Bucharest: Dodgey maybe but sure cool to check out

Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
Trip End Feb 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
The Midland Hostel Bucharest
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Romania  , Bucureşti,
Friday, February 11, 2011

Hmm Bucharest, if you want to feel an Eastern European country as it is in people's minds, then this is definitely one of the places to go.  Concrete, industrial comission housing, dirty streets, gypsies haha...and dog poo, so much dog poo! XD  It's certainly the first place that REALLY felt different to the other places that I've been and reminded me a little bit of China/Hong Kong, especially the older 50's, 60's kinda neighbourhoods.  It's not a city for the faint hearted too, you definitely need to be on guard while walking around, both to dog poo and pick pockets and stray dogs and what not, at the same time though, I guess it's in these cities where you meet/see/experience things that are truly different.  And despite the grittyness, the city itself is not actually that bad, there are actually some areas which are very nice actually and wandering around the old town gives a bitter sweet glimpse of Bucharest's past before the communist reign. 

We arrived in the late afternoon after taking a 3 hour bus to Bucharest from Brasov haha, man the driver was crazy but we made it (perhaps with some mild car sickness haha) and decided to walk all the way to our hostel XD.  Oh goodness, what a long walk, maybe the longest we've been on yet (40+ mins!  With our packs!)  Thank goodness we stopped for KFC along the way haha.  The sights were definitely interesting too...saw a lot of Bucharest's inner suburbs, ie: very dodgey looking places littered with dog poo.  I'll always mention dog poo when describing Bucharest haha, very big feature to be sure =P.  Anyways we made it in the end, sweaty and tired but the hostel was nice and the recption gave us heaps of tips of where to go, so that was cool.  Headed out and walked down the Str Victoriei where we saw the Revolutionary Square (where the Romanian revolution took place...of course), the Concert Halls and some really nice/grand buildings which were a surprise admist all the dirty concrete that had been surrounded us most of the way.  Had dinner at this awesome Hungarian beer hall place where the interior looked amazing with the gothic painted ceiling and wooden panelling but unfortunately, the food did not match the quality so much =(.  I guess we did get the lunch menu at 6pm haha so it was probably sitting there for a while and for 27 lei (around $9) we got a soup, salad, main with side, a dessert AND a beer haha, guess I can't complain eh?  The dessert was good though!!   Wandered around a little more and went to an English sports bar that our hostel recommended, not bad actually though it did feel just like one of the bars you'd find back home =P.  Chilled there for a while before heading to our next bar....a Lebanese/Middle Eastern one perhaps??  It was kinda empty when we arrived though it was only like 9 o'clock haha.  Had a gin and tonic among other things...things that maybe tasted like apple and involved some coals and sucking of a pipe? =P  Wasn't my idea ok? haha but since we got it, might as well try right?  This is Sheesha btw yeah!  Before anyone gets any wrong ideas haha.  It did taste nice at the start and end, though the in between part was sorta smokey, didn't help that you can smoke indoors in Romania and pretty much EVERYONE smokes.....ahh my lungs =(. 

Next day we woke up nice and early for our tour of the Parliament Palace and man that place is bloody MASSIVE!  Apparently the second largest Government administrative building after the Pentagon, the tour guide only took us to perhaps 5% of the total place and that was already like an hour and a half of touring! =O  The corridors, the conference rooms, the ball room, everything is just stupidly grand.  Marble this marble that, crystal windows, chandeliers, oak panelling!!  It's all just wow!  Just a shame to know that the poor Romanian people had to pay for all this, in fact, to build this Palace (originally supposed to house the communist ministries when they were still in power), and the Bulevardul Unirii (the Champs Elysees of Bucharest) Nicolae Ceauşescu (the dictator in Romania) had 20% of old Bucharest town demolished =(  Still, it’s worth the visit, especially seeing that so many people put in such hard work for it...AND it’s free for students! =D  Walked around a little more, had some Romanian food for lunch with a massive fried chicken on a chicken tree haha...so oily and delicious.  Walked down the famous champs elysee avenue but of course, it’s not as nice as the original =P.  Along the way we adopted two stray dogs as part of our group..or maybe they adopted us haha, who knows.  But yeah, we met them at a traffic light and they just kept following us around for like 20 minutes!  When we stopped, they stopped and didn’t go until we did haha, they were friendly too, well, at least the didn’t bark or growl or nothing at us, something that regularly happened when passing other strays.  Maybe they were lonely =).  Unfortunately, we didn’t know how to get rid of them!  haha and Yee-Ling seemed a little uncomfortable with them too after a while so it was good when they decided to stay behind.  The poor brown dog was so torn though, his friend had stayed and he wanted to keep following us...he made the right choice in the end...SOOOO, where was I?  haha, right walking around...seeing more sights...having yelled Kina?  or Kinese?  or Asien?  to us as we walked around..ahhh it was annoying.  Yes we’re Asian...get over it!  (Maybe that’s how Michael feels sometimes in China haha).  Guess they didn’t mean any harm by it.

Went back, got some rest etc before heading out for another night out, this time with May’s Romanian friend from work back in Stockholm, Paul.  What a nice guy!  A little bit older than us haha but he was very cool and is always nice to meet a local and ask them about things.  He brought a friend along too called Andre so we had a fun night out with the two Romanians =)  The first place we went to was really cool, apart from the fact that there was so much smoke that it sometimes made my eyes water, it had some nice, alternative/rock music with a nice grungey feel to it, very cool =D.  Had my first tequila shot too with the salt and the lemon and everything there haha, Yee-Ling’s idea!! XD  I did go with it though =P and discovered that I really like gin and tonic...hmmmm, maybe this is not the best post for my mum/relatives to read haha...or the temple people, my goodness if they thought I was an alcoholic before!! XD  Back on track though, the hospitality people talk about is true!  Ahh, I didn’t realise until May said it the next day but most of the rounds were on Paul...feel so bad but at the same time, a big THANK YOU!! =)  Moved on to another club where we did some dancing ooh I missed dancing XD but so HOT in thermals >.<  The music they played there was cool though, some REALLY classic 90’s (ah I love the 90’s) and even a track with a mash up of “In the Mood”, “Rock’n’Roll”, “Jump’n’jive” and a whole lotta other awesome 30’s, 40’s, 50’s!!  Ahhh, I miss SWING!  Ended the night trying to find another place recommended by the hostel guy but after wandering around and getting lost in some residential area...we gave up.  Sooo tired walking back...I barely had time to brush my teeth before collapsing into bed.

Left this afternoon for Velicho Tarnovo in Bulgaria...6 hour train ride!! AHHHH.  But yeah, Bucharest has been a lot of fun (it’s always fun with locals haha) and despite the dog poo, the staring people (com’on, there’s gotta be other asians around Romania) and dirty dirty streets
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saNdra on

chun!! hehe i like it how ya blogs are getting longer and longer and more details to read! i have to go through them in two sittings hahhaha..
wow. you seem to stumble across buildings that are more and more grand with every stop you take in Europe! incredible.

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