I flew from Vilnius, Lithuania to Bucharest, Romania because Poland will have to be another trip. I know I have four months, but there is only so much I can absorb.
It was an hour flight to Warsaw, and another two or so to Bucharest. I only had 45 minutes in Warsaw, so it was tense when I had to line up for Passport check and they were SO slow. Not good to look anxious to Customs!
After five days in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, I found three days here too short. It’s really only two full days, and a person should have researched and planned what they want to see…where I just arrive, walk around and get oriented and then figure things out!
I love being surprised at what I find, rather than having high expectations not met. And Bucharest has definitely really blown me away!
I was going to do a general ‘Romanian Ramble’ post including Sibiu, Sighisoara and Brasov, but I’ve got too many pictures already.
More history on the next post, but keep in mind Romania was not only affected by the Germans and Soviets, but also had the chaotic government of Ceausescu after. So growth and development is relatively new, and the grand old buildings have suffered from lack of care. It reminds me of the Communist Crumble in Cuba. And judging from the grandest, banks and hotels have the greatest amount of money here…
Palace of the Deposits and Consignments
National Bank of Romania, with views of its gorgeous copper roof from my hotel
Newly built Hilton blends in
Odeon Theatre and Ramada Hotel
‘City of Contrast’ – Novotel combines old with new
Romanian Athenaeum – Home of the philharmonic orchestra
Old Princely Court Church – built from 1546 to 1559 is the oldest church in Bucharest
Interesting photos of then and now
Ceausescu bulldozed one-sixth of Bucharest to build his ‘House of the People’, which is now called his ‘folly’ or the ‘Palace of the Parliament’ and is the home of the Romanian Parliament and National Museum of Contemporary Art.
And it is big! It is the second largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon. 84 meters high with 12 floors over 365,000 square meters.
There are two large malls downtown, and huge boulevards with crazy fast drivers. The ride in from the airport in a taxi was wild as there don’t appear to have defined lanes. Green lights for a pedestrian are only considered an option…
I’ve walked over twenty kilometres between yesterday and today. I can say there is more garbage on the streets away from the tourist areas, but I also feel there is less money here than further north. Food prices are cheaper. I’ve seen more people asking for money, looking like they are sleeping rough. Well, then there is crazy number of black BMWs.
I saw one of these in operation in Sweden. It’s very cool as the operator puts his arms in the harness and it just follows along like an obedient vacuum.
Rebirth Memorial from 1989 overthrow of Communism
My hotel is the Rembrandt – tall skinny one. I’m on the sixth floor and my room is as wide as the building! There is a tiny elevator that fits two people. Or one with luggage. But it’s an elevator!
Giant pretzels are a Romanian specialty. I’ll report back on those… It was 30oC today and I didn’t feel like a carb load. Tuna salad was very good, though unusual to have wedge fries on top.
I’m booked on the 10:00 train tomorrow for Sibiu. I took the Metro to the station yesterday to get my ticket and be familiar with where to transfer. It’s a 5hr 45min trip, so about an hour longer than bus, but so much more comfortable when you are claustrophobic!