Stumbling out of Bucharest Airport, bleary-eyed, looking at the pre-dawn lit landscape, I turned round to my frenemy, Mark:
‘Smell that. We’re in a whole new country.’
Already, the temperature was warm, threatening to increase even further with every roll the sun made towards the horizon from below. My nose tinged with the humid air and my eyes woke to the realisation that I was yet in another Eastern European country, this time Romania. We had arrived in Bucharest.
My day dreaming jolted out from the visions of luscious vampires licking their lips, a popular tourist thought of Romania, and Mark grabbed my elbow towards the expectant driver who greeted us with a look down at both of us in our backpacks and probably thought he had approached the wrong people.
Mark sighed and looked over at me with a glare saying we shouldn’t have booked transport from the airport to our Hotel at Doubletree by Hilton. Maybe it would have been best if we made our own way. But I digress, arriving in a brand new country in the middle of the night? I’d rather take a private transport thanks.
On the way in the back seat, my nose was pressed against the window, staring at the Eastern Europe buildings that dotted the landscape. Each was completely different, scrubbing out reminders of the cold bloc looking buildings of the Soviet period. I wondered how the turbulent period led by the despotic dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, would have affected the Romanian psyche and heritage. I’d find out more shortly.
Grabbing a nap at the hotel, we tied up our sandals, grabbed a day pack and set forth in the blazing sun. Yes, Romania can get REALLY hot in June! So much so, I was burnt to a crisp by lunchtime!
So, showcased by my photography during our four day stay in Bucharest, here’s what we did.
Photos of Bucharest
This is our DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton in Bucharest. Great location and about 30 minutes walk from the centre. Perfect to clear the cobwebs away!
The traffic is a sight to behold! Always check three times before crossing the road!
You may be able to find old monuments which are few and far between. This is a homage to Vlad the Impaler…can anyone guess what’s he most famous for?
Can anyone guess what;s wrong with this menu? Look closely at the vegetarian options! Hahahaha!
Scrumptious food at Van Gogh cafe in the centre of Bucharest. Just allow more than an hour for your dining experience wherever you go. The service can be slow.
You can’t go to Bucharest and not try one of the local beers! This is Ursus, hoppy but brilliant taste!
Sunsets in Bucharest are gorgeous!
Rooftop bars in Bucharest are the perfect way to finish your day with the sights of Bucharest buildings, old and new.
Mark and I simply loved the quirky cafes in the centre of Bucharest. They can be hard to find as the centre of Bucharest is mostly filled with sleazy bars for stag dos from across Europe.
Here’s Mark chilling out in a Garden bar. Those hot days can certainly put you in the mood for a refreshing beer!
One of the old houses in the Jewish quarter that has been decimated by the dictator’s plans to rebuild Bucharest. It’s utterly gorgeous!
Try traditional Romanian food at Ceru’ cu bere and don’t forget to be hungry! You will a lot… I mean… A LOT!
The buildings in Bucharest can certainly be grand…
We stumbled across yet another garden bar. I sense a theme going on….
We went to check out the Palace of the Parliament one day but it was closed for a private function. We ended up buying tickets for the next day. It’s a great sight to see inside. It’s the world’s second largest administrative building! Check out the photos further down.
Oh my god, I’m in food heaven. This is cevapi.
If you want to try Romanian food even further, I recommend going to Hanu’ Lui Manuc Restaurant that not only serves brilliant food but also traditional entertainment including singing and dancing.
Mark being very happy we found the restaurant! We are total food addicts! And beer…
The terrace restaurant has gorgeous scenery inside. Just look at the pretty flowers!
Here I am trying to work out the translations from Romanian to English! Do you think I’m being successful at that?
Did you know a river flows through Bucharest? It’s called the Dâmbovița River. The weirs are pretty awesome.
Even at late afternoon, the weather in Bucharest can still be hot. I’m lucky to be wearing sandals as the ground is literally burning!
We also undertook a walking tour of Bucharest with Walkabout Free Tours. A perfect way to delve into the history of the city particularly through the communist times. Also, you get to find out more about Romanian customs and their quirkiness. But beware of crossing the road when there’s a red light, your tour guide will shout at you:
‘No more chocolate for you!’
Always ask for the meter to be turned on when you get into the taxi. They’ll try to rip you off if you don’t!
For some reason, I was captivated by this building. Can anyone guess why?
I totally loved the leafy suburbs of Bucharest. It sometimes feel like a fairytale (yes, it’s the Disney geek in me coming out).
You’ll find plenty of street art wherever you go. Look closely and you’ll find hidden political messages.
No idea who this is, but this one stern guy.
Oh my god, this man is naked! The statue depicts Emperor Trajan of the Roman Empire holding a She-Wolf. He founded the province of Dacia which is the parent of the country of Romania. This statue can be found at the steps of the Romanian History Museum.
If you find a stage, you just gotta dance.
Walking around Bucharest can be such an immersive experience. But whatever you do, don’t smile like this guy, Bucharest is not a city with residents who smiles.
Bucharest can also be creative. There’s so many quirky items to see!
Ah, that looks invite to jump in and splash around. If only I had my mankini with me!
More local beers to try. You can’t say no, right?
Our last stop of the trip – back to the Palace of the Parliament! Check out the pics made from inside. You’ll be wowed!
Now, it’s time to get back on the flight to London after a long weekend stay in Bucharest.
What do you think? Would you go to Bucharest?
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For more Eastern European adventures, check out the following destinations:
See you next time!