor of Iasi city seen at night is unveiled in a remarkable video footage that seems to have become viral on the Internet.

Imposing historical buildings in the capital of the Romanian region of Moldova, including the Palace of Culture, Three Hierarchs Church, Golia Monastery, Central University Library “M. Eminescu, University “Al. I. Cuza”, National Theater “V. Alecsandri”, Church St. Nicholas, University of Medicine, Grand Hotel Traian or Philharmonic building, are all highlighted in the stunning short-movie via the “motion time-lapse” exposure technique.

Iasi - Palace of Culture

Iasi – Palace of Culture

Most of the representative buildings of the city have ages ranging between 100 and 500 years, beautiful architecture and a tight correlation with the history of Moldova and implicitly Romania.

What else should the eventual visitors know about Iași, sometimes also referred to as Jassy or Iassy? Well, Iasi is the largest city in eastern Romania and the seat of Iași County. Located in the Moldavia region, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859, then of the United Principalities from 1859 to 1862, and the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918. Known as The Cultural Capital of Romania, Iași is a symbol in Romanian history.

The hyperlapse video about Iasi was made by the owner of the website “alexursake.ro” and meanwhile the clip became subject of debates on the famous entertainment, social news networking service and news platform reddit.com.

And given the fact that too many words already become superfluous, I can only suggest you to watch the images below and …. “Enjoy Them” 🙂

Video: Iasi at Night: Picturesque Romania

Jun 192015
 

The grim story of the financial crisis that unfolds in Greece has apparently also a good side: tourist holidays to the Mediterranean country are all cheaper than ever!

Although avalanches of bad news about the Greece economy poured in, there are also folks able to see the half full side of the glass.

Rhodes island lindia

Picturesque view on the Greek island of Rhodes (Photo: Foxcrawl.com)

Tourists have plenty of reasons to take advantage of the situation and look forward to visiting the Greek attractions such as beautiful island beaches and historic places, given that holiday prices are seriously diving compared to last year and Athens is highly likely to become the cheapest city in Europe.

Particularly, the West European vacationers are the happiest with the new situation in Greece, despite the fact that rumors over possible collapse of the banking system or ATMs cash withdrawal limitations scares them to a certain extent.

By contrast to 2014, the prices of products that are usually consumed on the beach, e.g. cola, beer, ice cream and snacks, are lower now by 13%.

Discounts apply also to city-break sites in Athens. Various travel agencies designated the home city of Acropolis as the cheapest capital of Europe this season.

Unlike Amsterdam, Rome or Paris, the Greek capital has consistently lowered the rates of most consumer products such as coffee, soft drinks, beer or wine.

As for alcoholic beverages, though, Athens might be more expensive than Amsterdam only if the clients prefer wine and beer manufactured by internationally recognized brands. The local provenance can be indeed much cheaper.

Last time when Greece was so cheap and accessible for tourists was nearly a decade ago. The current level of prices is similar to that of 2007, and the rates continue to go down now.

For example, a dinner for two in Paris amounts on average to 100 euros in an ordinary restaurant. You can have a similar dinner in Rome or Amsterdam against 70 or 60 euros. In Athens, however, you can spend a quiet evening on the terrace just for 35 euro.

In addition, fears that Greece may exit the euro area under constrains to return to the drachma is again a false alarm.

To set up their own old currency system, Greece would need about one and a half years, a period during which they would continue to use the euro as their official currency, say financial experts.

Athena Lindia temple Lindos

Core of the sanctuary of Athena Lindia – temple to the goddess (Rhodes)


Acropolis of Lindos Rhodes

Enveloped in history: Acropolis of Lindos