Romania the wild-east of Europe. Home to Dracula. Today we were exploring its capital – Bucharesti or Bucharest. Bucharest is a funny mix of architecture showcasing Romania’s chequered history – from communism to its Parisian pretensions.
We set off to explore whatever we could find with our crappy map and not much information on what there is to see and do, we started in the north at the Arcul de Triumf, built in 1936 to commemorate the reunification of Romania in 1918, and not having been to Paris I suspect it may resemble something there. From Triumf we wandered past The People’s Park and Piata Charles de Gulle, where we caught the metro to the train station to make enquiries into our train trip to Brasov and also Belgrade. No better informed we headed to Piata Unirii in the south.
Piata Unirii is an urban wasteland that was intended as the Champs Élysées-style axis for the criminal civic project that saw Ceausescu destroy an entire suburb to build the parliament and Piata Unirii. The Palace of Parliament is the big mama of monstrous buildings. It was built at the height of Ceausescu’s communist fervour and ironically it was called House of the People before 1989, it now houses the chamber of deputies and is 12-floor showcase of Romanian craftsmanship.
We wandered around the streets near the palace where old new and depilated are side by side, then back up to Piata Unirii and up into town along the main road trying to find something to see or do without any success.
With evening approaching we headed to the supermarket where clearly we looked like thieves as we were followed around the entire time we there. With spaghetti bol’ ingredients in hand we walked back to the hostel.
We spent the evening chatting, eating and drinking with the other hostellers.
Bucharest was interesting in that it is still quite behind the times yet all the big western brands and names are here, the kids try to act and dress western, yet you go one street off the main drag and the poverty and scars of wars, riots and uprising are plain to see. There isn’t a lot to see or do here so I am not sure whether we would come back here or not.