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The London Week

[Citeste acest articol in Limba Romana AICI]

Probably the last of the great capitals that I have not been able to visit until now. It was in my plan to visit for a long time and I even had the plane ticket to London bought in the past but due to unfavorable circumstances I could not go. We left from Marseille, where we are now, and with Ryanair, we paid for 2 people return tickets just 97 EUR! Long Live Ryanair! The plane drops you at Stansted Airport which has a direct train connection to London. The train journey takes about 40 minutes and cost us 30 pounds (2 people). We arrived in London at Liverpool Street Station, one of the many giant train stations of this 10 million-strong metropolis. Getting out of the train and crossing the central corridor of the train station at rush hour, the atmosphere is simply overwhelming. Thousands of commuters traverse in a hurry between the subway and the numerous platforms that serve the suburban trains. But fortunately, the many signs, screens and information points make your life easy. We found our way to the subway entrance, we only had to find the platform of our line, which is not easy considering the fact that there are 4 subway lines serving this station.

The use the public transport, you will need an Oyster card, which is a universal card that is valid on the subway, train and bus, and prices for it may be shocking. The city is divided into 9 zones, and rates vary according to the number of zones you will cross. Avoid as much as you can buying one-time use tickets, they are the most expensive with rates starting from 5 pounds per trip. Better buy daily or weekly passes. To reach our hotel located in zone 4, we bought 2 weekly passes with unlimited trips valid in areas 1 to 4 for which we paid “only” 108 pounds (54 pounds per person). Fortunately, this is the only big expense you will encounter,  during the rest of the holiday I had the pleasant surprise to discover that everything is cheaper here than in the South of France.

To reach our hotel near the Wembley Stadium, we used the Metropolitan Line, which is one of the newest line. It has large spacious trains lines and runs in express mode with few stations along Continue reading

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O saptamana in Londra / The London Week

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Probabil ultima dintre capitalele grozave  care nu am apucat sa o vizitez pana acum. Era in plan de mult timp si chiar am avut biletul de avion catre Londra cumparat in trecut dar datorita unor circumstante nefavorabile nu am putut merge. Am plecat din Marseille unde stam acum , si cu Ryanair am platit 2 persoane dus intors doar 97 EUR! Traiasca Ryanair-ul! Avionul te lasa la aeroportul Stansted care are  tren direct catre Londra. Calatoria cu trenul dureaza cam 40 de minute si ne-a costat 30 de lire (2 persoane). Am ajuns in Londra la gara Liverpool street station , una din multele gari uriase ale acestei metropole de 10 milioane de locuitori. Iesiti din tren si traversat catre coridorul central al garii in plina ora de varf , atmosfera e pur si simplu coplesitoare. Mii de navetisti traverseaza in graba intre metrou si numeroasele peroane de trenuri suburbane. Dar din fericire numeroasele indicatoare, ecrane si puncte de informare iti fac viata usoara. Ne-am gasit drumul catre intrarea in metrou, mai trebuia doar sa gasim peronul liniei noastre , lucru deloc usor tinand cont ca sunt 4 magistrale care trec prin aceasta statie.

Pentru transportul public va trebuie obligatoriu un “Oyster card” , care este un card universal valabil pe metrou , tren si autobuz si preturile s-ar putea sa va socheze. Orasul este impartit in 9 zone , si tarifele variaza in functie de cate zone traversati. Evitati pe cat mai mult sa va luati bilete de unica folosinta , sunt cele mai scumpe cu tarife incepand de la 5 lire calatoria si cumparati mai bine Pass-uri zilnice sau saptamanale. Noi ca sa ajungem la hotelul nostru situat in zona 4 am luat 2 Pass-uri saptamanale cu calatorii nelimitate valabile in zonele 1-4 pentru care am platit “doar” 108 Continue reading

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Saint Tropez excursie cu masina / Saint Tropez road trip

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Vara se apropie rapid si o mini vacanta era ocazia perfecta de a face o excursie pe Coasta de Azur spre Saint Tropez. Dupa ce am vizitat toate obiectivele turistice din Marsilia si imprejurimi, am vrut sa mergem cu musafirul nostru cu trenul pe Coasta de Azur , dar din pacate programul imprevizibil presarat cu greve spontane al putorilor franceze ne-a taiat aceasta optiune. Un alt incomvenient ar fi fost faptul ca trenul nu ajunge pana in Saint Tropez , ci doar spre Toulon sau spre Nisa , de unde trebuie luat un autocar local.

De la Marsilia spre Saint Tropez nu sunt decat 150 km , dar trenul daca nu cumperi biletele din timp poate fi destul de scump. De pe o zi pe alta poti sa dai si 50 de EUR de persoana pe o astfel de distanta parcursa cu trenul, asa ca am luat in considerare inchirierea unei masini. Din pacate si aceasta varianta poate fi destul de scumpa daca nu faci rezervarea din timp , dar pentru 3 sau 4 persoane masina in general se merita. La firma Thrifty un Renault inchiriat pe o zi a costat 60 EUR  + asigurarea care pe internet costa 37.5 EUR … dar noi am luat-o din birou de la ei cu 60 de EUR pentru ca….. (fara aceasta asigurare sunteti dispus sa platiti 1000 de EUR daune chiar si pentru cea mai mica zgarietura) , la care trebuie sa adaugati si costul benzinei care o consumati (masina Continue reading

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Saint Tropez road trip France

[Citeste acest articol in Limba Romana AICI]

The summer is fast approaching and a small holiday was the perfect opportunity to take a road trip on the Cote d’Azur towards Saint Tropez. After visiting all of Marseille’s sights and surroundings, we wanted to go with our guest on a Côte d’Azur train trip, but unfortunately the unpredictable running schedule sprinkled with spontaneous strikes organised by the French SNCF lazy workers deprived us of this option. Another inconvenience would be that the train does not go all the way up to Saint Tropez, but only to Toulon or Nice, from where you have to take a local coach the rest of the way.

From Marseille to Saint Tropez there are only 150 km, but even for this distance, the train can be quite expensive if you do not buy the tickets well in advance. If you get a ticket today for tomorrow you can also spend around € 50 per person on such a train ride, so we’ve considered renting a car to make the trip. Unfortunately, this option can be quite expensive also if you do not make the reservation a few days in advance, but if you are 3 or 4 people in the car it is generally worth it. At the rental company called Thrift a Renault rented for one day costs 60 Euro + the insurance that on the internet costs 37.5 EUR … but if you take it from the office booth you will get it for 60 Euro’s ….. ( without this insurance you are liable to pay 1,000 EUR damage even for the Continue reading

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Romania road trip across the country

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It was the summer of 2017 and the weather was perfect for a Romania road trip. We decided to take advantage of our last vacation days and the available accommodation vouchers, so we jumped in the car and went roaming across Romania for a week. Our tour started at the “Danube Boilers”, stopping along the way at Orsova, Dubova, Timisoara, Deva, Hunedoara, Alba Iulia, Sovata, Praid, Sighisoara, Brasov and via Transfagarasan back to Constanta. As usual, the trip was planned on short notice and the accommodation was chosen from what was available through a travel agency.

Day 1: We hit the roads of our motherland, where, as I have mentioned in the previous article Road trip to Budapest, the experience can be excruciating and you will spend a lot of hours stuck in traffic on narrow 2 lanes national roads. From Constanta to Orsova we chose the route via Bucharest – Pitesti – Rm. Valcea with a stopover at Targul Jiu to see the sculptures of Constantin Brancusi. As soon as you exit A1 motorway in Pitesti, the ordeal starts and doesn’t stop until Timisoara when we return on the A1. Lately on the good roads of Romania we found loose gravel that is not compressed by the special machines, but rather by cars in open traffic, the kind of gravel that shreds your hood and your windshield in a million pieces  – WHAT THE FUCK?! The incident appeared on national news , hundreds of drivers got their cars damaged in the process and nobody was held accountable.

We chose to stop at Targul Jiu specially to see the sculptures of the well known sculptor Constantin Brancusi. The first unpleasant surprise we had was when we were driving to Brancusi Park but along the way we elegantly  drove past the Infinity Column. The column is in separate park on the opposite side of the city from the other representative sculptures , the Kiss Gate and the Table of Silence of the famous sculptor. Once in the park, after seeing the Kiss Gate and the Table of Silence, I left within half an hour because there is simply nothing else to do there. I can say that it is not worth the go out of your way just for this and the sculptures themselves are rather… unattractive. Brancusi’s works are not highlighted, and the only information that they actually belong to Constantin Brancusi are found on a small portable billboard in the park, you know the type of billboard you normally see in front on the terraces showing the daily menu. The Romanian authorities should take a visit to Brancusi’s workshop museum in Paris to get an idea on ​​how to display such a national value.

We go further on to Orsova and to the Danube Boilers. Orsova is one of the most beautiful cities we have seen on our side of the Danube, the river promenade that stretches all along the city is an absolute pleasure to walk, but the real star in the area, besides the superb scenery, is the recently renovated road that cuts the gorge of the Continue reading

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How to get PACS in France

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PACS or Pacte civil de solidarité, is a concubinage agreement that offers the benefits of a married couple but with fewer obligations. Initially developed at the request of gay couples to declare themselves a family unit, it has become very popular among hetero couples and a popular method used by immigrants and refugees to obtain a visa or residence permit.

In France, there is a well-thought-out and subtle tactic to encourage marriage and punish unmarried young people, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you are around 30-years-old and you are still alone, you are prone to being refused having social and professional benefits, you are prone to pay much higher taxes to the state (the celibate member can have 30% of his income taxed versus 14% if you are in a couple) and at any bank you you go will have lower chances to get a credit if you are single, so many young people choose to compromise by making a PACS contract with their partners.

The procedure is very similar to marriage, if not identical, and because we are in France,  it is very complicated and involves a lot of bureaucracy. Although it practically takes 5 minutes to sign the papers, it takes months to get to that point. The starting point is the government site Continue reading

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Cum sa faci PACS in Franta / How to get PACS in France

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PACS sau Pacte civil de solidarité , este un contract de concubinaj , care ofera avantajele unui cuplu casatorit dar cu mai putine obligatii. Aparut initial la cererea cuplurilor gay de a se putea declara ca o unitate familiala , a devenit foarte rapid popular in randul cuplurilor hetero dar si o metoda populara folosita de imigranti si refugiati de a obtine viza sau permis de rezidenta.

In Franta exista o tactica bine gandita si subtila de a incuraja mariajul si de a pedepsi pe tinerii celibatari , indiferent de orientarea lor sexuala. Daca esti injur de 30 de ani si inca esti singur , esti predispus la privare de beneficii sociale si profesionale , esti predispus sa platesti taxe si impozite mult mai mari la stat (celibatarul plateste si 30% taxa pe venit fata de 14% cel aflat in cuplu) si la orice banca vei avea sanse mai mici de a lua un credit daca esti celibatar asa ca multi tineri aleg varianta de compromis facand un contract PACS.

Procedura seamana foarte mult cu mariajul , daca nu e identica , si pentru ca suntem in Franta , bineinteles ca e complicata si implica multa birocratie. Desi ea practic dureaza 5 minute cat sa semnezi niste hartii , pentru a ajunge acolo , dureaza luni bune. La baza e siteul Continue reading

Prague dream vacation

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Prague, a city that I always wanted to see and experience. I was always looking at the pictures of others and it seemed to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. After seeing it, I can say with all my heart that it is. The city offers beautiful landscapes, architecture, great old pedestrian squares, world class beer and bars where you can still smoke inside, and all this for prices almost identical to those in Romania.

From Romania there is no low cost direct flight to Prague, but the ticket on Czech Airlines is not too expensive, around 150 EUR per person bought a month in advance. Our 3-star hotel taken with TUI agency cost us only 121 EUR for 7 nights and not only it was very decent it also had breakfast included in the price.

From Václav Havel Airport to Prague city center take the AE (Airport Express) bus, the trip takes about 40 minutes and the ticket is bought directly from the airport counter and costs 60 Czech crowns (CZK) or about 2.3 EUR per person. I would advise to bring with you some Czech currency  in order to buy the tickets, otherwise you have to deal with the currency exchange offices in the airport that offer rip off exchange rates. You will get of at the “Hlavní nádraží” central railway station, which is a huge underground hub where you can access the buses, the subway, the S trains and especially the trams. I underline the trams because these are the main and easiest way of transportation in the city. The Czech capital is covered everywhere by tramlines, and they come every three minutes. The trams have dedicated stations and dedicated lanes, and around half of them are of the latest generation of Skoda trains. Tram tickets are found at any cigarette or food kiosk and are divided according to the length of time. A 30-minute ticket costs 24 CZK (1 EUR), and one 24-hour ticket costs 110 CZK (4.3 EUR) and can be used from the moment of validation on any line and any time you want until the expiration date.

[Read more after pictures]

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Expat beginner’s guide to moving to France

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Probably many people today ask them selfs or consider moving to another country for various reasons. France is among the top destinations, alongside England and Germany for expats. They either leave due to financial difficulties and go looking for better paid work or go to take recognized studies. I’m sure in every country the accommodation process is different, I’m going to tell you how it’s going down here. France is not exactly a country that makes your life easy when you are new comer: the bureaucratic system is remarkably similar to the one in my home country Romania,  and not in a good way: it is heavy, bushy and requires a lot of running around and patience to get the essentials papers you need. But let’s start with the beginning:

  1. I am starting from the premise that you are leaving your country with a secured job already and you’re visa status is ok.  If you go to any country without a clear source of income you have a good chance that you will just wander a little around and return to your country with your tail between your legs as soon as the money runs out.  First of all , make sure you take enough cash to survive a month or two until you find decent accommodation. Without  2000 EUR in your pocket,  do not even think to head for the airport. Secondly, be sure to take your Identity Card, Passport (not necessarily in the EU, but it helps a lot), Birth Certificate in Original and be sure to make a translation and a legalized copy of it before you arrive , because here it costs around 50-60 euros to make a legal translation of this document; Marriage certificate, divorce certificate if you have , all translated, a few ID size pictures of you, and if the company will not provide accommodation (permanent or temporary) you should start to look for cheap hotels in the city. A hotel if booked in advance and for long term (one month or two) can be relatively inexpensive, costing 35-40 EUR per night.

2. A local phone number: This is the easiest step to accomplish and you will need it to complete all the next steps. We have chosen the operator  Lycamobile, which offers for 15 Euro per month  Continue reading

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Ghidul imigrantului de mutare in Franta / Expat beginner’s guide to moving to France

[TO READ THIS ARTICLE IN ENGLISH CLICK HERE]

 

Probabil multi Romani in ziua de azi isi pun intrebarea sau iau in considerare sa se mute intr-o alta tara din diferite motive. Franta este in topul destinatiilor , alaturi de Anglia , Spania si Italia. Ei pleaca fie ca sunt in dificultati financiare si pleaca in cautare de munca mai bine platita sau ca se duc la studii recunoscute. Sunt sigur ca in fiecare tara procedeul de acomodare este diferit , eu o sa povestesc cam cum decurg lucrurile aici. Franta nu este chiar o tara care iti face viata usoara cand esti nou venit: sistemul birocratic este remarcabil de similar cu cel din Romania , greoi , stufos si presupune multa alergatura si rabdare pentru a obtine diferite acte esentiale. Dar sa o luam cu inceputul:

1. Pornesc de la premiza ca plecati cu un loc de munca deja stabilit , daca veniti in orice tara fara o sursa de venit asigurata aveti sanse mari sa hoinariti putin si sa va intoarceti in tara cu coada intre picioare imediat cum se termina banii In primul rand fiti siguri sa va luati destui bani cash sa supravietuiti o luna sau doua pana va gasiti o cazare decenta. Fara 2000 de euro in buzunar nu cred ca are rost sa va duceti la aeroport. In al doilea rand fiti siguri sa va luati la dumneavoastra Carte de Identitate , Pasaport (nu este absolut necesar in UE dar ajuta mult uneori) , Certificat de nastere in Original si fiti siguri sa va faceti o traducere si copie legalizata dupa el dinainte sa plecati deoarece aici costa injur de 50-60 de EUR traducerea legalizata a acestui document; Certificat de casatorie, divort traduse daca este cazul ,  cateva poze tip buletin , si daca firma nu va asigura cazare (permanenta sau temporara) ati face bine sa va uitati de hoteluri ieftine. Un hotel ieftin daca se rezerva din timp si pe termen lung (o luna – doua) poate fi relativ ieftin , injur de 35-40 EUR pe noapte.

2. Un numar local de telefon : acesta este cel mai simplu pas de realizat si va va fi necesar la absolut toti pasii urmatori. Noi am ales operatorul Lycamobile , care pentru 15 EUR pe luna iti ofera apeluri Continue reading