Romania is a home and a promised land for more than 20 million inhabitants, but also for three members of the Croatian national volleyball team. Good relations and gaining friendship, Papanas dessert and bad connections and long journeys are the first things Nikolina Božičević, Ivan Raič and Filip Šestan will tell you about life in the East.
Nikolina Božićević from Zagreb lives in the town of Targoviste at the foot of the Carpathians, where she arrived in her own car after 1300 km.
“The city is not too big, but it is also not small, it is located in the Dambovita River Valley not far from the capital Bucharest. It is located on the southern slopes of the Carpathians, which are densely populated and rich in vineyards and pastures! ”- reveals Nikolina, who uses her free time to see and get to know the environment in which she plays for CSM Targoviste this season.
In addition to some good things, Nikolina points out some not so fabulous aspects of life in this country in the east:
“They are far behind us in terms of lifestyle and modernization. It is normal to see a horse-drawn carriage here. I must admit that I was most disappointed by the impurity that prevails everywhere. Romanians do not take enough care of recycling and maintaining cleanliness. Also a big drawback is the lack of highways which make travel quite difficult. The roads that exist are not in the best condition. Therefore, every time, small or large, it is a real experience and adventure in Romania. Depending on the length of the trip, the adventure is either fun or incredibly exhausting! ”
Ivan Raič is the captain of Arcada Galati. The re-arrival this season in Romania, one of the most demanding leagues and with one of the biggest budgets, was not a big unknown.
“Romania is currently a combination of communism and capitalism. The IT sector is in full swing, but the traces of communism can be seen again! ” – reveals Ivan and adds:
“I live in Galatia, in the far east, near the mouth of the Danube. It is a city of 100 thousand inhabitants. At first it is not attractive, nor a tourist city. But life here is very good for me and my family. In our free time we like to go to a good restaurant like this city has. Romanians are known for good meat, but fish is also very good here because it is a city on the Danube. I hang out with everyone more or less, especially because I’m a captain, so it’s a kind of duty for me to keep the team together. No, I spend most of my time with the Balkan community, which consists of two Filip, Šestan and Marković, and a scout statistician from Serbia. So far we are very well and we hope to win the championship again! ”
Ivan’s teammate, Filip Šestan from Zadar, already has a veteran’s work experience in Romania. He knows the opportunities very well and fits in well with society.
“On the one hand, the Romanian mentality is quite similar to ours, people are quite open and the pace of life is quite relaxed. I have developed a lot of friendships, the young population of Romanians speaks English well so there is no barrier. The parties and music here are exactly what you imagine when someone mentions Romania to you!”
In addition to hard training and constant travel, what connects the volleyball stars Nikolina, Ivan and Filip is the traditional Romanian dessert papanas, which looks like donuts, and is topped with jam and cream and often decorated with fruit. It is this gastronomic delicacy that our three athletes will be happy to take to their loved ones in Croatia in a few weeks when they come for the Christmas holidays.