Travel Blogger in Romania | Episode #3: Kirstie Jeffries – Venga, Vale, Vamos
This week, you will meet Kirstie from Venga, Vale, Vamos, the third blogger from our campaign, Travel Blogger in Romania. Originally from the United States, California, Kirstie Jeffries is the author of Venga, Vale, Vamos. She wanted to visit and visited Romania (more on her blog) after some of her friends told her about their experience here. Here is her story:
1. How long have you been traveling for?
I’ve been traveling since a very young age with my family, but my first taste of solo travel was nine years ago, and I’ve been living abroad off and on for the past six years.
2. Are you a backpacker/long-term traveler/business traveler or do you live and work abroad?
I currently live and work in Sydney. Prior to this, I lived and studied in Spain.
3. How many countries have you been to?
45 so far! I hope to see many more!
4. Quickfire questions:
Favorite season? – Spring.
Beach or mountain?- Beach.
Urban or rural? – I’d prefer to travel between the two, but urban.
Next destination on your list? – Cuba.
5. How did Romania find its way on your list of destinations?
A few of my friends traveled to Romania over Easter and could not stop raving about it. When I began planning a trip to the Balkans that summer, I knew I’d have to add Romania to the itinerary.
6. Expectations vs. reality in Romania
Prior to my friends’ trip to Romania, I never considered it a top destination, but I did have high expectations after hearing my friends’ experience. Somehow, the country still exceeded my expectations! It’s a beautiful country, it’s inexpensive, the people are great, and the history is fascinating. I never expected Romania to be one of my favorite countries in the world, but it easily is.
7. How was your experience with the traditional Romanian food?
I LOVE it! Because Romania is relatively inexpensive, we were able to splurge a bit and try a variety of different dishes. I don’t think I ate anything that wasn’t absolutely delicious. My favorite was the ciorbă de perișoare, in particular at one restaurant in Brașov.
8. How did the Romanian people seem to you?
We were there for about a week, and I have to admit the trip was a little too fast-paced to really get to know any locals. The people I did talk to seemed very friendly and happy, and I encountered a lot who spoke English, which makes it an easy country to travel to.
9. Regarding this, did you make any friends in Romania? Do you keep in touch with anybody from Romania?
Sadly, no! Which clearly means I need to return to see more of the country!
10. Do you have any funny travel stories from Romania?
Not really laugh out loud funny, but it was a bit interesting when we were trying to plan a stay in Sighişoara and couldn’t figure out why on earth all of the hostels were booked out or were insanely expensive. Then we realized that our itinerary had us passing through Sighişoara right when their Medieval Festival was being held, so we settled for a day trip there. We would have been very confused to arrive to hundreds of people in costume had we not done our research! It’s also a reminder of why, even if you want your travels to be flexible, you should plan your journeys at least a few days in advance.
11. Did you convince anyone to travel to Romania?
I’ve told so many people about how much I adore Romania. I don’t think any have had a chance to travel there yet, but many have added it to their bucket list. Even today I think I successfully convinced one friend to go there!
12. What is your least pleasant experience in Romania?
A restaurant we went to on our last night (in Cluj-Napoca) tried to overcharge us for our meals knowing that we were tourists. It was a very stressful situation and not the ideal way to end our trip, but you run into tourist traps in every country, so I won’t hold it against Romania!
13. Could you ever live in Romania?
Yes! It would take some adjustment, and I don’t know how easy it would be to find a job as a foreigner, but in a fantasy world, it would be great! I’m learning a little bit of Romanian through an app called Monthly, which would be very helpful for living there.
14. Do you have any pieces of advice or tips for aspiring travelers?
For travelers in general, just go for it! Stop making excuses, stop fearing travel, and do it. You won’t regret it in the slightest. For travelers to Romania, if I could do my trip to Romania all over again (which hopefully I will one day!), I would rent a car to drive around the villages of Transylvania. It’s a beautiful region, and there are a lot of towns that are difficult to get to by train. I’d love to see and explore more of them.
15. Do you believe in vampires?
No, but I do find Romania’s vampires fascinating! I wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month that takes place in Romania and features Vlad the Impaler, maniacs who believe in vampires, and other aspects of Romanian history. I don’t plan to show this novel to anyone, but it was incredibly fun to write!