TALES OF THE PAST: UNIQUE PHOTOS OF CONSTANTA TRAM AND TROLLEYBUS IN 1991

After the previous article of TALES OF THE PAST: UNIQUE PHOTOS FROM CONSTANTA PARK AND PARK LINE 1991 we have a further perspective of the public transport in the city of Constanta, Romania in 1991, shortly after the anti communist revolution. The Constanta tram system, although it had very good coverage of the city, was already old and degraded at that time. Unfortunately, the trolleybus network was in about the same situation. However, if we look at the map of the city public transport, with a few exceptions, all of Constanta city had electrified public transport. Quite admirable compared to today’s times.

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One Week in Valletta Malta

Malta, a small and beautiful island in the middle of the Mediterranean. It is a destination known to every sailor around the world. Due to it’s central location, today it is an International hub for container transshipment, and also a major financial hub. Although I had the opportunity to visit the port many times, due to the short stay in the port (usually 12 to 18 hours), I never had time to really enjoy the island.

That is until the summer of 2016 when due to an unexpected engine problem, we were instructed by the shipowner to go to the Palumbo shipyard in Malta. When I started to plot the route, to my surprise I saw that the site is located straight in the heart of Valletta harbour, the capital of Malta.

The entrance to the bay was very narrow, the pilot carefully maneuvering our 300 meters ship through the walls and medieval fortifications of the entrance to the port of Valletta. But at the same time, this does offer some very nice views, being the same views as the tourists on the cruise ships enjoy when they come here.

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Lisbon

Lisabona Portugalia Recenzie / Lisbon Portugal Review

Lisbon Vacation review English article

Lisabona, un diamant neslefuit la pret piperat. Prima vacanta din 2019 ne-a gasit in capitala Portugaliei, Lisabona. Am vrut de mult sa ajung in capatul Vestic al Europei si acum ma bucur ca am avut aceasta ocazie impreuna cu prietenii din Romania.

Am fost placut surprins sa vad ca Ryanair are zboruri zilnice din Manchester catre Lisabona, iar organizarea in UK la capitolul logistica, parcare la aeroport preplatita, transfer catre terminal este impecabila. Primul lucru de care ne-am lovit cand am aterizat a fost cautarea unui mijloc de transport catre oras. Fiind turisti prosti, ne-am dus la biroul de informatii din aeroport si i-am intrebat cum ajungem cel mai usor in Lisabona. Ei ne-au trimis la autobuzul Aerobus 1, care costa 4 EUR de persoana. Mai tarziu am aflat ca exista metrou si alte autobuze normale, unde platesti 1.5 EUR pe bilet de persoana. Asta e, am muscat-o, deci un sfat pentru toata lumea care vrea sa ajunga la Lisabona, luati metroul din aeroport!

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Saint Tropez road trip France

[Saint Tropez Franta- 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.

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Romania road trip across the country

[CITESTE ACEST ARTICOL IN LIMBA ROMANA AICI]

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 “Romania road trip across the country”

How to get PACS in France

CUM SA FACI PACS IN FRANTA -ARTICOL IN LIMBA ROMANA AICI

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
https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/N144, where you will find a list of what documents you need if you are a foreigner or you can go directly to the town hall that you belong to and ask for the PACS dossier, which also contains the list of everything you need:

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Prague dream vacation

[CITESTE ACEST ARTICOL IN LIMBA ROMANA AICI]

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 Relocation to France

Ghidul Imigrantului de mutare in Franta

Are you considering a Relocation to France? Well you’re not alone. Relocation to France is among the top European destinations for expats, alongside England and Germany. They either leave to go looking for better paid work, to take recognized studies or simply to retire and enjoy the lovely Mediterranean weather. I’m sure in every country the accommodation process is different, I’m going to tell you how it was for us 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 lengthy, slow and requires lots of running around and patience to get the essentials papers you require. But let’s start with the beginning:

1.Cash and initial accommodation. I am starting from the premise that you are leaving your country with a secured job and your 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 home country  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 consider a relocation to France. Secondly, be sure to take your Identity Card, Passport, Birth Certificate in Original and be sure to make a translation and a legalized copy of it before you arrive. Here it costs around 50-60 euros to make a legal translation of this document; Marriage certificate, divorce certificates 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 or guest room if it’s booked in advance and for long term (one month or two) can be relatively inexpensive, costing anywhere between 15 to 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 unlimited calls in France and 3 GB of internet traffic. In order to buy the SIM card, you will usually be required to present an ID for the number registration. Once you have the card, you can recharge it directly from the internet for 10 Euros, getting the same phone and data packet. Take great care not to lose the number and card, because on this number you will be registered with the bank and other institutions. In France there are also famous mobile operators like Orange, but they have incredibly expensive pricing on subscriptions (€ 20-40 per month).

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First 48 days as expat in Marseille

[Citeste acest articol in Limba Romana – click AICI]

One and a half months ago, I was packing my baggage to go to the airport again, only this time I was not leaving to board a ship for 5 months, but to a new job and a new life. I explained in great detail why I wanted to quit sailing in the much controversial and popular own article “After six years at sea”, so after the last voyage I made the final decision to look for something to work on land. I have ill spoken a lot about our country Romania (and for good reasons considering that people are working for 300-400 EUR / month and the government is ripping you off on absolutely every step of the way!) and I have seen too many beautiful and civilized places in this world during my voyages to ever settle there, so the only option left for me was to become an expat and luck had it to be in Marseille.

Most of my  CVs were sent in English-speaking countries, especially in the UK, but since the whole Brexit phenomenon, most companies  have been reluctant to hire East Europeans. Fate decided that the lucky interview would land me in Marseille, France, a city of which I did not know much about , in a country whose language I ​​vaguely understand and speak. It was this or other positions somewhere in South Africa or Mexico so guess what I chose.

I only had sea experience on my resume so the only way to make the transition to land was to remain in the maritime business. I will not say the name of the

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Primele 48 de zile in Marsilia Franta ca expat

First 48 days as expat in Marseille France ENGLISH Article HERE

Acum o luna si jumatate imi faceam iar bagajul sa ma duc spre aeroport , doar ca de data asta numai plecam la vapor pentru 5 luni, ci la un nou job si o noua viata in Marseille Franta.

Am explicat foarte detaliat de ce numai am vrut sa navig in mult controversatul si cititul articol propiu “Dupa sase ani pe mare” , asa ca dupa voiajul trecut am luat decizia definitiva de a imi cauta ceva la uscat. Am injurat mult tara noastra Romania (si pe buna dreptate considerand ca se munceste pe 300-400 EUR si guvernul te jegmaneste absolut la fiecare pas!) si am vazut mult prea multe locuri frumoase si civilizate pe lumea asta in timpul voiajelor ca sa ma pot stabili definitiv acolo , asa ca singura optiune era de a deveni expat afara.

Majoritatea CV-urilor trimise au fost in tari vorbitoare de Engleza , mai ales in Marea Britanie , dar de cand cu Brexitul se cam sfiesc firmele sa angajeze Est Europeni. Soarta a facut ca interviul norocos sa ma aterizeze in Marsilia, Franta. Un oras despre care nu stiam in principiu mai nimic , intr-o tara a carei limbi o inteleg vag. Era asta sau alte pozitii pe undeva prin Africa de Sud sau Mexic asa ca ghiciti ce am ales.

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