Aug 11, 2009
Sep 30, 2010
Where I stayed
Around the main plaza are black memorial plaques and the occasional bullet hole, reminders of the protesters gunned down in 1989 while a very unpopular Ceausescu escaped by helicopter.
Thoroughly un-recommended by most guide books, we actually really liked Bucharest. It has that shabby falling-apart grandeur of beautiful architecture interspersed with seriously ugly concrete apartment blocks. And a lot of traffic. Large sections were torn down and rebuilt at will by communist leader Ceausescu, resulting in tree lined avenues of stately buildings which up close are revealed to be reinforced concrete and empty. The boulevard leading to the enormous house of parliament is intentionally 6m longer than Paris's Champs Elysees. And the parliament building the second largest administrative building in the world (behind the pentagon). There is even an Arc de Triomphe replica without quite such crazy traffic - a WWI monument completely deserted except for the cop who solemnly helped us cross the road.