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  • Sue Stipek

Romania - you need a Smartphone ......

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

Yes, the smartphone is ubiquitous in Romania, as it is throughout the world – but here you just about can’t get around without one. And everyone has their face in one at sometime. We even saw people at Bran Castle walking the paths with a cellphone. What could be more important than being somewhere in person – not experience something on a 3 inch screen.

In Bucharest we had a paper map but not much more. That helped us get around. But when we drove to Brasov we didn’t have a map at a small scale. The only one we had was a European Road Map – not enough detail to find our hotel. Our car rental company did not have a map. It is all GPS or Google Maps.

We found our way to Brasov but had no idea of how to find our hotel. I knew it was near the old town, but since there was “free parking” I didn’t expect it to be IN the old town – a UNESCO historic site with very limited parking. The only way we were able to find the hotel was to turn on data roaming and use google maps to direct us. Once we found the hotel on narrow one way cobblestone street in the wallwd city, we were lucky to find a parking spot very close.

The next thing that happened totally surprised us. I had expected a 24 hr hotel desk at the hotel. We walked to the door and there was a security busser. We were bussed in to find an envelope with our keys and a letter (very James Bond). The lettergave us instructions to connect to WI-FI and invited us to download an app to our smartphone that would give us information on the area and enable us to chat or phone staff at any time. I usually don’t answer or use my cellphone on a foreign trip and keep my data roaming off so I don’t incur high costs.

But I downloaded the app. It was OK but did not help us orient. We didn’t really know anything about Brasov and the old town – so when we went out looking for food we turned the wrong way and didn’t find anything. We retreated to the room to decide what to do. I chatted with the staff, complained about the lack of a map (there should have been something at least in the room), and tried to shorten our stay but it was a non-refundable reservation.

I then went out and turning the other way, found the delightful and lively old town square.

So I guess I am just old. I haven’t embraced the kindle (hate it), and I do not like rap. Maybe someday the smartphone phase will end and people will again talk to each other – in person. Or maybe disco will return, I can use my old Selectric and cassette tape player and maybe the US will not be governed by tweet.

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