Generally speaking, Romanians tend to be very open and friendly people. They will think nothing of striking up a conversation on buses and trains, even if they don’t speak much English, and will try their best to communicate through any language barrier.

When speaking to older people, it is respectful to address them using either Domnul (Mr) or Doamnă (Mrs), while shaking someone’s hand is the most common and familiar way of greeting – although bear in mind that a Romanian man may well kiss a woman’s hand on introduction. The welcoming attitude of the Romanians may mean you are invited to someone’s home; it is considered polite to bring a small gift with you, which you should also wrap. A bottle of wine, chocolates or flowers are all appropriate – although if you do bring flowers you should ensure an odd number of blooms, as even-numbered bouquets are strictly for funerals.

Tipping in restaurants is not necessary, although it will be appreciated.

Over the past decade, Romania has been remarkably progressive in its attitude towards gay and lesbian culture; Accept (021 2525620, accept-romania.ro) is the best source of up-to-date information on the scene.

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