#TravelPost – A charming little town called Mons

EN: If you prefer traveling and visiting charming small towns more than visiting large metropolises, I highly recommend you to put on your map Mons, Belgium. RO: Daca preferati sa calatoriti si sa vizitati orase mici in detrimentul metropolelor, atunci va recomand cu drag sa adaugati pe harta voastra Mons, Belgia.

EN: Such a lifefull city, where time feels like it moves diffrently giving you the sensation of desirable tranquility. Since being named the European City of Culture in 2015, Mons has put itself on the tourism map. RO: Un oras vibrant, unde timpul pare ca se misca diferint, oferindu-va mult cautatul sentiment de liniste. De cand a fost numit Capitala Europeana a Culturii in 2015, orasul Mons a fost pus pe harta turistica.

EN: What to visit in Mons, Belgium?
Only strolling the streets can give you plenty to see, but by doing so you will surely reach important landmarks.
Like for example, the impresive gothic church of Sainte-Waudru from the 5th Century, must be the most striking church in Mons beacuse many compare it with Notre Dame in Paris.
RO: Ce poti vizita in Mons, Belgia?
Doar plimbandu-va pe strazi veti descoperi lucruri interesante si inevitabil veti intampina obiective turistice importante.
Cum este de exemplu impresionanta biserica gotica Sainte-Waudru din secolul al V-lea, una dintre cele mai recunoscute biserici din Mons, comparate de multi cu Notre Dame din Paris.

EN: In the center of Mons you will reach the Grand-Place, a beautiful square with terraces and cafés, where one of the most striking buildings and impressive is Hotel De Ville, the town hall. The common tradition with visitors is to stroke the head of a monkey statue located at the entrance of the building, which supposedly results in the granting of a wish but originally was only supposed to help pregnant women. RO: In centrul orasului Mons este Grand-Place, o frumoasa piata cu terase si cafenele, unde una dintre cele mai remarcante si impresionante cladiri este Hotel De Ville, care in prezent este primaria. O traditie a locului spune ca vizitatori mangaie capul unei statui cu o maimuta, situata la intrarea in cladire, deoarece se presupune ca poate indeplini o dorinta, mai exact ajuta femeile care isi doresc sa ramana insarcinate.

EN: You can not miss Belfry of Mons, one of the 33 Belfries in Belgium. Today, the tower is a museum and you can enjoy the permanent exhibition or appreciate the beautiful view from the top. RO: Nu rata Belfry din Mons, unul dintre cele 33 de turnuri Belfry din Belgia. Astazi,  este muzeu, cu o expozitie permanenta, dar poti urca in turn pentru a admira privelistea orasului.

EN: As mentioned above, Mons was European City of Culture in 2015 so that’s why to this day you can still find around the city impressive cultural manifestations, structures and constructions RO: Cum spuneam mai sus, Mons a fost Capitala Culturala Europeana in 2015 si din acest motiv pana in prezent puteti gasi prin oras diverse manifestari culturale, constructii si structuri

La petite fille aux papillons / artist David Mesguich (o gasesti in piata Franklin Delano Roosevelt).

L’Escapade / artist Oli-B (in gradina Gustave Jacobs)

The Passenger / artist Arne Quinze (sculptura de lemn ocupa strada Nimy).

EN: How to get to Mons from Bucharest?
Plane, train and this is how you get to Charleroi-South train station, more details in this post (scroll to the end). From there take the train to Mons (ticket 9 EUR one way).
RO: Cum ajungi din Bucuresti in Mons?
Avion, tren si asa ajungi la gara Charleroi-South, detalii complete le gasesti in postul acesta (scroll pana jos). De acolo luati trenul pana in Mons (biletul este 9 EUR dus).

#TravelPost – Antwerp and the most beautiful train station

EN: A train station is a place with great amount of movement, quite noisy, a transit area from or to another destination. But in certain cities the train station is a destination in itself, like the one in Antwerp, Belgium. RO: O gara este un loc cu multa agitatie, miscare, destul de zgomotos, un punct de tranzit de la sau catre alta destinatie. Totusi, in anumite orase gara este o destinatie in sine, cum este gara din Antwerp, Belgia.

EN: Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central) is truly one of a king building where past meets present, that’s why it is often included among the top of the most beautiful train stations in the world. RO: Antwerpen-Centraal (gara din  Antwerp) este o constructie in care cu adevarat trecutul se intalneste cu prezentul si din acest motiv este adesea adaugata in topul celor mai frumoase gari din lume.

EN: Antwerpen Central was built at the end of the 19th century between 1895-1905 and until present days it was modernized, expanded and adapted to accommodate modern days technologies. The eclectic structure has a steel platform covering the terminals, with present-day escalators and elevators that connect the four levels and 14 tracks. Than, the platform is connected with the stone station building, the old area. RO: Gara din Antwerp a fost construita la finalul secolului al 19-lea intre anii1895 – 1905, iar pana in prezent a fost modernizata si extinsa pentru a acomoda noile tehnologii din domeniul transportului feroviar. Structura eclectica are in zona moderna, o platforma de fier care acopera terminalele cu scari rulante si lifturi intre cele 4 nivele cu 14 linii. Apoi, platforma se continua cu partea veche, cladirea de piatra a garii.

EN: Of course, Antwerp is more than it’s train station. You just have to step out side and you will feel the vibe of this metropolis. Literately, just few steps outside the station is Antwerp ZOO, the oldest animal park in the country, and one of the oldest in the world, established in 1843. Pink flamingo will invite you to enter for a walk. RO: Bineinteles, in Antwerp nu doar gara este impresionanta. O sa simtiti vibeul acestei metropole chiar de la primul pas. Imediat langa cladirea garii, la cativa pasi este Gradina Zoologica Antwerp, cea mai veche gradina zoo din tara si una dintre primele gradini zoologice din lume, deschisa in 1843. Flamingo roz va invita la plimbare.

EN: Also, next to the station is the Diamond District, the largest diamond center in the world. Through here passes 85% of the world’s rough diamonds, 50% of the polished diamonds and 40% of industrial diamonds, that’s why Antwerp is known as the diamond capital of the world.

Like New York, Milan, Paris, London, Antwerp is considered to be a fashion capital, a hub for unique fashion labels and start-ups. Here creative young designers design clothes and shoes that you can buy in the fashion district with amazing shops and even a high street shopping centre in a former state events/ballroom.

If you are not into shopping for diamonds and fashion, you should know that Antwerp is located on the River Scheldt. You can enjoy walking alongside the river, maybe at Steenplein and just have dinner at sunset maybe at Zuiderterras / RAS restaurant that will give you a great view over the river.

Antwerp is the city that will leave you wanting to go back.

RO: Tot in apropierea garii este Cartierul Diamantelor, cel mai mare centru de diamante din lume. Pe aici trec 85% dintre diamantele neslefuite ale lumii, 50% dintre diamantele slefuite si 40% dintre cele industriale, din acest motiv Antwerp este cunoscut in lume ca fiind capitala diamantelor.

Precum New York, Milano, Paris sau Londra, Antwerp este o capitala a modei, un hub al unor branduri si start-up-uri de fashion unice. Aici creeaza designeri cunoscuti, tineri, creativi, ale caror creatii le puteti cumpara in zona de fashion a orasului, cu magazine impresionante si chiar un centru comercial de lux intr-o fosta cladire de evenimente/baluri.

Daca nu sunteti pasionati de shopping de diamante sau fashion, atunci e bine de stiu ca Antwerp este situat pe raul Scheldt. Va puteti bucura de o plimbare de-a lungul raului, prin zona Steenplein si poate o cina la apus in restaurantul Zuiderterras / RAS, care are un view de exceptie deasupra raului.

Antwerp este un oras care te face sa-ti doresti sa te intorci.

#TravelPost – One day in the medieval city of Bruges

EN: Initially, I wanted to write one post about Belgium, but once I started putting my thoughts into words and looking through pictures I realized I have to dedicate one post to each of the 5 cities I visited in this unique and special country. First Bruges because it was the first place I wanted to visit (and the only other city I knew besides Brussels) once I’ve decided to go to Belgium. RO: Initial mi-am propus sa scriu un post despre Belgia, dar cum am inceput sa asez in cuvinte amintirile si sa ma uit printre poze am realizat ca vreau sa dedic un post diferit pentru fiecare dintre cele 5 orase vizitate in aceasta tara unica si speciala. Incep cu Bruges, fiind primul loc in care mi-am dorit sa ajung din momentul in care am decis sa calatoresc in Belgia.

EN: Bruges has a distinct medieval air because of the captivating architecture, with impressive old buildings, like gingerbread houses, and more than 80 old or new bridges that cross over its canals. Bruges is often called the “Venice of the North“. RO: Bruges are un aer medieval aparte datorita arhitecturii captivante, cu ale sale  cladiri vechi, care zici ca sunt din turta dulce, si cele peste 80 de poduri mai vechi sau mai noi care trec peste canelele orasului. Bruges este numit adesea “Venetia de Nord“.

EN: What to visit in Briges? You can just walk through the narrow paved streets and you will be easily enchanted by colored and brick facade houses in typical style of Flemish architecture. Most of these houses have been turned into shops and impressive top list restaurants. There are 32 Bruges chefs recommended by Michelin, Gault&Millau and Bibgourmand. RO: Ce poti vizita in Bruges? Poti doar sa te plimbi pe stradutele inguste, pavate cu piatra, iar cladirile colorate sau cu fatade de caramida, specifice arhitecturii flamande, te vor cuceri cu usurinta. Majoritatea cladirilor au fost transformate in magazine sau restaurante impresionante de top. In Bruges 32 de maestrii bucatari sunt recomandati de Michelin, Gault&Millau si Bibgourmand

EN: If you get to the city by train as you head to the old city you cannot miss Minnewater Park. The Lake Of Love is the heart of the park, surrounded by trees, green lawns and dozens of white swans. Lovers believe that walking around this lake will bring you eternal love! RO: Daca ajungi in oras cu trenul, cum te indrepti spre centru, nu ai cum sa ratezi Parcul Minnewater. Chiar in centrul parcului este Lacul Iubirii imprejurat de copaci si zone verzi cu zeci de lebede albe. Indragostitii cred ca daca te plimbi aici vei avea parte de dragoste eterna!

EN: One step away from Sint-Jacobskerk – Saint Jacob’s church or Saint James’s Church – an inconic old gothic church, founded in 1240, you will find Bonifacius bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in Bruges. It really has a special vibe and maybe because of it’s location many say it is one of the oldest, but actually dates back to 1910. RO: Chiar langa Sint-Jacobskerk – Biserica Sfantul Iacob – o cladire remarcanta in stil gotic construita in 1240 o sa ajungeti la podul Bonifacius, unul dintre cele mai fotografiate poduri in Bruges. Are cu adevarat un aer aparte si poate ca din cauza pozitionarii sale multi spun ca este printre cele mai vechi poduri, dar de fapt a fost construit in 1910.

EN: Another interesting building, architectural and also story wise is located in Burg Square, the Basilica of the Holy Blood. The church gets its name from a relic said to contain the blood of Jesus Christ. RO: O alta cladire interesanta din punct de vedere arhitectural, cat si a istoriei sale este Biserica Sfantului Sange din piata Burg. Se presupune ca aici se afla o relicva care contine picaturi cu sangele lui Isus Hristos.

EN: And here we are in the main square Bruges’ Markt, filled with amazing & one-of-a-kind buildings. On one side you can find guild houses with rich and opulent architecture that in present days have been turned into restaurants. The way they were built meant to be an expression of wealth and power. RO: Iata ca am ajuns in piata centrala Bruges’ Markt cu multe cladiri captivante si unice. Pe o parte a pietei sunt casele de breasla, cu o arhitectura bogata, opulenta, care in prezent au fost transformate in restaurante. Modul in care au fost construite s-a dorit a fi o expresie a bogatiei si puterii.

EN: Also in the main square is the Belfry of Bruges. It is one of 33 Belgian belfries that are protected as World Heritage sites. If you go up the 366 steps you will have an unforgettable panoramic view of Bruges and her surroundings. RO: Tot in piata centrala este turnul Belfry din Bruges, unul dintre cele 33 de turnuri Belfry din Belgia protejate ca situri de patrimoniu mondial. Daca urci cele 366 de trepte vei avea parte de o priveliste panoramia de neuitat al orasului si ale imprejurimilor sale.

EN: How to get to Bruges from Bucharest? More exactly, how I got there 😉 From Bucharest Otopeni Airport you first take a plane to Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Search the low-cost airlines (Ryanair, Wizz Air) and you will find tickets at resonable prices (starting from 50 EUR). From airport take one bus (TEC, ticket 3 EUR one way) directly to Charleroi-South train station and from there you have train directly to Bruges (ticket about 23 EUR one way). RO: Cum ajungi din Bucuresti in Bruges? Mai exact cum am ajuns eu 😉 Mai intai din aeroportul Otopeni Bucurest te urci in avionul pana la aeroportul Brussels South Charleroi. Cauta la companiile low-cost (Ryanair, Wizz Air) si vei gasi bilete la preturi rezonabila (de la 50 EUR). O data ce ai aterizat in aeroport poti lua autobuzul TEC (bilet 3 EUR) in directia gara Charleroi-South, iar de acolo ai tren direct catre Bruges (biletul aproximativ 23 EUR one way).

Hope you get to see Bruges as soon as the world opens again. Kisses :* my darlings!

#TravelPost – Enjoying Venice and the Carnival of Venice

EN: Visiting Venice was on my list for some time now and I’m happy I got there this February! I wanted to see the city during the Carnival of Venice, to feel the energy and admire the amazing, colorful and mesmerizing Venetian carnival masks & costumes. RO: Sa vizitez Venetiei a fost pe lista mea de ceva timp si sunt bucuroasa ca am ajuns acolo in luna februarie! Am vrut sa vad acest oras in timpul Carnavalului de la Venetia, sa simt energia si sa admir mastile si costumele uimitoare, colorate si fascinante ale carnavalului venetian.

EN: Bucharest to Venice on a budget

Search a low-cost flight from Wizz Air. This is what I did and got a good price. I bought my ticket shortly before leaving and was less that 50 EUR round trip. Low-cost carriers land on Treviso Airport which is located 40 km north of Venice.

RO: Bucuresti – Venetia cu buget redus

Cauta un zbor low-cost prin Wizz Air. Eu asa am facut si am gasit un pret bun. Am cumparat biletul cu putin timp inainte de calatorie, a fost sub 50 euro dus-intors. Companiile low-cost aterizeaza pe aeroportul Treviso, la 40 km nord de Venetia.

EN: The best way to get from Treviso airport to Venice is by bus ATVO. You can buy the ticket from the bus drive or online (12 EUR one way ticket). A 45 minutes ride will get you directly to Piazzale Roma, to the entrance of the city on the Ponte della Costituzione. For sure you can take a taxi or train from Treviso, but the bus has by far the best price-time ratio. RO: Cel mai convenabil mod de a ajunge de la Treviso in Venetia este cu autobuzul ATVO. Cumparati biletul direct de la sofer sau online (12 euro biletul). O plimbare de 45 de minute si ajungeti direct la Piazzale Roma, adica la intrarea in oras pe Ponte della Costituzione. Bineinteles, puteti lua taxiul sau trenul din Treviso, dar autobuzul are de departe cel mai bun raport pret-timp.

EN: Accomodation in Venice

Venice is the capital island of Veneto region formed by a group of 118 small islands. Look for accomodation on Venice island because from there it is easy to go visit other amazing islands, like Burano, Murano, Lido etc.

I used Booking.com and found a great Bed & Breakfast on the island (~ 160 EUR/4 nights/person). Once there you can go to all Venice’s attractions by foot. No need for transportation. But in case you want to use public transportation you will see that cars, buses and roads are in fact boats/vaporetto, gondolas and canals conected by 400-plus bridges.

RO: Cazarea in Venetia

Venetia este insula capitala a regiunii Veneto, formata dintr-un grup de 118 insule mici. Cautati cazare pe insula Venetia, de acolo este mult mai usor sa vizitati alte insule uimitoare, cum ar fi Burano, Murano, Lido etc.

Am folosit Booking.com si am stat la un B&B (~ 160 EUR / 4 nopti / persoana). Odata ajunsi la cazare puteti explora toate atractiile Venetiei pe jos. Nu aveti nevoie de transport. Dar, daca vreti sa incercati transportul public, o sa vedeti ca masinile, autobuzele si drumurile sunt de fapt barci/vaporetto, gondole si canale conectate de poduri cu 400 de plus.

EN: What to visit in Venice? Canals and bridges of Venice

Venice has hundreds of canals and 400-plus bridges. The larges canal is Canal Grande and it devides the island into two sides. You cannot miss it on the map, it is shaped like a large reverse-S. So, even if you get to Venice without setting certain attractions to visit, just walk on the streets and you will stumble upon beautifull little bridges and one of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal: Ponte dell’Accademia, Ponte degli Scalzi, Ponte della Costituzione and Ponte di Rialto.

RO: Ce poti vizita in Venetia? Canalele si podurile Venetiei

Venetia are sute de canale si peste 400 de poduri. Cel mai mare canal este Canal Grande, care imparte insula in doua. Se poate observa pe orice harta, are forma unui S invers. Deci, chiar daca ajungeti in Venetia fara niciun plan, trebuie doar sa va plimbati pe stradute si veti descoperi poduri micute, frumoase, dar si cel putin unul dintre cele patru poduri care traverseaza Canal Grande: Ponte dell’Accademia, Ponte degli Scalzi, Ponte della Costituzione și Ponte di Rialto.

EN: Piazza San Marco

For sure, during your walks you will get to the city’s main public square, Piazza San Marco. Here are famous buildings such as Basilica di San Marco and Campanie the bell tower, also the tallest building in Venice, Torre dell’Orologio or Clock Tower in Venice, Museo Correr one of the most renowned museums in Venice or Palazzo Ducale, used as a fortress and prison or the Doge’s Palace.

RO: Piazza San Marco

In plimbarea voastra pe stradute veti ajunge in piata principala, Piazza San Marco. Aici sunt cladiri celebre precum Basilica di San Marco si clopotnita Campanie, cea mai inalta cladire din Venetia, Torre dell’Orologio sau Turnul cu Ceas din Venetia, Museo Correr unul dintre cele mai renumite muzee din oras sau Palazzo Ducale, folosit ca fortareata si inchisoare sau Palatul Dogilor.

EN: Churches of Venice

You will notice that there are so many churches, according to Wikipedia 139 churches located within Venice and its Lagoon. Why? Well, when the area was first populated there were no bridges between the small islands formed by the canals. Each small green patch of land was an individual village, so each island community in the city built its own church.

Being funded by wealthy merchants families who wanted to display their wealth, the churches are really beautifull, with amazing paitings and art.

RO: Bisericile din Venetia

Inevitabil, veti observa ca sunt foarte multe biserici. Wikipedia ne spune ca sunt 139 biserici in Venetia si in laguna. De ce? Ei bine, atunci cand zona a fost populata initial, nu existau poduri intre micutele insule formate de canale. Fiecare petic mic de iarba era un sat individual, iar fiecare comunitate insulara din oras si-a construit propria biserica.

Fiind finantate de familiile instarite de comercianti, care voiau sa-si etaleze averea, bisericile sunt cu adevarat majestoase, cu picturi impresionante.

EN: T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi

When you get to Ponte di Rialto you must go to T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, it is a retail chain offering duty-free goods such as handbags, fragrances & more, but besides shopping its terrace offers the best view of the Grand Canal. You just have to book online your visit in advanced otherwise you will not be allowed to go on the terrace.

RO: T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi

Cand ajungeti la Ponte di Rialto nu uitati sa vizitati T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, un magazin cu produse fara taxe, genti parfumuri si altele, dar, pe langa shopping, aici descoperti o terasa care va ofera cea mai faina vedere deasupra Grand Canal. Trebuie doar sa faceti rezervare online, altfel nu va este permis accesul pe terasa.

EN: Carnevale di Venezia

If you have the opportunity to visit Venice during the carnaval, do it. All the public celebrations, parades, masks, and costumes add a special vibe to the city. The origin of Venice Carnaval is not clearly defined, but I like this explanaition it creates a climate of anonymity ideal to remove social differences, everybody enjoys the same party.

RO: Carnavalul din Venetia

Daca aveti ocazia sa ajungeti in Veneta in timpul carnavalului, faceti-o! Sarbatorile publice, paradele, mastile si costumele adauga un vibe aparte orasului. Originea Carnavalului de la Venetia nu este clar definita, dar mie imi place aceasta explicatie: creeaza o atmosfera de anonimat care inlatura diferentele sociale, cu totii se bucura de aceeasi petrecere.