Sep 15

NATURE’S HOME – VADU AND CORBU (ROMANIA)

Many of us declare ourselves tired of crowded places, so tourists have started to seek other desert places where they can find peace and serenity, where they can lie all day on a quiet beach, in a hammock or in the shade,  without having to incur other disturbing elements.

Today’s destination is in Romania, on the Black Sea shore, where you will encounter two of the last pristine beaches: Corbu and Vadu.

Although it still is what we might call a wild beach, Corbu certainly will not stay in this category for long. That’s because local authorities have other plans for the future “newest resort at European level on the Romanian Black Sea coast”, as declared on the official website. The project includes both the beach at Corbu, and the one at Vadu.

So who wants to enjoy the wild beaches of Corbu and Vadu should hurry up before civilization takes over. In a few years, it’s very certain that things won’t be the same.

Construction plans have already been finalized and the project is available to anyone who wishes to admire and “marvel” concieved after the taste of the authorities and investors. What will Corbu be like in the future? Well, think of hotels and villas of four and five stars (goodbye, tents), marina for boats foodie (no more wooden boats), an international circuit of golf, casino, sports park etc.

But let us stay in present times and see what Corbu has to offer now. When you go there, you will take a bite of true Nature, which will be a true blessing for those who want to enjoy the simple life by the sea, with just sand and sun. Corbu beach is included in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, and from here you can make day trips in the Delta, departing either from Tulcea, or Jurilovca.

Besides the beach, tourists can enjoy other eco-friendly activities, including windsurfing, water sports such as sailing, diving and amateur sport fishing in Lake Corbu. Also in this area, if you have binoculars or a camera with telephoto lens you can admire some special species of birds, including the tern or the silver seagull. Nearby, on Lake Sinoe, in a simple boat ride, you will meet with spoonbills, ducks and pelicans.

From untainted nature we are moving on to history. Two major cities are near the village of Corbu: Histria and Enisala. The first is the oldest Greek settlement in the country, built in 657 BC and the second dates from the late thirteenth century, the early fourteenth century.

Corbu is located at a distance of eight kilometers north of Mamaia, near Navodari. You can get there by car, but it is recommended to choose your route from home, depending on the location from which you start. The beach is near the village of the same name, and to get there you have to follow the paved road which goes to the right, located close to the indicator that marks the entrance to the village. The access to services is not easy, and near the beach there are no shops, therefore, a complete and correct supply will save you a ton of headaches.

Photo source:

Picture 1: transilvaniareporter.ro; Picture 2: vacantacumasina.ro; Picture 3: blog.marianmocanu.ro; Picture 4: cronicipebune.ro; Picture 5: metropotam.ro; Picture 6: 4tuning.ro; picture 7: papacelll.deviantart.com
Sep 15

MOSCOW – THE CAPITAL OF THE POWERFUL OLIGARCHS (МОСКВА)

In the past 20 years, the symbol – city of the former Red Empire has reborn in a way that former communist leaders such as Lenin, Stalin or Brezhnev would not have ever anticipated and it became the world capital of Western-like “decadent” refinement, designed to meet the demands of numerous millionaires who are now spinning wheels of power.

Luxury boom

The Soviet Union is now long gone and Moscow – as we know from the past times of pompous military parades celebrating with glittery propaganda the Victory Day or the Great October Revolution, or when MiGs flown over haughty official stand, where leaders of the Bolshevik Party, with their backs bent down from so many decorations and medals, were governing the scenery – has transformed into exactly the opposite as the Communist leaders and philosophers had imagined it would be for eternity.

Ex-communist metropolis is continually borrowing the made in USA commercial symbolism: from KFC to the Hard Rock Café. Becoming a center of big business, Moscow – although it remains in a proportion of 70% a gulag of the needy, hosts successive waves of expats, but also the local oligarchy out of which rows of Forbes nominees are being regularly recruited for the magazine’s charts. Logically, their lifestyle expectations have changed and there are already plenty of individuals and clans that do not exclude cosmopolitan luxuries or even daily extravaganza from their way of living.

The Russian economic growth rate, higher than in Western Europe, partly justifies this trade boom of luxury goods, considered until recently one of niche. Besides legal affairs, in Moscow also bloomed an impressive black economy with sophisticated transactions, including weapons of last generation. And the beneficiaries of this boom – “les nouveaux riches” -, when they don’t buy luxury residences on the French Riviera (where more than half of the restaurants are already displaying their menu in Cyrillic alphabet), they invest heavily in their personal comfort, ready to shell out any price for whatever latest fashion caprice that, only a decade ago, it would have seemed unthinkable.

Why should you get to Moscow?

Because it truly is a very beautiful city, whose center can be compared without any exaggeration, to any other major European capitals – Paris, London, Rome or Madrid. In addition, although today the capital of the East turned into the citadel of the oligarchs and demanding millionaires, it is not “so” expensive: a night in a decent 4 star hotel in close proximity to the center should not be more than 65 euros for 2 people , while prices in restaurants and bars are surprisingly low; and as for shopping, the ladies will have plenty of surprises: in malls and shopping spots in central Moscow there are crowded the most prestigious brands in the world and the prices here are usually consistently lower than those of Paris or Vienna. If money is not a problem, in Moscow you will find the latest collections of famous designers before they get to London or New York. Besides all these issues more or less questionable of “decadent capitalist consumerism”, Moscow has a special charm build upon the symbols that provide its identity:

The Red Square. It is the heart of the city and should be the first destination to visit to sample more of the consistent flavor of the metropolis. St. Bazil’s Cathedral is flanked by the State History Museum, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the most exclusive mall Moscow, GUM, and one of Kremlin’s walls. Basically, here you have comprised the quintessential of the city: ancient historical buildings, relics of communism and symbols of New Russia, all concentrated in a few square kilometers. For a leisurely visit to all locations embodied in the Red Square you will need at least two days. To make it easier, take the subway from one of the metro stations in the vicinity of Red Square: Ohotnii Ryad, Ploschad Revolutsii.

Old Arbat Street. At first glance it looks like a combination between a hardly digestible Turkish bazaar and an alley in the historic center of Naples, but Arbat but has its particular charm: it is crowded with cafes, bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. The prices of the latter can be negotiated.

Bolshoi Theater. The price of a show is pretty steep, starting at 1,000 rubles, you can relax on the majestic fountain in front and admire the famous building.

Tretyakov Gallery. It is one of the largest and finest museums in the world – if you want to visit one museum in Moscow, you should definitely pick it up. Here you will find exclusively Russian art: paintings and sculpture the most famous Russian artists and the richest collection of ancient Russian icons.

Gorky Park. The biggest and most famous Moscow Park boasts impressive green spaces, promenades, statues and cafes. It is the most popular meeting and leisure place for city residents. During winter, most paths are decorated with statues of ice.

Photo source:

Picture 1: radissonblu.com; Picture 2: rubelli.com; Picture 3: almaty-kazakhstan.net; Picture 4: flikr.com; Picture 5: newmoscowtravel.com; Picture 6: youtube.com
Sep 15

VELIKO TARNOVO, THE CITADEL OF WALACHIAN KINGS (ВЕЛИКО ТЪРНОВО)

Long ago, long before the first known Wallachian prince to appear on the history scene, on the land south of the Danube, the Vlachs, along with Bulgarians, were setting the basis of Tarnovgrad, that was going to remain in history as the third Rome and the second Constantinople. A citadel of kings and scholars, a city where history was literally written page by page, a mythical place whose walls have broken thee egos of proud Byzantine emperors.

The chroniclers of the long passed eras called it “the most inaccessible and most beautiful city in the whole Hemus” and if we made you curious or if you want to see if we are wrong somehow, let your steps take you there. Certainly, you will have all the ingredient for an unforgettable  vacation.

It is true that in recent years Bulgaria has progressed in terms of the number of tourists and the tourism industry revenues, but simply walking on Bulgarian lands to convince you that this phenomenon is not just a fluke.

About Veliko Tarnovo you cannot speak otherwise but mostly in the best of the terms and descriptions, and that’s because Bulgarians were able to sell their past in the most efficient way possible – in a positive way, obviously. It is enough to visit the former medieval Bulgarian capital and we guarantee you that you will want to get back there soon.

Grandeur and humility are contradictory terms that paradoxically define this fascinating city on the banks of the Yantra River. It seems indeed an antagonism, but perhaps this is precisely the charm of this medieval city, whose heart spreads the perfume of the old times. The grandeur of a glorious past is felt in every stone of the great Tarnovgrad, that somewhat has the aura of an old giant that your read about in legends, or, if you prefer, Tsarevets – the City of Kings – all this is harmoniously blending with the modesty and simplicity of the houses that seem to rise from the steep cliffs of one of the biggest – if not the biggest – canyons of Europe .

Since the moment you enter Veliko Tarnovo, you have the feeling you stepped back in time. Narrow, winding streets, unchanged for centuries, cafes with a specific Bulgarian, Macedonian, Greek and Albanian flavor – some of them carved directly into the rock massive – houses that have been abandoned or suspended on the slope of the canyon and the fascinating artisans working in their homes with windows wide open so you can see their entire activity, all rather remind you of a forgotten past that you might think that it is possible to be brought back in full XXI century. But it exists and it keeps moving on undisturbed, and in Veliko Tarnovo almost everything there leaves you this impression.

Photo source:

Picture 1: getintravel.com; Picture 2: mytravelstock.com; Picture 3: mytravelstock.com; Picture 4: nikolatotuhov.com; Picture 5: andrey-andreev.com; Picture 6: temporatravel.com; Picture 7: commons.wikimedia.org