Getting to Bucharest, Romania was a little more expensive than I would have liked, and that is mostly my fault. I thought my friend Nicole’s flight came into Bucharest in the morning, not the afternoon. Secondly, the train that ran from Belgrade to Bucharest was shut down, I guess until October. So, I booked a flight to ensure I’d make it to Bucharest on time. Because I got there earlier than I needed, it did give me a chance to wash all my clothes. I only pack about a weeks worth of clothes when I travel, so at this point they had all made the rotation and needed the scrubbing!
On Nicole’s first night in, we went on a hunt for the Hard Rock Café and the Arch of Triumph. It is amazing how many cities have copied the French and built their own Arch of Triumph. This was one of the pieces of architecture I was really looking forward to seeing, but it was covered up and being remodeled. It was a really nice but long walk to get out to this part of town and we were pretty exhausted. I’m pretty glad we sprung for a cab back to the hostel so we could be fresh for the next day.
Arch of Triumph (Picture 1)
The next day, we went on a Free Walking Tour that showed some of the historical buildings in downtown Bucharest. A lot of the buildings are pretty new, historically, because they are from Communist times. Anything that was old and survived WWII was pretty much demolished in order to make the buildings the Communist leader wanted at that time. There were also not many churches because when Romania was Communist, about 40 of them were destroyed. There was no concern for historical value. Even many of the old buildings that are still standing are falling apart. This is because during communist times, people could not own property. Rich and poor were removed from their homes and placed where the government told them they could live. So, when the Iron Curtain fell, all of those old property owners wanted their homes back. But, many did not have paperwork to prove it was their property and many of these properties have been in limbo in the court system for the last 20+ years. Squatters pretty much live in these “abandoned” buildings and when the property is purchased or sorted our, the owners are not restoring them but letting them just fall apart and hopefully crumple in the next earthquake. They can’t just demolish the building because these old buildings are all protected for historical purposes. So all around Budapest are streets full of restored buildings next to crumbling buildings. Overall the tour was interesting, but started to get long in the intense heat.
Bucharest Fountain (Picture 1)
Old Court Princely Church (Picture 1)
Count Dracula Statue (Picture 1)
Bucharest Falling Apart (Picture 1)
Stavropoleos Church (Picture 1)
Revolution Square (Picture 1)
When it was finished we headed off to look for food, which was impossible because everything seems to be closed on Sundays. We ended up making ramen at the hostel and then when the time came, we headed to the train station to catch the night train to Budapest, Hungry.