Did I mention bears?
There's not so many bear warnings in Brasov as Sinaia, but you are probably even more likely to encounter one here than in the mountains. That's because they've become accustomed to the easy life of rummaging through human trash. I saw quite a few overturned trash bins on the outskirts of the city, in the forests, and would see city workers coming each day to tidy up the mess, reset the bin, and hope to discourage the bears from returning.
Just last year a 20 year old man was ripped to shreds by a foraging female bear, just 500m from the city center. The bear tried to drag his body into the woods, but gave up. And in 2004 a rabid bear went crazy in a forest on the edge of the city, killing two and injuring six others. Don't let that scare you - bear attacks are very rare and they usually run away. That's even if you see one, which is unlikely. But people living on the edge of Brasov aren't totally unaccustomed to sighting one nose-deep in their trash, or even wandering inside their home.
As The Times reported:
"One day I got a call from a person who said: 'there’s a polar bear in my pantry'," says one hunter in the area. Upon arriving at the flat, he found a female bear covered in flour, after having apparently raided the larder.
If you still don't think that bears are really about, you can always take one of the dubious "bear tours", which will take you to some of the most popular bear haunts around the waste dumps and land fills on the city limits. Romania is home to half of Europe's brown bears, and most of them live in this part of the country. So you've got a good chance of seeing one if you look in the right places.
Don't change money in the Exchange Office
I would recommend you to use your card. If you really need to change money, do this in a bank, even if you'll spend a bit more time for this.
Otherwise you will assume some risks.
I did it once and the exchange office "forgot" to tell me about their taxes... I have lost a lot of money and... in this way I am paying them back for this.
Take care about your money.
If you'll have any problems with any exchange office, call the free number 0800080999.
This is the number of "Protectia Consumatorilor"- "Consumer Protection" and you can make there all the complains.
Safe, Friendly and Relaxed
I found all areas of Brasov to be safe, friendly and relaxed. I'd heard stories about Romania, including Brasov, and none of them painted a very nice picture. But Brasov, and to be honest all the other places I visited, were absolutely fine. People were all smiling and friendly, and the only group of drunks I saw were some visiting Hungarian lads, and they were all smiling and laughing too. The only thing I worried about at night were the bears.
The station still has a bit of a reputation, but there was a strong police presence. The local paper reported that they'd recently cracked down on nuisances in the station, in particular the "casa" women who offer rooms to people getting off the trains. Not exactly a major problem, and now not a problem at all.
So Brasov felt more than just Germanic in its looks, it also felt Germanically clean and safe.
Romania has one of the highest stray dog population in the world.
This was caused during Ceausescu's dictatorship when private houses were destoyed and replaced by apartment blocks. People left their dogs on the streets where they propagated quite quickly.
You will see them even in the city centre and some of them might look quite cute.
When I once looked at one with a smile he followed us for about 10 minutes from Poarta Schei to the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church. At times it even looked like he wanted to lead us to the church.
Anyway, stray dogs can also be quite aggressive, so always take care.
- Budget Travel
The doves are everywhere...
The doves are everywhere, on the Square, and they get feed by the many tourists that come here.
They are maybe too numerous, and too insistent, but many people like them.
The children are so passionate to see, and to give food to the numerous birds.
- Family Travel
Beware of the pickpockets and scam artists!
Like in any other Romanian town, beware of people who stop you on the street for any reason! The only locals that were interested in talking with us on the streets where the ones who were trying to steel or beg money.
Sad as it may sound, according to my personal one-week experience in Romania, that’s how it is..
Kismet dao hostel
The Kismet dao hostel, formerly Elvis villas.
This hostel was gungy, but all we could find. what was disturbing
about it was the owner, an american-korean. In his leaflet he used language
such as "scum" refering to Romanians who tout for you to stay with them
and he also offered "buttock massages", which we took as a joke, but we
found out from others staying there that he did in fact try this on with
females staying there, to males he would make it into a joke. Basically
the guy was a pervertit seems. We also heard a tale that there were two way mirrors
in the bathroom, how true that is i do not know.
The hotel was also full of notices pinned on walls, some of a lewd nature
others calling his neighbours scum and threats of violence towards them.
He kept out of my way pretty much, but my girlfriend said she felt uneasy
around him, his eyes were everywhere.
Breakfast consisted of a stale piece of bread and a cup of un-drinkable
coffee. No toilet paper in the toilets, bed linen was dirty.
All in all we couldnt wait to get away.
- Budget Travel
- Women's Travel
- Skiing and Boarding
STOP! STOP, I SAY!!
Here I am, telling the photographer to stop taking pictures of me and start concentrating on her work! If you're not careful, tourists will take pictures of anything! (Although I AM very photogenic don't you think?!)
Oh, and by the way, please don't try to take a snap of the dancing bear--not only will the man insist on charging you but it is cruel to the bear who is constantly kept chained and treated very poorly.
Abandoned dogs on the street
On the streets of Brasov, you can see a lot of stray dogs.
This is sadness for the poor animals, but the people feed them and are friendly to them.
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