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10 august 2011

Interview: Nomadic Matt on Romania

nomadic matt kepnesTravel blog A-lister Nomadic Matt (Matthew Kepnes) recently visited Romania. We took this opportunity to ask him a few questions. (versiunea in limba romana aici)

· Which (if any) preconceptions about Romania checked during your visit, and which changed?
I thought it would be cheaper, a bit more run down, and a bit more "communist" era looking. I was surprised at how developed it was. You don't hear much about Romania in the west so I just had the misconceptions from my childhood. They were all proven wrong.

· What did you get to visit in Romania. What/where did you enjoy the most?
I spent most of my time traveling through Transylvania. I liked Bucharest. It had a lot more international food than I thought. I loved Brasov, the countryside, and Sibiu. Overall, I really loved Romania. I don't have a bad thing to say about the country. I can't wait to go back.

· List some (Romanian specific) travel annoyances/peculiarities.
Nothing really sticks out in my mind. It's always nicer when places speak English fluently but I never encountered any real problems or annoyances. Maybe I was just lucky.

· How easy is to get by while speaking English? (comparative to other countries around).
There isn't a lot of English in Romania, even in the big tourist cities I went too. I've been in countries where the English was even worse but I've also been to places where it has been better. I mostly had a hard time with buses and trains.

· What are your common info sources? Anything you found particularly useful for your visit in Romania?
My one and only source for information was Leif Pettersen, the author of Lonely Planet's Romania. He's an expert on the country and I just used the info he gave me.

· There's anywhere room for improvement, but do you have any general thoughts/tips for the travel industry of Romania (either big or small businesses or citycouncils etc).
The museums could have better signs in English as to understand what I am looking it as well as more displays about the history of an area or a time period. I didn't walk away feeling like I learned a lot about the Romanian past. More signs in English. I also think there is a huge market for Dracula related stuff not being tapped into. I was looking forward to a lot of tacky tourist traps and a bit sad when I found none. Vampires are all the rage after all!

· How many hours a day on average are you stuck in front of your computer? Do you have a daily routine?
Too many. When I'm not out doing anything, I am in front of my computer. I tend to do work in the morning, go out during the day, do a bit of work in the afternoon and then go out at night. If I don't go out at night, I'll just continue doing work until it is time for bed. There's always something to do and I would rather be caught up than behind.

· How long did it take for your blog to start off - started getting recognition as a top category - relevant travel blog?
Thanks for the kind of words on being a top blog. I would say that it took about a year to get really big and well known. It was about that time I started to make a living from my website too.

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