On 4 Oct 2005, we moved on north to Romania, another former Soviet satellite state. Romania is well known for the Romani people aka Roma or Gypsies to some.  These people are nomadic, live in wagons and are fiercely independent. History has it that they originated from northwest India and migrated west in the 6th Century. They are found all over the world actually, but mostly in the US, Brazil and Spain in that order. Romania comes 4th in population density of Romani people.


Some gypsies are rich with apartments of strange designs


The name Romania was formerly Rumania, a name change probably influenced by the fact that they were part of the Roman Empire, but officially only done in 1861.  They were also under Soviet influence just as Bulgaria was after the Russian-Turkish War. But now they are a member of NATO (2004) the EU (2007) .

100_1943 100_1957

Crossing the Danube

Palace of the Parliament

100_1965 100_1959

Camping in Targu Mures, Transylvania

…Dracula country

Nicolae Ceaușescu was the President (and dictator) of Romania from 1974 to 1989 when he was tried, convicted and shot by firing squad on 25 Dec 1989.  He had visions of grandeur and built the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest mid 1984. It was only completed by the new government in 1997. Total cost about €3bn. 

Transylvania is in Romania and that’s Dracula country, if you are into all that scary stuff.  We camped there in Targu Mures; fortunately nobody incurred the wrath of Dracula and we slept happily in our sleeping bags/tents. BTW, Ramadan also began on 5 Oct; so Sheikh Abas, Zaki and I had sahur that night in Dracula country.

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