Our last stop in Romania was the capital city of Bucharest. I wasn’t expecting much as we headed to Bucharest since I knew it was a major metropolis still recovering from the effects of a harsh and repressive communist regime and wouldn’t have the medieval charm of the other small cities that we visited throughout Romania. Nevertheless, we needed to stop in Bucharest because it’s a major hub in that region for ongoing travel to our next destination. So, there we were in Bucharest.
Our first night at a “new” AirBnB apartment was miserable. The place was clean which was the only thing that made it bearable for one night. Other than that it sucked. We had a sleepless night and hauled ass to another place the next morning. The apartment buildings are reminiscent of the Soviet-era buildings that we encountered throughout Russia so I’m glad we didn’t arrive at these places in the middle of the night.
Our second apartment was MUCH better even though the building itself needed massive repairs. It’s interesting to see how the interwebs and sites like AirBnB and Booking have changed the lodging options available to travelers like us. There was a Radisson Blu hotel across the street from our apartment where we might’ve stayed in our previous traveling life, but now we just go there to use their printers for our train and plane tickets. We just stroll into the hotel like we own the place and demand to be serviced at the business center like we’re paying guests. And then we briskly walk out before they send security after us. It works every time.
Bucharest itself isn’t all that interesting. I don’t know if it was the season or if the weather is usually blah, but all I see is grey when I recall my time there. It felt like St. Petersburg, but with more English speakers. Actually, now that I think of it, a lot of people in Romania spoke English. I wonder why.
Even though we don’t care for being in big cities, the one nice perk is that we can usually find decent food if we want to eat out and have something other than the traditional cuisine of the particular region that we are visiting. We found one place called, Becca’s Kitchen, where we had a pleasant non-Romanian lunch.
We did a lot of aimless roaming in Bucharest mostly because there wasn’t anything in particular that we had an overwhelming desire to see. Sometimes I prefer exploring a city without a strict itinerary because we always stumble upon things that are interesting and not readily pointed out in a guide book or travel site.
The nice thing about Romania is that the taxis are cheap enough that if you do wander too far away from home, you can always hop in a taxi and make it back to your temporary abode in no time.
I definitely want to go back to Romania one day, but probably not Bucharest. The country has too much beautiful natural landscape to stay in this drab city for more than a layover.
More pictures of Bucharest on our Flickr album.