OZB September 2019

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September 2019 | N° 22 | FREE COPY



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Romanian Bison Bounce Back Sharing's Caring, New Ways to Work




Symphony in Sibiu, Harmony Found










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The Importance of Elsewhere Douglas Williams - Publisher


o that was the summer that was. We’re slowly trying to return to our routines and it ain’t easy. I really like the way Romania is basically “inchis” over the summer but it sure is tough reverting to normal life afterwards. And anticipating teacher’s questions/assignments, here’s a brief rundown of my summer, spent mostly with girlfriend and daughters... We drove to Greece, yes Halkidiki of course, but via Sofia, Bulgaria’s charming capital. And what a difference a proper parking system makes to a city. In Sofia it’s essentially an app, a small army of parking monitors combined with the threat of clampings. Other simple, inexpensive things like a pedestrian system make a massive difference too. Sofia’s central street is cobbled and pedestrianised and it’s packed with bars and restaurants, lots of people, eating, drinking and being merry. We saw a team going round sorting out the cobbles three guys, a bag of sand and a couple of lump hammers. How Centrul Veche would benefit from a bit of that. Da dah! Just saying... Greece was great, of course, delicious, fresh food, served with some panache, smiling servers happy in their job, keen to help… fancy that!… And the sea was lovely. Then back up through Bulgaria and a night in the country’s second city, Plovdiv - more perfectly kept, cobbled pedestrian areas with a labyrinthine and busy bar area resplendent in proper graffiti/street art, entire gable ends covered in slick, clever murals that positively add to the environment. Sunny Beach on the Bulgarian Black Sea was all flumes, pools and all you can eat buffets and I gained at least 5kgs, great! Those kiddy entertainers are something else, bless ‘em, they certainly earn their lev. Then back here in Buc for a bit


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before heading over to poor ol’ Blighty for a whistlestop tour to catch up with family and friends and a very different style of driving, blimey! Three-lane motorways! I’d almost forgotten about them! And cameras everywhere along the route, look out and be careful… so I was… and so was everyone else... And we were there while the new PM was anointed - strange, difficult times over there. You have to watch what you’re saying in restaurants and pubs for fear of potential trouble. Fractious. Back here we managed a couple of days mountain biking with a guide around Predeal, glorious and waow and so easy to organise. Less easy climbing those hills! And there was further evidence (as if any were needed) that the DN1, the main northbound thoroughfare from the capital, is hopelessly unfit for purpose with our 90 min journey taking 4 hours. What’s more, there’s zero evidence of anything being done to remedy this dismal situation. Sad face. We also had a couple of days horse riding and got there via the 7 road up (another spoke off the Centura) and beyond Targoviste, very fit for purpose and this road accesses another, quieter but equally beautiful part of this drop dead gorgeous country - Runcu. Lots of people caught up with, lots done but also lots of people not caught up with and lots of things not done. There’s the spare room which is still acting basically as one big, messy storage cupboard; the garden… and there are those people now miffed because we didn’t manage to squeeze them in. I’m guessing this is how it feels as the end draws near. Thankful for many things, hopefully; regretful about others, hopefully not so many; sorry for some. What to do? There’s only one thing to do - keep on keeping on. O zi bună!










Commercial Director Visual Communication by



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Contents Human Trafficking Nightmare

September Events


Cricket: Romania Steps Up To Bat & Cyclical Art


Belgian Musician of Cuban-Russian origins made Sibiu his home


Metallica Graces Romania with a Generosity of Spirit and Music


Hit Refresh



The George Enescu International Festival

From the UK private schools, emerge the world’s future elites. Will Romanians join in?


Innovation Masterclass With Matthew K. Cross American Fortune 100 Strategist


Share & Share Alike


Who are the Young Romanian Leaders in Energy?

Extreme Enduro around the corner of Sibiu. Red Bull Romaniacs 2019


Your New Favourite Spot In the Heart of Bucharest


What's New Out and About


Leooking to the Germans for Grune Living Tips

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Top Five Mountain Cabanas


Grisly Summer Kidnapping/Murder Shines the Spotlight on Romania’s



Cover image & top image : Photographs by Dan Dinu W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9



ovember’s OZB will mark our third year of publishing this magazine. We are now a firm fixture on the Bucharest publishing scene and are clearly doing what we set out to do: “Celebrating the best of modern Romania”. In doing this we provide an invaluable platform for businesses to communicate with all those people who are interested in finding out more about Romania, welcoming a new perspective and appreciating international standards. We have a positive take on this country and endeavour to foster in our readers a different mindset towards this fascinating, beguiling, and beautiful place through high quality writing, photography and design.

Our readers are as likely to be a marketing executive from Buzau as a mum from France with kids at one of the international schools. Student to CEO; Danish, Egyptian or Romanian; the only things our readers have in common is a love for Romania, a hunger to discover more, and the ability to read English. And what I’ve found over these past 24 plus months is that the stories flow both to and from us. As I suspected at the outset, there is a wellspring of stories here that will never dry up, a rich vein. Be they about folks doing interesting things - artists, musicians, writers, architects, crafts people etc; fascinating, beautiful places - a cafe or a cabana; events, food, and more. Each month we figure out what goes in and what doesn’t. And each month it gets harder and harder. So, to introduce the core OZB team as it stands - we have Dana, editor: a repat, back home after 10 years stateside. She is a journalist, mother, mediator, poet and much more besides. Her remit includes society, photography and profiles as well as distribution. We have David, also editor: an American in love with a Romanian; historian, academic, teacher and writer - story magnet and super sleuth. David is more political and deals with our site, social media and tech stuff. Then we have Codrut, our designer, photographer, artist, filmmaker and all round good guy who makes the mag look as

OZB team @work

good as it does. Paul is our main commercial guy, tee-ing up mutually beneficial partnerships. Dan is our distribution guy, working to ensure the mag gets to all the places it needs to get currently over 100 places. Sincere and heartfelt thanks to each of them. That’s right folks, we are now in over 100 places across Bucharest each month from hip cafes to gyms, dental surgeries to classy restaurants and schools to galleries you can find the latest OZB somewhere near you. Thanks Dan! And we currently print 2000 - no messing! And this figure is set to rise soon. And we have some of the best companies around partnering us - Superbet, Porsche, Avincis and Ursus with more, and of a similar stature, on the verge of getting aboard very soon. Print is alive and well. Visit any cafe, bar, hair salon or dentist in western Europe and you will find a blizzard of publications all vying for your attention and all packed with ads from companies who know it works. OZB is an efficient way of speaking with prospective customers and clients whether your business is cars or cakes. Our good looking product is picked up and read, it’s put into laptop bags, gym bags or handbags and taken home to pour over, and it’s made in such a way that each copy will stick around for potentially years, meaning many, many eyes. Additionally, with OZB Media’s social media community growing exponentially, we can boost our partners’ online presence while driving traffic towards them. As we go into our third year of publishing we invite businesses to get aboard the good ship OZB, help us to “celebrate the best of modern Romania” as we help you speak to new customers and clients through our unique, high quality platform.

September Events OZB’s David Shoup brings you the must-do events

Tag Your Ideas

Control, Bucharest

that will grace Bucharest

August 19 - September 15

this September.

“When Eco Meets Art.” Featuring the work of local artist Robert Băjenaru, Control Club brings a fully recylcable art showcase to its alternative scene as part of the Tag Your Ideas program, in which an artist will redesign Control’s inner courtyard each month, sponsored by Control and the Clever App.

Bucharest Street Food Festival

• Continental Cricket Cup 2019 August 29 - September 1

Moara Vlasiei, Ilfov County

Tag Your Ideas

Romania’s National Cricket Team, now competing for over a decade, will take to the field against Russia, Turkey, Austria, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic. Despite its association with the Commonwealth Nations, the history of cricket in Romania in fact stretches back to 1893, when a game was played to welcome then Princess Marie following her wedding to Prince Ferdinand, soon to be King and Queen. Despite a centuries plus lull, Romanian cricket was revived by entrepreuners in 2009 and the games are on! It will be held at Cricket Romania's flagship cricket ground the "Moara Vlasiei Cricket Ground". There will be live coverage of all the matches on YouTube and Cricket Romania FB page. The warm weather shows no sign of relenting so if you're in the area and feel like coming down, don't forget your sunglasses, hat and sunscreen! As always, entrance to the Moara Vlasiei ground is free and everyone is welcome. Visit @CricketRomania on Facebook for more information.

• Mogosoaia Soundcheck

Strada Valea Parcului, Mogosoaia September 20-22

This outdoor concert, hosting a diverse line-up of bands including 60s revival, alternative music, rock, and more, also features street food and camping right on Colentina Lake for three days and nights. For tickets and pricing, go to soundcheck. iabilet.ro

• Fall in Love Festival 2019 Palatul Mogosoaia

August 31 - September 1

Headlining this year’s Fall in Love Festival is none other than Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher in his first Romanian performance. The weekend music fest will also feature British DJ duo Disclosure, electronic act Underworld, and rock band the Kaiser Chefs, among others. 1st Release Tickets are sold out, but 2nd Release Tickets are available for 179 Lei. Check out the Fall in Love Festival on Facebook for tickets and more information.

• Bucharest Street Food Festival


September 6-8

Dozens of vendors will compete for first place to offer your taste buds the best of ten international cuisines over three tasty days of food and music. Entrance is free.

• TEDxBucharest: Metamorphosis

Bucharest Polytechnical University, Splaiul Independentei 313 September 21-22

The ways we interact with each other, with the fast changing technology and with the world itself is different than we used to know. The metamorphosis of the world is happening with a speed that is nothing short of inconceivable and, as a result, it’s overrunning and overwhelming for most of the people. At TEDxBucharest 2019, in a special 2 days event on September 21st and 22nd, we will emphasize how our personalities, our interactions, our beliefs and our actions can transform everything around us into something new, something far more better than it is right now – on social, economic, and personal scales. See the TEDxBucharest Facebook page for ticket information. W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9

September Events



Cricket: Romania Steps Up To Bat by David McLean Shoup


s the Continental Cricket Club approaches, Cluj’s team captain Pavel Florin is in the spotlight after an online row erupted between professional players and Fox Sports, with the former calling out the media sports giant for “trolling” Florin’s unique overhanded bowling style. “Maybe someone says that my

Cyclical Art


he Feminine cycle” concept is a continuation of the artistic concept PORTAL-THE ART & SCIENCE EXPERIENCE by Anca Irina Lefter with the main purpose of making people reconnect with their own


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nature and inner world. Anca is currently exhibiting at the Renaissance Art Gallery, see www.renaissance-artgallery.com/aboutus for more information. “I recreated a small PORTAL of PINK with two paintings where the spiral concept was again used. The spirals make people feel attracted to the painting, focusing on this geometric form, on the colours and in the end it transports them to a different state, it opens a door for their feelings (The PORTAL). Being a conceptual art designer, I also created a ballet skirt using as decorative

SEPTEMBER 2019 Cricket: Romania Steps Up To Bat & Cyclical Art

bowling isn’t beautiful or not effective,” Florin, 40, retorted with a grin. “But I don’t care.” Florin, nicnknamed “The Bodyguard” for his former profession prior to entering the world of amateur cricket eight years, was recovering from a broken leg when he bowled against French club team Dreux. Despite some negative coverage from Fox Sports, cricket allstars worldwide came to Florin’s defense, including legend Shane Warne. Warne tweeted “Cricket is a beautiful game. Congrats to everyone who made this happen!” You can see this up and coming team captain in next week’s competition. •

elements tampons colored with pink paint.”says Anca. Anca Lefter was born into a family of artists in Tulcea in the Danube Delta. She is a complex artist: a painter, a conceptual art designer focused on conceptual bag design with the signature AIL and also a designer of accessories in leather and stage costumes with her signature collection Ch2 Vinyls •. For more information follow Anca on the international art website ARTSY www.artsy.net/artist/anca-irina-lefter.


Metallica Graces Romania with a Generosity of Spirit and Music by David McLean Shoup Renowned American rock band Metallica played to a packed crowd in the Bucharest National Arena on August 14th in a highly anticipated and widely lauded concert. The concert featured two of the band’s founding members, Lars Ulrich and James

Hetfield (drums and vocals, respectively), along with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, who has been with Metallica since 1983, and bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined the band in 2003. Since its formation in Los Angeles in 1981, the band has sold over 125 million albums worldwide, making it among the most commercially successful musical acts of all time. Romanian fans like Victor Prundea, 28, who visited all the way from Germany, where he works as a neurologist, were blown away by Metallica’s performance on the 14th, which featured such hits as Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters. “It was absolutely amazing,” said Prundea. “They sing with the passion and the energy of 20 year old dudes. They communicated incredibly well with the audience and the show featured some beautiful visual projections on the stage behind.” Prundea was also impressed with the concert’s opening act. “Their opener, Ghost, was an extremely nice surprise with a reinvention of old school sound.”

Ghost, the Swedish metal band formed in 2006 and 2016 Grammy Award winner, has toured with Metallica since 2018. This concert fell in the latter third of a 25 show European Metallica run that began in Lisbon and concludes in Mannheim. The concert got off to a great start before it had even begun, with Metallica announcing a co-sponsored gift of 250,000 Euros to Romania’s first private hospital exclusively designed to specialize in oncology care for children. The donation was also supported by concert sponsors Mastercard and BCR. The hospital is a project of Daruieste Viata, and has already drawn donations from high profile figures. The hospital’s outer structure was completed this past June, and will eventually have a 180 bed capacity. The project has been in the planning stages for years, and Metallica’s donation now eclipses last fall’s controversy, when Daruieste Viata famously rejected a donation by the band Holograf amid allegations of murky ties to a Sector 5 Mayor from the PSD. Besides the old classics, Metallica impressed its Romanian audience with bassist Robert Trujillo’s cover of De Vei Pleca by the Bucharest rock band Iris, whose own founding preceded Metallica’s by five years. The concert brought together Romanians of all ages, including new fans like Ada Balaban, 22, recently returned from aviation engineering studies in the U.K. “It was a true trash metal concert!” Balaban said. “Their attitude on stage, their looks, dedications and reactions took me back to all my memories of Metallica, my all time favorite band.” Balaban said the feelings from the crowd were mutual. The crowd was just perfect - as it always is in Romania. The sound was insane, the crowd was crazy, and the guys did what they do best!” •

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National University of Music, and the Excelsior Theatre. For the 2019 edition, concerts and recitals have been grouped under six sections: “Great Orchestras of the World”, “By Midnight Concerts”, “Recitals and Chamber Music”, “21st Century Music”, “Mozart Week in Residence” and “International Composers’ Forum”. Concerts and events will also be organized in the Festival Square (next to the Athenaeum), along with conferences, record releases, book launches, and extraordinary shows. As the Festival unfolds in Bucharest, there will be classical music concerts throughout Romania’s largest cities: Iaşi, Sibiu, Braşov, Cluj, Bacău, Bârlad, Ploieşti, Târgovişte, Timişoara, Piatra Neamț and Satu Mare. George Enescu’s Violin displayed at the Enescu National Museum in Bucharest photograph by Vlad Eftenie

The George Enescu International Festival Romania’s most important tribute to the Maestro is spreading through Europe


ne of the most important classical music festivals in Europe, the George Enescu International Festival has reached its 24th edition this year. Held between August 31st and September 22nd in Bucharest, the festival cascades throughout Romania and Europe. Bucharest’s biggest concert halls will host over 2,500 musicians from 50 countries, with 84 concerts and recitals taking place throughout the three weeks. Six other European cities will host events related to the festival: Florence (Italy), Berlin and Dresden (Germany), Liège (Belgium), Toronto (Canada) and Chisinau (Moldova). In Bucharest, loyal festival goers will once more crowd into the Palace Hall, Romanian Athenaeum, Radio Hall, Small Palace Hall, George Enescu Hall at the 12

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For more details about the Festival, the full program and how to buy tickets: www.festivalenescu.ro

Honoring George Enescu Enescu is considered the most important Romanian musician of all time. He was born on August 19th, 1881, in Botoşani, and passed away at the age of 73, in Paris. He was a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and inspiring prodigy. Enescu studied at the Music Conservatory in Vienna from the ages of eight to twelve, continuing his studies at the Music Conservatory in Paris until 1899. The year before featured Enescu’s debut at the Colonne Concerts in Paris, with the musical work “Romanian Poem” op.1. Admired by Queen Elisabeth of Romania (an artist and poet herself, who took the pen name Carmen Sylva), Enescu was a regular guest at Peleş Castle in Sinaia, the summer residence of the Romanian royal family. After the First World War, Enescu toured Europe and the United States. In America, he conducted prestigious orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Orchestra and Chicago Symphonic Orchestra. His mentorship to violinists Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, Arthur Grumiaux and Yehudi

SEPTEMBER 2019 The George Enescu International Festival

Menuhin left an indelible mark on the musicians. Menuhin once said that “for me, Enescu will remain one of the true wonders of the world. His strong roots and his noble spirit come from his own country, a country with no match in beauty.” Between 1923-1926, Enescu built a house close to the Royal Palace in Sinaia, called the “Luminiş Villa”. For the next 20 years, he spent at least one month a year in this house, where he would compose, resting between his tours in Europe and North America. In 1947, Enescu, who was by then living in Paris, donated the villa to the Romanian state. In 1995, it opened as the “George Enescu” Memorial House. His work was monumental and his personality incredibly modest and unpretentious. Enescu’s personal life was more of a subject to public scrutiny and more glamorous than he would have wanted. In 1938, he married Maria Cantacuzino, a Romanian princess and former lady-in-waiting of Queen Mary of Romania, whose first husband had been Prince Mihail Cantacuzino, and whom he had loved for almost three decades. His most well-known works are the Romanian Rhapsodies, op.11 (19011902), the Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, op. 9 (1903), his first Symphony No. 1 in E flat, op.13 (1905). We celebrate and honor him as one of the most inspiring Romanians to have ever lived. •

George Enescu's Piano



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Mirela Momanu M

irela Momanu is a founding member of the On SPOT Street Photography Facebook Group, with more than 7000 members posting street photography images, taking photowalks and attending street photography workshops. She graduated from the RGB Photography School and the Francisc Mraz Poetic Photography School, both based in Bucharest. She is a founding member of the PhotoTeam Group. She organized group photography expositions and is a co-founder and co-organizer of the Bucharest Photo Week. She is President of the Exposure Association. Starting with 2018, she teaches several street and urban experimental photography workshops and classes at the RGB Photography school in Bucharest. • Facebook

@mirelamomanuphotography Email



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I Innovation Masterclass With Matthew K. Cross American Fortune 100 Strategist 27 September 2019 Hotel Caro, Bucharest Str. Barbu Văcărescu 165 A 08:45 - 16:30

am Matthew K. Cross, the American Fortune 100 strategist who’s been called the world’s top priority strategist. I work with organizations such as Allianz, ING, Bank of America, UBS, Stanford University and Qlik. I am also a NYC-based author, speaker, and athlete. My books include The Hoshin North Star Process, The Millionaire’s Map, and Nature’s Secret Nutrient. Join me for this timely and valuable Innovation Masterclass to invest in and activate breakthrough innovation in your life and work. Come spend a day you’ll never forget as you craft the blueprint and plan for the future you’ll always remember.

You will: •

Align and strengthen the cornerstones of real innovation: your mindset, creativity, health & relationships. Learn & practice simple, powerful innovation tools & techniques.

Transform your leadership, learning & execution abilities.

Keep your momentum strong and focused

Participation fee details

Standard Package 150 Euro+ VAT/ person. The Standard Package includes the book “North Star Process”, author Matthew K. Cross Gold Package: 195 Euro + VAT/ person. The Gold Package includes the book “North Star Process”, author Matthew K. Cross; the book “Golden Ratio”, author Matthew K. Cross, one coaching session 1:1, a live session with Matthew K. Cross (between 27th September and 25th October 2019) and a special gift. For registration and additional information contact: Laura Gheboianu - Event Project Manager, Tel: 0726.768.079 or email at: evenimente@ cariereonline.ro

Mihaela Bălan, Painter, Artist


ihaela graduated from Târgu Jiu’s Constantin Brăiloiu Fine Arts and Music High School, specializing in painting. She is also a graduate of the Fine Arts Institute "Nicolae Grigorescu" in Bucharest, Faculty of Decorative Arts and Design, majoring in mural art. She feels decorative arts capture her creativity best and offer her a wider area of expression: interior design, fashion design, industrial design, decorative objects and paintings. • Website: www.mikart.ro Contact: mihaela.balan3@gmail.com W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9 Innovation Masterclass With Matthew K. Cross American Fortune 100 Strategist



Photographs by Ramona Copil

Extreme Enduro around the corner of Sibiu. Red Bull Romaniacs 2019 by Ramona Copil


he "Sweet 16th" edition of this year's Red Bull Romaniacs, the international moto cross competition, began with the legendary Prolog day on July 30th in the city center of Sibiu, featuring a short but challenging obstacle course. The endurance elements of the brutal race continued with 4 more days of hard Enduro, which was far from “sweet,� the title name aside. Riders from around 50 countries raced in four classes descending from Gold 18

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SEPTEMBER 2019 Extreme Enduro around the corner of Sibiu. Red Bull Romaniacs 2019


to Iron, amateur and professional, in what has been dubbed the most difficult moto cross event worldwide. Around 450 competitors challenged themselves in a race of mental and physical endurance through the Carpathian wilderness. Due to extreme conditions this year, the Gold course was reduced, yet still closed out at a whopping 571 kilometers. 21 year old Manual Lettenbichler of Germany came in first overall for Gold, finishing first on days 3 and 4 with a total winning time of 20h39m51s, despite heavy rain and fog spicing up the course on the final day. The KTM rider cemented his family’s legacy in the sport; his father, Andreas, was crowned Red Bull Romaniacs champion exactly a decade ago. The Rockstar from Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, Graham Jarvis, 44, of the U.K., has won six of Red Bull’s 16 games. Although winning the first day, Jarvis lost his GPS navigation system, and with it, precious time. He finished third overall.

Alfredo Gomez Cantero of Spain claimed a win in the second day’s Gold race. He kept good time throughout the other days, finishing in second place with an overall time of 20h42m15s. An enormous amount of strength, preparation, and effort is required to participate as a competitor in this event. It’s a pride to say that our Romanian rider, Emanuel Gyenes, finished his 16th Red Bull Romaniacs, earning the distinction of being


the the only rider in the world who managed to pass the finish line in all editions. This year, technical issues restricted him to a 4th place finish in the silver category. The “Sweet 16” race featured a big first. Anna Schmölzl of Germany became the first female category winner, taking top place in the Iron class of Red Bull Romaniacs. Motorsports legend Heinz Kinigadner and “Wings for Life” founder had this to say on the

“This is a very unique event, there is nothing comparable out there! What amazes me most, is how the team around Martin Freinademetz [the organizer of Red Bull Romaniacs] manages to bring the participants of each of the classes to their limits.” OZB offers their congratulations to all of this year’s winners and participants! •

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Getting there and walking around: Malaiesti isn’t car-accessible (thank goodness, most hikers would say), but it’s a doddle to get to from the train stations of Sinaia and Busteni. The most direct footpath, via Cabana Gura Diham and Diham, is a nice day’s hike. If the snow’s not too avalanchey and you’ve got some decent crampons, it’s still possible in the winter – and my goodness, Malaiesti is beautiful in the winter. If you’re coming from Busteni, drive or taxi it up to Cabana Gura Diham to avoid the tedious tarmac road. Alternatively, in the summer, you can try one of the “top-down” routes from the Bucegi ridge via Omu Peak.

Top Five Mountain Cabanas By Ellie Buchdahl

many are relatively accessible from Bucharest, even if you don’t have a car. Pack your backpack, your boots and your best bottle of homemade visinata and come and join the overnight crowd at one of these…


From sunrise over Ceahlau to sunset into the Bucegi valley, from snow-capped peaks to edelweiss, from lush forests to jagged cliffs – you can’t say you’ve lived in Romania until you’ve experienced her mountains. And to experience her mountains, you’ve got to stay in her mountains.

Cabana Mălăiești

abane (singular – cabana) are dotted all over the peaks of all our country’s ranges – and they are an experience in themselves. Neither a guest-house (because that’s a pensiune) nor a bunkhouse (refugiul) nor youth hostel (hostel), cabane are something very special. The closest equivalent is probably an Alpine hut. Cabane typically have a range of sleeping options, from two-person rooms to dorms sleeping ten or more. They’re manned by staff whose attitude will, I promise, warm the more often you stay. There’s usually a kitchen that offers some form of kibble. And – most importantly – there is a decent stock of beer, tuica and palinca. One night in a cabana sandwiched between two days yomping about the hills is more than enough to banish the back-toschool September blues – especially as so

An idyllic spot nestled above a forest, beside a stream and in the shadow of the Bucegi mountains, Cabana Malaiesti is nothing if not picturesque. In summer, horses gambol among sprays of flowers; in winter, it’s a snow-dusted scene rivalling anything that Elsa from Frozen brewed up even in her craziest moments. This is a great place for a day hike. The beer is cold-ish, the food ranges from simple and tasty to simple and diabolical, and the cake can be exceptionally delicious if you get it on a good day. The only smudges on this crystalline perfection come from the less-than-luxurious toilet facilities – a row of pongy holein-the-ground jobs – and (if you’re an old miser like me) the hordes of guitar-strumming tuica-gluggers who descend upon Malaiesti each Saturday night.



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Cabana Valea Sâmbetei


SEPTEMBER 2019 Top Five Mountain Cabanas

This fairly basic hut in the Fagaras Mountains is a great springboard for a morning assault on Romania’s highest mountain, Moldoveanu (2,544m), or one of the peaks nearby such as Dara or Hartopul Darei. The bedrooms are charming if you’re into rickety floorboards, heating provided by old-fashioned wood-burning stoves and scratchy blankets that bear the marks of a thousand previous hikers (a sleeping bag or liner is recommended). The rooms are incredibly hot, even in the dead of winter, and particularly if you’re in one of the dorm rooms where the mattresses are very snugly pushed together – but at least that means you’re unlikely to need those blankets. Keep a headtorch nearby for when the electricity generator gives out and you need to take a nocturnal trip to one of the (luckily indoor) toilets. Food is available in the form of a couple of main courses – potato and pork, potato and sausage – ciorba, and of course, the beige bomb that is MBS, mamaliga cu branza si smantana or polenta with cheese and sour cream. For breakfast, they’ll whip you up an omelette. Getting there and walking around You can get to Valea Sambatei from


Sambata de Sus (there’s a train station here) or Sambata de Jos, and walk up past Brancoveanu Monastery, which is nice, peaceful spot. As mentioned above, there are great Fagaras hiking options around.

Cabana Curmătura www.cabana-curmatura.ro

Curmatura has to be the number one Piatra Craiului cabana, complete with cabana cat and huge bear-like dog (answers to the name of Muki). Many people just stop here for a ciorba and a piece of their stupendous prajitura cu ravaş (like a fortune cookie but in cake form). The place is packed with hikers at the weekend, who fill the sunny picnic tables outside in summer and the cosy dining hall in winter. If you want to stay, Cabana Curmatura also has one or two delightfully chalet-like and clean rooms – although the toilet facilities are somewhat rustic and the outdoor shower resembles a diving board with a cubicle poised to jump off the end and into the puddle in the woods. Getting there and walking around The nearby town of Zarnesti has a train station, but a car makes it easier to get to the start of the classic Curmatura hike from Botorog fountain. Walk through Cheile Pisicii up for two to three hours. Once there, Curmatura is the perfect jumping-off point for Piatra Craiului’s spectacular ridge walks and epic mountaineering gullies.

Cabana Ciucaș

www.cabana-varful-ciucas.ro Everything about Cabana Ciucas is fancy by cabana standards. It has a fancy

reception, a fancy swing seat in the garden, a fancy menu in the fancy dining hall that offers everything from fish to papanasim and fancy prices too – 130 lei for a double room or 260 to book out a six-bed dorm. The only thing that isn’t fancy is the service, which is somewhat less than friendly. There are a multitude of rooms available but book ahead as it’s very popular. And yes, of course, you can book via Booking.com. Getting there and walking around Cabana Ciucas is especially easy to get to if you have a car – you can even drive up here if you’re into mountains minus the movement – and it’s a good base for the fabulous walks in the craggy Ciucas Mountains. Muntele Rosu, for example, is beautiful all year round, but especially when it turns completely pink with rhodedendrons in early summer.

is a good spot for exploring the Ciucas Mountains, and it is very accessible by car from the DN1A. • The guide’s top tips: Four more cabanas you shouldn’t miss Refugiul Balea Tunel Plauiu Foii Gentiana (Retezat) Suru (Fagaras) (Recommended by Andrea Nutu, authorised mountain guide and one half of www.alpine-challenge.ro)

Top Cabana Tips In theory, no cabana will turn away a hiker in need of a bed. However, if you don’t fancy a bench amid the remnants of last night’s polenta, it’s best to book ahead. Phone is the most efficient way of booking (even if a website lists an email contact) – and be prepared for a few missed calls before you get through.

Cabana Silva

www.carpati.org/ghid_montan/ muntii/ciucas/cabana_silva-93/ Cabana Ciucas may win on glitz, but Cabana Silva is my choice in the Ciucas Mountains for a more authentic cabana experience – helped by the extremely warm owners. It’s made up of a small hut surrounded by a cluster of smaller hutettes, each housing two rickety beds, a rag rug and a heater that may or may not gasp out a bit of gassy heat depending on your luck. The huge stone hearth in the main building is a godsend in the winter with a vin fiert in hand, and there is a lovely terrace bar for the summer where you can drink draft Zaganu craft lager (named after the nearby peak). One word of caution: This is not the best place to stay in winter unless you have an Antarctic sleeping bag. The cabin can suffer from the occasional power outage, which means those little heaters are nowt but scrap. There is, of course, a nearby road, so you can always take the car-based escape route. Getting there and walking around Like Cabana Ciucas, Cabana Silva

Be as clear as you can be about the kind of room you want – two person, four person – but be prepared to be flexible if your first choice isn’t available, even if being flexible means bunking up with strangers. You’re unlikely to be given a room for one person, and those who try to book both beds of a double are not looked upon kindly, especially at busy times. If you don’t think you’ll fancy the food (or drink) on offer, it’s usually perfectly OK to bring your own. Some cabane will even give you a corner of their fridge if you ask nicely. Bring a headtorch. Electricity is often quite sporadic. Bring plenty of tissues, wet wipes and / or hand sanitiser. Depending on the cabana, loo roll and sinks can be as sporadic as the electricity. Bring earplugs. The cabana sing-song can be great fun, but not when you’re trying to get some shut-eye after or a before a long hike. Doubly recommended if you’re in a shared dorm. For general information about routes in the mountains, visit www.muntii-nostri.ro.

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Grisly Summer Kidnapping/ Murder Shines the Spotlight on Romania’s Human Trafficking Nightmare By David M. Shoup


omanians were shocked this summer to hear of the tragic death of a 15 year old girl kidnapped and murdered in Caracal. The case was met with outrage after it was discovered that police took over 19 hours to enter the


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house in which the victim was held, and several high profile firings within Romanian law enforcement quickly followed. Despite the shock of July’s violent tragedy, its international coverage is turning the spotlight onto a larger societal issue involving the victimization of thousands of Romanians: human trafficking. Silvia Maria Tabusca is a Romanian human rights attorney and EU legal expert who urges legislative as well as procedural reforms to stem the rising tide of kidnapping and human trafficking cases in Romania. For short term and emergency solutions, Tabusca acknowledges that emergency response service training will help. “For 112, we need training,” said Tabusca. “That person that answered the phone, they didn’t know how to help the victim, they didn’t know how to help her escape, how to make her calm down. They asked very stupid questions, and they didn’t know what to do.”

SEPTEMBER 2019 Grisly Summer Kidnapping/Murder Shines the Spotlight on Romania’s Human Trafficking Nightmare

Pressed on what other police reforms or improved training might prevent tragedies like these from occurring, Tabusca sighed. “I think we need to fight this corruption in the system. The main case for me is the case of corruption… they will postpone some of these trafficking cases for years to reach the statute of limitations, and in the end everyone goes free.” According to Tabusca, this horrendous kidnapping case should raise alarms about the rise of human trafficking by organized crime syndicates in Romania and the simultanteous inability, or even unwillingness, of local and national authorities to bring traffickers to justice. “Before 2015, I’m not aware of many cases of kidnapping,” Tabusca said. “But now we have lots of cases of kidnapping. Often it will just be said that they ran away with their boyfriend, and the police don’t do much about it.” At the end of July, Skynews released an explosive documentary shedding light


on the bleak circumstances under which many young Romanians fall prey to human trafficking. The video centered on the efforts of a fearless Romanian psychologist named Iana Matei, whose victim support organization, Reach out Romania, has rescued and nurtured 470 trafficking victims. “In today’s Europe there are parents who sell their children, because the society is numb,” Matei says. Matei laid bare the brutal process in which parents sell or give away their children under false hopes of overseas work, the children soon disappearing into a sadistic ring of organized crime and abuse. “You groom them in the flats, when they turn 13 or 14 you put make up on them and sell them in the streets, then when they turn 18 you export them… to England… wherever you want.” According to Tamara Barnett, Director of the United Kingdom’s Office on Human Trafficking, more than 5,000 victims of human trafficking were identified in the UK in 2017, a 35% increase from the previous year. Of the Romanian victims identified in the UK, the majority of them were working in forced prostitution or childen forced to beg through organized crime rings. 88% of these victims are eventually deported back to Romania, where many will end up in the same circumstances. “In some senses there’s a gray spectrum,” Bennett said from the Office of Human Trafficking’s London headquarters. “Some of them will know they’re being very low paid but it may be better pay in the U.K. than back home. Sometimes they come willingly to the UK and then things go wrong.” “Some people have managed to escape, leave or get help,” says Barnett. “We have the organization Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority that license farms, so in the cases of forced agricultural labor, which are very public, sometimes the Gangmasters Authority will spot them and help.” At least 3.5 million Romanians live and work abroad, according to the Lufkin Foundation for Research and Migration’s 2018 report, and the UK is among the diaspora’s top four destinations (following Italy, Spain, and Germany). Romania doesn’t follow EU legal standards which are used to identify trafficking victims. Whereas the U.K. and all other EU nations, which criminalize

organized begging and other petty crime commonly associated with human trafficking in order to better identify victims and ringleaders, Romania does not. “In Romania, because our criminal law does not mention this type of exploitation, our traffickers cannot be sentenced or investigated for these crimes,” said Tabusca. “I’ve never understood why we didn’t respect the European directives and also I do not know why we don’t amend this legislation, because a large number of kids, people with disabilities, and others are exploited through begging and petty crimes abroad.” Tabusca’s description may sound particularly bleak, but her point was demonstrated in full six months ago, when the ringleaders of a Tanderei-based child trafficking ring that operated in Romania

Silvia Tabusca, Human Rights Attorney

and the UK were released after 52 judicial delays and postponements following charges brought in 2010. The 2010 charges were brought by Operation Golf, a joint British-Romanian police investigation into the massive organized crime group, which involved multi-million dollar mansions, automatic weapons, and 181 children, many of whom are now missing. At the time of the ringleaders’ acquittal in February, Bernie Gravett, the now-retired British Superintendent who supervised the operation, expressed exasperation at the corruption implicit behind the errors of impunity (the case was tried in Harghita). “These guys have millions and we knew at the outset it was a risk,” Gravett told OZB Magazine reporter Stephen McGrath, writing for the Sun. The

investigation also revealed that Romanian trafficking victims could earn as much as 800,000 RON per year while working as prostitutes in the UK, the money used to build mansions and buy luxury cars for the ringleaders in Tanderei. When asked how deep the influence of Romanian trafficking organizations reaches in the state apparatus, Tabusca did not go so far as to point fingers directly, but offered this caveat. “I can’t imagine that these organizations grow so powerful without the authorities being aware of their activities,” Tabusca said. “It’s impossible for me to think that thousands of kids are exploited and missing each year, and the number of Romanians that are exploited is higher month after month, without those in power knowing what’s happening.” For Tamara Bennett at the UK Office of Human Trafficking, while she is proud of the investigative work on the British side of Operation Golf, she believes that the UK’s contribution to fighting trafficking is still just one slice of a bigger pie. “We’re certainly one of the leading countries [in the fight against human trafficking], but sometimes others will lead in different areas,” Bennett said, pointing to two EU partner nations across the channel. “So, even if we’re better at identifying victims, our support system isn’t as good as in the Netherlands or Belgium.” Barnett cited “weaknesses down the line,” in the British system, such as losing witnesses who could offer valuable testimony in trafficking cases, due to an inadequate victim support system. If there is any light at the end of this tunnel, it is in the few non profit organizations such as Reach out Romania which aim to rescue and heal trafficking victims. Reach out Romania Director Iana Matei said she does not receive any government funding, instead turning to Western European philanthropic institutions to assist her work. "They are very young and they end up in a very abusive situation and then when they get the courage and seek help they are again blamed by the society; somehow it's their fault or they knew what they were getting themselves into,” Matei told SkyNews last month. “It's not like that at all. These girls are survivors and in my opinion they are the heroes.” • W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9



Belgian Musician of Cuban-Russian origins made Sibiu his home An interview with Cello-Soloist Makcim Fernandez Samodaiev. By Dana Tudose-Tianu


met Makcim, 42, in Fagaras, in February, during a motivational conference for female entrepreneurs in which both of us were speakers. I found his story fascinating and thought it would be inspiring to share in the month when we celebrate Romania’s greatest musician, George Enescu. With a positive energy no one who meets him can easily forget, Makcim still catches people’s attention on the streets of Sibiu, even after four years there. Born in the former U.S.S.R., he spent his childhood in Cuba. He began his musical education at the National School of Arts in Havana and started performing public concerts at the age of eight. He studied at the Royal Music Conservatory in Antwerp, where he founded the chamber music group “Spirale Piano Trio” together with Monica Florescu, his Romanian wife, in 2002. In our interview, I try to uncover the answers to some of the questions Makcim has been asked hundreds, if not thousands of times, since moving to Romania, in 2014.


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When and how did Romania enter your life?

I met my wife, Monica Florescu, who is Romanian, in Antwerp, in 2002 and we worked there until 2012, as freelance musicians, after forming the Spirale Piano Trio. Together, we played on the largest stages in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Then, we had our two daughters, Karina and Rafaela. Our priorities changed when we became parents, and we began looking for a better, more suitable place to raise our children. In 2012 we moved to Mexico, where we lived for two years. Monica was teaching piano at the Music Institute in Veracruz and I was a member of the Symphonic Orchestra of Xalapa. We decided to come back to Europe, and go to Romania, rather than back to Belgium, because my wife’s grandparents were still alive and we wanted the children to get to know them.

And how did you end up moving to Sibiu? For a year, we lived in Bucharest. I taught chamber music at the George Enescu National College of Music. Monica and I were participating in concerts all over

SEPTEMBER 2019 Belgian Musician of Cuban-Russian origins made Sibiu his home

Photograph by Rareș Helici

the country, and, in January 2015 we went to Sibiu with a Schumann piano concert project. We loved Sibiu and we thought the environment there met our standards for raising and educating our daughters. We looked for jobs and we were lucky enough to find them with the State Philarmonic orchestra. We auditioned in June 2015 and in August, that same year, we moved to Sibiu, where our third child, our son, Vladimir, was born.

I have to ask…what were people’s reactions when you relocated? I remember that the Director of the Philharmonic in Sibiu was extremely surprised that two good, international musicians wanted to relocate, first to Romania and then to Sibiu. We explained to him that we loved the cultural life in Sibiu and the environment. The people we met and the friends we made in our first year in Sibiu were all wondering why we gave up living in Belgium, or Mexico, for Sibiu, when almost all talented musicians were trying to find job opportunities abroad. During my years as an international musician, I refused work and relocation oppor-


Photograph by Ovidiu Matiu

tunities in Ireland and the United States. Why? Because finding what I call a great place to live and call home means finding a place where you can contribute something, and also constantly learn and grow. When we decided to leave Belgium, it wasn’t because I didn’t have enough work there. But I would not have been able to live the life I live in Sibiu and offer my children the lifestyle I believe will give them a wholesome childhood. A full-time job in Belgium, as a musician, rather than a freelancer, would have meant that I almost never would get time with my daughters. On the other side, continuing as a freelancer kept us from giving the family financial stability.

What was the first year in Sibiu like for you and your family? In Sibiu, we found a city with a great and old (approximately 300 years) musical tradition. We observed that there was a piano in almost every old house, and that the Sibiu National Theatre was instrumental in the city’s cultural life. So, we immediately began to look at the town’s cultural scene and ask ourselves where we

could contribute. We started with our core and most beloved project, the Chamber Music Series. We ran it in Belgium for 6 years as well as in Mexico, so we brought it to Sibiu. In the first year, we organized it on our own expense, investing our resources, until the cultural society realized we were there to offer, to give, to share from our talent and experiences, and we were not looking for advantages or overnight profits. A musician, we all know, doesn’t live off of his music, but for music. However, a musician cannot be successful in an environment where the community, the society, doesn’t need what he or she has to offer. We were very lucky that in Sibiu there was both a need for Chamber music and the community was ready to invest and support our project. The German Forum in Sibiu invested in a brand new piano for the concert hall we use.

How would you characterize Romanian cultural life? What is the most ardent change it must go through in order to

continue evolving? One of the characteristics of the Romanian cultural life is that there are almost no foreigners in the classical music of Romania. Wherever I lived, be it Mexico, Cuba, the United States, Europe, there was always a big percentage of foreigners in the musical life. Europe is evolving towards diversity and this is not really the case in Romania yet. We are going through an important shift in the civic consciousness of Romania. Romanians are starting to realize that they will not find happiness abroad, regardless of their material accomplishments. I am talking about the civic consciousness that comes from understanding that your country, where your family and friends live, deserves that we all work together to create the paradise we want. Romania inherited a very high standard of performance. Romanian orchestras can compete with any great orchestras in the world. It’s just a question of mindset and recognizing the value which is in the Romanian musicians and the Romanian cultural world. • W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9



finished fourth grade and we wanted her to finish it here and begin a new school cycle, 5th grade, in Romania.

How were the first years in France? What was very hard in the beginning and how did you overcome it?

Anemarie Hoarau – Back to Romania after 15 years in Nice, France

The hardest part lasted two years, the first two years. I couldn’t get a job. When I moved to Nice, I only knew one Romanian family, a couple. I stayed with them in the beginning. I spoke French well, in fact, I speak five foreign languages. The first few months, I was euphoric. Nice had a warm climate, palm trees and beaches and I used to feel I was on vacation. But when I began to look for a job and couldn’t get one for more

Ploiesti-born Anemarie Hoarau, 43, has repatriated to Romania this summer after 15 years on the Cote d’Azur in France. Joining her on the new adventure is her French husband and their two children, daughter Eva, 11, and son Ange, who will be 5 in October.


When did you first move to France? And when (and why) did you start thinking about repatriation?


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You spent a decade working in Monaco and became an entrepreneur in 2017. What drove you on the path of entrepreneurship? I worked in audit documentation in Monaco. The company was an oil platform manufacturer. I had to audit all the documentation coming from suppliers, clients and engineers. I traveled quite a lot for work, through Europe, but also Dubai, Singapore, USA, Brazil. The company employed 1200 people in Monaco and, even though the official language was English, we also spoke French, Italian, Spanish, even Romanian. Ten years into the job, in a period of restructuring, I began thinking about starting my own business. My own job was not in danger, but I took advantage of the context and left to become an entrepreneur, in 2017. I did a few trainings in tourism and started my own travel agency.

How was the first year of entrepreneurship? What type of business did you set up to develop?

ana Tudose-Tianu spoke to Anemarie and is sharing a little of her story for our OZB readers.

I moved to France in 2005. I came straight to Nice and stayed here. In Romania, I had been working as an English teacher while I was still in college. In my senior year, I started working for a German company based in Ploiesti, teaching the other employees English. When I graduated, they hired me as an interpreter and secretary. I stayed with them for 4 years and learned so much by moving across departments: human resources, inspection, audit. Around me, all my friends were leaving Romania to work abroad. I thought I’d go for a while, too. I never planned to move away permanently. About coming back to Romania after 15 years, well, we made the decision together, my husband and I, in the summer of 2018. We gave ourselves a whole year to plan the relocation, mostly because it meant moving our daughter to a school in Ploiesti. She just

In 2007, in my second year in France, I got a job as an English teacher in a private school. I worked

than a year…I was crying all the time. I had work experience from Romania, and yet I didn’t get hired for reasons which included the fact that I was Romanian. I was actually told this to my face. A big, big help, was my husband. I met him early on, after I arrived in France, through the same friends I stayed with. He is French and taught me about the local culture, taught me how to behave with the people, helped me integrate in my new environment. During those many months I was unemployed, he was my biggest moral support.

I own a tourism agency that focuses on promoting destinations in Romania and Central & Eastern Europe. In the first year as an entrepreneur, I did significant networking. I used to go to all the events where I could meet new people and talk about my business, even if they were not related to the tourism industry. After networking so much, I started to get to know Romanian entrepreneurs who were also living and working on the Cote d’Azur. But I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t any community for them to meet and create value together. I wanted to show that Romanians in our area were entrepreneurs, building businesses, creating value for the French economy. We, Romanians, have been caught up in stereotypes, here in France. We were mostly seen as doing low-level jobs. But we are so much more than that.

And this desire, to promote Romanians who create value on the Cote d’Azur, led you to create


a Romanian community of entrepreneurs. What did you achieve in the two years you have been working on this project? I started small, by organizing small events like Romanian wine tastings, where I would invite both Romanian and French businessmen and women. When interest began to grow and I sensed the potential of having a strong community, I created the Entrepreneurs’ Café. Under this umbrella, I organized events with 80-100 participants, brought in speakers from Romania and France to talk about current issues in business and society. As this series of events was bringing in more and more engaged people, who wanted to contribute to our mission, too, I set up the RoAzur Association, which will turn 1 in December 2019. This September we will be organizing a Romanian-French Business Fair, where we’ll have start-ups, as well as local companies, presenting their products and services.

Now that I have relocated, I’ll be staying on as President of RoAzur. It was my idea from the beginning to create opportunities for collaboration between Romanian and French businesses and to promote Romanian entrepreneurs.

So, you moved back to Romania, with your two children (husband will follow soon). How is your family adapting? My husband, for one, loves Romania. We have been coming here for over a decade, together, and we traveled a lot throughout the country. But I think my attitude towards Romania mattered a lot to the way he thinks about life here. He knows Romania is my home. I have always spoke to him in positive terms about my country. He learned to love it, through my eyes, but also discovering it for himself. He is used to the people and their way of being. My children feel home completely in

Romania, and especially Ploiesti, where my parents are and where we are now located. I have always spoken to my children in Romanian and they spent each summer vacation here. My daughter, Eva, already has business plans of her own, at 11. She will be attending the Arts School in Ploiesti and she wants to be a fashion designer. She plans to launch a teen fashion line and has already produced a serious portfolio of designs, as well as come up with a name for her brand.

Now that you are back, what will be doing in Romania? Aside from my tourism agency, we plan to develop a couple of businesses in Romania. One will be in real estate, but we have other plans as well. For now, we are getting ready for the children to start their first school year in Romania, and we are adjusting, getting to really know the market. But I couldn’t be happier to be home. •

Hit Refresh


ominated last September by the Guardian newspaper as one of the “20 best yoga holidays worldwide” Akasha Wellness Retreat, in beautiful Transylvania, is ready to change your perception of yoga holidays. Writing about Akasha the Guardian said: “Forget Dracula; Transylvania is the perfect place to step off the world for a while and let nature, good food and gentle yoga get to work.” At Akasha, along with the very best yoga classes and superb nutrition, guests can enjoy local wine tasting, cooking demonstrations and amazing hiking in the hills near Bran. With three delicious vegan, gluten, sugar and dairy-free meals each day, you will forget about those sweets and calories you crave at home. Thirsty? The retreat’s only water source is the nearby spring so you don’t need to worry about filtering that water before drinking it. You can prepare detoxifying teas and add some ginger in before hitting the outdoor hot tub. •

Packages are all inclusive. See www.akasharetreat.com for more information and to book. You can call us at +40 727 86.04.39 at any time or simply ping us on Whatsapp

W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9 Hit Refresh



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From the UK private schools, emerge the world’s future elites. Will Romanians join in? Interview with Martyn Birchall, Founder, Fredel Education

Martyn Birchall


here was a time when most of Romania’s political, social and cultural elites were educated either in Paris, Vienna or Berlin. Fast forward a

century later, and it is the UK, rather than Germany or France, holding the reputation for shaping the minds of Europe and Asia’s brightest. Sending their children to spend pre-college years in British private schools has become the smart socio-educational choice increasingly embraced by European and Asian elites. Martyn Birchall first came to Romania 22 years ago. He met his wife on a business trip to Bucharest. Their 18-yearold son just graduated from Eton and was accepted into Oxford University. Martyn is the founder and senior advisor at Fredel Education, a practice he set up to help Romanian parents through the complex process of having their child enter the right UK school. “Fredel Education offers a full range of services, from looking for the best school for your child through to graduation. We arrange school visits, summer schools, we can arrange for guardians to support your child while he or she is studying in the UK, and we advise on how to interpret school reports.

“My son, now 18 years of age, was entering his formal schooling program and this gave me a direct involvement in the sector. He attended school both in Romania and the UK, so I have had the opportunity to consider both systems. From personal experience, I can say that the UK education system is currently the best suited and equipped to promote independent thinking. Families we advise will be acquainted with a whole new world of education, designed to enable their children to discover their strengths, and to make the most of their talents. Life at the right school will foster self-confidence, enthusiasm, perseverance in young children, both through their gymnasium and high school years. The best U.K. schools offer an environment so multi-cultural, that the children emerge true global citizens, with a wide range of social contacts that create a basis of friendships that last for life.”• More about Fredel Education at www.fredeleducation.com

W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9 From the UK private schools, emerge the world’s future elites. Will Romanians join in?



Share and Share Alike


By Dan Teodorescu

The rapid rise of the Internet has not only changed the way we interact with each other, but also created countless business opportunities. A clear example of that is the growing popularity of sharing apps, allowing us to use different means of transportation and even entire apartments or houses. Romanians have always been curious and open minded regarding new technologies and as a result more and more companies now make it possible for residents to share scooters, bikes, cars, and homes.


ity c . e e k lin

Here are the most popular and functional sharing apps operating right now in Bucharest.

Traditional mopeds have always been very practical and are the main mode of transportation in many parts of the world. However, they do have their disadvantages, such as the loud noise they make or the fact that they’re a constant target for bike thieves. Blinkee.city manages to eliminate both these disadvantages, allowing anyone to pick up and use their silent and clean electric mopeds anywhere in and around Bucharest. They are relatively inexpensive to use as well, with the standard fare being only 0.79 RON per minute and a special price for students at 0.67 RON/minute. Parking it only costs 0.09 RON/minute, so you can realistically use it to squeeze your way through the city’s hectic traffic on a daily basis, without significant costs. Its parent company is currently expanding all over Europe and will soon offer both classic and electric bicycles, as well as electric scooters. 30

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SEPTEMBER 2019 Share & Share Alike


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The beauty of an open and free market is that, once in a while, a company or a service comes along and shatters ideas and traditions that have been around for years. Until recently it was universally accepted that the only way to live in a different city for a few days, unless you have friends and family that could accommodate you, was to book a hotel room. Hotels were aware of the monopoly they had on where people stayed while on vacation or business trips, and charged accordingly. Airbnb made it possible for any house or apartment owner to share their entire home or only a room of their home with complete strangers. Not only does this cost significantly less than most hotel rooms in similar areas, but they also give a new dimension to any trip. They say that when in Rome you must do as Romans do, but it’s pretty hard to achieve that when staying in a standard hotel room that is more or less the same as any other hotel room around the world. Airbnb allows you to spend a few days or more living exactly as a local would.


y n o P.ro) r a CGetPony (


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You can comfortably cruise around town in a car, moped, or scooter, but comfort doesn’t get you in shape. I’Velo Urban is the first bicycle sharing service in Bucharest, meaning that people who choose to use the bike as a mode of transportation no longer have to worry about where to store it at home or keeping it away from bike thieves. You can pick up your bike from any of their automated stations and drop it off at the station that’s closest to your destination. So far I’Velo are a bit old school and users need to actually go to one of their centers to pick up their cards and pay a fixed subscription for a day, month, three months, half a year or a full year. While the app is still useful because it displays all the automated stations and helps you interact with other users, they’ll probably soon follow other sharing apps and let you do everything from your smartphone.

OK, so you can rent mopeds and live in someone else’s home, but you must at least own your own car, right? Well, not necessarily. Car sharing services are an emerging business all over the globe and Bucharest is no different. The whole idea behind them is the undeniable fact that the vast majority of cars spend most of their time idle in the parkway, taking up space. Car Pony is currently available in Cluj and Bucharest, featuring typical city vehicles like Smart or Mini, but also electric cars, such as the amazing BMW i3. You don’t have to worry about insurance, fuel, or parking, as the cars are fully insured even against damages that occur because of the driver, are always filled with gas or electricity (you get extra minutes if you decide to fuel it yourself), and you can leave it in any parking spot around town free of charge. Fares start at 1.4 RON per minute, with special bonuses and subscriptions available depending on your needs.

e m . Li

If you live in Bucharest you’ve probably noticed the increasing number of electric scooters parked on sidewalks all over town. Indeed, people are discovering this cheap and simple mode of transportation and they’re using it more and more. Although you can’t really go over 25 km/h, it’s probably best for your own safety that you don’t and odds are you’ll reach your destination faster than a car would because you don’t have to worry about traffic. Many people bought such electric scooters lately, but why buy when you can share? Lime was founded in California in 2017 and arrived in Romania only a few months ago, but many people are already using them on a daily basis. Just like any other sharing service on this list everything is incredibly straightforward and easy to use, all you need is a smartphone and you’re good to go. It costs 3 RON to start a trip and an additional 0.60 RON per minute. W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9



Bison are Thriving in the Southern Carpathians by Bianca Ștefănuț, Senior Communications Officer WWF Romania


he Southern Carpathians are home to one of the last wilderness strongholds of Europe. The landscape is varied, from virgin forests declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites to mountain ranges and pastures. The survival of this mosaic of flora and fauna depends on large herbivores, mainly European bison, which are considered the landscape architects of nature. Once roaming in herds of hundreds throughout Europe, wild bison were driven to extinction in the early twentieth century by hunting and habitat loss. Started in 2014, the ongoing bison reintroduction programme by WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe was the largest ever attempted in the Southern Carpathians. Another 7 individuals arrived this year in the Armeniș area of Țarcu Mountains after travelling from the Springe Reserve in Germany. Around 50 animals currently roam freely in the two release sites in the Țarcu and Poiana Ruscă Mountains, in the vicinity of the Densuș commune. This year more than 6 calves were noticed by the LIFE Bison Project rangers happily keeping up with the herds. 32

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The overall objective of the project, which runs until December 2020, is to establish a wild bison population that is demographically and genetically viable in the Southern Carpathians. Subpopulations will be connected by corridors, enabling migration and genetic exchange. The goal of Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania is to work with wild nature – with a particular focus on the bison – to develop the region. Today such development involves nature-based tourism, community-based and educational initiatives, scientific research and technological innovation. Tracking experiences in the rewilding areas are complemented by the rich local history and culture and stunning landscapes. For a chance to catch a glimpse of Europe’s largest land mammal, learn about wild nature and contribute to the local development you can book a guided expedition by visiting the destination website: www.bisonhillock.ro • More about the LIFE Bison project on www.life-bison.com facebook.com/RewildingSouthernCarpathians .

SEPTEMBER 2019 Who are the Young Romanian Leaders in Energy?

Note OZB ran the story exactly 12 months ago about the release of 23 bison in southwest Romania in August ‘18 and I’m delighted to run this story reporting the good news that these amazing creatures have not just survived but they are thriving. In this age where we’re so accustomed to stories of the natural world being doom and gloom - dwindling numbers, extinctions, habitat loss etc etc it’s wonderful that here in Romania it’s quite the opposite. Not only is there an abundance of bears, wolves and lynx but now there is also a viable, healthy population of Europe’s largest mammal, the bison. These guys are more rare than the black rhino! And in terms of being a drawcard for tourists, as a driver for increasing eco-tourism they don’t get better than these magnificent creatures.


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Where young people find their calling

Accepting children ages 5-10 for the 20192020 school year

School, as we know it, was designed in 1893. Our school was born different. Acton Academy is one of the newest and most innovative (and downright coolest) school networks in the world. We started Acton Academy Bucharest, an affiliate of Acton Academy in Texas, USA, to help my children and yours reach their full potential in life. We talk a lot about heroes in our school because we want to give our students a vision of what they can become. Building strong moral values and character into our kids is at the heart of our educational philosophy. We know it will be the key to their future success. Cristina Dogarel - Founder ACTON ACADEMY BUCHAREST

What makes Acton Academy so different? Acton Academy is “student led.� This means young people take ownership of their education and peer relationships. Acton students learn to think independently, take responsibility and embrace challenge. They are being prepared to bring their own, unique genius to the world. We believe in the power of apprenticeships. Beginning with middle school, our students obtain summer internships in a field they are passionate about. Acton students have interned with doctors, entrepreneur bakers, plumbers, attorneys and graphic designers. What will your child choose?

OUR PROMISES TO YOUR CHILD Begin a Hero's Journey Learn to be a curious, independent, lifelong learner. Develop a deep respect for economic, political and religious freedoms. Cherish the arts, wonders of the physical world and the mysteries of life on Earth. Discover his or her most precious gifts and learn to use them to solve difficult problems. www.actonbucharest.com Facebook: @ActonAcademyBucharest


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Your New Favourite Spot In the Heart of Bucharest


xtra Time Pub is that place to be to enjoy a good night out with friends, catch the game, or just meet new people. Right in the heart of all the commotion and chatter of the city’s old town, Extra Time pub has been the preferred choice for visitors local and foreign alike

since opening this year. Built modern and straightforward, its approach towards consumers is one of passion and dedication, consistently shown in its products and service. For beer connoisseurs, at Extra Time you will find people as passionate as you, who will tell you the characteristics and differences of each beer we have on site. Between all the varieties of beer present, there’s one that might catch your curiosity. Ursus Tank is the new addition to the beer market in Romania, which can only be found in a couple of locations throughout the country. As tank beer is brought straight from the brewery through special containers, it has a short life of only 14 days after opening the tank, making Ursus Tank amongst the freshest in town. Ursus tanks lining the entranceway set the mood and welcome you to a night of fun and socializing. Cleverly articu-

lated walls, modern design, and a cozy atmosphere come together into the perfect setting for the rest of the night for you and your friends. In a neighborhood that’s been witness to the passing of time, Extra Time keeps the legacy alive and each of our guests a memorable experience, engraved in time through the sound of clinked pints, laughter and music. •

For more details and reservations, contact Extra Time at following: Facebook: Extra Time (@extratime.ro) Instagram: extratime_82a Phone No: +40 732 166 605 Address: Str. Lipscani 82A, Bucharest Romania W W W.O Z B . R O S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9

Your New Favourite Spot In the Heart of Bucharest


BARS & RESTAURANTS two bohemian yet energetic new locations were instantly successful, but something was missing in the Biutiful franchise, namely the magic of the original restaurant. Fast forward to 2019 and a recreation of that first restaurant was opened in the Timpuri Noi area, only three days into the New Year. Boasting 250 seats and open until midnight, it manages to recreate a classic pub vibe, with large beer tanks and comfortable sofas, but it also features a rich Tex-Mex food menu with expertly cooked and absolutely delicious dishes.

Costelaria Nord

What’s New Out and About By Dan Teodorescu


eople generally have mixed opinions when it comes to Bucharest, but one thing is for certain: when it comes to having a good time out on the town, few cities in Europe offer such a vibrant atmosphere and multitudes of options. New bars and restaurants open every season, giving both locals and tourists even more options for a fun night out. Here are some of the hottest places opened this year.

Biutiful Downtown The first Biutiful restaurant was opened years ago in Bucharest’s Old Town and enjoyed tremendous success due to its luxurious but not overly pretentious décor and atmosphere. Although it was closed in 2015 because its building did not meet earthquake standards, the brand’s success pushed the owners to open two new locations: Biutiful by the Sea in Mamaia and Biutiful by the Lake in Herastrau Park. These 36

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Another great restaurant which opened this year is Colstelaria, on Barbu Vacarescu Boulevard. As any Romanian speaker would guess from its name, it specializes in ribs, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a menu with a decent variety. Located somewhere between Dinamo Stadium and Circus Park (those who follow Romanian football might say the former should be named after the latter), this is Costelaria’s second Bucharest location, the first being on Rahova Street. Aside from ribs, Costelaria offers hungry visitors a fairly typical steakhouse menu, with chicken, pork, lamb, and beef specialties, and sides of potatoes, rice, vegetables, or Mamaliga, along with their own special sauces. This is definitely not a place that’s regularly visited by those who don’t love eating meat, but if one or more of your vegan friends are joining you they can still enjoy a decent variety of salads. The menu also features a rich beer and wine variety to go along with those delicious steaks and ribs.

Gold Bar Café Bars and cafes are very hard to get right. Restaurants can stand out with exotic menus and delicious dishes, but the drinks and the coffee are pretty much the same everywhere, so the only things a bar or a café can have to stand out from the crowd is provide a nice location and great atmosphere. Gold Bar Café manages to score high marks on both. First of all, its location is smartly chosen, right on the corner of Victoriei and Lipscani streets, next to Bucharest’s Old Town. Its design inspires a great atmosphere by blending relaxing elements with glamorous ones. Visitors are treated to a wide variety of coffee types and cocktails from all over the world, but also some local favorites like Palinca or Visinata. Those who get hungry have an extensive menu to choose from, with all sorts of salads, sandwiches, starters, snacks, cookies, candy, and much more. What's New Out and About

Gold Bar Café

Matcha Bar Matcha is a special Japanese tea that’s made out of finely ground powder originating from green tea leaves, generally served with water or milk. This definition alone is enough to let you know that Matcha Bar is far from what you consider a typical bar, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Opened in early 2019 on Dacia Boulevard, it aims to bring the many varieties of Matcha tea to Bucharest and does so in style, with a rich menu and a uniquely designed location. The quiet rooms and pink decorations may seem odd at first, but pretty soon you’ll discover that the whole atmosphere is very serene and relaxing, just right for doing a bit of work on your laptop or relaxing after hours. You can find Macha in everything, from tea to cocktails, cookies, and even in snacks. If you’re not into Japanese tea but enjoy the overall feel of the place, you can also ask for a cup of coffee or a nice glass of wine. •



Matcha Bar

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Looking to the Germans for Grüne Living Tips By David Shoup


omania’s rotating term in the European Union Presidency has come to an end, but now is as good a time as ever for Romanians to look to its brothers and sisters in the EU for inspiration in building a more livable and modern society. Such efforts may seem daunting, so its helpful to break this concept down into two simple but highly impactful lifestyle changes. So, let’s start with how to make Bucharest greener. I’ve spent part of this summer in Leipzig, Germany’s fastest growing city. Two aspects of local infrastructure, if replicated back home in


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Bucharest, could be a windfall. Though falling on hard times in the post-war years under the East German State, following German reunification in 1990, Leipzig made major renovations to make this Saxon city one of the most livable in the world. Despite being home to over 600,000 people, Leipzig’s traffic situtation is almost nonexistent. Most Leipzigers commute using either public transportation (electric tram, bus or metro) or biking to work, and the city has made it incredibly easy to do so. Nearly every major road in the city has an Amsterdam-style double bike lane along with separate traffic lights for bicyclists to ease the flow and maintain the safety of the roads. Cardiovascular health aside, biking is a great way to jump start the day, especially en route to a summer’s day in the office. Winter is a different story, but Leipzigers tend to stick it out year round, snow be damned. Just like Bucharest’s King Michael (formerly Herestreu) Park, Tineretului, and even Vacaresti, Leipzig is packed with lushious parks that make for great cycling throughways or destinations on a sunny afternoon. And let’s not forget the environmental impact that cars have on a city like Leipzig or Bucharest. A 25 kilometer round trip daily commute saves a metric ton of gas each year. Boulevards Unirii, Dimitrie Cantemir, and Ion BratiaLeooking to the Germans for Grüne Living Tips

nu are all ripe pickings for bike lane space. All we need to do is paint those lanes in. Bottle return trips to any one of Leipzig’s supermarkets is always a nice opportunity to pick up bratwurst, popcorn, or just more beer free of generous with the generous deposits, or Pfand: 8 euro cents for glass bottles and a whopping 25 cents on cans. Some of my older Romanian English students in Bucharest are quick to point out that during the days of the Socialist Republic, the city did recycle glass, albeit of a one-size-fits-all category and severely lacking in the type of modern, efficient, and sanitary recycling facilities that are available today. But the older generation needn’t harken back to the old days. Some in Romania have already gotten the ball rolling. Sigurec and Green Group are installing streetsie industrial recycling machines that offer reward tickets to recyclers from partnering stores and supermarkets. The deposit system on glass and plastic would be a great next step, but it will take government and public action. Last month OZB put out our “green issue,” and we can’t let the buck stop here. Looking to our European partners for green energy lifestyle changes and innovation is a sure way to maximizing Romania’s potential and maintaing its beautiful outdoors. •

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