Euro Trip Part 9: Romania

Romania Travel Blog

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Romanian train station warns of diving in front of trains and being struck by the Greek God Zeus...

2nd August 2007

Bucharest, Romania (euro trip part 9)

Current mood: Dirty

Category: Travel and Places

 

Ahh Romania, the place on earth hailed as the Land Of Opportunity, where dreams come true and, no no wait a minute I'm talking about America here aren't I, silly me.

Street memorial to student shot dead by police during riot...
So what of Romania then? Well stepping onto the platform at Bucharest after a 14 hour train journey you'd expect Mands and I to be completely wrecked, but as it was it was one of the best journeys we'd had as we pretty much slept all the way. In fact I was enjoying my bo peep that much I was a little disappointed when it was announced we were finally nearing Bucharest. Initially we had a third guy in our carriage but as a result of Mands and I kicking and elbowing the fuck out of each other to get a comfy sleeping position he soon left leaving us loads of room to stretch out our legs to the point of almost star fishing. The journey itself was pretty much uneventful except for a little Romanian kid coming into the carriage to offer us some little pots of tasty fresh fruit. Unfortunately for both of us I had no Romanian money and considered handing over to him my bank debit card for a laugh but reconsidered when I figured the little brat would just run off with it.
Street memorial to student shot dead by police during riot...
He kept his fruit and I kept my bank card, seemed fair to me.

 

Before I carry on with my experience of Romania, give me just a minute to check I haven't any Romanians on my buddy's list… Right then, here we go with Romania! It's a real dirty town here. If I squatted and took a shit on the pavement the mayor, presuming there is one, would grant me a key to the city for my contribution towards cleaning the place up. A key I would quickly throw away. We came out of the station and were immediately presented with a little naked boy / girl shampooing themselves in a public fountain and a little later a 3 legged dog navigating itself across the road. We're definitely in the right place then. I never thought a place existed that could be considered a 4th world country, but I had found it folks in a place called Bucharest.

Struggling to find a gift for his mother, Del finally finds the perfect present...
Our first stop without a shadow of a doubt was to get to a hostel and we found ourselves heading towards one called Elvis Villa, but he left us all shook up when he said he had no rooms for us. Just a note here, he probably was the REAL Elvis cos let's face it, who the fuck would think of looking for him in Romania? And there's me thinking he was living on a secret island with 2Pac. Anyroad, he phoned around for us and managed to get us accommodation at probably the only other hostel in the city called Helga, where we met the cool Poles Victor, Amelia and Carolina.

 

Bucharest itself was a bit like Vienna but without the galleries or museums… in other words there was nothing there at all, except for stray dogs. Fuck me were there stray dogs, the place is over run by them yet oddly, no stray cats. Everywhere you looked you'd see a scruffy flea bag, occasionally one with all its own legs too. You couldn't help thinking that the Romanians should take a page out of the Chinese way of life and start putting the mutts in kebabs and eating them cos some sort of culling needs to happen. And there's me always saying I'm a dog lover. Then there's the way people park their cars, and I use the term 'park' very lightly. Their idea of parking a car is turning the engine off and getting out of the vehicle. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say, yet these guys couldn't care less if they've done the above on a pedestrian crossing, if they blocked in the entrance door to a shop leaving the people trapped inside, or if they've run over your granny and she's bashing away at the hubcap with her walking stick. I swear it would be a London traffic wardens dream. In Bucharest we went for beers in the city's impressive oldest beer hall first opened in 1875. We also visited the university where in the late 80's I think it was a load of the students were gunned down by the police, possibly for rebelling the release of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan's pop single. Going along the side of the building you can still find bullet holes from that day, well at least I think they were the bullet holes, either that or just normal holes in the wall… which they probably were if I'm honest, but I don’t tell anybody that.

 

Now I come to the bit that will shock you all… I liked it here! Yes I know you're all thinking this is a bit more sarcasm but this is one place I'd come back too. Sure it was a bit of a dive, actually it was a right fucking dive, but after travelling beautiful cities for the last few weeks and meeting beautiful people, it was nice to be asked if I had any spare change by a person with a foot where his ear is supposed to be. You get the idea if you've ever seen the state of homeless people over here – Elephant Man wouldn't get a second glance. And then there's the irony of the place, we'd been previously been bunking transport all over Europe before coming to this shit hole and I kid you not, they have a metro system with barriers just like London Underground meaning no free transport for Mandy and Del. They must have spent the next 10 year budget on creating the system.

 

Finally it was time to leave, and not minute sooner I'll add, and we were off to the country I was looking forward to most during this trip - Bulgaria

 

almond72 says:
My oh my, surely there was something in the capital that was worth seeing as a tourist. Maybe one has to go out to the counties for more scenery & history. What a amusing story you tell !

About the way people drive, it happens in some places here too. :)
Posted on: Sep 21, 2009
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