OK, so we've been to Iasi this weekend. Our friends keep asking us why, and I have to admit it is not really the most popular place in Romania. Well, I can tell you this, after three more days in the capital of Moldavia: it is actually comparable with any city-break destination in Europe, with a big bonus: it has the most unique combination of old and new, in the same place, I can think of in this world!
First, about "logistics": for lodging, we chose Palas Apartments five minutes of walking towards the main destination in the city center. It had everything it needed for a family with kid, located in a block of flats at the 10th floor, offering a great view, and pretty cheap (111 Euro for three nights). Plus an amazing rating of 9.9 on Booking, by the time we made the reservation!
Now, about meals: eating in Moldavia is really an experience, and restaurants in Iasi surely delivered! Out of the several places we have been to, the one that impressed us the most was Oscar Restaurant, which is already considered among top locations in the city. They delighted us with two big plates of traditional food, which were so rich and tasty that unfortunately didn't allow us to order the star of the menu - their famous papanasi... Add one beer and a lemonade, and our total bill was exactly 80 lei (18 Euro), which is nothing compared to the feeling that we have eaten non-stop for two days...
And finally, about the landmarks: like I said, there is no other place in this world with a better combination of old and new in the same place! I really cannot remember one to have me so hooked. First, there's the Palace of Culture, one of the most imposing buildings in Romania...
... impressive irrespective where you stare at it in awe...
... both at day or by night...
... and then there's Palas Mall just across, the best shopping center in Romania, winner of several international awards and completing this unique scenery of traditional and modern architecture.
You have to know - I haven't been to Iasi since the mall's opening in 2012, and I was a little skeptical about this: how can they possibly destroy such a beautiful building by getting the area crowded and modern? Well, everyone praising the project is totally right: the palace still stands above everything around, and having the mall by its side is exactly what it needed to bring fame and glory to it. They have managed to revive the place, to attract any local or visitor, to bring some fresh atmosphere and to boost the ticket sales for the palace. And to build this unique combination, which is far from disturbing and actually the most interesting I have ever seen!
So we spent most of our time in this area. Visiting the palace. Savoring a coffee or lunch and enjoying the view. Looking for fun opportunities for our kid. Or practicing for like 20 times how to use escalators...
... but despite bad weather, we tried to make the best out of our time in Iasi, another step in our quest to show our baby girl the beauty of our country. And she was equally curious and happy, like everytime she lives a new experience. Like, for instance, couldn't stop running on the pedestrian Stefan cel Mare Boulevard, or surprinsingly couldn't take her eyes off the stunning Church of the Three Hierarchs...
We know we missed lots of places in Iasi - here is a more complete review by the way. We discovered once again that time shrinks when we travel with a toddler. What we also learned is that ticking off every single landmark is not our main goal anymore. Happy child, happy wife, happy life right?
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