Sunday, September 09, 2007

Travel Tips, Romania. Accommodations.

The region:
  • Eastern Europe may not be familiar to you.  See some videos for your own orientation about history:
Romania History Part 1;
Romania History Part 2
Romania History Part 3
1.  Distances. Accommodations.
Distances are substantial between the Vlad sites, so plan to stop many times along the way.  For distances between major towns, see Romania Driving Distances
Most every town has several choices for accommodations.  No reservations are needed.  This idea makes some people nervous, so we include some possibles here.  Never once did we need a reservation anywhere in Romania, however, and all was safe, clean, and our choice of location.
Prince Charles sponsors guest houses.  There is also a new category of accommodations, thanks to Prince Charles - he has been fostering the preservation and renewal of traditional structures, and use as guesthouses, see Prince Charles, sponsoring Guesthouses, other preservation sites.
We enjoy the spontaneous stop, or seeing where we might have stopped had it been the end of the day - example Pensiunea Dracula at Cazare, see Poinari Citadel.
  • A cazari is an apartment, we understand, and a pensione is a rooming house. We did not stay here - it is midday clearly, and we had miles to go.
  • Why travel on your own?  You can find places like this, that most tour groups would not touch perhaps because it does not have those ridiculous stars that mean only conformity. 

Pensiunea Dracula, Dracula Pensione, Cazare (accommodation), Arges, Romania


2.  Overview map.
For a simple map of these Vlad II Tepes, Vlad Dracula, places, see
3.  Vlad tours:  beware that some tours may add filler sites to break up the tedium of buses going the long distances between real "Vlad" sites. How to choose a guide?
Tour guides.  Watch yourselves.  You do not make good diplomats when not officially on duty.  Is that so?  You get overheard anyway, including by local people. FN 1
3.  Counties. Regional highlights by time of year
See a map of all the counties, click and find the accommodations. There is also a side menu by town.  County map, Romania - Tourist Accommodationsin Romania. Many sites are in Romanian: go here for another map of accommodations,, and click to translate.  Cazari is not a town, it means accommodations.
FN 1 

Bucharest at the Dracula Club on Halloween. There were American tour guides there, on tour themselves, in a large group figuring out how to package Dracula tours. A "Romania" tour without the specialty would be better, with highlights for Vlad. We stand by our Vlad sites here as the most historically solid.
Some guides were discussing the long bus rides between sites (this is true - distances) and that they needed filler between, to keep tourists happy (probably true). Some tour guides also took pride in saying -- loudly -- almost like a brag, that they would never eat local food. With attitudes like that, especially so rudely said loudly, some of us would never take a tour.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

History, Culture. Maramures. Jewish history and Romania; from the Khazars?

Moisei, Romania. Memorial, Jews killed here, WWII

Sephardi and Ashkenazi, both, have long histories in Romania. Jewish history in Romania is laid out at this site through its overview of specific place names: See http://www.  That site is apparently now  Also see

Moisei:  the Jewish community was destroyed. Here, we saw it at dusk, up a slope from the main road, easily passed by.  Other settlements were in Brasov, Cluj Napoca.. Little trace of the old Jewish population now, but a ritual bath that had been built at Moisei is still being used, as a public bath. I try not to reuse photos, but for Moisei, here is the memorial for villagers slain in WWII here. The town is in the Maramures area. See the post on Maramures. We were on the way to the larger city, Sighetu Marmetei.

For a report on the holocaust in Romania, see http: //

I do not recall a differentiation or identification of which of the 125 families who fled Moisei into the forest during the incident of the German attack, and whose homes were burned. I believe the whole village was burned, and at the onset of winter. Some 30+/- were caught and killed, but no information on how many were Jewish. The killings were reported as Jewish-focused in sites related to Magyar references for Budapest - and a site started in with settlements from eastern and central Europe. See Budapest Road Ways, Magyar history post.

Origins, Eastern European Jews: This group seems to be descended from European German, Spanish, Czech, Austrian, or Portuguese?

Some say "Russian" Jews are descended from their own lines, Khazars, and are looking for archeological support to the other sources. See That reviews the book, "Are Russian Jews Descended from the Khazars," by David Alan Brook.