Top Festivals

Every part of Romania has some kind of festival going on throughout the year, from international film festivals to country get-togethers where shepherds meet and locals sell their wares. Here are our favourites:

Snow Festival, April, Paltini§ (pi 22)

Juni Pageant, May, Brajov (p91) Tanjaua de pe Mara Folk Festival, May, Hoteni (p259)

Bucharest Carnival, late May/early June, Bucharest (p68)

Medieval Festival of the Arts, July, Sighijoara (pi 25)

International Folk Music and Dance Festival of Ethnic Minorities in Europe, August,

Cluj-Napoca (pi 51)

Mountain Festival, August, Fundata

Sambra Oilor, September, Bran (pi 00) Wine Festival, October, Chijinau (p338) De la Colind la Stea, December, Bra;ov (p91)

Romania and Moldova and beautifully interweaves history, culture and art with everyday people's stories and in the process shakes up some distorted notions the West has of Romania and Eastern Europe in general. His personal politics take the foreground at times, but this is a writer who knows the field well.

One of the more intriguing titles is Alan Ogden's 2000 book Romania Revisited: On the Trail of English Travellers 1602-1941.The author travelled

I I IINi. '.IAIIINI I Ii I p r Mi' I Mi'«iiunrt ili nun) in i > m IiiIIhu inn in 11 it- loolsteps of historical travellers, from lit» (Ii«I i millli like Leigh Fermor. Dacian, Byzantine and

. m ii. I., iiililully evoked in this gripping series of tales.

Iinhrl I muri ii i Ihii v Ali■ Standing - the Gypsies and their Journey i I i'"i, i ; iniii|ii. Tin .mllior spent several months travelling with the i I i hm I tuope between 1991 and 1995. The chapter cover-

111|> M.in looks nl racial attacks against Roma in Transylvania. This

• ill nlvi- yon .i deep understanding of the Roma and their culture, one vnii it unlikely to get travelling on your own and listening to the average I'iiniiinil*it's disparaging comments about them.

Highly recommended is Stephen Henighan's l.ost Province: Adventures Iii n Moldovan Family (2003). One of the best travelogues about Moldova, ll follows a Canadian's experiences teaching English in this forgotten country and is humourous and touching while bringing up astute, even disturbing points about Soviet cultural colonisation and the inter-ethnic tension he finds there. Incredibly insightful, it will help you make the most of your trip there.

There are very few English-language accounts of travelling through Moldova, but Tony Hawks' Playing the Moldovans at Tennis provides a witty but respectful travelogue account of the author's exploits pursuing members of the Moldovan football team for a game of tennis - all to win a bet. It's chock-full of sardonic observations and quirky anecdotes.

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