Planet aligns for Romania and Bulgaria

English: Stitched image of the Corvin castle i...

English: Stitched image of the Corvin castle in Hunedoara, Romania Română: Castelul Corvinilor din Hunedoara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lonely Planet has just published (May 2013) what it calls the sixth edition of its Romania & Bulgaria guide. However, before that, as far as I know, it covered the two countries separately. The previous guide on Romania, published in  2010, was one of the few guide books on the country that could be found in mainstream bookshops in Australia, while the previous Lonely Planet guide on Bulgaria was published in 2008. In earlier Lonely Planet publications, Romania was paired with Moldova. Somehow the publisher managed to pick very boring covers for these books, particularly the pre-2010 ones, but the latest effort, featuring Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Romania, (pictured)  is not bad. The castle is sometimes called Corvin’s Castle or Hunyad Castle. There are no glossy pictures in the book, though; the colour pictures are done on ordinary paper, which is a bit disappointing. (I am a “look at the pictures” knd of guy). I don’t get the impression that it is a book that will last much wear and tear, but updated guide books are always welcome.

Rila Monastery, Bulgaria.

Rila Monastery, Bulgaria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The guide book’s list of “17 Top Experiences”  (yes, it has rationed them to just 17!) is headed by hiking in the Carpathian mountains, followed by Bulgaria’s Black Sea beaches at No.2, the Rila monastery in Bulgaria at No.3, and the painted monasteries of Bucovina in north-west Romania at No.4. The most intriguing experience at first glance, though, is lucky or unlucky No. 13 – “The Perils of Plum Brandy”.

Funnily enough, in a second-hand book store about a year or two ago, I found a first edition, circa 1990 guide to Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary by one of the big travel guide publishers (I forget which one), which was very proud that it had ventured into what was then such unexplored territory. I bought the book and will dig it out at some stage (I am away from home at the moment)  for comparison’s sake. Twenty-three years is a long time between guide books!

What I will do next, though, is reblog some items from a couple of blogs I follow which focus on Romania and Bulgaria.

So, according to the guide, if you are drinking the perilous plum brandy and you want to say “cheers!”, in Romanian it is Noroc! and in Bulgarian it is Наздраве! which is pronounced na-zdra-ve.

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