OZB Magazine July/August 2019

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July/August 2019 | N° 21 | FREE COPY





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e v o l u t i o n




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Simion Buia’s Romanian Actors






A Story of Romanian Romance





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Governance Douglas Williams - Publisher


aow, what a summer this is turning out to be for Romania and for Romanians! Simona Halep, Romania’s sporting sweetheart, comprehensively demolished Serena Williams, arguably the greatest tennis player ever, to win the Wimbledon final. Not only was her emfatic, sub-one-hour Grand Slam victory peppered with astonishing athleticism and shots but her victory speech was modest, sincere, warm and packed with a graciousness that made all Romanians justifiably glow with pride. This issue of OZB we are turning up the green to 11. Maximum green. Not in a despairing way (breath a sigh of relief now), more in a “can barely contain ourselves” excited sort of way. Ok, ok, too much, but it is happening folks, despite all the doom and gloom we’re relentlessly bombarded with, and it’s happening right here and right now. But what’s the “it” to which I refer? Ok, well it’s nothing short of a revolution and this time the revolution is in the means by which we power ourselves, keep ourselves warm, cool ourselves, move ourselves around, cook, light, charge our phones etc. basically everything. Let’s rewind momentarily - remember the days when you would take a photograph, develop the camera film at a pharmacist, collect the photographs, stick them in an envelope, apply a stamp and put the letter in a letter box to send to someone? The whole process could take weeks and cost a pretty penny. Doesn’t seem so long ago… (To me anyway…) And now? You can take a half decent quality movie and send it to the other side of the world from the middle of nowhere in the time it takes to say “I thought the bears were hibernating”. I predict that within a smaller time-frame the whole way that we power our lives will be hardly recognisable. Future generations will look back in disbelief, aghast at the way we’ve been doing things, running things, killing the planet. Minor tweaks in mentality and infrastructure are all that are now required to go full green and despite the most powerful forces’ opposition


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things are happening all around us and momentum is gathering. The luddites cannot hold back the tide.


This vital revolution requires governance with vision - the type that governs and implements changes that benefit not just this generation but generations to come, the kids of 2050.


It is important that we each take responsibility for our own individual actions but let’s face it cutting out straws isn’t going to cut it. Our responsibilities are to choose the leaders who are prepared to facilitate this revolution and we must hold these leaders to the strictest accountability on this matter above all others.




We need leaders who will drive the change: away from the current planet killing carbon economy towards the circular, renewables economy and these individuals need to, by definition, actually lead. We must also ensure that those that don’t do this get out of the way without further ado. Read what Nicu Stefanuta, bright young USR MEP, has to say on these matters in his interview with my colleague David Shoup. Read also about the massive, new subsidies available for domestic solar power installation as well as steps being taken to promote energy efficient, new building practices and our step by step guide to transforming Bucharest into a properly bike-friendly city. There’s even the story of how a formerly depressed, ex-mining area has been rejuvenated. Our colleague Dana Tudose-Tianu explores family mediation, the much loved Cotroceni area of Bucharest and even adds a sprinkle of Romanian romance. If you’d like to contribute to OZB, if you have any stories that you think we should be covering, if you have criticisms, complements, if you would like to partner with us commercially or if you just want to say hello message us on our Facebook site on the messenger tab. Alternatively you can find us on Instagram or Twitter - OZBmedia. O zi bună!


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Contents 9

Summer Events


A Story of Romanian Romance & Bliss


Photo Essay - Romanian Actors



Bucharest's Historical Neighbourhoods

Solar Energy Takes the Front Seat as Romania Lookds Forward to a Greener Future


Sometimes Summer Vacation Precedes a Divorce Journey

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Historic Valley Reborn

SMARTER for families leads the way to Green Finance


The best electric cars available on the Romanian market

10 Easy Steps to Turn Bucharest into a Cycling City


OZB Presents: From Dusk 'til Dawn in Vama Veche


Wild Romanian Wilderness



Going Out: Bars & Restaurants

The generation that is worth changing Romania for


A Place Where History Lives Through Modern TImes

Co-Living What Is It And Who Is It For? Omega House in Bucharest


Let there be light


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Summer Events • Monteoru Bike Adventure

August is an exciting month for those seeking an energetic summer of the

August 4th

best that Romania has to offer in outdoor adventure, thrills, beer, and yes, activism. OZB’s David Shoup previews some highlights.

The Bucharest International Airshow (BIAS 2019)

OnAdventure is hosting a bicycling trip at the Monteoru Resort in Buzau featuring 40 kilometers of forest trails at elevations of 900 meters. The course includes stunning views of untamed forest, rocky cliffs and the far eastern stretch of the Carpathian Mountains. The price is 50 Ron or 150 Ron to include healthy sustenance and transport from the Aviatorilor Metro. For reservations contact onadventure.ro@gmail. com.

• August 10th National Protest Piața Victoriei, August 10th

• Bucharest Craft Beer Festival Barbu Vacarescu 162-164 August 30th-September 1st

For the fourth consecutive summer, the Bucharest Craft Beer Festival seeks to provide an exciting venue for up and coming craft brewers to meet fans face to face. For three nights in a row, come to the Verde Stop Arena to sample some of the best and brightest brews to pair with a late summer evening, good company, and great live music. Like it on Facebook at www.facebook. com/CraftBeerFestivalRomania

Monteoru Bike Adventure

At the end of the 2018 summer, massive anti-corruption protests in Bucharest brought worldwide media coverage to the resurgence of popular activism and national outcry in Romania. Romanians from home and abroad are re-uniting for a follow-up protest one year later in Victory Square. See facebook.com/ events/329697397660819/ for more information.

August 10th National Protest

• The Bucharest International Airshow (BIAS 2019) North of Otopeni Airport to

headbump in summer 2019. August 25th

Plane nerds need not be disappointed this summer, as the BIAS 2019 will be held at Baneasa Airport this August, less than 30 minutes by bus from downtown Bucharest. The turboprop, jet, and helicopter air show will feature flyovers and acrobatics from flying teams as well as the warplanes of an impressive list of national air forces, including US F15 fighters, Italian Eurofighter Typhoons, Spanish F18 Hornets, German Tornados, and Turkish NF5 combat planes. For more information go to www.bias.aero north of Otopeni Airport to headbump in summer 2019.

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Romanian Actors S

imion Buia is a father, a photographer, journalist, actor, mentor and globe-trotter. He graduated from the Journalism Faculty of the Facultée Libre de Paris et d’Île de France. He later worked as a journalist for Romania Libera and the Deutsche Welle radio station in Köln, Germany.

His passion for photography began in 1991, with a Pentax. His “Romanian Actors” project was launched in 2015 and promotes Romanian actors through photographs and video confessions, hosted in exhibition spaces and online on www.romanianactors.com. Without resembling a who-is-who type of gallery, romanianactors.com becomes an art platform with purpose, a place where photography and videography are vehicles of actors’ representation and of mediation between them and the public, beyond the characters they embody on stage. Simion had over 15 solo expositions with his projects “the Actors and the Photographer” and “Maschere di Venezia”. He lives and works in Bucharest, where he manages a private photography academy. • 10

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Emilia Popescu W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9



Virginia Mirea

George Ivașcu


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Marian Râlea

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Solar Energy Takes the Front Seat as Romania Looks Forward to a Greener Future

it comes to sustainable energy sourcing.

by David Shoup

The European Commission set a target for EU nations to have 20% of their electric energy use come from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, water or nuclear power by 2020. Romania is ahead of the curve, predicted to hit over 26% by 2020, and 35% by 2030. This places the relatively new EU member all the way up as the seventh most renewable energy using country in the bloc, an impressive feat given Romania’s relatively recent membership status and turbulent economic history.

ith 210 sunny days out of the year, Romania is a rich environment for solar energy. But you don’t see all that many solar panels adorning the rooftops of Bucharest. In large part, this may be because Romania is already leading the continental pack when

Nuclear and hydropower, which together make up nearly half of Romania’s renewable energy sources, are almost entirely state owned, and the current governing party has traditionally been a strong proponent of coal power, which is damaging to both human and environmental

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health. However, with the recent political shift seen in the May European Parliamentary elections, a good deal of wiggle room could emerge for private developments in solar energy. As of this year, there are 25 solar farms in the Bucharest region, but little data available on how many individually owned solar panels are in private use. “Renewable energy policy has been lacking in Romania in the past,” said Nicu Stefanuta, a newly elected MP in the European Parliament from the Save Romania Union (USR), a young party which enjoyed a wave of popular support in the May 26 elections. “But by partnering with both the EU and local businesses to install solar panels, we’re taking a big step forward.” In the past, bureaucracy has played an outsized role in the dearth of solar panels for households, and it was reported that


Cornel Brezuică, Chairman of the Government Fund for the Environment

Nicu Ștefănuță Newly Elected MEP from USR

homeowners in Ploiesti as recently as 2016 were required to secure traffic police permits in order to install a solar panel. But under the leadership of Cornel Brezuica, the Environmental Fund Administration of Romania (AFM) is paving the way for broad and progressive changes. The AFM is launching a bold new operation to subsidize as many as 30,000 homeowners to switch from the electric grid to solar panel energy in August. The 120 million Euro program will cover 90% of the cost of solar panels and their installation by 270 private companies across the country. Cornel Brezuica, President of the AFM, said that homeowners will be able to qualify for the subsidy on a first come, first serve basis. Brezuica said that prior to launching the program, AFM staff had to first streamline national and local


legislation in order to override previous regulations that made it a headache for homeowners to install renewable energy devices for private use. “The process of receiving this subsidy will be fairly simple for homeowners,” Brezuica said. “Once we publish the list of approved companies, individuals will only need to submit proof of ownership, be debt-free to the state, and provide a single form. Then, we will subsidize the installation company and the homeowner will only have to pay one tenth of the cost.” The majority of the funds come from the EU, and the AFM has set technical standards to ensure that the solar panels being subsidized will be of high quality and come with a twenty year warranty. Founded in 2004, the AFM has been

particularly busy as of late. Brezuica says that the fund is currently in the process of providing subsidies for solar panels at 10,000 homes across Romania that are more than two kilometers off the electric grid. A separate program is also underway to implement large scale recycling in counties that lack a recycling center. But Brezuica is particularly proud of the electric car subsidy program RAMBLA+, which last year granted 1,500 individuals and companies 10,000 Euros each to switch from gas guzzling automobiles to electric or hybrid cars. A major follow up to this program is now underway. “At the end of this year,” Brezuica said,” Romania will become the third EU nation after Germany and the Netherlands to build electric charging stations on every



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100 kilometers of national roadway.” The plan is now in the final stages of approval by the EU Commission. Stefanuta, who spoke to OZB Magazine about a greener future for Romania from a delegation trip to Washington, D.C, made clear that the pursuit of green energy programs will be a priority for his party. “For [USR}, renewable energy is very important and something we will march forward on,” he said. “Is 30,000 [solar powered homes] sufficient? I’m not

sure, but it’s an important start.” Pointing to a recent increase wildfires and floods on the continent, Stefanuta said the need for raising the standards on renewable energy reliability is both pressing and of critical importance for the safety of Europeans. “During my campaign, I talked a lot about the European civil protection mechanism,” he said. “We saw that even wealthier states in the EU can not deal with the negative effects of climate change

SMARTER For Families leads the way to GREEN FINANCE by Rodica Purcel

Rodica Purcel is an environmental engineer specializing in energy efficiency and sustainability. Passionate about new technologies and decentralized economy, Rodica is a strong promotor of an active lifestyle and gender equality.


he current socio-economic global environment exerts a lot of pressure on the natural environment, threatening our planet’s limited resources. The need for more green investments is now. One hears talk about green revolution, green energy, and green lifestyles. But what about Green Finance? Green Finance is a concept designed to increase investments in environmentally and socially responsible projects while simultaneously reducing the associated financial risk. Green Finance creates opportunities to positively transform the overall performance, quality, comfort and 16

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in time without some assistance. We need to enlarge this civil protection program to protect Romania from future natural disasters.” For this American author, coming from a nation that has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, such Romanian attitudes towards the urgent need for these renewable programs is a refreshing change of pace. OZB Magazine will be posting the full list of solar panel installers that AFM is partnering with on it’s website, at OZB. ro. •


financial viability of Europe's new and existing housing stock. Romania Green Building Council (RoGBC) promotes environmental responsibility and energy efficiency in the Design, Construction, Operation and Deconstruction of Romania's built environment. Its newest project SMARTER Finance for Families, has received funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 program and has qualified among the top 3 finalists in the “Leadership” category of the 2019 EU Sustainable Energy Week Awards. SMARTER Finance for Families implements ambitious but practical Green Homes & Green Mortgage solutions in 12 European countries. This is made possible via the collaboration and participation of 17 expert teams in green building, green energy and green research, from Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine. The project uses Green Homes certifications to assess and recognize top performance in residential projects that incorporate sustainable construction principles. Evidence from financial and technical modeling has proven that investing in energy efficiency and other green building attributes for homes: • Improves housing quality; • Reduces the total monthly cost of ownership for the homeowner; • Increases sales prices for the project developer/investor and substantially; • Reduces substantial financial risk for the partner banks; The local Green Homes program in Romania includes over 25 projects and 6.500 housing units already certified or

Congratulations Simona Halep!


ur entire OZB editorial team rooted for Simona Halep on July 13, and the entire country let out a loud cheer for the newest Wimbledon Champion for ladies’ singles. In the 55 minute-match, Simona won (6-2,6-2) against 7-time Wimbledon champion, American Serena Williams.

currently in the certification process “Through the SMARTER Finance For Families project we bring an innovative and systemic solution to a systemic problem. We are creating significant opportunities for the finance and building industry to deliver the green performance we need for Europe’s citizens and their homes.” - said Steven Borncamp, Project Director at SMARTER. In addition to improving citizens’ lives, the program also addresses the needs of residential project developers, financial institutions offering residential mortgages, and investors and companies offering services, products, materials, technologies and other solutions that are key to the construction and operation of green, energy-efficient residential properties. Simona, 27, is Romania’s first Wimbledon’s Singles Champion. Her wish, right after the big win, was that more Romanian children started playing tennis. A national role-model, the caliber of Nadia Comaneci and Gica Hagi, Simona’s power to inspire Romanian youth can catalyze great changes in our young generation, from 10-year-olds to young adults. As it was once said by Count de Saint-Aulaire about Ionel Bratianu, a 7-time minister of Romania and one of the best political leaders our country ever had: “Small countries are destined to have great people.”

Representatives from the national and local government, associations promoting environmental protection, energy efficiency and/or better housing, as well as anyone else interested are invited to find out more about how this program creates new funding opportunities for green homes, while actively improving building standards in the participating countries. •

For more details you can check www.rogbc.org/en/projects/smarterfinance-for-families

Thank you for your greatness, Simona!

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ECO Raluca Fișer President at Green Revolution Association (environmental NGO) Vice President – board member of the European Cyclists Federation Developer and operator of the Ivelo (www.ivelo.ro) bike-sharing projects.

10 Easy Steps to Turn Bucharest into a Cycling City by Raluca Fișer

Cities all over the world are reinventing themselves as places to be lived, rather than just driven through. Valencia, Bogotá, and Hanoi are the new pioneers. Vibrant, open, busy, messy, mixing, these cities, although different from one another, but they all share something. All are leveraging bicycles as an excellent tool to unlock the full potential of mobility, liveability, local economy and democracy. The time has come for Bucharest’s resurgence. Here are 10 steps to transform the Romanian capital into the most competitive city of Eastern Europe – for cycling and more.

1. Vision and will


ity leaders are generally highly engaged individuals, passionate about their job and capable of firm commitments. The very first thing they need is to have an ambitious vision of the city they want. Be inspired by the top 20 most cycling friendly cities, recently unveiled in the Copenhagenize Index. The first 5-7 cities are in a category of their own, but lower down the list one can find cities like Barcelona, Paris, Taipei; highly chaotic, until recently traffic oriented, and all featuring huge avenues designed for big polluting vehicles. And yet, the rock-solid political will of their leaders are changing the face of these cities forever. Best practice: Ljubljana 18

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10 Easy Steps to Turn Bucharest into a Cycling City


2. Create a Cycling Strategy

As a starter city in bicycle mobility, Bucharest needs to ensure its vision is also translated into a long-term strategy. This might sound as a boring waste of time, but it’s the only way to ensure a sustainable growth of cycling. I’ve seen so many cities doing great in the first 2 years of development and then stop because of their lack of a coherent strategy! Best practice: Helsinki

3. Infrastructure, 4. Infrastructure, 5. Infrastructure Bucharest being still at the beginning of its glorious way towards becoming a cycling city, high-quality safe infrastructure is an essential feature it has to develop. The primary reason why people of the world don’t cycle is because they feel unsafe. And the primary reason why Copenhageners cycle is because it’s the fastest, most efficient way to get around town. Best practice: Seville

6. Reduce cars (and speed)

Getting rid of car traffic is the fast track to a more cyclable city, but definitely a hard target to hit. An easy and cost-efficient way to make people feel comfortable walking and cycling is to reduce car speed, especially in those places where there is no need for proper cycling infrastructure. 30km per hour is quickly becoming the new normal in city centres. In any case, Bucharest is the slowest city in Europe because of its congestion, so it won’t change much! Best practice: Oslo

7. Communication

“Build it and they will come” is a sort of mantra in the cycling sector, referring to the need for cycling infrastructure to grow modal share. While this bears some truth, especially in beginner cities, it is no universal solution. A proper communication strategy needs to be set in place. Brand your cycling-promoting measures; study a unique way to make your infrastructure visible; organise events and interact with your citizens. And lead by example! Jumping on your bike and cycling to work every morning is a great way to show your commitment (and win votes). Best practice: Brussels

8. (Bike) Sharing is caring

Bike sharing has repeatedly been one of the most efficient tools to quickly upscale cycling in cities. It not only makes cycling accessible to virtually everyone; it also enhances greatly the visibility of cycling itself. So don’t stay beside and buy your own subscription on Bucharest bike-sharing program sponsored by Raiffeisen Bank and Kaufland Romania – www.ivelo.ro Best practice: London

9. The Devil hides in the details

The beauty of cycling lies in its simplicity. The bicycle is an easy and elegant mode of transport that allows an incredibly wide range of people to move efficiently. But as it often goes for simple things, they have to be perfect to work properly. Details like the smoothness of the asphalt or that 2% gradient of the bridge have a big impact on the experience of cycling. And ultimately, on how many people will enjoy doing it. Make cycling in Bucharest nice and pleasant by appointing a good CEO, Chief Experience Officer! Best practice: Copenhagen

10. Create a Cycling Dream Team

All the points above need a lot of work and coordination, but if there is one thing crucial to make it happen is: people working on it. So, I more than grateful to my Green Revolution Association Team for fighting for cycling rights, laws, campaigns and developing and operating bike-sharing projects like Ivelo.ro. Allocate budget and support a team of experts whose primary objective is making of Bucharest a cycling city. With a dedicated team of professionals, you can climb the position of the Copenhagenize Index in no time! Best practice: All of the above & join www.greenrevolution.ro and www.ivelo.ro •

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Wild Romanian Wilderness by Ioana Cenușă


he Carpathian Mountains form some of the largest contiguous forests on the continent with the highest percentage of virgin woodlands. They contain an extraordinarily high number of species and are home to the largest European populations of large carnivores (bears, wolfs and lynx). 20

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Foundation Conservation Carpathia is involved in creating a new, nondestructive economy around the Făgăraș Mountains for the benefit of biodiversity and local communities. In addition to nature conservation actions, the foundation has developed a series of good examples of green business models based on the region’s natural richness through ecotourism. In the rolling hills of South-Central Transylvania lies Cobor, a small village surrounded by meadows and forests with flowers, trees and animals, just as in centuries past. The Biodiversity Farm Cobor established by the Foundation Conservation Carpathia is the ideal place for a break from busy city life. Here you

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can have the opportunity to taste the traditional dishes made by housewives, enjoy trips on the high natural value pastures, to get direct contact with the pure nature and peace that a village like Cobor can offer. www.cobor-farm.ro Surrounded by forests, far away from any city or village and overlooking Pecineagu Lake, Bunea Hide is located on a southern ridge of the Făgăraș Mountains. More than wildlife watching, a few days at the hide are an opportunity to explore and reconnect to the wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains. Also, we welcome those who love a good adventure and like finding spots off the beaten track up to our Comisu Wilderness two Hides at the edge of the alpine meadows in the


Făgăraș Mountains, above the hills and the forests. Built by Foundation Conservation Carpathia as part of the largest private conservation project in Europe, the three hides are located on the south-eastern side of the highest mountain range in Romania and are an example of a green business that has a positive impact both on the environment and on local communities. Situated not far from Săticu de Sus village, Richita Hide is another place for wildlife watching and a chance to see bears, wild boar, red deer, or foxes. You have the opportunity to do guided hikes through protected forests and on the mountains around the Dâmbovița valley. Search and learn to identify animal tracks

and, at noon, have a picnic in one of the picturesque alpine meadows. The main conservation and restauration sites of Foundation Conservation Carpathia are in Dâmbovița Valley, so alternatively you can also experience the nature conservation work the foundation is doing and the impact it has. Find more about Foundation Conservation Carpathia work from their website www.carpathia.org and follow them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ ConservationCarpathia) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/carpathia_ romania) •

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The Generation That Is Worth Changing Romania For by Dana Tudose Tianu

Interview with Natalia Caracas, 14, Bucharest. A public school graduate, Natalia scored 9,95 at the National Evaluation Exam (out of 10). She wants to become an architect.


am sitting down with Natalia, on a sunny morning at the beginning of July, in a wonderful cultural space in Cotroceni, La Petite Bouffe café & pastry house. There is a “cultural living room” in the basement of the café, tastefully decorated, where, surrounded by books and sitting in elegant armchairs, in dim, warm, lighting, culture lovers feel relaxed and inspired. I’m having a cappuccino and Natalia picks a pink lemonade. Natalia, 14, was born and raised in Cotroceni. Her mother, Carmen, is an attorney and mediator, and her father, Alin, is a dentist and a sculptor. She has a younger sister, Ariana, whom Natalia mentions with a note of admiration I easily pick up on, during the interview. In June, Natalia graduated from a public school with tradition and excellent results, also based in Cotroceni – the “I. Gh.Duca” secondary school. She scored a 9.95 average at the national evaluation exam, which she recently found out the results for. A 9.95 out of a 10 maximum score (which is exactly her average for the four years of secondary school, too), says something. To me, it said determination, 22

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ambition, effectiveness, but also a balanced personality and a clarity of thought that can be so useful to all of us. Having all of these qualities, at 14, gives you several advantages later in life. Natalia wants to be an architect. But before college, her first option for high school is the famous Gheorghe Lazar in Bucharest. Her father, uncle and grandfather, all went there. She calls it “a family tradition”. As I write this article, she is still waiting to get confirmation that she will, in fact, be a “Lazarista”. What follows below is an excerpt of our 40 minute-long conversation, which we hope will inspire people who have, perhaps, lost faith in the public school system, or those who need to find the motivation to change it for the better. Natalia’s success, however, is a combination of factors, of which the most important one has definitely been her own parents’ interest in who she is and who she can become. She did performance ballet for 7 years, and that effort in itself was a strong character-building tool. Her luck of having been born and raised in a great community/neighborhood, is also to be considered.

When did you start thinking about becoming an architect?

Until just six months ago, I used to think of being an architect as if it were a far-away reality. It seemed a dream. My father is the one who gave me architecture books to read and started me thinking about improving my drawing skills by taking classes. I guess my father picked up on my interest of looking at and photographing old buildings, especially in the old center of Bucharest. The fact that he is (also) a sculptor opened up this perspective for me, because he knew what to show me and how to guide me. My father does all his sculptures at home, so we were all able to witness the creative process. Our house is a museum. I am more passionate about photography, for now, rather than drawing.

the first thing I do is pay attention to the buildings, to their design, their architectural style. My father usually gives me more details and explains certain aspects to me. I like to photograph buildings and nature the most.

What did those 7 years of ballet bring in your life?

It has been a great passion of mine. I participated in many, many contests. I used to go 3 or times a week. I loved rehearsing and perfecting my technique. What stressed me, during the performances, was accurately showing all that I have learned, all that I was capable of doing.

You have two months of vacation after such a long stretch of studying all the time. If you could do anything, what would you do?

I would read. I know it may seem strange, but I got used to using my time productively and learning something.

Did you consider any other professions, aside from architecture?

I thought about becoming an attorney, observing my mother’s work, but she advised me against it. (n.a. I am smiling on the inside, at the thought that parents with very demanding professions usually want to spare their children the pain and tribulations of their own career). I probably would not have considered architecture if it hadn’t been for my father’s guidance and opening up this world to me.

When would you like to start digging deeper into understanding what being an architect means?

I definitely want to improve my drawing skills beginning with the first year of high school. I’m also thinking it will be useful to attend classes at the University of Architecture in Bucharest.

What quality do you admire Which of the various most in your parents? NC: I admire my mom’s ambition. aspects of urban When she wants to achieve something, architecture (planning, rehabilitation, development, nothing stops her. I admire my father’s talent and intelligence. He gave 10 years of history) interests you the his life becoming first a doctor, and then a most? Whenever I visit a city abroad,

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sculptor. •

Handmade Romanian Blouse


makes you happy!

the romanian blouse www.romanian-blouse.com W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9



Co-Living What Is It And Who Is It For? Omega House in Bucharest by Dana Tudose Tianu

Richard has been living at the Omega House co-living and coworking space in Bucharest for six months. He will be 42 in August and was born in Guildford, UK. He first arrived in Bucharest two and a half years ago and, before "trying out" co-living, he had been living in rented apartments.


ana Tudose-Tianu visited Omega House and interviewed Richard to learn more about what co-living is and what it offers him. Richard: “I arrived at OH in February 2019, traveling around SouthEast Asia earlier that year. I’ve been renting so far, throughout my stay in Romania. But I have found that here, at 24

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Omega House, the community life is less lonely. It’s comfortable here, I’ve gotten to know the staff and I’ve met a lot of fantastic guests who have come and gone.” Living under the same roof (and in the same room, unless one opts for a private room) with strangers may seem daunting to some. But for millenials and the “Z” generation, co-living is a solution to economic as well as social challenges. As young people from these generations see more value in authentic experiences and living in like-minded communities, co-living offers what low-priced rentals, hostels or dorms cannot. Ciprian Jdera, 34, the founder of Omega House, is not only the owner, but also a resident of Omega, which is located near Piata Romana. “We host young people from around the world at Omega House,” says Ciprian. “Not just digital nomads from Poland, Italy, France, India or the United States, but also young people from Romania, who choose to live here because renting an apartment in Bucharest wouldn’t satisfy all their needs. They come to try out a new style of accomodation and they discover a new way of living”, he adds, in a recent interview for OZB. Omega House is a unique concept in Romania. It hosts, under the same roof, a co-living space with 8 private rooms and 2 shared rooms, a café, a co-working Co-Living What Is It And Who Is It For? Omega House in Bucharest

hub, a shared kitchen, laundry room, entertainment/events area, and a yard (with hammocks, too!). What’s interesting is that co-living seems to be expanding beyond being a solution for the younger generation. Richard from the UK is not a millenial. Yet living at Omega House offeres him the support he needs in his social and professional life. “I’m a qualified mechanical engineer”, he says to me. “I used to run a manufacturing facility in London, producing equipment for the drinks industry, for dispensing beer. Since I’ve been in Romania, the first year and a half I moved here, an English friend of mine advised that I go and work with him in real estate. I did, for 18 months, and it gave me a great opportunity to know Bucharest and Brasov. Right now, I am looking into importing equipment from the UK to service the Romanian beer market, which is a new and exciting venture”, he adds. In the end, I ask him to describe living at Omega House, in three words. “Generous, supportive and progressive”, he responds without hesitation. • You can find more information about Omega House and Co-living at www. omegahouse.ro and www.coliving.com


“Our strength was that we were together”, Isfahan says, “and, I am very outgoing”, he adds. “I know a lot of people and I connect people with one another.” Their break came from one of Isfahan’s closest friends, attorney Chuck Vernon, who had an office in Cotroceni and needed to move. That was the moment he and Violetta shifted their work to real estate, and Bliss Imobiliare was born in January, 2006. “Chuck got his new office on Benjamin Franklin and we collected our first 5,000 Euro commission out of that deal”, they gratefully remember. Pretty soon after their first deal, a second client, a Dutch citizen, wanted to buy a house, and things started to flow as they were getting to know the market better.

A Story of Romanian Romance & Bliss by Dana Tudose Tianu

I meet with Isfahan and Violetta on a Wednesday morning in early July, at the Beans and Dots Café in Bucharest, next to Cismigiu Park. It is 11 am, school is out for the summer, and they brought their 6- year old daughter Rayssa with them.


oreigners who come to Romania with a project or job, marry Romanian women and end up staying and building their business here, have somewhat become characters of national folklore. Isfahan is quick to admit he could not have built his real estate business, Bliss Imobiliare, without his wife’s help. Violetta Tudorache is very beautiful. I smile, listening to the story of their courtship period, when he (according to both) wouldn’t stop asking her out, even though she refused every single time. Isfahan Doekhie was born in Surinam, South America, a colony of the Netherlands, where he moved when he was four years old. He grew up north of Amsterdam. He came to Bucharest in November 2003 from Moscow, where he had been

working at the Marriott hotel, managing their loyalty program. He accepted a challenge – to manage the loyalty program (the Diamond Club) at the Hilton, in Bucharest. He remembers that the preEU accession atmosphere in Bucharest was vibrant, and he immediately took to it. A lot of new expats were staying at the Hilton or meeting there for business, he remembers. He calls them “the adventurers”. Of course, as luck would have it, Violetta was working at the Hilton behind the business desk. “He was coming by every day, starting up a conversation, and I didn’t know how to get rid of him”, she says, as Isfahan laughs. “He went on for three months, asking me out every day. He was inviting me for dinner, for coffee, for cake, for drinks, and I was always saying no. One day, he asked if I wanted to go and play tennis. I said “ok”, but we never played (he came up with an excuse) and we ended up having dinner at Casa Di David in Herastrau. And that was the beginning of our story.” Sensing great market opportunities and with a natural entrepreneurial spirit, Isfahan resigned from the Hilton and decided to start his own loyalty program in 2004. He set up Bliss and put together benefits for a new type of membership program. He took Violetta, who says she gave up her job without any regrets, with him on the new business venture. At this point in the story, they both say, in unison: “We did this for a year, 2005-2006. It was a complete disaster and we went broke.”

Thirty minutes into our conversation, Rayssa has been drawing on her IPad, showing her art to mom, dad, and to me, from time to time. Knowing what it is to entertain a 6-year old during the summer vacation, I ask them how they were spending their vacations before Rayssa was born and when they had their last vacation alone. “We traveled a lot by car”, says Isfahan. “We drive to the Netherlands twice every year. My parents are still there. Before having Rayssa, the longest trip we took by car was when Violetta was two months pregnant, in 2012. It was a 5-week trip. We drove to the south of Spain, to Malaga. We visited Serbia, Croatia, Italy, France, a part of Switzerland, Monaco. It was an 11,000 km trip.” I ask them about their hobbies and Isfahan boasts that he received a medal from Hagi. He loves cricket, tennis and football. Violetta’s passions are reading, music, Spanish and traveling. To Isfahan’s merit, he is one of the foreigners who speak Romanian, even though, as he admits, he only began to learn it in 2013, to be able to communicate with his mother-in-law. He is sweet to admit that his “soacra” takes very good care of him. “Violetta and her mother help make my life easy”, he says, towards the end of our meeting. “I would not have been able to accomplish and do all that I do, live the life I live, without their support.” The interview is over, and I ask what they are doing for the day. “I’ll take Rayssa to Herastrau”, says Isfahan. Violetta has a business meeting. • W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9

A Story of Romanian Romance & Bliss



different types of historical neighborhood communities –in Switzerland and the United States – to come up with an action plan for the Association and with the right community organizing activities and events that would motivate the residents to get involved. So far, the Association, the projects of which can be found on its Facebook page and website (www.incotroceni.ro), organized several petition-signing initiatives, public debates on very important neighborhood preservation issues, such as the ones related to the renovation of old houses with beautiful architecture. Two very heated debates were organized in 2017 around rehabilitating and repurposing the Romniceanu Park. The park, considered the “green heart” of the neighborhood, is in need of significant replanting and rehabilitating. Several organizations have partnered with Incotroceni so far, such as DocuArt, ShortUp Festival, OneWorld, Active Watch, as well as the Bucharest chapter of the Romanian Order of Architects. •

Bucharest's Historical Neighbourhoods by Dana Tudose Tianu

Cotroceni and the Association that works to preserve it. Incotroceni – Ideas, People, Stories


very end of May and early June, the smell of linden trees and jasmine takes over the streets of Cotroceni, one of Bucharest’s most beloved neighborhoods. On a warm weekend in May of this year, thousands of residents, passersby and tourists took to the fragrant streets, of which 90% are named after famous Romanian and European doctors, to enjoy the neighborhood’s signature event, Bazar de Cotroceni. The two-day event began as the “Cotroceni Neighborhood Days” in 2015, and has been rebranded, three years later, as an open-door fair called “Bazar de Cotroceni”. Over 40 local small businesses 26

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and an equal number of private homes opened their doors to passers-by who were able to discover the streets and architecture, and shop for (mostly) vintage items at the tens of yard and street sales. Most of the beautiful houses in the Cotroceni residential neighborhood were built in the interwar period. Professors, doctors, artists, writers, were among the first notable residents. The Carol Davila Medical School, the Botanical Garden, the National Opera, several memorial houses, are a part of this old, historical neighborhood, that luckily survived both the bombings of 1944, and Ceausescu’s vision of “modernizing” Bucharest, which destroyed other beautiful historical neighborhoods. The biggest challenges facing Cotroceni are related to preserving its socio-cultural character, related mainly to its architecture, and consolidating its infrastructure. Dinu Drog, 40, an attorney, has been living in Cotroceni for six years. In 2014, together with Iulian Ungureanu, an architect and fellow resident, he imagined Incotroceni – People, Ideas, Stories - a community initiative group. The Incotroceni Association was born in 2015, and it currently has more than 500 residents who are actively involved in various community projects. Before setting up the Association, together with four other neighbors, Dinu and Iulian researched

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Gabriela Saulea, a doctor, divorce coach, and founder of Bucharest-based Divorce Journey, a coaching and divorce support group practice, to share her story. T he beginning of Divorce Jour ney was rooted in my own divorce, which happened 6 years ago.

Sometimes Summer Vacation Precedes a Divorce Journey by Dana Tudose Tianu


ost divorces come after thesummer vacation and winter holidays, researchers have found. A 2016 study from the University of Washington discovered that divorce is seasonal during the periods following those holiday periods. That suggests that vacations may increase underlying tensions and conflict for couples. Divorce is second, after the death of a spouse, on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, which includes a list of the 43 most stressful life events. But there are ways to save a marriage in crisis, as well as to go through divorce with as little pain as possible. Not knowing what divorce entails and what its impact entails can cause feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that can lead to anxiety and depression. Dana Tudose-Tianu invited

I had been married for 20 years and, at some point, we decided to get a divorce and follow different paths. At that moment, I was on the Board of an American phar maceutical company, I was 43 years old, financially independent, and I was sure that my divorce would go smoothly. What came as a shock was how hard, in fact, the divorce “jour ney” was. Even though I read a lot, before the divorce, about what happens afterwards, the changes took me by surprise. Moving to a new house, my friends who stopped calling me, my daughter who started being angry, my inability to focus on work. After a while, I started experiencing signs of depression. It was a severe depression, which I treated with antidepressants for six months. But, ultimately, this experience had me asking this question: why must a divorce be so hard? Having met Americans who went through divorce, I lear ned about and researched some coping solutions that were available in the U.S. I found a 12-step program which helped me recover and understand what had happened to me. I felt so grateful that this type of program existed and I decided to share with others what I had lear ned through my own divorce jour ney. I decided to leave the corporate world, after a 20-year career, and do something to help women who are going through a divorce. So I started Divorce Jour ney in 2016. It began as a coaching office for divorced women, where I brought together all the human resources that are meant to

help throughout the divorce: the lawyer, the psychologist, the psychiatrist, beauty specialists (to increase the levels of selfesteem). As soon as I began this work, men started coming to us and saying that they, too, need this kind of support. After that, my next realization was that children of divorce, as well, need support, as they suffer a lot through the process. So, I set up this NGO, called Divorce Jour ney (Asociatia Calatoria Divortului). Each year, in Romania, approximately 17,000 children get through a divorce situation. Our mission included helping and educating the parents of as many of these children as possible, in order for them to be aware of the effects a divorce has on children. Today, Divorce Journey offers two main types of services. The first one, the support groups, offer a very friendly environment for people to feel safe to open up. There are around 8-10 people who attend each session, and the program lasts for 12 sessions (12 weeks). During the first 4 weeks, the participants practice Awareness, when they realize what exactly is happening in their life, what divorce really means and how it will impact them. The next month they practice the “Assuming” part, and they focus on their own responsibility and role, and on what and how they can change. The last module is called “Action”, where participants go through coaching sessions and they look at the future. The second service is the one-to-one coaching service. It is extremely useful to people who are struggling to make the final decision. There are people who decide to give their marriage another chance, after the coaching sessions, and people who get unstuck in their decision-making process, and they get the clarity and courage to move on. • You can find out more about Divorce Journey at www.divorcejourney.ro

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rants rebranding itself as a sustainable local economy’s oriented towards a circular character and the most Romanian urban area surrounded by tourist resorts located within a natural city environment.

Historic Valley Reborn by Adina Vințan & Mihai Danciu


he Jiu Valley, Romania’s former largest coal mining area, is now defined by wonderful landscapes, an exceptional river basin, and ancient history and culture. Jiu Valley is an academic center with a technical profile which now passes from a mono-industrial, polluting area to restau28

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With a population of around 135.000 inhabitants, composed of 6 towns and several villages, the Jiu Valley is surrounded by mountains and offers its inhabitants and visitors clean fresh air, a variety of local traditions, and a wide diversity of amenities. Life in the area dates back to ancient times, with a rural community that maintains its traditions and ancestral customs. The modern age came packed with 19th century industrialization based mainly on coal extraction, followed by rapid deindustrialization in the past several decades. The post-coal period brought tragedy, depopulation and economic collapse. Tens of thousands left the valley with little hope of returning. Nevertheless, year by year the Jiu Valley is being revived. Several civic initiatives manage to rebuild the wonders of the Jiu Valley and to scatter the fog that was cast upon it after the closure of the mines.

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One of the newest initiatives is “Invest in Jiu Valley”, a project that aims to contribute to the economic development of the Valley and which promotes local opportunities for investment in the area. Jiu Valley is a region in transition, in a process that will decide its future. It aims to become a resilient destination in the Romanian economic landscape, capitalising on strengths and socio-economic trends. The idea of this project came following the participation of the Jiu Valley at Cities of Tomorrow 2018, an event organized by AHK Romania. Jiu Valley participated in Romania's stand at ExpoReal 2018, the largest European investment fair and was part of all the events organized for the Romanian delegation, establishing contacts with representatives of the business environment and understanding the level of performance in presenting their own advantages and effective communication strategies in the investment environment. The initiative is implemented by the six mayors in Jiu Valley conurbation, and supported by several citizens and NGOs that have helped with data collection, recordings, materials, and promotion channels. Through “Invest in Jiu Valley,” the establishment of a partnership between


the six localities (Aninoasa, Lupeni, Petrila, Petrosani, Uricani, Vulcan) also required the establishment of bold objectives, such as setting up a service to facilitate dialogue between the local administration and foreign investors, digital platforms connected to a database to promote investment opportunities in the Jiu Valley and continuous participation in events to promote local potential. “Save the Jiu River” is another initiative, which reveals the ecological side of the citizens. Last year a coalition of local and national NGOs managed to stop an illegal hydroelectric power plant construction that used to threaten the superior course of the Jiu Valley on “Defileul Jiului National Park” area. The locals try now to promote different activities that capitalize on the touristic potential of the river, as rafting, photo contests, and other outdoor activities along the river.

Festival in the second part of August. Another building will turn into a visitor center with a fascinating panoramic view of the entire area. In this setting, the theatre and musical Bad Man Festival will be held between 23-25th of August, continuing the series of alternative cultural events held in his home courtyard by the caricaturist Ion Barbu, in the early 2000s. The Jiu Valley citizens are willing to put the shoulder to the reshaping of the area, transforming it into an attractive place to live, work and visit. They are looking forward to welcoming everybody in their houses and they need everybody’s support into succeeding in this mission. •

Going on with the surrounding mountains potential, the New Horizons Foundation in Lupeni implements a project that plans over 500km of MTB trails throughout the area, the largest project of this type in Europe. The potential of this type of activity is confirmed by organizing this summer, between 24-25th of August, the National Enduro Championship in Straja. Another mountain destination, Vâlcan Pass, will host the IDF World Cup 2019 between 26-28th of July. The route is chosen because the downhill riders consider it as being one of the gnarliest and scariest tracks. Other spectacular competitions organized in the mountains are Oslea Night Ridge and Oslea Hiride. The mining buildings left behind after the closure of the mines represent a collective memory for the Jiu Valley community. Planeta Petrila capitalizes on this and promotes the regeneration of industrial assemblies in new large urban centers, with administrative, economic or cultural-tourist destination. The project aims to extend and regenerate the entire industrial property axis in the Eastern Jiu Valley. The initiative is materialized to date by the declared transformation of Petrila Coal Mine in a cultural mine, introducing artistic events in industrial buildings with outstanding spatial characteristics. One of the historical buildings is now in the design phase to become a regional robotics hub for local highschool teams Wafy and AlphaBit and will host the Robotics Valley W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9



The best electric cars available on the Romanian market by Dan Teodorescu

It’s getting more and more obvious that we are in the transitional phase of an automotive revolution. Sure, electric cars have been around since the 1800s and there have been many attempts to popularize them throughout the 20th century, but now they’re finally ready to take over and make combustion engines a thing of the past. There are several advantages in owning an electric vehicle. Obviously

removing CO2 and other toxic emissions from urban areas is a major one, but they’re also cheaper to run, less likely to break down and, last but not least, incredibly fun to drive. If you live in Romania this is a great time to switch to electric, as the government is offering a special grant of around 10,000 euro to each buyer. Here are the current top choices for electric cars in Romania, with many other models sure to follow in the upcoming few years.





We begin with a car that looks like it’s been specially designed for Bucharest’s crowded roads. The e-up! is ideal for city traffic due to its size and agility, but also because of its range. A full battery will last about 160 kilometers, meaning you could realistically drive it to work every day for a whole week and only charge it on weekends. It will also pay for itself over time, compared to a petrol-powered vehicle, as the electricity cost for 100 kilometers is roughly equivalent to just one liter of petrol. It’s also equipped with many modern and popular features, such as heated front seats, a 5-inch display, smartphone connectivity, cruise control, or an emergency braking system, among others. It comes with a paired smartphone application which lets you remotely access many of the car’s functions.

The all-electric BMW i3 has the size of a classic sub-compact city car, but its design and technology are futuristic to say the least. Its 260-kilometer range makes it suitable even for longer drives, especially given the fact that Romania’s electric charger network is constantly growing every day. It’s an incredibly fun car to drive and after only a few minutes of making your way through traffic you’ll wonder how you’ve survived for so long with clunky, slow, and dirty petrol vehicles. It only takes 6.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h, which is a good time but only tells half the story. The beauty of electric motors is that they instantly deliver all their available power, as opposed to petrol or diesel engines who only reach their peak at a certain point. This translates into an absolutely explosive acceleration and the ability to ease your way through traffic.

If there’s one car brand which seems made for the age of electric propulsion, it’s certainly the Smart. The tiny but very practical vehicles have been a hit since they first came out, especially in Europe where the compact cities and crowded roads increase the need for a small vehicle that can squeeze through tight spots. So it only makes sense that Smart already provides fully electric alternatives for all its popular vehicles, namely Smart FourTwo, FourTwo Cabrio, and the 4-door FourFour. Costing only a little over 10.000 Euro, the Smart FourTwo is currently the least expensive option for a new and fully electric car on the Romanian market. If you have many urban trips in your everyday schedule and you don’t need to carry more than one additional person with you, it’s the ideal city car.



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J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9 The best electric cars available on the Romanian market







The fact that Volkswagen has two entries on our list is no coincidence, as it showcases the German manufacturer’s commitment to offering a wide range of clean vehicles, both now and in the future. The e-Golf takes all the characteristics that made the Golf series insanely popular over the past 45 years and adds electric propulsion to the list, along with many other modern features. The e-Golf is not only a city car, as its 300 kilometer range means you can easily use it for long road trips. Even with the current infrastructure, you could realistically drive for thousands of miles around Romania and the rest of Europe with a bit of planning beforehand. Over the next few years it will get easier and easier to charge your e-Golf on the go, without getting sidetracked from your original route.

If you’re under the impression that electric cars are nice and clean but also a bit boring, then you couldn’t be further than the truth and the Jag i-Pace is clear proof of that. We mentioned earlier that any electric motor delivers all its power at once, resulting in spectacular acceleration. Imagine, however, the electric equivalent of a 400-horsepower engine. With two electric motors giving 200 horsepower each and a mind-boggling torque of 513 pound-feet (for comparison, the 300.000 Euro Ferrari 812 has about the same), the Jaguar can feel like a roller coaster ride. It also stays true to the English manufacturer’s reputation of delivering elegant and comfortable cars, while also incorporating the latest infotainment technology. Last but not least, the i-Pace is surprisingly practical, having a huge range of 470 kilometers and only needing 40 minutes to charge up to 80% on a fast charger.


e-tron SUVs have significantly grown in popularity over the past decade, mainly due to their great versatility. Car buyers loved the idea of a vehicle that is both comfortable and elegant, one that can be agile in city traffic but also able to perform in an off-road environment. The e-tron is Audi’s first fully electric mass-produced vehicle and is essentially a classic family SUV with an added electric twist. Audi saw no reason to change something that is working so well, so the e-tron has everything you would expect from any of their popular mid-sized luxury crossover SUVs, including the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. With two motors combining for a total of 355 horsepower, all the infotainment features you would expect from a luxury vehicle, and a range of over 400 km, the Audi e-tron is the ideal family vehicle for those who want to transition from gas-powered to electric. W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9



Sunrise in Vama Veche

Morning view from Expirat

Goa Can Hostel

OZB Presents: From Dusk ‘til Dawn in Vama Veche by David Shoup


nce a tiny village nestled between the Romanian and Bulgarian borders, Vama Veche is today a household name to mean debaucherous beach parties featuring a diverse cast of international characters and all around good summer fun. OZB’s David Shoup offers a rundown on what to do in Vama from sunset to sunrise. If you’re staying over in Vama 32

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Veche on the cheap, a number of hostels offer places to pitch your own tent (or rent one) for as little as 10-15 Ron per night. Goa Can, run by the affable and positively sunburned Doru, offers a particularly central location. As the sun sets over the Black Sea, and appetites set in, walk down the main beachside boulevard to Army Burgers, where red beret toting and Che Guevera-bedecked staff will put together some of the finest burger and fries combos known in this hemisphere (the Kalashnikov burger, at 30 Lei, offers a literal bang for your buck). If you still have room for dessert, head inland one and a half blocks to La Papa Bun, which offers a divine sweet and savory selection of crepes. For those fancying a start to the evening a bit setback from the beach, La Capapele Rock across the street from Papa Bun offers nice cocktails. But for those who can’t get enough of the seaside, its sister bar La Canapele Party hosts a bumping beach boombox dance

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9 OZB Presents: From Dusk 'til Dawn in Vama Veche

party that goes up the second the sun goes down, a proper start to an evening on this booming coastal town. The best nighttime crawl at Vama Veche begins at La Canapele Party and ends at Expirat. An aging beached sailboat wreck in front of Expirat (not to mention several dozen bungalow-style siting areas) offers a good spot from which the romantics can watch the sun rise. For the more hardcore morning swimmers, a better option is to enjoy the great soundtracks and enthusiastic crowd of Expirat before running straight into the waves at the first glint of morning light. For most, the sting of early morning seawater and rapid onset of outdoor temperatures and late night clubbing is enough to put even the maddest partygoers to bed. But for those brave souls who wish to make it all the way to a noontime nap, Molotov Club is the place to go in order to catch the hippest post-dawn clubbing. •

Country Comforts



oşna 630 is situated away from the main road and 100m from Moşna’s magnificent fortified church with its accessible bell tower. Our quiet, spacious, comfortable B&B rooms (one twin, one double) are in a separate building set in our large garden and both have ensuite shower rooms and tea/coffee making facilities. Moşna itself is an attractive village just 10 minutes from the mediaeval city of Mediaş and provides an excellent centre for visiting famous sites like Sighişoara, Sibiu, Biertan and many more. It’s a marvellous place to just relax and enjoy the fertile, green landscape or for days out exploring. Email: mosna630@gmail.com Phone: +40 2698 62240 Website: mosna630.weebly.com Facebook: @sibiucounty Price: €35 per room, per night including a continental breakfast. • W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


BARS & RESTAURANTS Mikkeler Bucharest



5 Paris Street Who knew crispy cauliflower could taste so good? Housed in an office building near Piata Victoriei, 5ensi offers especially interesting options for veggies, as well as superb cocktails and artery-challenging desserts. 14th Lane 15D Șoseaua Orhideelor On the fancier side of Bucharest’s restaurants, 14th Lane nevertheless offers a varied menu of dishes that are either very reasonable or wildly expensive, depending on which side of ‘fine dining’ you feel it falls.


40 Polona Street A VW minivan parked out front, jumble-sale furniture, and rainbow umbrellas everywhere give this café a kooky, hippie vibe. Try the spoon-bendingly thick hot chocolates (including with chilli peppers, berries, and a particularly lethal Disarrono version).

Alt Shift

4 Constantin Mille Street 34

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Industrial style interior in what could be ‘the go to’ spot for consistently excellent food, huge portions, fair prices and late serving hours. We particularly recommend the salads, the schnitzel, the pasta, the cheesecake… OK, all of it, really. Usually busy so try to reserve.


45 Calea Victoriei Super superfood smoothies, excellent coffee, and an unusual location in a shady alcove next to the oldest church in Bucharest make Artichoke worth the visit – and the friendly staff, of course. Atelierul de Tarte 20 Ion Mihalache Blvd. A legend among pastry lovers and sweet tooths (teeth?), who rave about the ‘Tarte Maitresse Mango’ tart and return for the ‘Tarte caramel beurre sale chocolat’ (salted caramel). The savoury tarts are also excellent, as are the breakfasts.


34 Jean Louis Calderon Street A sweet little eatery with a fresh atmosphere and smashing beer selection. The portions aren’t huge, but the food is good quality, with some Going Out: Bars & Restaurants

true delights such as wild garlic spaghetti.


27 Ion Brezoianu Street Beans&Dots is the daytime face of Apollo club and Fix Me A Drink Bar, housed in the same block near Cismigiu. The coffee is excellent and the cakes delicious – the cheesecake is one of Bucharest’s best.

Bike boutique and more 5 Doctor Petre Herescu Street

Lycra lovers – if you haven’t pedalled down here already, then get those cleats on. Bike boutique has shelves of offerings for all cyclists, plus a surprisingly varied range of beers to test all ‘cycle sober’ advice.


53 Mătăsari Street An attractive Scandi café with fresh food that is reasonably priced and packed with flavour. Try the Thai stew and the delicious cardamom cheesecake. Decent beer selection as well.


BOB Coffee Lab 3 Charles de Gaulle

A cosy coffee corner near the entrance to Herastrau with caffeinated offerings (hot and cold), toasted sandwiches, and posh beers and cocktails for those in need of a post-park restorative.

Cafe Verona

13-15 Pictor Arthur Verona Street A very pleasant all-season garden attached to Carturesti bookshop, with shady nooks in summer and covered space for winter. The menu is not enormous but there are a few delights and the wine selection is very decent.


42 Ștefan Mihăileanu Street Inside a beautiful old building with high ceilings, chipped wallpaper, and piles of random magazines, Coftale is one of our favourite spots. The small menu includes (in our opinion) the best carrot cake in Bucharest. The peaceful terrace out front is ideal for summer brunching or beer-sipping.

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3 Sfântul Dumitru Street The funky steampunk décor rather than the food makes it worth a trip to this Calea Victoriei café. Fun Victoriana-themed cocktails include a delicious signature G&T with pineapple, rosemary and ginger.

Green Hours 120 Calea Victoriei

Jazz performers from the fabulous Maria Răducanu to rough-and-ready student bands gig in Green Hours, either in the steamy cellar bar or the outside courtyard. The food is pedestrian – pizzas, chicken wings – but the vibe and the low-priced drinks make it a great spot for a relaxing evening.


4 Ion Brezoianu Street This chic spot near the Old Town makes for a classy weekend lunch of posh quinoa-laced salads and fishbowl G&Ts… or a cheap evening carb-up on one of the most generous helpings of chips in the city.

Fabrica de Bere Bună 91 Calea Victoriei

As the enormous ‘CRAFT BEER’ sign on the

front of the building suggests, this is Zaganu’s microbrewery and all their classic blondes, IPAs, darks, reds and browns are on offer from the taps behind the bar. It’s also a fun spot for Calea Victoriei people-watching.

French Bakery Various locations

A perfectly nice Bucharest coffee shop / café chain, rather like PAUL before it went multinational. Don’t expect the world’s greatest ambience or service, but you can get a decent enough slice of quiche for a sensible price.

French Revolution Various locations

I don’t like eclairs – but even I go weak at the knees for French Revolution. OK, so it’s 16 lei for one single eclair, but the delicate pastry and perfectly balanced flavours make it worth every ban. Try Kalamansi (lemon meringue), pistachio, mango or salted caramel – and prepare to go into orbit.


4 Intrarea Bitolia Scandi style feasting in Floreasca in a café that prides itself on its quality (i.e. not cheap) ingredients. Try the famous avocado cheesecake. Packed on weekends when it’s tasty brunches draw posh expat types to its tables.


40 Putul Lui Zamfir Street Someone once told me you can tell a good Italian restaurant by the quality of its carbonara. If that’s the case, then Grano must be the Naples of Bucharest. Their cream-free carbonara is raved about by all guests, as are the desserts.

Gram Bistro

America House, 4-8 Sos. Nicolae Titulescu Despite the somewhat corporate location, this is a good little place for a reliable lunch at a reasonable price near Piata Victoriei.

Il Locale

7-9 Soseaua Nordului You can’t beat Herastrau Park for ambiance – so be prepared to pay a little more to dine in swanky Il Locale. The food and service are just about OK, but one forgets such minutiae when one is sipping a tinkling glass and watching the sun set over the lake.

Ivan Pescar & Scrumbia Bar 150 Uranus Street - The ARK

Trust a kingfisher to know his fish – and trust ‘Kingfisher Ivan’ to serve up some of the best fish in Bucharest, straight from the Danube Delta and cooked in Delta style. The storceag fish soup is to die for.

Jai Bistrot 55 Calea Grivitei

A hidden gem on a slightly grungy street, J’ai’s tiny bar space manages to pack in some of the most fun parties in Bucharest, from local talent to Northern Soul nights (yes, Northern Soul in Bucharest). During the day, it’s a great restaurant/café, with a beautiful outside terrace.

Joseph by Joseph Hadad 16 Nicolae Golescu Street

Jerusalem-born chef Joseph Hadad has been serving up high-class dishes in Romania for 22 years. His signature dessert ‘Earth’ involves fir resin and cigar tobacco alongside other ingredients, and it’s surprisingly delicious – as are all his delicately presented dishes.

La Copac

23 Pitar Mos Street Intimate interiors and a summer courtyard set around an old tree make for what we think is the best traditional Romanian restaurant in town. The service comes with a generosity of spirit that you don’t often experience, and both the food and drink menus offer extreme bang for buck. Be prepared for a good deal of belt-loosening in between courses.

La Samuelle

3-5 Charles de Gaulle A smart bistro that goes heavy on fish and seafood. Prices inch to the higher end of ‘reasonable’, but that’s to be expected for something called ‘Persepolis saffron and broccolli baby calamar’. The menu also extends to venison and wild boar in with equally poetically named dishes (plus veggie options).


78 Dionisie Lupu Street or 8 Arcului Street Two elegant old mansions house the two branches of this pleasant little bistro. At lunch, you can build your own menu with ‘A-B-C-D’ W W W. O Z B . R O J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9


BARS & RESTAURANTS combo options – or just order your burger or stir-fry a la carte.


2 D. I. Mendeleev Street Great breakfasts, craft beers and killer aeropress coffee – it’s no wonder M60 has made a name for itself as one of Bucharest’s best hipster spots. At peak times, you might have to jostle a laptop or two for table space.

Manasia Hub

13 Stela Spătarul Street Once a grungy backstreet bar, Manasia has upped its game recently, with a small but high-quality menu that includes daily specials, soups, bite-size burgers, and generous dip platters. It has something of a railway tunnel vibe inside, but there’s a lovely summer terrace.


3 Charles de Gaulle One of Bucharest’s most extensive craft beer offerings, Mikkeler hosts regular launches of its own colourfully named labels, from ‘Weird Weather’ to ‘Einar… you are a funny man’. The likes of Ground Zero and Hop Hooligans also earn spots on its 20-odd, regularly changing pumps.


4 General Vasile Milea Blvd. Narcoffee’s coffee has a name in Bucharest and around Europe – one sip and you’ll see why. The V60 is like its namesake but with added rocket fuel. Amateur coffee drinkers beware…

Orygyns Coffee 12 Jules Michelet Street

A tiny corner of caffeinated joy close to Piata Romana. As well as the excellent coffee, Orygyns’s staff are some of the nicest people around, and almost as sweet as the stellar cakes they sell. It’s a sin not to taste the pumpkin pie if it’s on offer.


26 Doctor Niculae D. Staicovici Street Ota’s owner proudly runs the restaurant for pleasure rather than financial gain and the homely atmosphere attests to this, whether in the cosy interior or on the fairy-lit patio. A couple of tasty soups are always on offer at ten-ish lei apiece, and the wine and Zaganu beer don’t break the bank. Open Wednesday to Friday only. 36

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Paine si Vin

4 Ion Brezoianu Street ‘Bread (or rather pizza-cum-foccacia) and wine’ are the mainstay of this drinks bar – and both paine and vin are OK, though slightly overpriced. However, the little wooden tables along the outside wall are good for perching on a fine evening.

salads at slightly location-inflated prices.

Switch.Eat 34 Horei Street

Close to the Fire Tower (Foisorul de Foc), these burgers have a cult following among the city’s meat-heads. Diners rave about the salads and craft beers too.



Down a tumbledown street near Piata Rossetti is this top spot for soup and sandwiches. Try their carrot and ginger – it’s to die for. The owners make you feel completely at home. A wonderful little café.

A sports bar joint, sister to afore mentioned Social, near the Hotel Intercontinental, with nooks and corners agogo and all the ingredients – pasta, burgers, beers – to fill a hungry stomach.

Raionul de Pește

147 Calea Victoriei

6 Sfintilor Street

Piața Dorobanți, 184 Calea Dorobanți

11 Ion Câmpineanu Street

The Artist restaurant

Superb fish, octopus and all manner of ocean delights that you can pick and choose yourself (sometimes still live) from behind the counter and see cooked in front of you. It costs a bit, but you don’t get fresher than this in Bucharest.

The gastronomical must-see / must-eat of Bucharest – Dutch chef Paul Oppenkamp serves up flights of dishes in spoon-sized portions, each more delicate than the last. At 76 lei for a taster menu of all mains, it’s one of the most reasonable ‘fine dining experiences’ in Europe.

Rue du Pain

Two Minutes

A bakery-plus, offering breakfasts, salads and good coffee alongside its tempting croissants and loaves.

Great coffee – some say the best in Bucharest – is hidden in this tiny little conservatory of a shop in Dorobanți. The beans change regularly and come from independent roasters around Europe.

111-112 Calea Floreasca


26 Negustori Street If you’ve not been to Simbio, then you’re clearly not serious about your brunch. This is the best breakfast menu in Bucharest, with eggs more ways than you can shake a smashed avo at, and eyeball-poppingly spicy Bloody Marys to kick that hangover into next weekend.


17 General Eremia Grigorescu Street The sister restaurant of Alt Shift, with the same menu but a cosier vibe. Shift is magical in summer, when you can dine under fairy-lights and vines in the beautiful front garden with a bottle of wine and the most sumptuous cheese board you have ever seen.

Social 1

1 Unirii Blvd. The enviable view of the Palace of Parliament is the main draw for Social 1. Friendly waiters serve decent if unexciting burgers, pastas and

50A Constantin Aricescu Street


9 I.C. Visarion Street This relatively recent addition to Bucharest’s flat white scene offers decent coffee, cakes and cocktails in a funky, tiki setting.

Vivo Food Fusion Bar 70-72 Calea Floreasca

Vivo is a serious contender for the best burger in Bucharest (challenges accepted). As well as patties and buns, they serve a weirdly addictive tomato soup.


18 General Constantin Budișteanu Street A truly lovely little French place in a beautiful building with an even more beautiful outside seating area. Order the duck.


A Place Where History Lives Through Modern Times


alking on the streets of Bucharest, you might want to end up at Hanu’ Berarilor Interbelic - Casa Oprea Soare, a place which has preserved a piece of history under the neo-Romanian architectural style, that will surely make you want to come back and relive the experience. One of the most influential merchants in Bucharest has defined both the name and history of the building, Dumitru Oprea Soare, who built it on the land inherited from his father. The location conveys a traditional air that makes you think about bohemian mansions or monumental

buildings. When inside, it feels like the walls could speak as you can easily portray yourself back through time and witness everything that took place in that exact spot. The connection between modern times and authentic origins it’s also portrayed perfectly through the placement of beer tanks in the location. Tank beer is a fresh and unpasteurized beer brought straight from the brewery within specialized containers meant to keep the beer’s taste and flavor untouched. The experience with tank beer is not related to exotic flavors and taste, but to maximum freshness and clean aromas, free of environmental disturbing influences (sun, temperature, age). Therefore, the fusion between modern and tradition is completed both by the architectural design of the location, as well as through the cold fresh pints of Ursus Tank. Standing in front of it all, it’s as if you could imagine a group of highly respected barons all dressed up with high hats, pocket watches and canes, enjoying a

cold fresh Ursus Tank while discussing the latest events in society. One would say that Casa Oprea Soare is a piece of history preserved through time for the people to continue to experience the atmosphere and elegance that characterized those past times. •

For more details and reservations, contact Hanu’ Berarilor - Casa Oprea Soare at following: Facebook Hanu’ Berarilor (@hanuberarilor) Instagram hanuberarilor Phone No +40 21 336 8009 Address Strada Poenaru Bordea 2, Bucuresti, Romania

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Let There Be Light By David Shoup


et’s be frank: summer days in Bucharest can be rough. Blinding UV rays mixing with concrete can be hot enough for the average commuter, but add in pasty ginger to your lived experience identity and you begin to get a sense of how this author, as with any other redheads from New England out there in the stone jungle, fares in Romanian summers. Think red lobster meeting the tail end of the Wicked Witch of the West’s film career. Romania experiences an usually hot summer, in part due to high levels of solar radiation that blanket the region. And while for this author that equates to 38

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early onset melanoma, when it comes to investing in renewable energy, this is rather good news. The new joint venture between the national Environmental Funds Administration and the European Union to finance solar panels for tens of thousands of Romanian households could very well be a major stepping stone towards Romania embracing the widespread use of solar energy and setting a standard for nations around the world to follow. The vast tracts of available space for solar panels is unbelievable in Romania. From the shoebox sized roof tile variety by Tesla all the way up to industrial energy farm sizes, there exist endless possibilities for the future here. It was a refreshing surprise to learn Let there be light

that Romania already holds the seventh place in the entire EU for renewable energy usage. While most of this comes from hydropower (think of the mighty Danube), this national pilot program has the potential to really catch the light and open up greater possibilities for Romania’s green future. When contemplating such things on long walks in the sun, its always good to get out to Bucharest’s abundance of city parks. And if the summer crowds at Herastrau are too overwhelming, grab a big bottle of water and long socks and stroll over to the natural urban park in Vacaresti. Summertime brings out all the wildlife, and the bird observation tower at sunset offers a great break away from that scorching pavement. Soon, a variety of newly minted solar panels will be soaking up that sun with you. •

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