A Travellerspoint blog

Romania

Street “art” and parks and eclairs!

Wandering the neighbourhood


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Dana, our illustrious tour guide recommended an interesting walk heading northish from our home base. But first... the best eclairs ever! At French Revolution bakery, that’s what they do - eclairs of all flavours.
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Some of the flavours pictured include: Black Forest, mascarpone and raspberry, mango, mille-feuille, exotic fruits, citron chocolate, chocolate cherries, milk chocolate with nuts

The mango one was our favourite - really excellent mango flavour.

The next stop was the street art at Strada Pictor Arthur Verona - vandals or artists - you decide, including if you look closely, the ubiquitous Aeol, with the stray dogs.

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A couple of beautiful little parks - unfortunately, without the fountain working.
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Kids play the same games all over the world.
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A memorial to victims of communism.
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As I walk by...
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Walking along Strada Dumbrava Rosie, we liked these buildings showing the new and the old, side by side
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And reminded of the learnings from our first tour, the glass porch cover shows the French influence and the three windows represent the trinity.
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Here’s an office building with a window that could be mine - see how they have their project mapped out with sticky notes. 😀
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And of course, we finished off with dinner at the Shift Pub
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Here’s a pic from Steve: taken in Sanaia on Thursday, in the men’s room at the restaurant. Beer kegs have been cut in half, with one half turned into urinals, while the other half are the sinks.
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Posted by Deb Godley 09:25 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Mostly Beer

Private Beer Tour


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Lazy morning and another beautiful day. The temperature has climbed every day, with yesterday’s high at “feels like” 28. Very nice.

Steve watched hockey all morning, having avoided hearing scores of the previous day’s playoff games. Then we set out to see the beautiful Atheneum theatre and surroundings. Unfortunately, the other sites we’d planned on (in particular, a local handicrafts store) were closed for the orthodox Easter Good Friday.

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We had an ok meal at Boema 33 - I had mixed grill and Steve, pork tenderloin. The meat was good, but I should have asked if the veggies were fresh when I ordered steamed veg, discovering they were from frozen and totally mush. Yuck. The dessert we had at Paul’s later was good, though.

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At 6:30 we met up with Dana again from Urban Adventures, who was accompanied by Misha (sp?) and found that we were once again on a private tour because no one else had booked, perhaps due to Easter. This tour was all about craft beer, plus some additional info about Bucharest.

We stopped three times and tried different beer at each stop, including some lovely dark beer for me 😀
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Along the way we saw the understated Holocaust memorial.
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A refreshing, if not a little tipsy, walk home and were back late and ready for sleep. Dana’s emailed some site suggestions for tomorrow.

Posted by Deb Godley 00:48 Archived in Romania Comments (1)

Peles and Pelisor and the kindness of strangers

Day trip to Sanaia


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Beautiful sunny day. Sanaia is an easy day trip from Bucharest Gara de Nord, a typical stop on the way to the more popular and Dracula-touristy Brasov. We were here to see the two castles - Peles and Pelisor - and the monastery. We had no trouble buying our tickets at the train station, deciding to try 1st class for the assigned seating, (which turned out to be the most uncomfortable seats).

We took a small tourist train up the hill to the castles and found it an easy walk down afterwards. My only complaint about the train was that we waited 15 minutes or so, but it felt like hours to me as the waiting area had loud piped-in children singing (I said it was the same song 20 times or so, but Steve tells me the songs were all different). Drove me nuts.

The exteriors of the castles (Pelisor, which means small castle is the smaller one) show a clear German influence.
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As expected, the interiors were ornate, ostentatious and full of beautiful things that I’m glad I don’t have to dust.
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Two of the secret passage doors
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And an impressive weapon collection
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We had hearty German fare for lunch
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The route back to the train station passed the monastery, where I enjoyed the lovely mosaics.
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Back at the station, we learned the ticket machine was broken (it seemed that you might be able to buy tickets but they wouldn’t print, so not much good. Anyway, we’d had to pay cash for entrance to the castles and it turned out our extra cash was back in Bucharest in Steve’s backpack, so we checked with information and were assured we could buy the tickets on the train with our credit card. We had that confirmed by the train employee on the platform, so we boarded the train and found second class seats (much more comfortable, it turns out).

Of course, as you have likely surmised, we found that there was no POS credit card machine on this train (probably available on the other trains we are told, but this was a “regular” train, so no such luck). Not having enough money, it didn’t help to say we were told we could at the station, and now we were well Away from the station.

Happily, a young couple nearby offered us 20 Lei to cover our shortfall and we paid for our tickets (20 lei = $6.50). Alexandra and Stefan were so kind and, of course we more than repaid them at the ATM upon arrival at Gara de Nord. They tried to refuse the extra, but we convinced them to have a meal on us.

They asked us “why Romania?” as if no one ever comes here. Well, I for one, recommend it. Our dollar goes so far - typically $25-$30 for dinner for 2 with a beer each. The people have all been very nice and we’ve enjoyed the sights of Bucharest. Our week is almost up - embarking on our cruise on Sunday.

Posted by Deb Godley 00:22 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Parks and Pizza

Cismigiu and Izvor


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Parcul Cismigiu is close enough to old town to be called its Central Park, but is, by no means, the largest park in Bucharest. Heading diagonally toward the Palace of Parliament (or “hypotenusing”, as we like to call it, given we’ll take the other 2 sides of the triangle home), we first came to Parcul Cismigui.
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The first park map sign was intriguing, showing Easter Island icons, so we looked forward seeand and taking pics of those.
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As you might imagine, we were a bit disappointed to find that it only referred to “regular” bust-type statues on pedestals.
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Alas, disillusioned, we headed through the much smaller Parcul Izvor toward the Casa Poporului (palace of the people), said to be the world's biggest parliamentary building (and one of the largest buildings of any kind, with three-million-plus square feet and more than 1000 rooms). Alternatively called a folly and testament to the megalomania of former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu or a display of Romanian materials and engineering skill, it is arguably both. It came at a high cost, both literally paid for through the poverty of the people it was claimed to serve and by the razing of much of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, both played a direct role in the construction. It was originally intended to house the presidential offices and the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party but was never finished. We learned that, on Dec 25, 1989, the people put and end to his rule, executing them both. This revolution is remembered via the Rebirth Memorial in Revolution Square (see yesterday’s post).

The palace was closed, so unfortunately, our pictures are confined to the exterior.
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Walking, we’ve noted various car brands, most familiar - Ford, VW, BMW, Renault, but also the Opal, with its sideways lightning bolt, and the most common, the Dacia.
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There are a lot of cars in Bucharest and no parking lots. Everyone parks on the street, or sidewalk, double and sometimes triple parked, only barely leaving a lane for moving Dacias.
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Among the graffiti “artists” this one stands out because the images are always the same, apparently drawing attention to the stray dog problem (which our guide yesterday says was resolved 3 years ago by rounding up and euthanizing them all). Or perhaps the artist want to recall the solution.
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On the way home, we stopped at La Trattoria Buongiorno for beer and pizza. Yummy.
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Posted by Deb Godley 19:54 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Caru’ Cu Bere & La Mama

Old town walking and eating


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First a few iconic pics of Bucharest (notice the blood-red paint someone added to the Rebirth Memorial, which some call a brain on a stick)
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And Carturesti Carusel bookstore,
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Stavropoleos Monastery,
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And other beautiful and ornate churches
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And lunch at the famous traditional restaurant Caru’ Cu Bere; I had the stuffed cabbage with polenta, while Steve enjoyed the chicken schnitzel:

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And then for dessert, papanasi from La Mama, a very yummy donut with jam and sour cream.
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As you can see, today we played tourist and enjoyed the recommended sites and food. Compared to home, the prices are very reasonable. ($30 for lunch for 2 with beers & $6 for two desserts).

There’s lots of graffiti and the wires and cables hanging everywhere are odd (see pic from yesterday), but we’ve seen a nice, clean city, with lots of green space, interesting and beautiful buildings and a colourful history. And we watched old TV shows and movies with Romanian subtitles. 😀
Where else would you find Banca Transilvania?

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Posted by Deb Godley 11:14 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

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