My first trip to Romania took place in January 1991, about a year after its revolution. The country was no longer under a communist regime, but no one wanted to travel there. It was also the time of the first Gulf War, and no one really wanted to travel anywhere. I had a tough time getting someone to accompany me to Romania, but I eventually talked a colleague into going with me.

There were no direct flights from New York to Bucharest, so we traveled by way of Vienna. We landed in Romania during a snowstorm. The temperature was 6 degrees below zero. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I just had on a lightweight suit and raincoat. I was freezing.