So after Istanbul I was a little worried that I may have hit the high point in my trip. As you can tell by my post about Istanbul it was amazing! After I ended up in Bulgaria and I have to admit I don’t need to go back, I’ve had my experience and it was definitely different. So naturally I became concerned that my trips high point was my first stop. I am happy to announce my trip has not sputtered out!
Bucharest was amazing and I truly understand why they call it the Paris of the East. Now I’ve never been to Paris but many of the roads and buildings are exactly what I would expect in Paris ie. Movies, pictures etc. Now was there as much to see as Istanbul probably not, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t fun. But I will tell you all about day to day when I type up travel journal for you in a few months.Bucharest is what you’d expect to find in a capital city. Lots of art, culture and government buildings. To many if you ask the locals. The Old Town was not very touristy, it is definitely aimed towards the locals. It does have some historical pieces in it like the old town square and, ruins of a church, a very old inn, a statue of Vlad the Impaler and a few more things. However I’d say it has more restaurants and bars than anything else.
I will give it to Bucharest they know how to attract people to a park. So their main park, Herastrau Park, offers bikes for free for two hours! I think that’s awesome and I took them up on the offer. You know what I found? A load of people in the park on bikes, particularly these bikes. People would pack a picnic head to the park, grab a bike and head out to find a prime location to eat. So come on North America!
Still on the topic of churches lets talk about moving buildings, one of them being a church. I have come to learn that Romanians have an affinity to moving buildings. When ever someone wanted to build a building but other buildings were in the way often the buildings effected were churches or other buildings of historical significance. Many historians would plead to save the buildings but we’re told “if you can move it you can keep it” so engineers became involved and numerous buildings we’re saved. They dig out around the buildings until it’s on a platform and then they roll them away. Rumour has it the idea was discovered when an engineer was drinking and noticed how bottles were easily moved on a platform. Bucharest also has a large museum dedicated to Romanian villages and they transported different types of dwellings from all over Romania to this park, not just a few but hundreds! The hospitality of Romania has been much better than that of Bulgaria. In Bulgaria I only ran into one guy that was willing to shoot the shit, everyone else was just very blah, maybe the effect of the communism era architecture. In Romania everyone has just been so nice and welcoming. My hostel in Romania was way better and the staff made all the difference!
However what I think what made my stay in Bucharest so good was meeting other travellers and locals and doing things with them. I think that really is what kept this trip afloat, not saying it was sinking, but it made it just that much better. I met an Aussie who is currently living in London, three girls from Indiana here to study, a friendly tour guide from the Palace of Parliament who showed us where to drink (he came to drink as well!), a Romanian who hosted a wine and cheese and a Brit who is moving here to Romania to teach English. All of them were great people and have made this adventure even better.
I’m now in Brasov which is a town up in the Carpathian Mountains and so far my impression of Romania has remained the same. Everyone is very nice and hospitable. My hostel even has a very well behaved dog. So I think that will conclude my post about Bucharest and a bit of Romania. So stay tuned for Brasov and my wrap up on Romania!