If you had told me a year ago that I would visit Romania, let alone fall in love with it, I would have thought you were crazy.
I began my trip in London, the place I've wanted to visit more than anywhere else for my entire life. A couple of days, a long walking tour, I went to Heathrow sad to be leaving and, honestly, dreading the work commitment that was taking me to Bucharest for the next five days. Landing late in the evening, the dull orange sodium lights of the airport, the stray dogs running around outside my small hotel. My spirit was dashed. Romani was turning out to be exactly what I thought it would be.
But after a few meetings, our local hosts changed my mind. We piled into a European hatchback and headed north for five hours into the heart of the breathtakingly beautiful mountain region that includes Transylvania. And for the next three days, I was awash in an ancient culture, an overwhelming and warm hospitality and the kind of experience Americans seldom have.
When the weekend was over, I felt sad, but looked forward to going home... and nearly forgot all about my time in London.
Transylvania's do's: Stay in Sighisoara - the ancient walled city and birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for 'Dracula'). The cobbled streets make for nice walking and the location makes it a great jumping off place to explore dozens of small villages that are supported by the Prince's Trust. I highly recommend Viscri - where you should seek out and eat at the Cafe.