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Raluca Bragarea

Head of Communications, Bucharest

Part of UK in Romania

9th July 2014 Bucharest, Romania

Good Bye and Thank you Romania

Peter Thomas served as Head of the Political Section at the British Embassy in Bucharest from June 2009 – June 2014. On leaving Bucharest, he shared some of his thoughts regarding the five years he spent in Romania.

At 17:10 on 30 June, our British Airways flight took off from Otopeni, bringing to a close five GREAT years in Romania.  The decision to prolong my stay for an extra year probably made me the UK’s longest serving diplomat at the British Embassy in Bucharest, for which I am extremely grateful. We came to Romania as three and we left as five (my son, Oliver, was born in Bucharest in December 2009 and we decided to adopt and take home our “rescued” cat, Blizzy).

So, what will I miss?

The People:

I have experienced wonderful hospitality in many parts of the world but I think Romanians take the gold medal. An invitation to a Romanian friend’s house usually culminates in a seven course feast washed down with unlimited tuica, palinka or afinata. Commuters readily give up their seats on public transport, passers-by tell you that your children will catch a cold if they don’t wear a hat in winter and my energetic children were welcomed and never told off in restaurants or public places.

Travelling around the Country:

Romania has so much to offer from the painted monasteries in Bucovina, wooden churches in Maramures to the rolling meadows of Transylvania, which remind me of the British countryside without the traffic and better weather! I loved the laid back feel of Sibiu, Brasov and Sighisoara but top of my urban list would have to be Cluj. It was my first experience in Romania and is a great blend of Central European architecture with a modern creative streak.

The Food and Drink:

Five years ago I did not know what Romanian cuisine was. I leave with a much-better understanding of this eclectic mix of dishes. Top of my “miss list” would be a trip to the market to buy some of the tastiest seasonal fruit and vegetables I have ever tried. My personal favourite is Piata Domenii. I have also become addicted to Ciorbas de Fasole cu Afumata and Perisoare, although I never got to grips with Ciorba de Burta. I will miss Romanian wine too and hope to see more of it on the British market before long.

And Bucharest:

I remember vividly reading the in-flight British Airways magazine on my inaugural trip to Romania. It described Bucharest as the “best city in Europe that no one knows about”. I could not agree more; a city full of gems like Hanul lui Manuc, Herastrau Park and the Athenaeum. But it’s stand out feature is the vibe; a mixture of laidback, energetic and intoxicating!

So once again thank you Romania for letting us stay so long. We will be back and we will always remain one of your biggest fans.

About Raluca Bragarea

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania…

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since
enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional
communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania to promote the UN
anti-poverty agenda to handling Prince Charles’ press conference on a
hill top in picturesque Transylvania. One of the highlights working for
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been the introduction of an
internship scheme in the Embassy; we bring along students from various
backgrounds to help us deliver our objectives while they get a unique
opportunity to learn hands-on about diplomacy.
I am a former TV journalist, specialising in foreign affairs, and a
Fulbright scholar. I hold a Master of Arts in Information and
Communication Studies with California State University at Chico.
I am a major cafe latte fan and like to collect hand-painted icons.
My other hobbies include travelling and watching movies with friends,
particularly Quentin Tarantino’s. The latest memorable film I watched
was District 9, a superb science fiction with a social twist – anybody
seen it?

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