Hidden places in Istanbul

15 May

Last Easter, I went to Istanbul, and I would like to share some information. It´s not about the main places that you can visit, or the most important monument; for this you can go to any other travel blog or foro, where you will find, for sure, whatever you are looking for.

No, I would like to speak about some little places that we had the luck to find walking in the streets, this kind of places where all the people that you can see there, are Turkish. I think, that in some way, are more authentic than other places easier to find:

I would like to start with a little… let’s say bar, located in the stairs of a flat.

One morning, when we arrived to the place of the Blue Mesquite and Santa Sofia by tramp and with the feeling that this will be a long day, we decide to find some place to have a tee, before start to see the monuments. Walking around the tramp stop, in some little streets, running away from the touristic restaurants, we find an old panel with the publicity of Turkish tee for 0.5 liras (the normal price is around 2).

This panel was in front of the portal of a flat building, surrounded by other panels of electronic reparation workshop and different kind of little business. It was looking strange, but anyway we decide to try.

At the end of a dark and old corridor, in the top of a flight of steps, we saw a little table, next to the pipes of the water installation of the building. At the end of the next flight of steps, was the little kitchen where the boy in charge, was cooking the tee, as we saw latter, normally for take to the shops and restaurants surround.

So we take a sit in the only table, next to the pipes, and we enjoy a really tasteful tee.

Even if it looks not so good, I mean the place, the tee was really good, and the waiter was really kind. I have to say that we repeat the next day!

This place is hiding somewhere in those streets!

The other place that we found is located in the Asian part of Istanbul.

The touristic part is this area close to the sea. But if you walk a bit inside of the city, Istanbul reveals to you another face. We tried to see this face and in this way, we found a place for Kebap.

A traditional restaurant, with no English menu, the waiter tried really hard to communicate with us in English. The food was cheap and really good. The name, Dürüm Evi.

We had a great time there, and the people there, who wasn´t so habituated to foreign people, was kind and helpful.

Without any doubt, a place to come back!

This place is in the middle point of Dogancilar Street.


Păltiniş – hiking in the mountains in Romania

1 May

Păltiniş is the oldest ski resort in Romania. It was opened already in year 1894. And from all the ski resorts in Romania it is located in the highest point – 1450 m. There are lifts for skiers and people say it is quite a nice place for skiing and has good tracks also for beginners. I will not take responsibility for this fact though, ’cause me and my sister visited Pălitiniş in April when there were only very small piles of snow left. For sure are there quite a lot of hotels and hostels for tourists, which in April, to be honest, were completely empty. In the morning we were lucky to find a place for coffee, but sandwich was impossible and we were really the only people around…

According to what I experienced in Paltinis, I would point out the value of the place as a good start for hikes in the mountains. There are several trails of different level, which of course require a different amount of time. So there is a good selection for everyone.
I must say there was not a good map of the trails on spot, the one that i found was super-blury and unreadable. But the signs marking the trails on the way were quite clear and easy to follow.
We tried to follow two different trails – one in direction of Cabana Fântânele (appr. 6-7 hours total) and the other going to Poiana Găujoara (2 or 3 hours total). The one going to Cabana Fântânele (marked with red circle) was already in the beginning quite steep to go down but with a lot of nice views. The other one going to Poiana Găujoara (marked with blue circle or with red cross) was physically less exhausting, not so steep and the path was easier to follow. Quite in the beginning it crossed a small river and offered many picturesque views. Since on this day in April we were not really prepared for the hike and also didn’t have so much time, we followed neither of them until the end. But i still have the hope to go back one day and finish what we started. 🙂

It’s easy to reach Păltiniş. There are buses going up to Păltiniş from Sibiu 3 times per day (and also return, of course). The bus stop in Sibiu is front of the train station (the one at Piaţa 1 Decembrie 1918). In April 2012 one way ticket price for one person was 8 lei. Also, the bus passes through a very beautiful village Raşinari, which is special to see even from the bus window.
Everyone – welcome hiking in Paltinis! Maybe I can join? 🙂


A trip during christmas holydays

27 Jan

After the christmas time all togheter in the town that nowaday we consider like our own, Draganesti, i travelled with my uncle and my aunt in rumenia. The first step of our trip was Bucharest, city and capital of this country, that i never visited more than 30 minuts waiting in the airport or in a train station. The life of the volunteer is really busy. To go to Bucharest from Draganesti you need to go to the train station of the town, easy to reach with the microBus or by foot. There are a lot of train for the capital, is not difficult to find one at the time that’s more confortable. I took the one at half past eleven, it cost 34.80 Ron (about 8.70 euro). Most of these trains arrive to “Gara de Nord” but someone stop before in the station of Bassarab, that’s not far away from the principal one. From the station i took the subway to reach “Piata Iancului”, Square of Iancu, where my relatives will arrive from the airport Otopeni. There was the owner of our first appartament, Anelise Salan, a beautifuly and really kind women who helped us in various way. The appartament was at the 10th floor of a building not so young, but still in good condition. It was composed by one big bedroom, with a sofa that became (my) bed, a small kitchen and a bathroom with the bath. The style of the house was young, orange wall and floor on sintetic parquet, full of objects of the owner but really confortable. She suggested us to visit the city centre usin the subway or the bus number 311, that has the stop in the main street (Soseaua Iancului). Bucharest is a beautiful city, intresting in every point of view. We visited for first the “Muzeul Satului”, the museum of the village, a huge outside museum composed by houses and buildings from all parts of Rumenia. Unluckly in winter the buildings are closed, so we can enjoy just the structure of that ones and the natural park around them. Is not good to visit the city during the last week of the year, because a lot of public buildings and shops are closed. But this city offer a lot of atraction even in winter and a lot of places to eat. For the initial training Aixa accompained me and the other volunteers to a restaurant called “La Mama”, in truth a chain of restaurants, that seemd me really nice in the environment and the food. So i would like to do the same with my family, but in this same place I found a less kind service and a less good food. I can just think that is fault of the winter, of the few people who went outside in thease days. But i did not had my same first impression. The best activity for me is to walk, and i liked very much to go in the historical centre of the city, and also to visit churchs and ancient places. “Strada Lipscani”, even with its works in progres, is really a nice place to spend time walking or drinking a coffe in one of its bar and lounge. There is also the house of Vlad Teps, and some intresting ruins and building. We conceed ourself an exotical meel in a libanese restaurant, “”, nice in the atmosphere and in the prices.

The second step of  our trip was Drobeta Turnu Severin. This city grown up near the Danub, at the fines with Serbia. The travel time is of four hours from bucharest, so is better to have a seat on the train. The ticket for each person, from Gara de Nord, is 70.60 Ron (about 17.65 Euro). This train passed also to Carcal and Craiova, other two nice cities to visit. Our allocation in Drobeta was the “Pensiune turistica Europa”, a nice pension with good price and a cleen and confortable look. We had to take the biggest room, because we were in three, but there were other room for two or one people. The restaurant has a huge menu with different and traditional specialities, but a fact that i did not like, like in almost all bar of Rumenia, is that is allowed to smoke. And also a big tv is almos always turned on. Drobeta is a nice city, but for the last days of the year is a desert. We had problems to find a place for the “Revelion”, the big dinner of the last day of the year. The only place open was another hotel restaurant (our one had closed), “Hotel Bulevard”, but they asked us 30 euro for each person, for sure for a giant dinner, but too much for us. So at the end we ate a sandwich in our room (also difficult to find because all the fast food were closed) and about at eleven we gone to attend the public celebration in the central square. Avaiable were an ice skating race and a musical show. Another good actraction is for sure the river. Is possible to do some escurtion with the boat, but in that period not in the city. So we moved for a close town, Orsova, where a contact of Anelise still organise that kind of trip. To reach the town you need a bus, but the info about the timetable are not so easy to find. At the end we were forced to take a taxi, that from Drobeta to Orsova ask 90 Ron ( 22.50 euro). There, the owner of the “Pensiunea Steaua Dunarii”, Doru Oniga organized the boat escursion with other seven people. The climate was really cold, but it was a beautiful panorama. We saw the “Tabula Traiana”, an ancient marmorean table that sign the end of the latin way from Rome to Dacia, the sculpture of the king Decebal, really important in that zone, a monastry and two natural caves. In summer it may be marvellous to stay in that little ship, with the wind and the sun on your skin, with that kind of beautiful paesage. In winter is all just a bit more dark and cold, but is at the same a wonderful place. To come back is more confortable and cheap the train (12.60 Ron – 3. 15 euro/person). And from Drobeta we came back to Craiova, our last step in this trip. About two hours of train divide thise two cities. To reach the capital of the region Oltenia we spent 33.40 Ron (8.35 euro). We found the same situation of Drobeta in this new city. Shops, museums and restaurant close. Even to find a location we had a lot of labour, and at the end my aunt found an apartament, really modern and new but without the conforts for  a family. There were tv, stereo, internet, minibar and a really modern look, but they forgot the stuffs for the kitchen ( they let us just an absurd list of minibar prices) and the bathroom was really little and noisy. Also the table of the wc can’t be open so well!. So i’m not going to suggest you this appartament… The owner was really unpolite with us and the place to sleep was unconfortable. The city for sure is beautiful, even it let a sense of lonelyness. The nice place that we found was the city centre, “Strada Ioan Cuza” closed for the winter celebration. Is strong the contrast between the lightfull city center and the other streets, more dark and empty. Nice banks of candies and food animated the square, but the rest was sleepy and dark. I would like to visit this city again, maybe with more calm and in a different period of the year, even because i miss to visit the art museum and the oltenia museum. Is just a bit difficult to find a location. To eat, there were a lot of places, cheap and expasive, for all the pockets. Our last dinner in Craiova took place in an exotic restaurant “Sala Maura”, situated in an ancient building with an arabic stile, proper of the first year of the last century. Blues and Jazz accompained us in a raffinate dinner. The place is nice but i think that a lot of people are afraid of the prices for the magnificent aspect of the room. We were alone in the restaurant, and more than one time people look at the window and go away. At the end the prices are not expansive for ad occidental family, but maybe a bit for the Romanian population.

Come back to Draganesti is not expansive from Craiova. The train has to do just to station, for the price of 20.65 Ron (5.16 euro). I had to show my town to my relatives, the museum “Campieri Boianului”, the rich and fantasious houses, the shops, the school and the places where i spend my time. They liked Rumenia as i like it, so I hope that we can visit this country more and with more time, another time.

Website di Airbnb http://www.airbnb.com/

Anelise Salan 

Price for 3 nights, € 84.

The adress is: soseaua iancului nr 27. Bloc 105D, sc A, ap 54.

Website Booking.com: http://www.booking.com/index.it.html?sid=7147ba88427d63955e5a5ff412dbd49e;dcid=2

For Drobeta Turnu Severin e Craiova:

Pensiunea Turistica Europa

Bd. Tudor Vladimirescu 66

Drobeta Turnu Severin, 201000


Suite for 3 people, 2 nights, € 114 (470 RON)

With cheap restaurant inside

4C Company Apartments

Str. A.I. Cuza 9

Craiova, 200000


One bedroom, possible for three people, price for 2 nights € 70 (302 RON).

author : Satya

Did you ever heard about Brâncuşi ?

24 Jan

Place : Târgu Jiu

Infinity Column, Brancusi, Targu Jiu.


Târgu Jiu is not so well known by travelers in Romania. Most of the time, foreigners are forgetting this part of Romania in their travel plan. And if I can tell you something, it’s that you must go and visit this part of Romania.

The famous sculpture Brâncuşi was born in a village not far away, and you can visit this place called Hobiţa (easier if you have a car). About his creations, you must have a look at the three important sculptures placed in the town. First, look for the central park, just near the river, and try to find this entrance from Calea Eroilor with the Gate of the Kiss (it looks like a little triumph arc…). Special note for photographers : just chill out there and wait for the perfect picture, a lot of persons goes there, especially for wedding…
Then you can follow the path of the chairs. Look at the chairs, the stones and their forms, and continue the trip, you will see later..
At the end of this path, you can find the Table of the Silence, just in front of the river Jiu. You can follow this river to the North and you will find a house, built for Ceausescu, but now inside, you will find art expositions (closed on monday).
Then, you are ready to look for the most famous sculpture from Brâncuşi : the Infinite Column. It’s located in the east part of the centre, you can go there by the Calea Eroilor. You will find this sculpture after having crossed the railway.
It’s not so impressive from the beginning, but just go there, and feel this special spirit. I will recommend you to spend a few times there, just feeling and observing, taking pictures or lying on the grass…

So, for Târgu Jiu, it’s almost finish… You can have a walk in the centre, look at the old buildings, spend a few times with the fishermen around the river Jiu…

Then, if you want to learn more about Brâncuşi, you can visit his village, as I told you (and you can see some “little” infinite column in the area…), or you can visit the art museum of Craiova.

if you have a car, after this little visit of Târgu Jiu, I will recommend you to take the road to the Danube : the 67D. This road is in very good conditions, with asphalt, and landscapes or views are really wonderful.

How to get there ? 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Complete this part

Transport :  1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Whatever you choice, buses, trains, or by car, it’s really easy to get there. 

Accommodation : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Address :

In Târgu Jiu you may find hostels, but they are not so cheap. Try to contact antrec.ro or look for a pension around, I can recommend you this village called Runcu, 10 minutes by car from Târgu Jiu, and this place called Casa Bella. But don’t worry, there are several pensions in the area. 

Price : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

In Casa Bella, breakfast included, you will pay 20 euros for two persons. 

author : SebMénard


1 : very bad / 2 : bad / 3 : normal / 4 : good / 5 : excellent

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23 Jan

Place :Voineasa.

Voineasa, View from the church.

Voineasa is a city in the middle of the mountains. Former ski resort, there’s not so many things to see there. It’s more a question about feelings…
You may have a bus from Calimanesti to Voinesea. But the best way to reach the town is the car. The road is really nice. During summer, you will feel the fresh air of the mountains, with rivers and so on. During winter, be aware that the area can be really cold, covered by the snow.
Then, in the city, just look for a pensiune if you want to eat home-made dishes or if you want to sleep in a very comfortable place. During summer, we will recommend you the Pensiune Antunanela, where you can also camp. You can also just put your tent near the river and feel the wild side of Romania. You can go and knock at the door of Stefanescu’s Pensiune, before the last bend, on the road to the lake Vidra. There, before christmas and if you are lucky, you may have the chance to see the dead of the pig…
Anyway, if Voinesea is just a stop on your way to Ramnicu Valcea, take the time to have a walk, climb the hill to the cemetery, loose yourself in the little streets, discuss with a shepherd or a woodcuter, drink a beer in the main bar of the town, cross the old hostels of the former ski resort and feel this strange romanian way of building : something between industrial magnitude and traditions…

Pensiune Antuanela, Voineasa.

author : SebMénard

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22 Jan

Timisoara is a beautiful city in Western Romania, close to Hungarian border. By the number of inhabitants (around 300 thousand) it is the forth city in Romania. It’s a university town so you can meet a lot of young people there and in the city centre you will find many good places with good atmosphere to go out for a coffee. On the other hand, on Friday night it might be sometimes difficult to find a free table.
You can see the Piata Unirii, Piata Libertatii, beautiful Cathedral and have a walk on the banks of the Bega channel which runs through the city. During the time we visited Timisoara (in the beginning of January) we found a nice big market in the Piata Victoriei with many sorts of food stuff, handicrafts and much more. It’s for sure a good place to buy souvenirs and to try different tastes.
In the university campus you can find many good places close to each other for having a snack, a dinner or beer. I would especially recommend a place for pancakes called “Pinocchio”. For a good price (around 5-10 lei) you can choose from a big variety of pancakes (both sweet or salty, whatever you prefer). The place itself is quite small and maybe not so comfy, but for takeaway or a quick snack it’s more than perfect.
Another good thing about Timisoara (as of many other cities in Romania) is that you can easily take a taxi ’cause it’s not expensive. So even if your hostel is away from the city centre, there’s not much to worry about. From the centre to the outskirts of the city a cab might cost you maybe not more than 10 lei. It’s a good price, especially when you share with someone.
If you are looking for good atmospheres, I really recommend you Timisoara.

author: Eneli

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Poiana Marului, Zarnesti

12 Jan

PlacePoiana Marului

Zarnesti, view from the hill.

You are traveling by car ? You are in Brasov area ? You’ve just visited Bran Castle and you don’t know what to do ? You want to sleep in a very nice and quiet place ? Just go to Poiana Marului. From Rasnov, follow the road to Zarneşti, and then take 73A to Fagaraş, and just feel the wild side of Romanians’ mountains.

In Zarneşti, just park your car in some place, and have a walk around. Really nice during the winter, I think it will be also really nice during every seasons. People are really friendly, just say “hello” or “buna ziua”, and they will try to speak with you !

In Poiana Marului, little village between Fagaraş and Zarneşti, you will find some very nice pensiune. Just try by yourself to find the one that fits to your wish, and have a walk in the little street of the village or, if you are courageous, in the mountains arounds.

How to get there ? 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

This road is not so good and winding, but it’s really nice. If you are traveling by bus, buses are going from Raşnov or Braşov to Fagaraş, and also from Zarnesti to Brasov. 

Accommodation : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Address :

In Poiana Marului you will a few pensiune. They all offer a really family atmosphere. 

Price : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Prices are between 80 lei and 100 lei for a double bed room, with private bath and toilet. Of course, it’s not cheap, but you will feel very well in that kind of place. 

If it’s an hostel :

Rooms : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Breakfast included ?

Breakfast is not always included, just ask. Anyway it’s not expensive, usually less than 10 lei, and you will taste traditional breakfast food; 

Clean aspect : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

The place in itself : 

Complete this part

People : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

People are really friendly and if you are lucky they will offer you traditional drinks, they introduced you to their animals, etc. 

author : SebMénard

photography : AnCé t.


1 : very bad / 2 : bad / 3 : normal / 4 : good / 5 : excellent

Please, consider that all these contents are under a Creative Commons Licence : you can use these materials only for non-commercial project, if you attribute these materials to their authors, and without any modifications.

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How to feel romanian sense of hospitality

9 Jan

PlaceCarlibaba, at the border between Suceava and Mara Mureş

Borsa Pass.

There is at least one thing that you should have heard about Romanians : their sense of hospitality. And it’s true. I just want to tell you this little story in order to convince you.

One day, we were driving across the Mara Mureş, in the North West of Romania. Something that you can’t miss in this place is the Borşa pass. The road is really bad, with lot of hole, but at least with asphalt. And at the top, you will find a wonderful view, one pensiune, a restaurant, a church and some guys selling their handmade jewelry. This place is a good start if you want to have a walk in the mountain, at least for a day. As you can see on the photography, this time a big storm broke down at the top of the mountain. It was really impressive and the rain wasn’t stopping. We decided to take the car and to continue the road.

If you are going to the East, the next main village is called Calimaneşti. We were wondering ourselves where to sleep. There is an hostel in this village, a 4 stars one, quite expensive, and we were not looking for this. No, we were looking for Romanians. We parked the car in the village, and tried to meet someone in order to camp in a garden. And you know what ? The first family that we met offered us an entire and really nice house. It was really easy and we spent a very good night, warmed by the stove on. In the morning, the lady offered us coffee and a home-made cake. We took a picture all together, and they wished us “drum bun”, as they said in Romania.

What else to say ? If you are lost somewhere in Romania, just speak to someone, and a solution will appear.

Road to Calimaneşti

Calimaneşti Mountains

How to get there ? 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Take you car and try do drive on this very nice road. 

Accommodation : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Private place, just do it yourself !

The place in itself : 

There is nothing to do in Calimaneşti except visiting the church and having walk in the streets. 

People : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

Must seen :  1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

The landscape is the most important things that you have to see in the area.

Author : SebMénard


1 : very bad / 2 : bad / 3 : normal / 4 : good / 5 : excellent


Please, consider that all these contents are under a Creative Commons Licence : you can use these materials only for non-commercial project, if you attribute these materials to their authors, and without any modifications.

Creative Commons License
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