Bucharest – BrasovThursday, 20. March 2008
I made it back. Before I tell you about my trip, let me give you a piece of advice: NEVER travel with somebody from my family, except me. NEVER, EVER!
Good, if that’s clear, I can start.
Bucharest is one ugly city. It would be really pretty if they had money to renovate, to get rid of the old socialist buildings [ok, there were less than I expected] and to say no to advertising.
The big piaţas all looked like this [that's Piaţa Unirii]:
As Moscow, it’s impressive in its size, especially the boulevard leading up to Ceauşescu’s house [Palace of the Parliament is the official name, but I called it that] and the house itself. Must be some kind of Eastern Europe Power Display Thing.
Citing wikipedia: It measures 270 m by 240 m, 86 m high, and 92 m under ground. It has 1,100 rooms and is 12 stories tall, with four additional underground levels currently available and in use, with another four in different stages of completion.
Unfortunately, it is closed to visitors until the 6th of April, so we couldn’t take a look around.
Also amazing is the mass of people walking around there. Bucharest – again according to Wiki – has about the same population as Vienna. But where Vienna feels smaller than it is, Bucharest feels way bigger. If somebody would have told me that there are 10 million people living there, I would have had no problem believing it.
Braşov, on the other hand is really cute. They obviously spend a lot of time, money and effort on renovating the city center, they have Braşov in Hollywood-style letters on top of Mount Tâmpa and it’s full of smaller and bigger churches.
Well, that’s about what I saw of Romania, except from the train ride from and to Braşov, which revealed a really beautiful landscape (something like this, taken from the top of Mount Tâmpa).
Now, you might ask, “why are there no pictures of Bran, as announced in the previous entry?” [And if you don't ask yourself: Shame on you and go read my blog more thoroughly...]
Ah, well, that’s one of the reason you should never travel with someone from my family. Chaos ensues. Things never go according to plan. Stuff happens.
Like the thirty minute trip to the train station takes 1 hour [because the subway system in Bucharest is weird. We get into the yellow line in the right direction which should have taken us directly to the Gara de Nord, except midway through the train changes colour and becomes the red line and we only notice 5 stations later because the outside of the train (including every window) has graffiti on it and you can't see through] and you miss your train and have to wait 3 hours which means that you can’t see Bran, although you weren’t too excited about it anyways because – as it turns out – Dracula aka Vlad Tepes never lived there anyways, it’s just a tourist trap.
Like your sister, who will return with you to Austria after half a year of work in Bucharest, lent her bags to a friend who hasn’t returned them so sis can’t pack and is nervous and doesn’t want to return to Austria anyways but does it for her boyfriend who isn’t speaking with her because she’s still there, and when the friend finally arrives with the bags your sis drives you crazy because she just throws her things into the suitcase, doesn’t have space for everthing, puts the suitcase on the scale every thirty seconds but isn’t willing to even leave her deo although she has more than twenty kilos of luggage (not including the ten kilos you packed for her).
Like although you insist on leaving to the airport half an hour earlier than your sis suggests (because you know her), you end up having to get out of the bus and into a taxi so you will be able to catch your flight, with your sister laughing maniacly beside you because when her boyfriend visited her, the same thing happened except he actually missed his flight.
So, unless you enjoy general mayhem – never travel with anybody from my family, except me. [Oh, I could tell you stories... like the one time my (other) sister forgot her luggage at home, going on a trip for a year... or the one time my mom took somebody else's suitcase... and so on.]
But you should visit Romania, just don’t spend all your time in Bucharest (not even half of it).