By Dean Edgar
1st May is traditionally the day that summer begins in Romania, and most of Bucharest, if not people all over Romania, head to the beach like herds of migrating wildebeest. The highway, trains and buses chock a block with people and rucksacks. This year was a bonus as 1st May fell on a Tuesday and the government gave all the public workers Monday off as well. This meant 4 days of hedonistic fun for all. There are basically 5 types of “wildebeest” and each have their own brand of resort that they attach themselves to. So going from north to south we have the resorts of Corbu and Vadu, these beaches/towns are favoured by ex Vama Veche aficionados as Vama has sold out to the corporations and capitalism and has lost the sense of barrenness and freedom. Both resorts are beautiful and unspoilt, for the moment!
Next on the list is Mamaia, home of all things excessive and expensive. The first big festival of the season, Sunwaves, started off the celebrations, with five days of incomprehensible music played by DJ’s with incomprehensible names. 20,000 plus revellers attended, kept awake by the music and various varieties of herbs and spices. One reveller was actually filmed by the news station Digi 24 enjoying a pick me up. Many of Bucharest’s night clubs open their Mamaia locations this weekend, and the Fitze swarm all over the massive beach clubs and bars. and stories have filtered back of people arriving in helicopters and bottles of €100,000 champagne being drunk. Incredible, if you’ve got it why not flaunt it!
For the families heading to the beach, most head for the Communist concrete box resorts of Eforie, Neptun, Saturn etc. These are truly dire places lacking of any character, crowded, expensive and quite frankly horrible. I stayed in Neptun once, never again.
The students amongst us head for Costinești. This place can be a fun party place, but can occasionally become like a convention centre for every stag and hen party in Romania. I had the pleasure of a weekend there once, and I must admit I did have a blast.
Finally, as we pass Mangalia, and the shipyard, we come across 2 Mai and Vama Veche. These are my favourites. 2 Mai for the great beach bar Micul Golf, and a couple of great seafood restaurants, and if you are in the mood, a nudist beach. Works for some, but not me. Then to Vama Veche. It is true, it is becoming very commercial (I heard rooms could only be booked for 4 days with prices of €500 for those 4 days) and the creators of the resort back in the days of Communism, must be a bit miffed. It is a 24 hour party town, with a great cross section of people, from all walks of life. Haven’t booked a room, don’t worry sleep where you fall, if you can with music blasting out everywhere. If you haven’t visited, I would suggest a weekday visit first, that should break you in nicely for a weekend trip.
Then Tuesday evening hits and work beckons on Wednesday, the masses head back to Bucharest, the queues on the roads to the motorway get longer and longer, and sore heads begin to pound. I might see you there this summer.
Until the next time…..
Dean Edgar has been living the expat dream here in Romania for 11 years. He is General Manager of Moorcroft Services, a company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. They can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, house hunting, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need see www.moorcroft.ro for further details.