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Ovidiu Balaj
Garlic Trail expert

On Garlic Trail, my personal blog, I am sharing my revealing experiences and I am taking you to those parts where me and my worldwide friends have been to. Also, here you will get a glimpse of the wild Carpathians garden of Romania, a place with plenty of nature and soul. And if you come alone to Transylvania, what you might know as being the homeland of Dracula, you’ll be safer with us on Garlic Trail  😈

I met Carol Huang while she was teaching Mandarin language in a University, in Bucharest, but long after she  left Romania we still kept contact. I’ve always been touch by her travel pictures, where she put a lot of passion.

Florentina Cristina Catrinaru is, in my perspective, one of the best Romanian photographers. She will introduce you the beauty of Romania, but also other parts of the world, where she and her lens, manage to escape.

Yu Niimoto and I met while crossing by land the border between Tanzania and Kenya. He has nice stories from there and elsewhere he have been to. Now he’s expecting me to personally celebrate with him his newly home in Nara, Japan, so this makes even harder my travel plans for this year.

Andreea Vasilescu, my hometown friend, comes to share photos and stories from our home region – Banat, but not only.  She’s experienced travels in Europe and a part of Africa, and her journeys are just beginning.

Nicolas Roberth Nichifor warmly welcomed me with tips and beers when I got inside a random hostel in Antigua, Guatemala. Even if we didn’t knew each other, we connected immediately and the passing days we explored the surroundings together. 4 years later he joins me here, at Garlic Trail.

Francois, my mysterious old friend, has traveled in many parts of the world, and we were companions in some of them. As he prefers to remain undercover, probably until he gets married or something similar, I will stop here writing anything more about him.

Ng Siew Cheng is a Lecturer for Tourism and Business Events at a University and also a Tour Planner in Kuala Lumpur. She first introduced me her hometown KL back in 2009 when I was Couchsurfing her place. In 2016 it was my turn to present her Romania in a 2 weeks tailor-made trip, enough to convince her that Transylvania can always be her far-away home.

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Meet my people
Carol Huang
Carol Huang
Florentina Cristina Catrinaru
Florentina Cristina Catrinaru
Yu Niimoto
Yu Niimoto
Andreea Vasilescu
Andreea Vasilescu
Nicolas Roberth Nichifor
Nicolas Roberth Nichifor
francois
Francois
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Ng Siew Cheng
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Explore Our Posts

Maramures

Maramures county holds an important part of the romanian traditional civilization, with an original and strong rural culture that hardly [...]

Lofoten’s special flavor

After gazing at dazzling Northern Lights in Tromso, I traveled to Norway's most savory islands - Lofoten. Some time ago [...]

Tripping to the land of ice and fire – Iceland

For travelers searching for out-of-the-ordinary experiences, the sublime landscapes of Iceland with geysers, glaciers, and active volcanoes, are a true [...]

Singapore, a seductive blend of society

From elegant temples and tropical parks to shiny skyscrapers and fragrant medicinal shops, Singapore has an enticing blend of traditional [...]

Strolling around the streets of Havana

A few months after Cuban leader Fidel Castro's death, Garlic Trail went back to Cuba along with 7 friends. Photographer Remus [...]

Chefchaouen, Morocco – Beyond the Blue

It was time to leave Marrakech. Thanks to my Moroccan friend, who hosted and accompanied me for 7 days in [...]

A trip to the dragon’s island – Komodo

"I own nothing, but I have everything”, an Indonesian tells me. It was just a few days after school graduation, [...]

When you become a world citizen

Stonetown story was over, for now. But our journey didn't stop there, it kept unfolding new adventures before us as [...]

Gazing up at the Northern Lights in Norway

Gazing up at the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is one of the most spectacular nature's show that humans can witness. [...]

Havana – an overview

1. Transportation Traveling around in Cuba can be extremely cheap, or quite expensive, depending on your choices. You can get [...]

A dance with a morena in the streets of Havana

The Cubanos have the romance in them. If sidewalks could write, then Malecon would have wonderful stories to tell. You [...]

The high road: crossing the Andes by bus

In my last day in Argentina, I embarked on one of the most scenic journeys a traveler can ever have in [...]

Journey through the Andes – Devil’s Throat

The Argentinian  journey across the Andes from Humahuaca to Tilcara is showcasing magnificent scenery.  It looks like all the intense [...]

Trippin’ to Serranias del Hornocal, Argentina (part 2)

A five hours bus ride from Salta brings me to Humahuaca, a village situated at 3012 meters high in the [...]

Unknown paradise of Khao Sok, Thailand

This article was written by Ng Siew Cheng, my Malaysian friend, whom I met in 2009 in Kuala Lumpur.  She [...]

Momente la drum, cu Sori Ţigăeru

Numai ce am ajuns ieri in Cusco, după o călătorie în Chile și Bolivia și primesc un mail cu un [...]

Trippin’ to Serranias del Hornocal, Argentina

After a night spent in Salta where I flew directly from Buenos Aires, I woke up early to go to [...]

A journey to 1900

This article was written by Alina Donosa. She is a former corporatist, specialized in journalism, communication and public relations, who [...]

Witnessing the Medieval Festival in Sibiu

Back in the Middle Ages, the Saxon colonists founded in the heart of Transylvania the citadel of Sibiu, with towers [...]

Destination – Isla Mujeres

Just a 20-minute boat ride away from the busy Cancun will get you to a funky little island with white [...]

On the wooden monasteries trail in Maramures (part 3)

By the time I leave Budesti it is late afternoon and I am thinking I should head it to Barsana. [...]

On the wooden monasteries trail in Maramures (part 2)

In the picturesque county of Maramures, north Romania, the wooden churches mingle so much with the surrounding landscape that they [...]

On the wooden monasteries trail in Maramures

In the picturesque county of Maramures, north Romania, the wooden churches mingle so much with the surrounding landscape that they [...]

How I fell in love with Maria

It’s been nearly 160 km and 24 hours since I left Vinales, and, still, I didn’t reach Maria la Gorda. [...]

Hitchhiking and searching for Maria – part 2

“If you want, you can sleep in my house”, I was told by the only passenger left on the bus. [...]

Hitchhiking and searching for Maria

Hitchhiking in Cuba offers a good opportunity to learn how Cubans really are and how they deal with their daily [...]

Riding through the Silent Valley of Vinales

Valle de Vinales is where the Cuban tobacco farmers create the most famous and fragrant cigars in the world. The [...]

Tripping on Strada dell’olio in Italy

Recently I noticed how my girlfriend Ines, got seriously hooked on olive oil which has become our kitchen’s primary ingredient. [...]

How did I end up moving on an island?!

When it's your first time to get away on a 'postcard' island, you might think that is the place you [...]

Visualising the majesty of Ayutthaya kindom

Ancient ruins with headless Buddhas and crumbling, but beautiful temples offer a glimpse into the glorious past of what used [...]

A cemetery tale: Europeans grieves, Chinese might feasts

This article was written by Ng Siew Cheng, my Malaysian friend, whom I met in 2009 in Kuala Lumpur.  She [...]

So how many buffaloes would I get to marry a local?

In the Minangkabau Indonesian ethnic group, the woman is the one who “buys” the man in the marriage process. So [...]

Angkor’s soul, Cambodia. About love and prejudgment

I was wandering through Angkor Wat, trying to figure out my direction, when, all of a sudden some monks appeared [...]

The mysterious Maya ruins from Tulum

Spectacularly located on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, the archaeological site from Tulum, is a [...]

Diving into the paradox–the aquatic desert of Lençois

This place is as strange as its name, and it came our way unexpectedly. I was travelling for a few [...]

What does Chinese and Japanese have in common?

On a journey on a ferryboat from Shanghai to Osaka, I met a Japanese professor with a background of 15 [...]

Osaka – things to know before you go

Almost the signature landmark for visitors, Dotonburi is the place where Osakans come to celebrate the good times and to [...]

The Merry Cemetery and the sexy ladies

Maramures county holds an important part of the Romanian traditional civilization, with an original and strong rural culture that hardly [...]

Amigo, buy yourself some cigars while in Cuba

Cuba’s capital is something else. It combines the sun, the sea, history and art, the old with the new, and [...]

Mount Semenic, one of the last virgin forests in Europe

A place of great beauty, inspiration, adventure and connection, Semenic Mountain has a unique aspect to it. It's well known as [...]

Lost and found in the labyrinth of Stonetown, Zanzibar

The ancient maze of narrow streets up Zanzibar's "Old Town", once the historic centre of ivory, gold and slave trade, [...]

Cabo Polonio, Uruguay. A journey back in time

I was quite surprised when we booked - this time in advance - a room in Cabo Polonio, for more [...]

Stone Town, Zanzibar – know before you go

Zanzibar's blend of aromatic spices, vibrant colors and cultural heritage is present everywhere in the narrow streets of Stone Town, the [...]

Joom Reab Sou from Cambodia

I tried not to be an intruder, I tried to avoid a simple tourist perspective. The kids are not exhibitors - that [...]

Hakuna Matata in Dar es Salaam

When I decided to go back to Africa, after my previous trip in 2013, all I could think about was [...]

Cheile Nerei and its legends

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Witnessing the carnival in Lima

Peru celebrates carnivals since ancient times. Every February, all around the country displays a street show full of splendor, with [...]

A different kind of Tenerife

Tenerife offers more than all inclusive resorts and youth summer party nights. There are plenty of places to explore around [...]

When a Japanese meets the African

I collected so many sweet memories in my first year in the volunteering program that I have recently followed in [...]

The power of silence

It has been a depressive month in Shanghai, not just because of the cloudy, cold and rainy season or the [...]

The sacred sound of Chichen Itza pyramid

  Nearby the Mexican coast stand the ruins of the most famous temple of Maya civilization - Chichen Itza. The [...]

Padang, Indonesia – an overview

Originally a port for traders of gold, spices and timber, Padang is now the third largest city in Sumatra and, [...]

Sumatra, the center of someone else’s world

At the end of the map, I discovered not only the beauty of Sumatra’s natural surroundings but also the beauty [...]

Bukittinggi, Indonesia – an overview

Situated on the edge of Ngarai Sianok Canyon and with the mountains of Merapi rising in the south, the small [...]

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – an overiew

Most visitors spend no more than 2 days in Dar Es Salaam (DAR) and they see it mostly as a [...]

A brainstorming session in a public bus in Indonesia

After two trips to Bali, for my third time in Indonesia I have decided to go off the beaten track [...]
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