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Travelers in Eastern Europe have trodden the same paths through Prague, Krakow, and Budapest for years. But further east lies the majestic city of Bucharest, home to almost 2 million people, and the capital of dark, moody Romania. Recently, the country has begun capitalizing on its natural appeal to vampire fans. (Bram Stoker famously captured the rugged Transylvanian countryside in his 1942 classic, Dracula).
For those seeking something beyond blood-sucker folklore and empty castles, Romania is a super-cheap way to enjoy a slice of the Balkan cultural pie. And right in the heart of the country, its quintessentially European capital blends eclectic architecture; narrow, pub-lined alleys; and easy access to scenic rural destinations like Sibiu and Brasov.
1. Music-lovers will find plenty to do: frequent recitals are held at the Romanian Aethenaeum (pictured above), an awe-inspiring neoclassical concert hall that dates back to 1888. It functions as one of the main venues during the month-long George Enescu Classical Music Festival, held in September (the neighboring Royal Palace Concert Hall also hosts performances), drawing musicians and composers from all over Europe. Ticket prices range from $12 to $25 – a bargain, when you consider there will be performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and, of course, the home team – the Romanian National Radio Orchestra. Read more
At the 2012 World’s Spirit Competition (held in San Francisco), Platinka took home the Best Vodka in the World title. Believe it or not, but this spirit actually doesn’t come from Russia. It’s nearby neighbor, Belarus, is where this award-winning vodka is distilled, packaged, and enjoyed. If you’re really aching for a sip of the world’s best vodka, it’s only imported into the states in Minnesota and Tennessee. Planning a trip to eastern Europe? Here are a few things to check out in Belarus (other than the booze): Read more
I’ve recently returned (and am still recovering) from several days in Keystone, Colorado, for the 2012 Travel Bloggers Exchange. This is the third year for this growing gathering of travel enthusiasts, from travel bloggers (such as yours truly) to tourism bureaus eager to spread the word about their destinations.
Not surprisingly, a common topic during the weekend was the explosion of adventure travel – as well as where the next hotspots are. Here, a few expert picks for places to put on your adventure travel bucket list.
We travel bloggers adore making lists of where our readers should go in the new year. But let’s face it, every list, whether it has destinations or groceries on it, is subjective. Which is why, to lend a veneer of objectivity to this list of top family vacation picks for 2012, I consulted the three best-traveled people I know. Read more
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