A short discovering trip to Bucharest - part 2

Bucharest Travel Blog

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Saturday morning it became a bit noisy in our dormitory room as some people were leaving already quite early. Us three were just too tired and sleepy to get up early. It was around 9:30 when me and Dan suddenly decided it’s time to start a new day. Karri needed a little bit more to recover. I took a quick shower first and while Dan was taking one I went quickly to the post-office I saw the day before to try to get some postcards. The girl from the reception told me to try it there. It was approximatly a 10 minutes walk, I got there quickly. At the first desk the woman didn’t speak English at all, but she asked her college next to her who was able to communicate a bit. They had a big board behind them where I saw some Bucharest postcards, but she told me they couldn’t sell them.

Old architecture and the statue of the Roman wolf.
They weren’t theirs, blahblah. Great…and of course they had no other postcards here. At least the employee could give me the tip to try it in a little shop few meters ahead. She stepped even out of the building to show me which shop she meant. I was becoming already pretty pessimistic, but guess what. In this shop they really had postcards. No big offer, but the ones they had were fine.Finaaaallllyyyy. I bought two for me and two I wanted to send. But of course they didn’t sell any stemps, so I had to get back to the post-office again. Here I could show at least that I got my postcards suddenly. 

I returned back to the hostel and got to our dormitory where Karri was slowly getting ready waiting for his turn to take a shower.

I forgot who this exactly was. But look at the reflection below the statue, it's Ruxandra and Dan.
 

I went downstairs for the free breakfast and met on the way Dan who was surfing in the internet. Here we bumped into the guys from the previous day and I was pretty amazed that the one who confused our names all the time the night before remembered them now properly. Maybe he wasn’t as drunk as we thought, hehe.

In the kitchen we met also two funny Austrian girls, Babs and Kathi. They were from Vienna and came to see like us what Romania is about. We joked around a bit and that gave us a chance to hear for the first time their incredibly coordinated laughing…like the sound of a really old motor…or a very loud machine gun, hahaha.

A theatre if i remember well.
Every new comparison made these two girls laugh even more.

Before coming to Bucharest I contacted through travelbuddy the Romanian girl Ruxandra (profile name ruxaa) to ask her for some information. She wasn’t originally from here, but she studied medicine on the Bucharest University. She offered me to meet and to show us around after the exam she was supposed to have before noon on Saturday.

While I was eating some toast bread and drinking coffee I received a message on my cellphone from Ruxandra.

Cable chaos.
She was finished with her exam and asked me where we were. To make it easier for us she offered me to come to pick us up directly to our hostel ain about an hour. Great, this way we wouldn’t have to hurry up as Karri wasn’t still coming down for breakfast.

Kathi and Babs were going out, but before they asked us we would like to join a special meeting at 4pm at the “Gara da Nord”, the Central station. Some guys, mainly foreigners were meeting there for a special project. The girls didn’t tell us much, just that it has something to do with “freezing” and was supposed to be fun. We promissed definitely to think about it.

It was around noon when I received a message from Ruxandra again.

She wrote that she just turned into our street and that she would wait in front of the hostel. Dan went up to our dorm to get Karri and I walked out of the hostel. I looked around but I couldn’t see her anywhere. That was strange, did she turn into the right street? Meanwhile Dan and Karri arrived, but Ruxandra was still missing. I thought about sending her a message but then we saw her coming…from the other direction. She just missed it first and passed by, hahaha, I have to admit that our hostel wasn’t easy to identify between the other buildings. The only help was the house number.

From the first look Ruxandra seemed to be a good looking, nice and intelligent girl, we couldn’t imagine to get a better guide for our sightseeing. We greeted each other and I introduced her Karri and Dan. Then she leaded us to the main street and from here we took the bus.

Romanian National Bank.
The weather was just great, the sun was shining but it wasn’t too hot either.

We got off somewhere before “Piata Victorei”, the Victory Square. While we walked around Ruxandra was explaning us about Bucharest and the buildings we were passing by. We passed some of the same places like the previous day, but this time we got explained what the buildings were, a whole new experience, hahaha. It was like watching a foreign movie for the second time but this time suddenly understanding what everything is about. It was quite interesting to find out for example that the most of the huge buildings from the Ceaucescu aera were designed by a woman, his main architecture. It’s true that these communistic buildings you can find all around Bucharest were built in the same style…just massive.

Inside a market hall.
One of the places we haven’t seen the day before were the ruins of Vlad Tepes’ Old Court. There isn’t actually much to see and the main ruins + the bust of Tepes’ head. I’m sure everybody heard already about the Romanian king Vlad Tepes, but probably indirectly. This brutal guy ( he impaled his enemies on wooden stakes) provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Of course wasn’t Vlad a real vampire, but simply named Dracula (meaning son of the dragon) after his father, Vlad Dracul. Next to it was Bucharest’s oldest church which we entered. I should add that the majority of Romanians are orthodox, so the churches look slightly different then in Central or Western Europe.

What was a bit shocking in the streets were the cables hanging around maybe 50 cm above us.

The statue of Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for the Dracula story.
Most of the cables you would find in other European cities under the ground, you could see here hanging from street pillars. I prefer not to magine how many people were already “electrified” by this city, hahaha.

Slowalywe reached the Unirea shopping area where I was trying to buy a postcard the day before. This time we crossed the “Piata Unirii”, the Unification Square and walked up a little hill. There we found a nice church and some other buildings belonging to it as well. But it was past 3pm and we asked Ruxandra if she could take us to “Gara da Nord”. It might be interesting for her as well. We walked down hill again and took the subway from “Piata Unirii”. It was 5 minutes past 4pm when we were walking across the Central Station towards the McDonalds where the meeting point was supposed to be.

Secret church?
The station looked surprisingly clean, I have to admit that I didn’t expect it. Anyway, we discovered soon a little group and the two Austrian girl in between. The organizers were a Polish and an Indian guy living and studying in Vienna. They were really surprised because they didn’t really believe to get a lot of people for their project. And what this was about explained us Pavel, the Polish guy. What he wanted us to do was frst walking independently around the station pretending we don’t know each other. Then in about 5 mintes he wanted us to approach a decided meeting point and after he would clap the hands we would just “freeze” in our movement for another 5 minutes. Pavel would then take pictures and the Indian guy a video on the reactions of the people passing by. As far as I heard this “project” has been done already in other cities as well. We did it as discussed, walked around and then when we saw Pavel started approaching each other.
Dan, Ruxandra and me.
Buy receiving his signal we froze. Unfortunatly the first attempt wasn’t that succesfull as we were still quite far away from each other and many people just passed by withouth any reaction. We decided to repeat it. The second time worked out perfectly. The people noticed us, looked surprised, one girl even fell on the floor, hahaha. But the best one was a little girl which came on the end. She walked around us and she obviously didn’t understand what was going on. And then we started moving one by one again and walked away, everyone in a different direction. And imagine the little girl who stayed there even more surprised and froze in her movements if we might get back, hahahahaha. Anyway, the guys put the video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwNi6le5DCw . If it doesn‘t work you can find it under “Bucharest freeze”.
That car belongs to the church, wow.

Great project, that was really fun. We didn’t actually know each other, but the whole group decided to go for dinner together. Ruxandra didn’t have time to join us unfortunatly, she had to go to the hospital. Did I mention that she studies medecine? A really clever girl. We said goodbye to each other, would be nice to meet her again somewhere.

The rest of s took the subway and went to a restaurant which the Roamnian people of our group chose. The place was nice, the waitress little bit unfriendly though. She looked desperate and pissed off just because we didn’t understand any Romanian and her English was quite bad. But the rest was fine, the food very good.

Down there is the Unification Square.
OK, I couldn’t order anything special as I’m vegetarian due to some health problems I had as a child and the Romanian cuisine is biased mainly on meat, but even my meal was good, believe me, hahaha. We were so many that we had to divide between a big table and a smaller one. Me, Dan and Karri were at the smaller one together with Babs, Kathi and Janis, an Indian guy. We had a lot of fun together and laughed most of the time. The waitors thought for sure we became crazy or something, hahaha.

The highlight of this restaurant was the women’s toilet. The girls told us to go with them to see it with our own eyes. We checked first if it’s empty and then went inside….wow…this wasn’t just a toilet. There was one toilet and the rest looked like a common room…at least as big as a living room. You could make parties here, haha.

During the "freeze project".

Some of the people wanted to go later to a club, we said that we would think about it, but wanted to return first to our hostel. Kathi and Babs obviously knew this part of the city already and they knew which bus we were supposed to take, too. This way we got back within a couple of minutes. We were in a mood to party, felt a bit tired though. The girls had a bottle of vodka with them we opened in their room, but soon we changed into the big dormitory room as there were more people having fun. Karri managed to organize some beer meanwhile. Dan was talking a lot about a big cake in a box left on a little table next to one of the beds. I should mention first that the cleaning woman found it in the morning and was so curious that she opened the box in front of us all, the owner wasn’t there. But of course we didn’t touch it…at that time.

At the station Gara da Nord.
Dan was inventing more and more arguments about why we should eat the cake like “that’s a provocation to leave a cake like that”, “the poor girl (we guessed we knew who the owner is) can’t eat the whole cake by herself”, “she can’t expectus not to eat it” etc., etc..His arguments didn’t sound very logical, but at least funny enough, hahaha. Then he just dissapeared downstairs and reappeared couple of minutes later with plates and folks. He said that he asked downstairs if anybody knows where the girl is who sleapt on the bed next to the cake, but was told that she checked out. But of course we weren’t sure if she was really the owner. But…we didn’t really care anymore. Dan reparted the cake to everybody who was there and I have to admit that the cake was really good. What should I add? We suddenly didn’t go anywhere and stayed at the hostel having fun till late in the night.

Of course we weren’t able to get up early next morning.

The Freeze Project people.
It was around 10am when we suddenly left the bed and went downstairs for breakfast. Babs and Kathi were leaving that noon by train to Constanca by the Black Sea, so we exchanged e-mail adresses and said goodbye. Me, Karri and Dan didn’t really have big plans for our last day. Our flight was in the night so we went first to a supermarket to buy some stuff for our families and friends home. Karri and Dan meant that we should buy my dad some present as he drove us so early to the airport and he would come to pick us up as well. After some discussion we bought a bottle of Romanian red wine for him. Dan would put it into his backpackhe would give away by the check-in as it wasn’t possible to take any liquids in the hand luggage we took on board. What we planned to visit that day was the nearby Herastrau Park in the north of the city.
With travelbuddy Ruxandra.
It took us maybe some 15 – 20 minutes walk to get there and then we realized how huge the park is. It had lush gardens and some big lakes, the people were all around walking and enjoying the beautifull day. What I hoped to visit was the Village Museum which was supposed to be somewhere around. It was Sunday so I wasn’t sure if they would have opened, but I hoped it. Suddenly we got somehow to its entrance aaand…they had opened. A short look at Karri and Dan revealed me that they were too tired abd not in a mood to visit any museum at that moment. But I didn’t an’t to miss as well. I told them to go to some of the open air pubs and to have something to drink while I’m in. They just nodded and walked away, they were still pretty tired from the previous night, hahaha.The entrance for the museum was 6 lei, not expensive at all. It offers around 300 fullscale churches, wooden houses and farm buildings showing the traditional architecture from different regions of Romania.
Having fun in the evening.
In some cases it was even possible to enter the houses so I could see how the people used to live. Really a great museum, Karri and Dan had no idea what they were missing. But I have to admit that I was tired as well, so I didn’t have a detailed look on each building. When I was more or less finished I went out to find my two friends. They weren’t in the next open air pub, but I found them few meters ahead walking. Now it was my turn to buy something to drink and to have a little rest, but Dan and Karri didn’t mind to join me, hehe.

After this short break we decided to get back to our hostel and to have a little rest there. So we did. We just sit in front of the computers and surfed the internet or sit in the common room and watched TV. But before we would leave for the airport we wanted to have a last Romanian dinner.

The women's toilet at our restaurant. No kidding.
We asked the girl at the reception and she recommended us a place called “Casa Taraneasca” not far away from the hostel. So we went there and had a nice dinner, the restaurant was decorated in a beautifully traditional style. A really nice place to eat. After the dinner we walked back to our hostel again and around 7:45pm we left taking the bus number 205 direction airport. This time we knew the way properly. After we entered the airport hall we saw 4 check-ins,that was all. OK, Baneasa was a small airport, but that small? Suddenly it was our turn and the lady at the desk looked at us and mean: “Don’t tell me you’re flying with Skyeurope to Vienna?” I was suspecting the worst, so I answered “And don’t tell us that it’s not flying.” She laughed and meant only, that the Skyeurope check-in was further. Well…shit happens, hahaha. At the correct check-in we met Pavel and the Indian guy from the “freezing” project, they were taking the same flight.
A cake we shouldn't have eaten.
We passed then together also the passport conrol. I should mention that Dan had some problems. His hair was much longer then on his passport picture, so the office lady mistrusted him, hahaha. And his passport wasn’t in a good shape either, double suspicious. Whatever, suddenly they let him pass, but they checked him properly and he had to put even his shues off.

The rest of our flight to Vienna airport and the pickup afterwards by my father wasn’t that spectacular…well, exept of one thing. The airport guys must have thrown Dan’s backpack so much around that the bottle of red wine got broken. Red wine…you can imagine what it caused with Dan’s stuff. Whatever…it was a bad end of a great trip anyway. Better that then having a good end of a bad trip, right? Hahahaha.

In our dormitory room.

 

The End

Doode says:
Nice entry, nice story :-)
Posted on: Jul 02, 2008
Marius1981 says:
the freazing thing was grand! :)
Posted on: Apr 28, 2008
darlingwish says:
yeah true, a bad end to a good trip might be better than a good end of a bad trip... but hmmmm it depends! ahhh what am i talking about? pls ignore! hahaha
Posted on: Apr 08, 2008
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Old architecture and the statue of…
Old architecture and the statue o…
I forgot who this exactly was. But…
I forgot who this exactly was. Bu…
A theatre if i remember well.
A theatre if i remember well.
Cable chaos.
Cable chaos.
Romanian National Bank.
Romanian National Bank.
Inside a market hall.
Inside a market hall.
The statue of Vlad Tepes, the insp…
The statue of Vlad Tepes, the ins…
Secret church?
Secret church?
Dan, Ruxandra and me.
Dan, Ruxandra and me.
That car belongs to the church, wo…
That car belongs to the church, w…
Down there is the Unification Squa…
Down there is the Unification Squ…
During the freeze project.
During the "freeze project".
At the station Gara da Nord.
At the station Gara da Nord.
The Freeze Project people.
The Freeze Project people.
With travelbuddy Ruxandra.
With travelbuddy Ruxandra.
Having fun in the evening.
Having fun in the evening.
The womens toilet at our restaura…
The women's toilet at our restaur…
A cake we shouldnt have eaten.
A cake we shouldn't have eaten.
In our dormitory room.
In our dormitory room.
Having breakfast in the hostel.
Having breakfast in the hostel.
Dan at the hostel reception.
Dan at the hostel reception.
In our dormitory room.
In our dormitory room.
The park.
The park.
The park.
The park.
Karri and Dan.
Karri and Dan.
That building is called House of t…
That building is called House of …
The park.
The park.
The park.
The park.
Village museum.
Village museum.
Inside one of the houses in the vi…
Inside one of the houses in the v…
Village museum
Village museum
Inside one of the houses in the vi…
Inside one of the houses in the v…
Village museum
Village museum
Village museum
Village museum
Inside a church.
Inside a church.
Village museum.
Village museum.
Inside one of the houses in the vi…
Inside one of the houses in the v…
Village museum.
Village museum.
Village museum.
Village museum.
Village museum.
Village museum.
Therere lots of dogs in Bucharest.
There're lots of dogs in Bucharest.
Dan in front of our restaurant. We…
Dan in front of our restaurant. W…
During our last Romanian meal.
During our last Romanian meal.
My delicious vegetable soup.
My delicious vegetable soup.
This Romanian meal tasted a little…
This Romanian meal tasted a littl…
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photo by: tm16dana