Times New Romania

Trip Start Mar 19, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Happy Hostel Bucharest
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Romania  ,
Saturday, March 12, 2011

Got in yesterday morning on the overnight train from Bulgaria, met two nice Aussie boys who I had breakfast with before having a wander and coincientaly checking into the same hostel.

After a morning nap, spent much of today with my housemate's dad - what an amazing bloke.

Went and visited him at his workplace - he founded a homelessness charity and emergecny night shelter there; he showed me round and told me al about it. Their model of practise is based loosely on St. Mungos - note to self, check it out!!

He was telling me that the Romanian Govt. really aren't that supportive - he basically recieves no funding from them, though of course, that doesn't stop them from claiming some of his work.

CI accepts familties and older women predominantly and the onus is on they themselves meeting their own goals and they've one year to do it in. He maintains that it's their place, CI just pay the bils - and apparently it has a real community feel to it - eg laundry rotas etc.

We started talking about my own work in a vaguely similar setting and swapping stories - his show stopper was a family who had literally lived in the forest for fifteen years!!

In the afternoon, I went for a bit of a wander round, found a museum, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant - with a name like that, how can you not go inside?? Lovely little museum, filled with crafts, costumes and Christianity.

I met up with Ian again for dinner at his local - a popular pizza place called the Cartoonist. And this morning, Ian took me on what he calls the "T---- Tour."

First stop what a ghetto where hes lived when he first arrived - it was a pretty run down unit block and he assured me it'd been cleaned up a lot in recent years.

He took me to the Royal Palace, the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon, a very impressive and obviously inposing building. A whole suburb was wiped out for it by the charming Mr. Ceasescu. It has been said that that's where the Romanian stray dog problem started - the residents were all shifted from houses to flats where they were unable to bring their dogs. He also took me to the church and the cemetry for the heroes of the revolution as well as the site where Ceasescu was booed then taken away in a helicopter to his death.

Really interesting city, Bucharest.

Ian is such an interesting bloke; he has done an incredible amount of stuff:

Twenty years ago, he was a Jesus fearing decon and senior detective and now he's an atheist/humanist/ever so slightly buddhist running a homelessness project in Bucharest.

Crazy eh? You never know where the ambiguity of life will take you!
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