I was warned that Romania is a dangerous country and that I have to be careful of the Gypsies. They steal everything.
On the contrary, as far as my knowledge goes, organized crime is non existing. If fact, I think that Romania is safer than most places in the world, even, wait for it.... Switzerland. But not the roads. Gaining points for not having crime, they loose points when it comes to driving behavior. Unbelievable. Maybe only India and Egypt have worse drivers.
Any case... the driving put aside. An overwhelming quality, is how much people truly care for one another. To give an example: in Romania cars often have flat tyres due to the terrible road conditions. On one occasion, we had one of those and could not get the wheel off. Although the garage probably meant well, the bolts were completely over tightened. We were stuck in the middle of the road close to a very dangerous blind spot. Sometimes 2 cars wereovertaking next to one another, passing uncomfortably close to ours. It took one phone call to get 2 cars with 5 fellow friends to bring every kind of hammer, spanner and extension pipe you could think of. That’s how Romanian people are. Drop everything for one another and come in full force to help. One hour later when we were finally back on track, it was kind of sad to keep on driving after all the fun and laughter in the middle of the road.
Romania is geographically Europe, but so far removed from what we understand as the wealth of the European continent. Roads are dramatic and driving will be at most described as a very unpleasant experience. Pardon me - did I already mention driving in Romania....
People don’t have a lot, but like always you realize that it's not money that makes people happy. Romania was an important opportunity to get oneself out of your comfort zone and experience something completely different. To surround yourself with warm hearted, hard working, giving people. If they say the eyes are the soul to your heart then these Christmas presents we brought were that open door. That one smile is what makes the effort all worth it. Funny enough, although we were there to bring presents to people in need, in the long run I think the experience helped us more than them.
Romania from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.