Bucharest

Bucharest Travel Blog

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Woke late and did not rush to go downstairs. After breakfast, turned the TV on to watch some English news, but only got the U.S. election. Dan dropped us off at the Funky Chicken and after we dumped our bags, Dan sat down with us to help us plan our next 10 days. He spent over an hour with us in his own time. He made sure we had a car, and even arranged one for us to get delivered to the Funky Chicken that night. We walked to the main train station so David could take photos and try and find train control. He eventually found the Station Manager who took him to the internation tourist information window. At first the lady was confused about what he wanted, but when she worked it out, she told him that it was not permitted. Oh well.

We wandered downstairs to the dingy Metro. I would not like to travel on this system at night. On the green line are the oldest 1984 ex-communist trains, which are covered with graffiti. The other lines have newer carriages with automated indicators and announcements. The trains run every 8-10 minutes on a Sunday which is incredible, when in Paris, St Petersburg or Moscow, you never wait more than 5 minutes off peak. One train was over 12 minutes behind the one in front, making it extremely crowded. Also, Bucharest's Metro goes nowhere close to anything, and has a no photography rule. It was only later when I found an A6 sticker hidden behind a grill on a door that we became aware of that rule. Oops.

We returned to the Parliament Palace and found the entrance for the tours, where inside, we and two other ladies were told very rudely that there were no more tickets available for today. She shoved a phone number into one lady's hand and told her to ring at 09:00 the next day to see if she was lucky enough to get a ticket that day. The palace needs maintenance as the rear of the building is in a bad state of repair, but as they didn't want to take our money, we left disgusted at their attitude and walked around the perimeter to get photos on the sunny side. We walked down Bucharest's Champs Élyssé to the next Metro station, only to discover that the nearest Metro to our hostel was the one we had started at. D'oh! Arrived back at the Funky Chicken ready for a lie down, but I grabbed the laptop and started catching up on LiveJournal entries. An annoying Romanian guest kept trying to tell David how to read a map and was insistent on "helping" him, so we retired to the common room.

Dan appeared in the doorway with a smile on his face, and explained that the car would be a little late "due to traffic". Dan then got trapped into a conversation with the "helpful" Romanian guest who did not know Romania as well as he claimed.

The car arrived a short time later. It is a pretty blue Ford Festiva. Dan returned the Mercedes van, and we offered to drive him home so he wouldn't have to catch two buses. We got there safely in about 5 minutes, and he gave us detailed instructions on how to retrace our steps back to the hostel. It all went horribly wrong at the first roundabout where we ended up on the wrong road, and eventually ended up beside the Parliament Palace. Then I steered David past the correct bridge, so we headed east instead of north. With all the one way streets and a complete lack of street signs, our 10 minutes drive took over an hour. It was with shattered nerves that we parked the car for the night. Knowing what traffic is like in Bucharest during peak hour, David decided to leave by 06:00 the next morning to beat the traffic, so we went to bed early. The "helpful" was still smoking in the court yard when the other guests returned from their evening out, and he talked to them very loudly trying to get them to buy something. They scurried away as soon as they could and went to bed, but he followed them in and kept talking loudly in the dorm room, keeping me awake.
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Bucharest
photo by: tm16dana