Bucharest, Romania

Aug 31- Sept 12

I took the train from Bulgaria to Bucharest with a guy (an older Irish guy who actually lives in Cairns, so I could understand his accent) I met at the hostel, so it was good to have the company. The ride was ok, but the best bit was the cutest little puppies that were at one of the stops along the border. No-one else wanted to go near the stray puppies so I got to play with them all by myself. They were super cute!

 

A couple of days after my arrival, my favourite travel buddy, Matty, arrived from Melbourne after a very long journey through Asia, Iran and Turkey. Matt and I were really lucky because we were able to stay with our friend Julia (a very lively woman who never sleeps and is always dancing) we met on our tour of South America five years ago and although we haven’t been in contact since, she found out through the Facebook grapevine that I was in Europe and asked us to come stay!

The first couple of days, we didn’t do a lot (Matt was being lazy and sleeping most of the time, something about jetlag…) but we went out for dinner after a walk through the city one night.

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The next day, we went for a walk through the old city with Julia and then got some lunch. She pointed out some traditional foods for us to try, which were some eggplant and bean dips and Matt also got little skinless sausages called mici (pronounced mitch).

The city is actually a lot smaller than we both expected, with the old city being the most interesting and beautiful part with the old Roman style architecture and the rest is just old, ugly communist buildings.

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Where we are staying is also close to a huge park with a lake, so Matt and I spent a day walking through here and visited an open air museum that had a whole lot of traditional Romanian houses and churches from the 17th-19th centuries. They were all original and had been moved here from around the country for the display. Also near the museum is Europe’s biggest beer hall. We were there early afternoon so a few people were sitting outside, but no-one inside. Matt got a beer that I thought was giant, but apparently I don’t know what I am talking about.

Matt and I also went out one night to the Street Food Festival, which was really awesome. The cost was like $4 each (cheapest festival ticket ever) to get in and then we walked around for a while trying to decide what food we wanted to get from which truck. After that, we found a comfy couch at a bar to sit on with a view of the stage and listened to some bands til the festival was over, who were actually English which was helpful. The whole thing with the food trucks and live music just felt like we could’ve been at some Melbourne festival.

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Julia also took us out for a day tour, where I got to practice driving in Romania. Once we got out of the crazy city and I started to get used to driving on the wrong side and having the gear stick on the wrong side, it wasn’t so bad. We ended up in this village called Buzescu. Village is a strong word because it is like one street, which is the main road anyway. It is actually a gypsy village, where the rich gypsies, who all go to rich western European countries to steal, bring their money back to Romania to build the biggest and tackiest mansions ever!!!

 

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They are seriously the most over the top things I have ever seen in my life. They have things like golden lion statues and palm trees out the front or the houses are made out of different colour marble. But the best ones had flashing dollar signs on the roof underneath the balcony. Super classy. And the best bit is that the gypsies can’t actually afford to live in their own houses and pay for the gas and electricity, so mostly the entire family will live in a small house in the backyard or one room of the house.

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In the afternoon, we ended up in a city called Targoviste, where there was a cultural festival on with kids doing traditional dances on stage.

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