Romania, one of Europe's poorest countries, had a very difficult transition from Communist times. The violent uprising against the Ceaucescus in 1989 and the harrowing sight of orphans abandoned to their fates in poorly equipped "orphanages" has coloured peoples' ideas about this large and undiscovered land.
This is also the land of gypsies and vampires - more preconceptions for westerners to take with them. Yet the land is very beautiful, particularly the Transylvanian Alps and the coast around the Danube Delta.
By contrast the capital city, Bucharest, displays a great many of the worst ideas of Communist town planners - although Ceaucescu did bequeath Bucharest the second biggest building in the World.
Romania still has a long way to go, but slow improvements are occurring - for the moment it is still a destination for the more intrepid traveller.
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