Category Archives: Western Romania

Tales of travel and adventure in Central Europe

I [Heart] Instagram (But Not The Filters)

IG logoI love Instagram. It’s awesome for quickly taking photos on my trips and building mini-communities on the road. I’ve met more people from IG (and had better interactions with them) than with any other chat or social-media application (including Yahoo Messenger, FB and Foursquare). Photographers love to share images and comments, and are usually keen to grab a coffee or a beer if you happen to be visiting their town. IG interactions are intense … and that’s what I love most about this app.

What I don’t like much (or rather use much) are Instagram’s built-in filters. There are a few that I use now and then (such as Earlybird or Sierra), but I find most of the effects to be too strong (like Nashville or Kelvin) or to give the photos too much of an “Instagram” stamp. Instead, I prefer to use separate photo-editing apps that I’ve downloaded from the IOS apps store. Often I use more than one app to edit a photo.

Here’s a quick list of my favorites and a few words about why I like them: Read More →

Sibiu: Revisiting a European Cultural Capital

Sibiusquare2The following article appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2007, the year that Sibiu served as one of Europe’s two cultural capitals. Parts of the text are out of date, but the sections about the city’s history and sights still read as fresh as ever. Sibiu really is a great antidote for skeptics (are there still are a few) who somehow don’t believe Romania has earned its membership yet in the European Union.

Although Sibiu’s recorded history goes back eight centuries, a stroll through this city’s broad, handsome squares and neat, cobblestoned alleys, in many ways, feels like a glimpse into Romania’s happier future.

The sheer anarchy of a place like Bucharest makes you wonder if the European Union didn’t maybe bite off more than it could chew this time around, when it took in both Romania and Bulgaria as members in January (eds: 2007). The social fabric of the capital seems so shorn apart, you wonder if it can ever be knit back together. Read More →