Inflexible palace guards

Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
Trip End Jul 01, 2010

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Flag of Romania  ,
Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's now about 6 pm on our first full day in Bucharest and I am sitting, with tired feet, at a little bar near our hotel. Did I happen to mention yet that there are some very attractive women in Romania? Actually, the men probably aren’t bad either—I just don’t notice them—but there are a couple of women in this bar that, well, my God……

Time to focus. We strolled through Bucharest’s historic area today with only one real tourist mission, and that was to tour the Palace of Parliament, Nicolae Ceausescu’s monstrosity. Ceausescu was Romania’s dictator/President from 1967 to 1989 when he and his family were killed on Christmas Day by his loving populace. The Palace is the largest building in the world after the Pentagon.

After walking a considerable distance across town to get to the Palace and confirming with Linda that she had the necessary ID, we made reservations at the ticket window for the required tour. We paid 50 leu for the tour which was to begin in 45 minutes. When it was finally our tour’s turn, we present our tickets and show our ID---but wait a minute, Linda can’t find her ID. No tour for us. Probably the only thing worthwhile to do in Bucharest and we can’t do it! Not really a big deal, I was only interested because it seemed to be the only thing to do. We did, however, experience first-hand a trace of Romania’s stodgy Communist past when I tried my best to convince the Palace admissions people that they should overlook the fact my sweet, innocent wife failed to carry ID (which technically is illegal in Romania). The stolid, vacuous refusal ("intrare interzisa", or no way, Jose) we were given from the uniformed gate-keepers was a little chilling and could only have been learned over many years of faithful bureaucratic service.

As I tried to get over Linda not having her ID with her, we walked back to the old town portion of Bucharest. We enjoyed this part of Bucharest and it was at a small café on a pedestrian-only lane in old town that we decided to change our Bucharest plans.

We decided to leave Bucharest a day early. We will be getting our rental car in the morning and driving to Sibiu, Romania to spend an unplanned night there. Sibiu, the guide book says, is an EU-designated “capital of culture” (the only other city to be so designated is Luxembourg City).  It should be about a 5˝ hour drive, but I am planning a scenic detour, so will likely take longer.
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