Visiting the National Village Museum -part1-

We finally managed to visit this museum and document our visit through pictures. I didn’t walk so much in ages! My feet are killing me – I’m writing this right after the visit, at a café where we stopped to get some rest. If I don’t get distracted, I’ll post the second part of the blog, next week. Why a second part? Please read on to find out!

We reached the museum by foot from the subway station – it’s some 2 -3 bus stops away? At the entrance there were at least 4 tourist buses, and this meant the place was rather packed with people. The admission fee is 15 lei for adults, 4 lei for students, 200 or 300 lei if you want a guide [fee depends on the language you need the guide to speak], and there were a few other rates but I can’t remember who or what were those for.

As far as I can tell, this is the main entrance. There is also a gift shop on the right, right across from the ticket booth. I really liked some of the stuff there, though I must say some seemed a bit overpriced. Not that I’m familiar with prices for this kind of products.

Sadly many houses were closed, so we couldn’t see them on the inside. Well, A. [my partner] couldn’t enter the houses anyways, though she tried – because of a hay allergy she has. There are also a few rules to follow, such as no smoking anywhere in the museum [though it’s in the open] and no taking pics inside the houses. I would assume it’s because the flash of the camera can ruin the colors of the decors.

Visitors are not allowed inside the house, with very few exceptions. So I entered a couple of houses, but only in the small entrance/hallway of the house, and not inside the proper rooms where the occupants used to live. You can only imagine why: on rainy days bringing in the mud would eventually ruin the floors, while also just stepping inside some of the houses would also cause damage.

I must add that many houses had either a wooden floor either floor made of dried out mud – a building material I noticed in the walls of the houses as well. This was a convenient building material in the 18th century, a place in time most these houses belonged to. I believe this is what kept them so cool and pleasant – there were 27 degrees Celsius [80.6 F?] outside.

If you wanted to go even cheaper, you’d make a half buried house, like the one below. I guess the insulation was better? I do wonder just how cold it was in winter, though? I couldn’t go inside, but I must say the entrance looked creepy and claustrophobic.

There were also many vendors selling handmade things: clothes, home decors, jewelry, dolls, and other stuff. Pretty much what you could find in the gift shop, you could also find at this vendors, and then probably some extra. The prices were equally high, but we bought some cookies – but I only have a picture of one of them.

One of the vendors in front of this buried house was selling traditional alcohol, in special looking bottles. He had several shapes and sizes. While there was nothing wrong with opening the bottle up and drink, many were just for decorative purposes. Clearly, not for houses with pets or kids that can knock them over. The bottle below costs about 10 USD.

Speaking of drinks, there was one vendor selling a very strange summer drink. And what I mean by this s that it was refreshing, but very sweet as well. The drink’s name is “braga” and it is made of cereals – read more about it here and here. I bought a glass, see below. My partner said her mother used to drink it a lot, and liked it a lot as well. My partner doesn’t share the opinion. The drink is good, but like the articles point out, it looks really rustic and must be consumed really fast.

Another vendor was selling copper ware.  I will consider buying some pieces for our future home, after we have it. These copper pieces had a different color on the inside than on the outside, so I’m not sure this is how copper items are. In any case they look beautiful, don’t you think?

Lastly, I shouldn’t forget to mention the last vendor selling beauty products. We received each a sample of a scrub mask. I can’t tell if it was good, but we might visit their shop outside the museum to get a product or two.

Like mentioned before, the museum has many types of houses, a couple of churches, wind and water mills. Most houses had fences, gates, and their original annexes. These annexes include old-fashioned ovens for baking the bread, dog houses, tool sheds, houses for the livestock. Now, on with the pictures of some of the houses.

This yard and house are a unit. This house was not opened to the public, but it had an overall quiet feeling.

I forgot if all these structures above were part of the same household or not.

This was pretty much another household. I would assume its former inhabitants were more rich since the house was build on 2 levels and they also had this carriage. On the left of the “garage” there was an enclosed space – a tool storage unit, I believe.

This house was also pretty big, and the rooms were like a train’s carriages, as you could easily see in the first picture. This was a rare sight though as most the other houses had separate rooms and no way to go from one into the other.

I believe the caption says it all at this point. People were shorter in the past. The doors and gates are short, but the rooms are plenty tall on the inside.

Judging by the time stamp, this extra construction was on the same land as the house.

WOW, What an adventure! Both the visit and writing this – or better said, editing the pictures.

There ‘s a part 2 coming up soon, with the animals we saw at the museum! And in the park surrounding it. I just hope it will be soon enough.  [I hope there aren’t too many mistakes and errors in this entry.]


©2013 – present. The Owner Travels To. All rights reserved.

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Shopping trip failure – vlog-

So, as mentioned in last Sunday’s entry, today I will post a vlog video, with a little explanation.

I think YouTube is messing up the audio of the videos. So, if you don’t hear well, blame both the beginner me and YouTube. You get to see glimpses of Bucharest that you don’t usually see in travel blogs and magazines, along with random Romanians going about their way. yay?

As I’m trying to explain in this video, my friend ordered a product online, and she was supposed to go pick it up. I went along and recorded the adventure. It took us some 45 minutes to the [mini]mall where the place [called eMag] was. We were told to wait in line, and after some half an hour they said their server crashed O.O and that it would probably last some 45 minutes to fix it.

And so we waited, as we hoped it would be true. So we tried out this café place with a really nice view. I had a sandwich as I was starving – and it was pretty good. Don’t ask about its name as I forgot it and I don’t even remember seeing it posted anywhere.

My friend went back to the store – we then realized it was a showroom only, and the server worked for some 5 to 20 minutes and crashed again. Some 20 minutes before closing time! (at 9pm – most other stores close at 10 pm) We still stayed, as we weren’t the only people needing to pay for stuff. Of course we waited in vain.

The video ends with me complaining about their customer service and just how generally uncool this [mini]mall was. They were supposed to call her the next day, but didn’t. As expected.

While this shopping trip seemed like a failure, it was actually a disguised blessing. Some days later we found the product she wanted at another store and the full price wasn’t even the one eMag mentioned! They said they were selling it for 50% off – full price being some 190 Lei? The store we found was selling it for just 120 Lei full price [tax included, as in Romania the prices shown on the shelf includes the sales tax].

My friend ended with getting another similar product that was on sale, from the second store. Happy ending!

What I didn’t mention in the video was that while we were waiting in line the first time around, we decided to get a mouse as well – it was pretty cheap. Except the guy told me I would have to go back the next day or the day after to pay and pick it up: they didn’t have it in stock!


©2013-present the owner travels to. All rights reserved.

Online shopping haul

Not long ago I promised I would show you guys the stuff I bought online, from a Chinese website called wish.com.

DISCLAIMER: this is not a sponsored post, I bought everything with my own money, and the opinions are my own!

Online shopping is good, as long as you don’t buy clothes, shoes, or expensive electronics. You must pay attention to what others have to say about the seller too, to see if you can trust  – but even then, you can get cheated.

This site wish is easy to use, you can sign up using your gmail account or even your facebook account. I paid with paypal, but I think credit/debit cards are also accepted.

This is what i ordered – a tote, 3 watches (!),  a deck of regular playing cards, and a tarot deck. I also ordered a bra for my friend – it fits her, but i will not show the actual product, and a whetstone to sharpen knives – it never arrived 😦

This is the Shadowscapes Tarot deck, translated into simplified Chinese, i believe. The English card names are at the top of the cards. There is one typing error on one of the cards “nice of cups” instead of “nine of cups, ” which i find quite funny, especially since this is a good card to get in a reading. The typo is barely noticeable, so it doesn’t bother me.

There are 2 extra blank cards included – I guess I can use them in case I lose one. As you can see the cards are quite long, so normal hand shuffling is a bit difficult. Maybe my palms are too short?

My other card deck is a playing one. But the images are with Vampire Knight, as you can see. Vampire Knight is a manga [Japanese comics] by Hino Matsuri. The cards are quite small compared to the tarot. Shuffling them is so easy!

I must admit, when i got them, i thought they’re bigger – before opening them up. I was quite impressed that they were sealed in plastic – the tarot wasn’t. Once i took them in my hand, i thought they’re really cute because of how small they appeared.

I didn’t use them, but I assume in dim light, it will be difficult to tell which card is which, so probably if you ever get your hands on a similar deck, play your games in stronger light.

So these are the watches I got. Why 3? well, i have a small obsession for watches. I have 4 of them in total. One – the first I ever got, is a Michael Kors. [I can’t really remember where it is] I’m not wearing it because it needs a battery and it had a small accident, and lost a decorative plate. I’m pissed about it – I still have it, but I have trouble putting it back with glue it doesn’t stay.

These watches didn’t arrive all at once, though the green ones have been ordered at the same time. The lighter green one was supposed to be more blueish. but the green one looks amazing! The first one to arrive was the one with a black bracelet. It is a mechanical one – the reason I got it. The other 2 cost me $1 each, and $1 shipping for each. I really liked the design, even though they require a battery.

The seller was nice enough to send them with a battery in AND with the hour set for Romania! how cool is that?

The tote is not as big as I thought it would be. I can fit a 15″ laptop in it, if i put it with the narrow side in. And it doesn’t go in all the way – but I rarely take my laptop with me, so that’s fine. It seems well done, though the sewing could have been more straight – in places where it is noticeable.

I like that it has a small inner pocket. The front is purple, and the other side is gray, like the handles and the bottom. The handles are long enough to allow you to wear the bag on the shoulder.

SHIPPING

The mechanical watch was the first to arrive, after some 3 weeks.  I thought i will never get to see my tarot deck nor my playing cards – they arrived quite late. The bag also arrived quite fast, but i forgot how fast. I also forgot how fast the other items came, but the 2 green watches arrived 1 week apart – shipped separately, though the seller was the same.

Speaking of sellers, there are many sellers on wish, just like on ebay or etsy. The prices can change from one day to the other, but they’re generally low. If you know me, you’ll know these items were cheap – since I hate spending money on expensive stuff.

site pictures VS real item pictures

There are slight color differences between the real life items and the image you see provided by the seller. The light green watch was the biggest offender, but since i like green, I’m not complaining. My light, though natural, wasn’t the best to take pictures. The tarot deck is less intense, much more pastel. As for the mechanical watch – just like with the others, several colors were available, that’s why mine is not golden.

Sadly, if you have a problem with your item, the customer support is from wish, and it is not the seller. you might also have the “luck” of talking to someone who doesn’t speak English well. You have 30 days for returns or refunds. This means i lost whatever I paid for my whetstone.

This is all for now. See you again next week!


©2013-2017 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

Mara Mura – the sweetest looking cafe in Bucharest

On Sunday I was searching for a place to sit at, have a coffee, relax, study more Chinese, and just hope to people watch. However I found more than I was hoping for: a place where relaxation, cuteness, and inspiration go hand in hand.

The place is called Mara Mura, it is hidden on a narrow, one way street. The location of this cafe couldn’t be more fitting: the cafe is rather small, like a treasure that needs to be found. Just look at the picture above showing just a corner of the quiet terrace: I could spend the whole afternoon here doing nothing but relaxing!

The tables had each a small and cute yellow flower decorating them.

I received my menu and instantly I wondered if I made a mistake by sitting there: the menu was much shorter than what I was used to, however it was sweet and to the point. I ordered an espresso [8 lei = US$1.97 or Euro 1.79] and a Rose Lemonade [15 lei = US$3.69 or Euro 3.36]. I didn’t recognize the classic lemonade on the menu, so I ordered a coffee to be able to “better judge” this cafe. Read my post on how order stuff at new places to make sure you’ll like what you get.

The white and pink jar contains sugar. The yellow one was conveniently holding 3 teaspoons. I didn’t ask for sugar, but the presentation of my coffee exceeded my expectations. But look at my coffee cup! In the picture it seems bigger than it actually is! Is this a tea party for dolls? But it’s all good: espresso is served in small cups like this one. But it’s so cute!

And how about the yellow jar in which they brought not 1, not 2, but 3 teaspoons? Isn’t that adorable? It’s still small, but 2 of those teaspoons were small too: to nicely fit into the espresso cup 😉 By the way, I need to buy one too – I need one of those in my life! Don’t you? It’s made of ceramics, just like the cup and its saucer, so if it breaks, it’s gone!

I’ll have one of these, please! What for? To collect dust in them, of course!

The Rose Lemonade came in an unopened glass bottle. But the taste! The taste! It tasted like roses! as is someone made lemonade out of roses! No wonder it was called that! Take a closer look at the bottle – this is not made in Romania, but the owner did us a favor by importing this!

Yea, I drank it all before taking a closer picture of it. ooops!

This is not all! As I was enjoying my coffee, some British chicks came and sat at the next table. Two of them went inside to see what else they had and came out all excited reporting to their other friend “they have all sorts of good stuff!” Naturally, I had to go investigate! 

I didn’t expect to enter Candy Land! But, silly me not to believe the sign on the [other] window!

And the interior! it was amazing! The first thing i saw was these cakes!

OMG! I was salivating! I don’t think my picture taking skills do these desserts any justice! [but I hope this blog entry might] And, Wait! there’s more!

Chocolate! Macarons! Big cake! mini cakes! all the good stuff!

This is not all, because the interior is also nicely decorated. Furthermore, you can buy books too! and possibly other stuff as well, but I didn’t pay much attention to the other exposed merch. But here is just a sample of the art and one of the books! I believe it’s a children’s book, it is rather thin with hard covers. The art is really sweet too!  This book is written in Romanian and costs 35 lei if I remember correctly. That means US$8.62 or Euro7.85, but it’s a cute memento, right?

When I went to pay, I also got a slice of cake to go – I really wanted to enjoy it at home to relax for longer, of course. Want to see what I got?

Apple cake covered in confectioners sugar sold by weight and my piece cost a bit over 8 lei. The manager was beyond nice and gave me 2 choux on the house – I had to explain why was I taking so many pictures of the place. In case you don’t know, many cafes or cake places don’t allow people taking pictures of their shelves. This rule is also reinforced in the malls, stores, and supermarkets. The choux on the left was with coffee, the other one with passion fruit. I liked the one with passion fruit more, perhaps because I could barely feel the coffee in the other one. 

The apple cake! OMG! SO SOFT! and it doesn’t taste like apple pie, but like apple cake! These desserts are sweet but subtle. I generally dislike buying Romanian sweets because I don’t find them sweet.. as if they forget to add the sugar. But these beauties had a reasonable amount of sugar: not overly sweet. I recommend having these with milk-coffee, or with some subtle tasting tea. 

This is the box my cakes were packed in: simple, cute, and elegant at the same time. How nice!

I totally recommend this relaxation oasis to anyone who wants to unwind and enjoy some home-made sweets at the same time. Please go check their website [it’s in Romanian], like them on FaceBook, and follow them on Instagram as well! you won’t regret it!

I forgot to mention there’s a swing in the shop’s window. How cool is that? In any case, now that I know where this treasure is, I’ll go again to buy more sweets 😉 and Rose Lemonade!


©2013-2016 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

Shopping only for fitting clothes

Hello everyone~~

Shopping is an activity many women simply LOVE. Everyone knows that! And it takes them a lot of time to buy a cute new outfit, or a perfect shirt, whatever other clothing item they want.

Men, however, don’t spend as much time shopping for the stuff they need. Could it be that they know better what they want? Perhaps it is so, but maybe this aspect has something to do with this fact:

Men’s bodies seem made in the same mold, while women have a curved body. The curves of a lady don’t always fall in the same places, but this is due to their height! Women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes, or so they say. This is why women must try on all the clothes they’re interested in, to make sure they fit and look nice.

To add insult to the injury, the amount of patterns, colors, and items in general, is reduced for men’s clothing, so it’s easier for them to choose something!

I read the stories of many women complaining about how their shopping trip was a failure:

Some of them couldn’t find something they liked, others got stuff they weren’t 100% happy with, and and and. I think a shopping trip should always end with 100% happiness. I’ll share with you THE secret to always buy nicely fitting clothes.

So, the question is, how can women go shopping and come back home happy? There is a very simple way of knowing if a pair of pants will fit you, for instance. All you have to do is to measure yourself before leaving home, and remember to take the measuring tape with you. You would have to measure the pants you like, in the store, before going to the fitting room. However, this is a rather complicated method and you would have to remember numbers, where to measure and so on. Plus, there is an even easier method you can use:


Take your favorite pair of jeans with you when going shopping and place them against the ones in the store! As long as they seem to be the same size, you can then try them on. If you’re self-conscious, shy, or if a lot of people are in the store, you’ll:

  • save time: by not taking to the cabin pairs of pants that will never fit, by not getting into the changing room if there are no pants in your size.
  • save face: by not having to ask for yet a larger size, by not taking 10 pair with you instead of 4 or 6 pairs that actually fit you
  • be done faster with changing clothes, and shopping
  • enjoy your day of shopping for pants.

One important thing you should pay attention to is the rise of the pants: low, high, or regular rise pants will definitely fit different even if the waistband is just as large. You still have to try on the pants in the store before buying them. This way you will see if you would like yourself in them or not. This tip can be applied to pencil skirts and even bras. It is well-known that different brands will fit differently even if you select the same size. This goes well for bras and pants. I learned this tip from my stylish mother. See you next time.


©2013-2016 the owner travels to. All rights reserved.

March 1st, or the Mărțișor

Hello world~~~

This country is full of traditions. One of them is related to March 1st. It is called Mărțișor and the word itself has 3 language specific letters and sounds that simply drive me crazy, hopefully you can see them as well. But this is a story for another entry.

There are a lot of interesting things to know about this celebration, but it is easier to link you to the page with more information on it, Wikipedia. Don’t worry, this time you can believe what’s being said, hehe.

What you need to know is that women or girls are the ones receiving and wearing this trinket. It can be gifted by men or women. The age of the receiver or of the one giving doesn’t really matter though.

Picture belongs to Andreirusan, on Wikipedia. This is a traditional motif for the Mărțișor

This is what  the Mărțișor usually looks like in real life. As you can see, the Mărțișor is a rather small trinket tied with a red and white string. Clearly, people around here make bigger objects too, like brooches, bracelets, or necklaces.

This celebration, like many others, offers a VERY good excuse for many businesses to sell more. The most popular type of merchandise to sell for Mărțișor is jewelry of any kind. These trinkets are sold almost anywhere and almost anyone can sell them.

Handmade trinkets should be the norm when offering them, but locals are not very opened to the idea of buying unique items for which a person spend a few hours working. They rather buy something made by some machine. As a side note, the majority of the locals look down upon handmade items.

What would you like to receive for Mărțișor?