Tina (26) was born and raised in Romania’s capital Bucharest. Thanks to her passion for history, culture and international friendship she became a tour guide for Walkabout Free Tours in Bucharest. An NGO which aim is to encourage travellers to discover the stories, the spirit and the best sites of Romania in an interactive way, so that in the end, visitors will be able to see in these places an intriguing and friendly destination to explore.
They organize free daily walking tours in Bucharest and Brasov, which every traveller is welcomed to join.
We spoke with Tina guiding tourists in the lovely city of Bucharest !
Tina, did you study something related to tourism ?
My prior studies as a faculty was not related to tourism but I always was involved in organizing different international projects, so I was close to people from all around the world, which I think its very beautiful. Then I got my practice license as a guide and since then more and more in love with what I am doing.
When did you start guiding people in Bucharest?
I started 2,5 years ago after working part time at a hostel in Bucharest and welcoming people, telling them about the city.. So I suddendly realized that I could do more.
You are passionated about your city and it’s history ?
I was always passionate about the history of this city and loved walking around discovering different routes and all the hidden stories behind the facades of the buildings. I got to be part of a wonderful team of guides in Walkabout free walking tours which is an NGO, so besides the tours we also get involve in different social projects.
What is important to you as being a guide ?
Ah, it is wonderful to be part of someone’s memory, their holiday, the best part of their year, when people want to have fun and have amazing experiences. So I feel very grateful for being part in that. I love showing the city from my local perspective and unveiling personal stories, seeing different spots not only the touristic ones, so that people can feel the real and authentic Bucharest.
Which are your favorite places in Bucharest ?
There are many favorite places!! But ok I can share with you one of my secrets.
Tell it now !
There is a street in Bucharest dominated by very beautiful houses, on one side there is a white massive one and on the other side an old ecletic very damaged building, called Macca. The contrast in between the two is stunning and I love just gazing at them whenever I walk by.
Where should our readers taste typical Romanian food ?
For romanian food usually you find many places in the Old Town and since our traditional food takes very long to make we also go to these restaurants if we dont cook it at home.
One of my favorite places is Lacrimi si sfinti, the food there, especially „Sarmale” tastes exaclty like the one made by my mother, so its perfect! But there is also the local market if you want to try our Mici, the traditional barbecue or the place called Ciorbarie for the sour soups, which is just like a bar but not with drinks, but soups!
And then my all time favorite as recipe is Bulz, but it is more often found in Transylvania, outside Bucharest, because it has really good traditional cheese made in the mountains!
I suppose Bucharest changed a lot since your childhood ?
Yes it changed a lot! So Iwas born in 1993 which is not very long after the Revolution from 1989. Things changed very slowly after communism so as I child I had of course everything I needed but I was always really excited when someone would bring clothes or toys from other countries and they were nothing like the ones here…
Life was totally different ?
There were very few restaurants, very few shops all very outdated. Slowly the city exploded and shopping hysteria started! If you only compare the old town which is now every summer packed with travelers all around the world with 10 years ago when it was all muddy and dirty with falling buildings, you can feel a very big difference! People started to love their city again, restore the buildings, travel more and expanding their horizons, being more and more open minded and responsible with their actions upon the city. There are still many things to be solved, but I am a very optimistic person!
Any funny stories about being a tour guide ?
Oh many! But probably the funniest tour was a Saturday evening last summer with lots of people at the tour including someone with a costume of Donald Trump and a group with men dressed up as babies! It was a great tour for sure!! Or someone who fainted when I talked about Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula..wasnt funny but memorable..or crazy people of the street joining the tour dancing or telling their own stories…so so many good memories, I definitely have the best job in the world!
Thanks Tina, our readers can read all about the Walkabout Free Tours in Bucharest here