I would absolutely recommend Raluca and her team! They did a fabulous job with us on the trip from start to finish. They were always attentive to our requests. Raluca was able to diplomatically tell us we couldn’t do all that we wanted within the time period we had established. Her thoughtful planning created a wonderful trip for us.
Our guide Greg was top notch! We thoroughly enjoyed his company, his knowledge of the area and its history, his quiet ability to give us “information time” while at sites and then time on our own to wander. He was also very good at touring by the seat of his pants sometimes as I made requests to stop at this shop, oh, this one too, and “do you know any weavers in this community?” etc. I also liked that Greg provided us with a phone, which came in handy.
Alex, our Bucharest guide, did a great job too. He was very informed on the history of the country, events in Bucharest, and a good driver. He carefully saw we were taken care of along the way at spots where no English was spoken, such as The People’s Palace.
I really enjoyed visiting with the local craftsmen known by our guide Greg…the blacksmith, bee man, jam man, also liked seeing the women’s knotted, woven and boiled work. Along the same lines, I liked staying at the Viscri (spelling?) very much. Next time, an extra day there, maybe on a horse! I loved driving through all the different villages and eating local. Meals were always good; Greg did a great job knowing where and when to stop. And the Bucovina area was all so stunning and a fantastic place to stay and take our meals.
I didn’t expect the simplicity, beauty, and slow pace of life outside Bucharest. We will return, and the next time we go to your beautiful country, we’ll stay longer.
Great well organized people with excellent ideas that were tailored to my every need. I organized a trip for 20 very demanding people; all of whom were overwhelming enthused.
Thank you again. Overall the experience was fantastic with the uttermost compliments from all!
From an organizational perspective, everything was perfect. Laura was fantastic !!
So, in summary, everything was grand. Great country and a great opportunity to see some of it. I did really love Brasov and the hotel!!
Our two-day tour simply spectacular from a VIP perspective.
My people overall VERY impressed which is hard to do. All of my group wish to use her again. In fact, I made referrals to colleagues who similarly had excellent experiences.
My husband and I are frequent travelers who enjoy interesting places and luxurious comforts, sometimes a difficult combination. Recently we took a trip to Romania and were fortunate enough to have Raluca Spiac from Beyond Dracula as our travel advisor.
Over a three month period, Raluca questioned my likes and dislikes, got to know my husband and my interests, style and budget and proceeded to plan one of the best trips we have ever taken. I have never worked with a travel consultant that better identified what I wanted, needed, or would like to discover in a more consultive way than Raluca.
My husband and I tend to be “loners” when we travel. We are not the folks that take group trips, or follow a specific schedule of the highlights of a given place. We love to see the best of a place, but sometimes that happens to be a small shop on side a street, or a conversation with an art dealer who does NOT have a shop in the main tourist area, or a dinner with a truffle hunter in a small village. We love to sleep in wonderful beds, eat fresh, well prepared food, learn some history, visit a castle, and pick berries in a verdant field we may happen upon. We’ve taken walking trips in the English countryside, rented villas in Italy in towns where only the Italians go, stayed in 5 star hotels in France, hiked in Austria staying in small family owned inns, driven across the United States, toured Japan with Japanese friends, fished in Patagonia and even just relaxed on the beaches of Hawaii.
Romania is a very under-valued country. It has the elegance of Vienna, yet the charm and countryside of Sicily in the early 1980’s. The food is excellent and would impress the likes of Alice Waters for its provenance and flavor, the people are welcoming, generous and kind, the scenery is jaw dropping, and the culture is so very interesting because not many have discovered it yet. It is a true jewel in the rough, and Raluca and her team understand this and have made it their mission to show you the best of it. It’s impossible not to be moved by it, or fall in love with it.
Beyond Dracula takes their mission seriously. It is like having a very hospitable and intelligent friend plan a trip for you and follow you around to ensure that all is well. We were coddled, yet left alone. There was always someone there to assist, yet we had our privacy. That is a difficult one to engineer. We found ourselves truly relaxing because we knew everything would be taken care of. All we had to focus on was enjoying the moment.
Thanks to you we have used Beyond Dracula as our travel agent, and I cannot rave enough about their excellent work. We have worked mainly with Raluca, but all the staff had input into the itinerary. They did four revisions, back and forth with us, to get it just right. We sent lists of what we wanted to see, they made additions, lots of good back-and-forth communication. I have attached it. As you will see, the price is amazingly reasonable.
My daughter-in-law showed the itinerary to a friend of hers who grew up in Romania. She said it is absolutely a fantastic itinerary and we will see the best of everything. As you will see, we will be very immersed in the local culture. Everyone who has seen the itinerary says the same thing, “Wow, they really put a lot of working into this.”
Raluca has been a joy to work with and we have established a real bond. I had a good conversation with her when she was in the Chicago area visiting her sister, who married an American.
In addition to the itinerary, I am going to forward Raluca’s initial email to you. There are others that I would also like you to read, but I am limiting my computer time as I have–as of last week–an early case of carpel tunnel syndrome. Better to get it here, as I am undergoing physical therapy, than in the middle of our trip.
I cannot thank you enough for recommending Beyond Dracula. When I return, I will give you a more complete report and also forward some other messages to show you the high level of work and personalized service.