|The House of The People, Bucharest|
If you can judge a people by how they drive, then there is definitely something eastern, chaotic and idiosyncratic about the denizens of Bucharest. Shortly after one visit there, I went on to Istanbul and found it far more European in feel than Bucharest.
However, my enforced stay in Romania was good for one thing at least - I learnt that Romanian wines are actually rather good indeed.
Athénée Palace (possibly Europe's most notorious den of spies in the years leading up to the Second World War, and only slightly less so during the Cold War) with a group of colleagues and we decided to play safe and eat at the hotel restaurant - we ordered a bottle of something local and found it surprisingly good. So we ordered a few more ...
Over the next few weeks, the quality of the wines in the restaurant as well as the food (especially the steaks) became one of the things I looked forward to about my trips there.
In very simple terms, Romanians are a broadly Latin people, being a mixture of Roman soldiers from the days of the empire and the local Dacian population. Although the local religion is Orthodox Christianity and they are geographically surrounded by Slavs and Hungarians, it helps to think of them in terms of their nearest linguistic neighbours, the French, Italians and Spanish.
Certainly this was true for the wines which were surprisingly well-made, in an approachable, fruit-driven yet still noticeably old-world and food-friendly style - rather like, say, southern France or inland Spain; the Rieslings I particularly remember being well-structured, well-balanced and very drinkable.
If you happen to be in Bucharest, both are available from Vinexpert:
On a more recent visit, I found the wines to be just as good, though noticeably more expensive since EU accession, which is a pity since they are somewhat obscure in most people's perception and keen pricing has to be the first step to wider acceptance.
For a more detailed review of Romanian wines, see here - http://www.wine-pages.com/features/romanian-wine.htm#art
Vinexpert - http://www.evinoteca.eu/eng/
Vinexpert wine list - http://www.evinoteca.eu/eng/categories/vinarte.php