Iasi and Vienna - a week of team building

Documenting a week long work trip in Iași (pronounced yawh-sh), before my memory of it fades any more. Absolutely wonderful to get some facetime with coworkers and experience a different culture.

Getting there

United Airlines routed me from Denver to Chicago to Vienna to Iasi. The segments from Chicago to Vienna and Vienna to Iasi were operated by Austrian Airlines; consequently the meal service was particularly good with unlimited beverages of their motherland.


Hotel International Iasi is right across the street from where I worked with folks at Endava.

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The total bill to stay at this 4 star hotel for 7 nights was 629.25EUR! The breakfasts were glorious, the Sofia Sky Lounge parties hard, the gym and spa area was surprisingly nice. On the treadmill I had a view of both one of the many monasteries and old Soviet building projects to the SW.

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The final night, I stayed on the SW side of the botanical gardens for ~100USD with 1 other coworker, in a 5BD/3BA house we had to ourselves.

Socializing with coworkers

My Romanian coworkers work 10am-7pm with a government sponsored working lunch ~1pm, and dinner right after the work day. Working lunch is an institution where every restaurant has steep discounts and everyone is supposed to go out with their coworkers. It is subsidized to the level where everyone could grab a Subway equivalent. While I was in town, we went out somewhere every night after work. I snagged a picture of Palatul Culturii while we were just about ready to head out on the town one night.

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Culinary highlights

  1. Toujours: flavors that melt in your mouth and staff that makes you feel like family. 132LEI dinner for two and drinks?!? ~35USD.
  2. Beer Zone: excellent beer selection, far exceeds plenty of American tap houses. My favorites were a wheat beer made by monks and a local favorite, Lăpușna.
  3. Buena Vista: Romanian attempt at South American food. Most of the ingredients were there, but the spice was lacking.
  4. Vivo Street Food: Romanians already have a meat and potatoes culture, so it was funny to see another take on the burger bar.

All of the restaurants I went to accepted my HSBC Mastercard (chip+pin and contactless enabled). For cab fare around town I always carried about 50 lei in lower denomination bills. Raiffeisen is the biggest bank operating there with ATMs all over town.


Saturday I walked NE into the city center all the way to the botanical gardens, inside of them, and back. Plenty of monasteries along the way.

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Sunday afternoon I walked an hour South to Cetăţuia Monastery. The grounds on the hill top are gorgeous.

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Getting back

United Airlines was not able to route me all the way through in the same day. I spent the night in Vienna at the NH Vienna Airport Conference Center after a quick afternoon flight from Iasi. 266.50EUR for one night and their glorious breakfast bar (very much a central European style of hot breads, pastries, meats, eggs, bunches of fruits and vegetables). Solid gym and spa.

That night I paid 19EUR for a roundtrip ticket on the Vienna City Airport Train to get into central Vienna for some authentic Austrian fine dining at Zum weißen Rauchfangkehrer.

Rolled around old town Vienna for a bit after.

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Next day, there were flights from Vienna to Chicago to Denver.