Being a tourist in Bucharest…

The great part of when friends from abroad come to visit Bucharest is that you are their guide. The bad part is that you actually have to show them around Bucharest and you’re praying that you don’t encounter situations you’re gonna be ashamed about and will have to apologize on behalf of, oh well, Romanians.

Last weekend I had a friend from Germany visiting and just for fun. I decided to play tourist along with him and speak English everywhere we went. The result was…depressing.

On Saturday we took the double-decker city tour for a few hours. Short story, the bus goes from Piața Presei Libere to Calea Victoriei and turns at Palatul Parlamentului (The Parliament). It’s the Hop On-Hop Off type of bus, that means you can get in and get out on any stop you want depending on your interest. When you buy the tickets you also get a (big) map that you can use for better orientation.

The bus comes every 20 mins between 10AM-10PM hours and the last bus is at 9PM from Piața Presei Libere. The traveler card you get is valid for 24h from the first use and the whole tour takes about 50 mins.

Some of the main interest points would be Piața Presei Libere – Free Press Square, Muzeul Satului – Village Museum, Arcul de Triumf – The Triumphal Arch, Muzeul Antipa – Antipa Museum, Muzeul Țăranului Român – Romanian Peasant Museum, Ateneul Român – The Romanian Atheneum, Muzeul Național de Artă – National Art Museum, Palatul Parlamentului – Palace of the Parliament.
A ticket is 25 RON ~ 5E for adults, 10 RON ~ 2,5E for kids 7-14 years old and free for under 7. You can opt for an audio guide but the only thing you’re gonna get is confusion. The audio guide plays only when it wants regardless the points of interest you are near and when it’s not playing you can only hear a blank sound that makes you think it’s not working at all. Its English is so bad you can barely understand it. And you also get a pair of headphones used and overused.

When I was in Barcelona and enjoyed the same type of service, I at least received one-time headphones and I knew I was the only one using them.

The only really lovely things about all this experience is that you truly see Bucharest in a different way. Even I got this impression and I am in town every day. The pics below speak for themselves.






And when it comes to the many THUMBS DOWN, they are related to people, of course. The bus tour was more than 50 mins.  The buses were later than 20 mins. No, the bus didn’t stop so that you could get off it. The bus would stop only if there were people waiting to get in. Otherwise, if you wanted off the bus but there no one to stop the bus from the street, you had to rush on the stairs (if you were upstairs). Although, the signs say you are not allowed to do that. Much more useful would’ve been a stop button that you could press and ask for the bus to stop.

No, it wasn’t clean. In fact it was filthy dirty. And I’m not saying just on the floor. Okay, let’s say that the floor was dirty because of people throwing their trash onto it, but even that could be solved by placing two bins, one in the front and one in the back of the bus.

But my bigger problem were the filthy seats.

And also the dust on the stairs roof. The way you present your service to the people, that’s the exact way they will appreciate it.


Yeah, and it was lovely that we could see the Government building… *ironic tone*


Oh, and thank God we had free Wi-Fi. Yeah the network was there, it just didn’t work.

Many of the people on the bus were Romanians, I had enough time to meet lots of hop on-ers and hop off-ers. First time I took the bus for the whole tour just to enjoy the views. And on the second tour, I started analyzing. I left disappointed because we finally have got a good thing like you see abroad and we treat it typically Romanian-style, not caring about anything.

Anyways, that would be it about the wonder double-decker tour bus of Bucharest. I’m pretty sure the people who are amazed by it are the people who didn’t rode it.

The next day, on Sunday we went to the Botanical Garden of Bucharest, Cotroceni area. I actually was more impressed with it than I would have expected. There were many people there and still it wasn’t crowded. Yes, some of the areas of the garden could have been more taken care of and the communism buildings ruin a part of view, but oh well…


Still, I was impressed by the fact that most of the signs had an English translation.

And one more thing, in the garden there is a special place for people who want to enjoy some peaceful and quite time while reading or studying or working.

Plus, they have a souvenir shop that had for sale stuff for the passionate and also just cute things like T-shirts and mugs with funny messages – ‘Plants are Friends’ and stuff.

Of course there were wedding people coming in to take pictures by the lake – which btw, was horrible. I was joking with my friend that they made it look like that on purpose, so that people wouldn’t be tempted to take a dive.

Either way, still. For 5 RON ~ 1E the ticket for an adult, 3 RON ~ 0.75E for a student/retired person and free entrance for school kids and veterans, the Botanical Garden is a really nice alternative to the parks in Bucharest, every day between 9AM-5PM. Especially since we’re starting our own Pont des Arts, baby steps 🙂


At the end of the weekend, my friend told me that Bucharest is a nice city, he enjoyed it and had a great time, but without a local’s help he would’ve been lost because of the lack of signs to help tourists in their orientation. Also, he was very surprised about the high number of abandoned buildings near the city center and that could have great potential.

After the two days I spent as a tourist I can only think of the tourists that come to Bucharest. In the center, the old city and Calea Victoriei area you could see that Romanians were used to tourists and acted really friendly and even learned a bit of English. But other than that, as soon as they heard us speak English they would act like they were bothered by us and even tried to fool us when we asked for the check…

There is nothing left to say for me, except for the fact that we such fools for trying to see only our short-term interest and not think for the long run.

Photos: my fingers pressed the button of an iPhone 6, #noedit and #nofilter

So there’s that…


You know there are times in life when you just live day by day and you feel like everything is smooth, maybe too smooth, even boring at times. But that’s okay, it’s just fine because then the moment comes and you come back to reality thanks certain people you meet and make everything more interesting around them, including your life.

So next time I’m thinking about complaining of a boring life, I’ll make sure to remember the story below.

It goes like this: a few days ago I end up at the hospital for a certain issue and after five hours of waiting, the doctor arrives. He apologizes for making me wait and welcomes me into his office. There, the consultation begins and he tells me he would like to spend more time talking to me so he starts to ask lots of questions. Some of them I thought were pretty irrelevant for the given situation but he stops me and asks for my patience whenever he would see me frown. He assures me that eventually I will see the point of all this. But somehow, when I left the doctor’s office I was still confused.
Aaaand also so amused that I burst into laughing with tears. After just one hour in his office, this doctor made me leave the hospital smiling and then laughing really hard when by myself in the car. And then again, the same whenever I would talk to a friend and told them about the happening.

So, this doctor – that I would mention no names or specialty about – had a big cabinet with lots of shelves each one of them filled with holy images. And the same went for the windowsill. Normally, one of the firsts questions was about me being a religious person or not. Then, we moved on to talking about tattoos:

– So now you’ve already got ink on you… But at least don’t have any more tattoos done. You’re gonna see that when you find your man, the perfect one to share a life with, his kiss will feel different on the inked parts of your body.

Okaaay, mhm, I wasn’t gonna get into a debate about that. But then he went on and started talking about psychological stuff. I tried to tell him I am just fine, not crazy, I’ve got a therapist to turn to in case of anything. Somehow, the doctor was trying to tell me that I’m fine and I’m just stressed. I admitted I experienced a bit of that in the past year but that I am fine now and over it.

– I am going to be honest with you. I can see you need a man to complete you. You need him as a partner, to be a support to you, a lover, a protector, a father…

– All due respect, I think I’ve got that covered.

– Look, if you want I can present you one of my friends. He’s a good guy and would be perfect for you. He’s in his 40s, divorced, has got a high school kid and is a mayor somewhere (can’t remember where).

I spent my last minutes trying to convince him I was fine and there was no need for such efforts and I managed to put an end to the conversation. So the consultation has ended and I had no diagnosis. Oh yeah, at the end he asked me if I’ve got any holy stuff in my house (images, pictures, icons, statues) and I assured him I was fine on that also.

The medical letter he gave me after the consultation said that my diagnosis was ‘stress’. STRESS!!! That’s it, all I’ve got is stress. Thank God, huh! bog ana maria popa so what whatever

10 Freelance ideas

A freelancer is the person who works on their own. They are the one who’ve got no boss and no employees. They offer their services to companies or even to other people, in return for a certain amount that is usually set by worked hours. There is no boss involved and nobody to give them orders. Also, they can afford the luxury of choosing who to work with and can decline collaboration with certain clients if there’s something they do not agree with.

On the other hand, a freelancer doesn’t have employees either and isn’t the boss of anyone. Because otherwise, they would be called an entrepreneur. That is the big difference between the two. A person can go from freelancing to entrepreneurship when the work becomes too much for them to handle it alone or they just don’t want to do it anymore so they found a company and hire people. freelance work social media graphic designer

Freelancing is perfect for people who want to earn some extra money in addition to the job they’ve already got.  The good part is that freelancing is under their control and no one else’s – they decide what they work, for how long and for how much money. From a certain point on, there is the chance of quitting the job they’ve got and stay with freelancing, if everything went good before and their work is appreciated properly money-wise and also they like it. But in this decision, a big part is played by the freelancer, if they’ve got the flexibility and most of all, discipline for this.

Below you can find 10 ideas that help you earn a little extra money or why not, even become your job. The resources needed for these are not out of the ordinary and most of them only require a bit of effort and interest from your side.

1. Graphic designer – the creative guy (or girl!) who’s doing visuals like logos, infographics, lay-outs, etc.

2. Copywriter, content writer, blogger, editor – the guy (or girl!) who knows how to and what to write. It may seem as an easy task, but this is the person who needs to send the message of the brand out to the people, so that everybody can understand it clearly. This is the content creator.

3. Photo/video editor – the guy (or girl!) who knows how to edit pictures or videos another person takes or records. It goes also for processing, editing, montage, etc.

4. Photographer/cameraman – the guy (or girl!) who knows about taking pictures or videos. Of course, this is the type of activity where you also need a good equipment and that can be rather expensive.

5. Website developer – the guy (sorry I haven’t met any girls who do this) who builds your website and helps your business interact online best with the users.

6. Social Media specialist – the guy (or girl!) that knows not only everything about social networks, what they are and what you should be doing with them, but also tools and other helpful things (ex. Hootsuite).

7. Accountant – the guy (or girl!) who knows numbers and is confident enough to handle the ins and outs and taxes of a company.

8. Pet sitter – the guy (or girl!) who’s taking care of other people’s pets while they are away and have nobody to leave the pet with.

9. Moving help – the guy (it has to be a guy this time, really) who’s got a car or a van and uses it to help other people move stuff from one place to another and also gets payed for doing so.

10. Fitness or Yoga instructor/personal trainer – a bit of effort and also after graduating the required classes, practicing yoga can actually be very fun!

Ideas 4, 8, 9 and 10 go local since they require a physical presence in order to do them. But all the others can be done very easily online, for anybody in this world.

These days, we can’t really say ‘I don’t know how to do this or that’. We’ve got so many resources and tools in our hands and all we have to do is actually use them. Of course, the most basic one is Google. They don’t say Google it! for nothing! 🙂 So for any of the ideas above except the ones that require physical presence, there is a way of making it real. All you need is a computer with internet connection and maybe a software – like Photoshop for picture editing.

Then, when it comes to skill learning, there are many online classes that are free. The firsts that come to my mind are SkillShare, edX, Coursera, Udemy. From my own experience, I can recommend Coursera and Udemy after using them. They are really easy and user friendly, you just need a bit of time for creating an account and then some more discipline in order to keep going.

Regarding freelance jobs, I wouldn’t be able to tell my personal experience because all my jobs were recommended to me by people whom I’ve met. But interested freelancers can access this link on Entrepreneur and check it out or even Google it.

So, everything’s here from ideas to resources. Now, all you have to find is some ambition to do it. Good luck! 🙂

Photo – here.

Life’s plans for you…

There are times when what you plan doesn’t work out your way.

How many times did you had it happen to you, when you believed in something, even in someone, and you planned either the near or far future, only to have something happen afterwards and without knowing it, everything fell apart?…

Oh yeah, I had it happen also, and not just once. Last time, I was writing here that my plans revolved around the idea of moving out of my country in order to change the continent, having found a career opportunity that made me very happy. But oh well, in the meantime, something changed, something that I’ve got no idea about, but something that made me not act on that anymore. So I quit that idea, I unpacked everything and now I’m gonna start search again for challenges in this area.

On Wednesday at lunchtime I was supposed to embark on a one-way ticket to Asia. On that very morning, it was all cancelled.

But, even in this kind of situations, there is something that comes along. So I created Plan B – 12.37PM: ‘I miss the sea. Let’s go!’

That’s the story of how I got on the highway, destination: Mamaia Beach of Romania. Around 2 hours and 2 butts plus 4 asleep feet later, I was on the beach.

Pause. Peace and quiet. Sun and soft sand. blog post mare mamaia seaside romania beach sand

I take my shoes off, I feel it and this feeling of happiness overwhelms me, that I was there before all the people.

Oh, my! What a feeling of being present in the moment, with my feet in the warm sand, and my head in the clouds. blog plaja beach post mamaia romania

‘Can we stay in this moment forever?’,  I asked my partner in crime. He said ‘yes’, and so I smiled. blog post mare mamaia seaside romania beach

The moment is gone now, but the pictures are still here. And, Oh-Ma-God, such pics! Oh yes, short videos also.



So yeah, my plan on leaving the country and changing the continent is gone, but I like to think that everything happens for a reason. I don’t know it yet, haven’t found it out, but maybe at some point… Still, I managed to get out of Bucharest for a bit and I visited her. The rest of the story will be written, when the right time comes for me to leave. 🙂

April’s Joy!

Ever since I’ve known myself, the month of April was my joy. It has brought me so much happiness, even more than my birth month – December. And that is not just because of Spring, but also because of the events that happened.

April to me is Happiness and Love. Eight years ago, April would bring me the beginning of a beautiful relationship that lasted for 4 years. My partner then was a great human being who’s helped me grow and develop so much that I still feel happy and lucky for having him by my side. One year ago, I went along with the idea of sharing a life with someone, one person with whom I would’ve shared everything.

Present time now and all of the above are part of the past, good or bad. Time has passed and in 2016, April finds me in a new position and brings me a new chance to another kind of happiness. blog ana maria popa travel calatorii

Well, my luggage is done and my house is 3/4 packed. It is time for a new episode: moving to another continent and a new professional challenge outside Romania. After three months in Austria, the story goes on.

The novelty of all this, together with my passion for the topic, have made me release the news sooner than I originally planned to – but oh well, you can understand my excitement! Now, I’m not gonna give all the details (and those who know about this, please don’t be a spoiler), but I do promise that I will be back as soon as possible, sharing stories, situations and pictures, here on my blog and on Facebook also.

So, keep in touch! 😀

I just vanished… Poof!

Yep, exactly like that.

2 months ago (where did that go?!) I moved from Bucharest, Romania. To Austria, the mountain side, Tirol. I am at the end of the world, in a village of max 1000 inhabitants. I tend to believe that’s the number of tourists over a whole year.

Let’s just put it this way – there is just one sidewalk, one way. Nope, no 2 sidewalks, one on each way of the road. Basically, because even if it was, I’m not really sure there would be enough people to use it and walk on it.

So yeah, I’m here in a place that’s got nothing. No coffee shop, no doctor’s office, no pharmacy, no supermarket to buy stuff. And no internet connection. I’m lucky when traveling cause I enjoy other people’s internet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, not anymore. I was, at the beginning. Oh, I was really annoyed! But then, I looked at is as a challenge. You know, I am a Social Media & Online person, and now I have to deal with no internet connection. But it helped me see things differently.

First of all, I started paying more attention to the people around me. I started enjoying more having a real conversation and I am more into stories. I laugh like I really mean it, finally! I am peaceful with my phone not having to vibrate all the time – messages, phone calls, emails! I enjoy this mountain air and the white view with lots of snow! I feel like I’ve discovered things in me I didn’t even know I had.

My friends here make fun of me, a ‘princess’, a big city girl moving to a village. And the thing is that it wasn’t even that bad. I mean yeah, I miss the comfort of craving for french fries in the middle of the night and just hop in the car and go to McDrive. Now, if I wanna meet someone or buy basic stuff, I need to hop on the bus for half an hour and go in the next town and shop there. At least, there’s something there, like 2 mini-malls with some stores and coffee shops and supermarkets.

All of this helps me live really basic. Me, the people around me, nature, emotions and moments.


Life here is so unmaterialistic (if that’s even a word) that a few days ago I had this happened to me – my phone died. It just died. It shut down by itself and I couldn’t turn it on again… I wasn’t even panicked. I was just thinking that I’ll have to live without my phone on top of the internet thing. I was just trying to think of ways to let my people know so they won’t get worried. I left it alone, and after some time, my phone recovered by itself and started working again. I wasn’t even feeling relieved… It was just a thing, an object and I wasn’t gonna be mad cause of that.

One of my Bucharest people asked me at some point if I miss home. It didn’t take long to say I don’t.  To me, home is a feeling, not a place. As long as I am happy and peaceful, home is where I am. Yes, I do miss my people, I admit it. But that is easy to work out when they’re the right ones. They know I think of them and I miss them, even if we don’t talk everyday.

I truly believe that we got used too much to all this comfort the technology gives us. It is helpful, not gonna deny it, but somehow we let it replace life. Because when that is not in the picture anymore, it’s still us, humans. Us, with our thoughts, emotions, feeling and all that surrounds us. I found out this way that we forgot how to live… And I speak for myself also, my past self.

This same time last year, I couldn’t even picture my everyday life without internet, my phone, my laptop. And somehow, I feel that like this I exist more than ever. 🙂

Peace and quiet in Kufstein

An 18 mins bus trip and another 13 mins on a train (Austrian precision) got me to Kufstein. That was my choice on a Sunday – the 20th of Dec, when the sun was on my side 🙂

Right when you’re out of the train station you can see the medieval castle and the road that goes to town. There is no chance to get lost, even if you wanted to. And there you have me – desperately searching for a map or stuff to get some direction. Didn’t know I wouldn’t need one. blog post kufstein castle fortress river view

So, I started on the road with the sunshine. There were a lot of tourists, every one of them trying to take pics or read signs and little stories they found around. I had my mind set on the castle cause I was supposed to meet someone and also be able to catch the bus and train back to home. The last bus was at 17 hours. This is one of the things I’m gonna have to get used to, around here. Buses and trains, no matter how punctual they are and no matter how much I appreciate that, they make you shorten your schedule. I mean, come on, if I really take a free day to visit places and meet new people, I would like to enjoy my whole day of 24 hours. You know what I mean?! blog post kufstein castle fortress river view love locks

Once I got to the castle, I couldn’t help but notice they got wifi (yey!), which was a great deal for me, given the fact that my internet at home was off in the last days. So I paid the 6 Euros and let the cable car take me up. blog post kufstein castle fortress cable car

The first thing I noticed in the castle yard was that they had it decorated for Christmas – and God, it looked lovely! I got a map of the fortress and just went for a walk to visit. I didn’t get to see everything there was, but I had an amazing feeling about it.

I enjoyed the green place that had benches you could sit on and enjoy the view from high. blog post kufstein castle fortress relaxing place

I was in the garden where they had over 100 types of plants and flowers – that was called ‘Anna Battery’ 😀 Also here, they had benches and stuff you could sit on and relax, just feel the harmony.

I couldn’t help but notice and be really happy for the respect they have towards dogs. You could see dogs everywhere around the castle, with their owners. All shapes and breeds and colors, just heaven! blog post kufstein castle fortress torture chamber dog allowed

At some point, I saw this kinda creepy tunnel. Everyone was looking curious at it, but nobody was brave enough to go and see what’s that about. So I thought – what’s the worst that could happen?! – so I went in. The tunnel was built in the 16th century and helped the underground communication. It’s rock-cut and in the 20th century was used as shelter in tough times. blog post kufstein castle fortress creepy tunnel

One interesting thing was the Torture Chamber and its museum. No, I haven’t got any pics from the inside. They clearly said at the entrance that the scenes inside are not appropriate for children. So no, I didn’t visit it. But the history of torture really got my attention.

Even at the beginning of time, people would use different methods to gain power over others and get information or material things instead. In the past, torture had political or religious base and the death of victims was accepted as part of the whole process. The victims often disappeared without a trace. Until the 13th century, torture was not explicitly forbidden by church law and in the 15th century it became an essential part in witch trials. Austria abolished torture and death penalties in 1787, under Emperor Joseph II.

One thing I only heard about but didn’t see – Kufstein has the world’s largest outdoor organ, 4948 pipes. Everyday at noon, 12 hours, they play a small concert, that works as a reminder that peace is possible but must be actively pursued. I got there at 12.48, so I didn’t hear the organ play, but I am sure it is wonderful and can be heard in the whole town.

Also, inside the castle, in Josefburg Festungsarena, there was a Christmas Market that was really lovely, with many Christmas trees and Austrian specialties. And, of course, mulled wine. blog post kufstein castle fortress christmas market

I then met a local. Me and Wolfgang went to one of the few open places on a Sunday – where we drank tea and had the most amazing mulled-wine-cake. blog post kufstein castle fortress december meeting gluhwein cake

I stayed there until the last train. I talked to Wolfgang about everything and nothing, shared stories and he even told me about his passion and showed me a little preview. I’ve got no words for this, but this guy’s singing is amazing! Click here to listen what I’m talking about. Everything that’s there – instruments, voice, recording, production – everything is him. I was truly impressed, maybe also because I like singing but got no talent in the field. Make me sing and you’ll get broken glasses… There comes a time when each of us have to go back home, so I had to say goodbye to Wolfgang and his amazing songs.

Once I got into the train station, I couldn’t find my platform. Only until a group of hippies got my attention cause of the many luggage they were carrying! They were waiting for the elevator that connected the platforms. So I went next to them and somehow, they managed to also make some room for me so we could all use the elevator at once. That led to talking and joking:

– Oh, so you speak English?

– Yes, is it that bad?!

– Oh yeah. You see, we don’t know any English, so I don’t know how to talk to you. (And the whole conversation was in English)

Haha, hihi, so I helped them carry the luggage. They really had many snowboards and skis and backpacks with them. And they were only 3 people – 2 girls and a guy. But I really had fun with them!

On my last ride to home, I made friends also with the bus driver. We talked for the whole 18 mins and he told me how his time in Romania was. He was there 5 years ago, as a driver for a group and he was really scared of driving at night, because he couldn’t see the holes in the pavement and he had to look after the company’s car. Oh, and he really loved Brașov. He gave me ideas and recommendation for future trips in the Tirol area. Close to the station I was supposed to get off, he told me to stay on the bus and he’ll show me the next town also. I could only see it from the bus cause he had no break, but it was really nice to have a night tour of it.

At the end, I felt like a VIP when the bus detoured just to drop me off right in front of the hotel. I was like a princess enjoying a special ride! 😀 blog post kufstein castle fortress trip bus back night

I like it here, I met some great people already, in just one week! And the feeling I was telling you about at the beginning of the story is simply described by peace. You know that moment when you feel in complete harmony with yourself, with people and everything that surrounds you? When you feel so zen that nothing in the world could make you feel bad?… Well, that was me. And I had no idea how much I missed it and how far away I was from it. You could say that I was feeling myself again.

I really can’t wait to discover what the next few months have got for me!


The pics used were taken by my finger pressing the button of an iPhone 6. No edit, cause I was just too anxious.