Bikini-clad government ministers and how to get buggered in a taxi
Bucharest Travel Blog› entry 3 of 14 › view all entries
The priority today was to buy a new camera. The guy at the hotel recommended somewhere and I dropped £90 on a new one (worry about the cost later). Took some nice pics and sat in a café reading and watching the world go by.
Spoke to an American girl who had that rarest of things - a tourist map. She said her strategy was to walk into a luxury hotel and ask about the price of a room, sound interested and then ask for a map. Well the Novotel did just fine for me and I got a copy of the highly amusing "Bucharest In Your Pocket". The information on the back contains such gems as "the Romanian Minister for Tourism looks better in a bikini than any other minister in Europe" or "anyone who steps into the wrong kind of taxi can expect to be well and truly buggered” (in the financial sense of course).
It is such a disappointment that Bucharest does not have a tourist information office.
In the afternoon I decided to explore a little more and took the Metro to Plata Charles de Gaulle and walked to the Arcui de Triumf (they seem love all things Parisian here). It was constructed in 1945 as a memorial to Romania's war dead. Had a drink in a café and then walked through the Herastrau park nearby. One thing that Bucharest does have some really nice parks close to the city centre (something that Leeds could learn from).
Not wanting to be buggered by a Romanian taxi driver I lugged by backpack to Isvor and took the metro (sweating like a pig) to the Gara de Nord, blowing the last of my Romanian Lei on snacks to eat on the train when I got there.
Sat on the night train now writing this. Sharing a sleeper with a Hungarian telephone engineer who works in Bucharest each week. It is a comfortable cabin but the shower at the end of the corridor is a bit on the scary side.
Trying to think up of something to sum up my experience of Bucharest. I started off not liking it at all but it grew on me as I went along. It says a lot I have only spent about £30 in two days (excluding the train ticket, accommodation, and of course the camera) and that my second day in Bucharest was essentially spent in an electrical store and sat in a café. I don't hate the city at all, it is just a bit, well, boring.
Maybe there lots of interesting things to do here but I could not find any.
Use the quick and efficient Metro as there is life outside the rather dull city centre but make sure you have a map first
Exploit the posh hotels all you can
Enjoy sitting in the parks watching the world go by