Travel Blog Daniella and Luke's Travelblog

30Aug/10Off

Bucharest

Venice to Bucharest - it's a little bit of a culture shock.

Despite being a member state of the EU, Romania still seems the black sheep of the family.  As a far eastern European former communist state with a sketchy past it's easy to see why even other EU states regard it with some concern.

Even then, we were warned frequently in Italy and through travel guides that Romania, whilst beautiful, should be regarded with caution.  Understandably so we became increasingly concerned when we were unable to find any foreign exchange agency to date that was either willing or able to exchange Euros for Romanian Leu's.

Stepping off the plane at Banesea airport in Romania, the general dilapidation of the buildings was surprising, and the number of seemingly shady taxi drivers outside (of whom we were warned) in addition to the lack of the expected ticketing machines made us a little concerned.

However, after getting helpful directions to the ticketing office from a taxi driver, whom then offered us a ride to the hotel for 10 EUR (we accepted) things turned out better than expected.  The taxi driver turned out to be an unexpectedly nice guy and not the thieving Gypsy we had imagined, happily pointing out the major sites and changing routes from Gara du Nord to our hotel at no extra cost.

We then showered, dressed and headed into town along the main drag into the older part of town.  We were surprised.  Bucharest, having emerged from communism only decades earlier is a strange contradiction of self.

A central intersection of Bucharest, seemingly typical of powerlines, commercial advertisements, decrepit public housing blocks, gothic/revivalist architecture and crazy traffic.

An even better photo of the typical power line situation in Bucharest.

The Palatu Parliamentuliui, the second largest building in the world (by area?) after the Pentagon.

And after an incredibly good meal of pork and beef sausages and stuffed capsicum at approximately 1/4 the cost of a Euro priced meal, we hit up a supermarket for some cheap lunch-eats and beer.  The featured beer (modeled by lukep of G!) is a 2 litre 7% variety known as Stejay Strong and promises to build 'Caracter Musculin' was a whopping 8.7 RON (=~ 2 EUR).

Strangely enough, not pictured today is the many (many) stray dogs that litter the city (both figuratively and literally with poop) and the many circling black birds, perhaps waiting for one of the many dogs to die.

Tomorrow we expect to spend some time strolling through the very large city gardens, which if our experiences so far have been faithful to Bucharest, should also include viewing many stray dogs.