Romania has the majestic castles, medieval towns, great hiking and wildlife, and cheap skiing of much of the 'undiscovered' former Eastern Bloc. You'll be floored at how different it is, but you'll almost certainly see signs that it's chasing the dreams of the rest of the West.
Horse-drawn carts jostle for space against fast cars whose drivers are talking money on mobile phones; farm workers watch Baywatch on satellite in their medieval farmhouses. Romania is clawing itself forward, slowly and surely sloughing off the remnants of the Ceausescu era.
The transition is not easy, and for some it's downright painful. In the middle of the picturesque scenery and the headlong rush to development where the money is fast and the suits Armani, parts of the country are being left out. But in 1996 a neocommunist government was voted out and replaced by one talking about genuine reform, so the country is not without hope.
Facts for the traveller
Money & Costs
Off the beaten track