Ronald Young: Passion, networking and moral imperative are the key ingredients to success in cross-border cooperation

A thoughtful and fascinating interview.

Podul prieteniei - Мостът на приятелството

ronald-young-700 Ronald Young (photo: Ronald Young)

An expert on public management reform, blogger and art collector, resident for the past decade in Romania and Bulgaria, Ronald unveils his personal impressions of both people; his criticism of Europeanised elites and EC funding programmes; and his hope that more cross-border effort could help both countries achieve their frustrated ambitions

Interview by Vladimir Mitev

Ronald Young was a Scottish politician and academic for 20 years before becoming one of the EC’s first consultants in its programmes of Technical Assistance – which make his various critical assessments worth listening to. His blog – Balkan and Carpathian Musings – has been posting regularly since 2009. 

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Romanian Hospitality: Experiences So Far

A visitor from outside Europe discovers the joy of Romanians. Cheers, Hitesh.

Project Go Native

In the previous post, I shared my tips on how to budget travel in Romania. To minimize our budget, we rely a big deal on people such as hitchhiking to save commute money, couchsurfing and other accommodation possibilities to save hostel/hotel money. A country’s hospitality proves to be a big factor in helping maintaining travel budget and to shaping our overall travel experience. Read the post below for my experiences with Romanian Hospitality so far and decide if you want to be the guest here or not.

When we travel to a new place, our immediate concerns are the local people. Are they kind? Will they fool us? What if I do something wrong and offend them? We all know such fears. Let’s read what happens when you are in Romania.

I am not a person with first impressions. I need to deep dive and sink in an experience to…

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Winter tries to make a comeback

7th April 2017, and this winter is becoming a saga.


A village panorama

Coming back from the city on Sunday, I stopped for a quick panorama. Spring is a little later here than in the warmer parts of the country (even down in Zarnesti).

When I turned around, I found some of my neighbours clearly in need of something, but my language skills are limited, and I failed to provide whatever it was they wanted…


Farewell to the bookshop

Elegy for a lost haven.



Today a cool March light is giving way to a humid afternoon, and I have just left the Anthony Frost English Bookshop in Bucharest, which has closed its doors. The reaction from the Bucharest’s passionate reading community has been shock and grief, as though a well-loved relative not seen for years has suddenly announced their death.

The city has no high street. No classic stores. Only chains and shopping malls. And a few dusty outlets that refuse to die. There is nowhere to take pleasure in retail. Only to browse, buy and leave. The enterprise with a unique identity, personal service, product knowledge and impeccable store design is absent.

But Anthony Frost was an exception.

Set up in 2008 by three Romanian friends with a fascination for the English language, the shop was hidden in an arcade opposite the Kretzulescu Church on Calea Victoriei, with a view onto the site…

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New Year, new book

Exciting day! After a much-needed break, today is the start of work on a new book…

Working title: Dragons over London. The sharp-eyed among you will spot three different kinds of dragon in these pictures: White English, Red Celtic (Welsh) and Golden Chinese.

This book will be something very different to Din Liverpool in Carpati – this is a children’s story, set in London over the centuries, with a climax in the City of today.

The book will be in English and Romanian, designed as a way to help Romanian kids to learn English – and English kids to learn Romanian.

Full of adventure, thrills, fire, deadly peril and looming terror, heroes and villains, all in the great and historic City of London with a heart-thumping climax that will leave you breathless.

So the adventure begins today…





Facebook favourite?

Judging by comments on social media, this is the most popular of Matei’s fabulous portraits that make me look younger, thinner and more interesting than I look outside the studio… But I think it needs a caption: what do you think?

Matei Buta fotograf

© Matei Buta



O scrisoare de dragoste pentru România

O carte sinceră și antrenantă, Din Liverpool în Carpați constituie o veritabilă scrisoare de dragoste pentru România.

Decizia de a se muta dintr-un oraș britanic aglomerat și animat într-o cabană din lemn, doar pe jumătate construită, de pe un povârniș al Carpaților, ar fi putut fi un dezastru pentru Arabella McIntyre-Brown, scriitoare și jurnalistă în Liverpool.

Trecută de 50 de ani, fără un venit stabil, fără pensie și fără vreun alt plan de rezervă, autoarea a fost (și este încă) asaltată cu întrebări de către vecini și de orice român care o cunoaște. De ce? Cum? … și de ce singură? Hotărârea fiind luată în urma unui șir de decese în familie, adevărul din spatele plecării ei din Anglia își are rădăcinile într-o copilărie dificilă.

Toate indiciile sugerau că avea să eșueze lamentabil. Însă autoarea a descoperit în Transilvania secretul fericirii.

Prin această povestire personală și plină de umor a mutării dintr-un mare oraș britanic și a transformării într-o sihastră îndrăgostită de țara noastră, Arabella McIntyre-Brown dezvăluie magia Transilvaniei rurale într-un mod care va cuceri inimile tuturor românilor.


„… un fel de ghid pentru propriile călătorii către sine – dacă veţi avea curajul să vă aventurați pe un astfel de drum.”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes


Mad hatter goes crazy

mad hatter, mental illness, mental health, recovery, one-eyed vision, visually-challenged

© Matei Buta

Another of Matei’s portraits – does this one capture a rather different facet of my character? Maybe the photo to go with articles of mental health (or otherwise), do you think?

Your captions?


French expat in Romania:” Here I feel more free, more alive!”

Another expat delighting in Romania. Good luck with your delicious-looking book, Marc!

In a time when Romanians migrate to different countries, foreigners migrate to ours. Romanians have always been curious about them and always have wondered why people from countries like France, UK and the US move here. Often the reason is that people are friendly and Romania is just an amazing, beautiful place.

One Frenchman who decided to make Romania his home is Marc Alexandre. Marc Alexandre was born in the Picardie region, France. He comes from a region rich in agriculture, a region where famous personalities such as Racine, La Fontaine, Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne have lived. A place perfect for creative people.
The Frenchman is a very active and curious person and is always involved in a project. He graduated with an engineering degree, he is a licenced helicopter pilot and most of his life he has been an entrepreneur. However, he was always in love with cooking and…

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