Romania and Bulgaria

Six of us toured ROMANIA for 10 days in May ’05 with Cristian Florea of Crif Tours (phone 40 722 606 610, e-mail or visit www.

He was wonderful and we had a great time on our customized tour of the country — over 2,000 kilometers of travel. The cost was €850 (near $1,102) per person, not including lunch and dinner (less than $10 per meal). He accepts credit cards for payment.

Cristian’s English was excellent, which explained why he sent a substitute tour guide the second day because he was working as an interpreter for former President Bill Clinton. The other guide was very good.

I have gone touring in 68 countries, and Cristian is one of the very best guides I’ve had. He made the history and architecture of the country come alive. If he is not available, I would trust any guide he recommends.

I highly recommend Romania as an interesting country with gorgeous mountains. It’s reasonably priced, and the people clearly want American tourists.

When arriving at the Sofia, BULGARIA, airport, the OK Taxi service (booth in airport) is the best option for transportation. The taxis are metered. The desk staff spoke English and took us to the taxi and handed the driver a slip with our destination.

The cost was about $6 to the center of the city. You will need local currency, but exchange places and ATMs are in the airport. You will get a much better rate from the ATM. We caught OK taxis on the street and never had trouble, even in the rain and for short distances costing about $1.

At Bulgarian hotels, Internet and phones are very expensive. A smoke-free alternative across the street from the Grand Hotel Sofia at 4 Gurko Street is BTC (, which has Internet at under $1 an hour plus phone booths with digital phones for accessing international calling card numbers for a few cents.

An excellent guide in Sofia is Nadia Gueleva (phone 359 898 20 4303 or e-mail n_gueleva@ Her fee is about €35 (about $42) per day.

If you want more information on our trip, send me an e-mail at

Alexandria VA