Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Unspoiled tourist spots

In 1991, a couple of years after the Romanians booted and executed Ceaucescu, I was invited to speak at a conference in Transylvania.

I got tour books from the library to see what to expect. They said things like, "If you're taking the train from Budapest to Ankara and it stops overnight in Bucharest, you may be tempted to get off to explore. Don't." They went on to explain that it was dangerous, boring, and there was no food.

Well, okay. Of course I went. I took lots of granola bars.

The current version of a travel guide began publication a year ago, and took another year to write -- it's at least two years out-of-date.

Communist Romania was awful. Capitalist Romania was still in the 1960's, but lovely. Plenty of food, friendly people, beautiful scenery, completely safe, low prices. No (other) tourists, either.

Well, it's still lovely, but it's developing and there are tourists aplenty.

Here, however, as long as CBS and the New York Times keep it that way, is the new tourist mecca.

HT: David Aitken