Monday, June 7, 2010

Romania For A Night - Bucharest


Having missed my flight from Budapest to Istanbul, I make plans to take a detour to Bucharest for the night.

 Bucharest Samsung 006                                                                                                                                      It is still daylight as we board a Tarom ATR, commuter airplane on the airport ramp at Budapest.






                                                                                                                                 Bucharest Samsung 007 The sun sets during our one and a half hour flight and I take advantage of this with a power nap.




Recharged, we land at Bucharest (OTP) airport around 10PM. I set my watch one hour ahead of Budapest time. Inquiring about a map and bus service to the city centre at The Airport Info Desk I  am told “Sorry, no map but take Bus 783 downstairs”.


Bucharest Samsung 010 Soon Bus 780 arrives and a waiting Romanian family advises me to take this one then helps me purchase my ticket.




I am informed that there are nice affordable hotels near Gara de Nord (North Railway Station) and once on the bus I am told jokingly to just “Follow , the leader, leader”. They will make sure I am pointed in the right direction.


Bucharest Samsung 085 A 45 minute bus ride and I check into Hello Hotel around 11:30PM.





Bucharest Samsung 013 For E$30 my room is very nice, an upgrade from Budapest but no “Bat Phone”.

In Room Internet and Breakfast are available for an extra charge.


Old Town, Lipscani is a LE$10 cab fare from Hello Hotel and I am dropped off at Carul cu bere a highly recommended Romanian restaurant.  Unfortunately, it is past midnight and the kitchen is closed for the evening.


Bucharest Samsung 019 However, there are still many other dining options available near by and I end up at Bundetot where I join a line of customers waiting to place their orders.



Bucharest Samsung 016 With the assistance of a Romanian speaking couple from Israel, I order a large chicken shorma and beer for LE$17.



They enjoy their shormas with me and give me local information about the area and Lipscani nightlife.


Bucharest Samsung 028 At Mojo’s (Yeah, Babe, Yeah) located at Str. Gabroveni 14, I am invited to a birthday party in progress for one of the co-owners.




Bucharest Samsung 035Happy Birthday, Matt.

You Rock!







Before long I am watching the next Mick Jagger perform.


Bucharest Samsung 042We all applaud as others also see the potential.






Apparently there are no recommended Romanian beers so this evening my on going international drinking research will be done with a pint of Holsten Weizen.


Bucharest Samsung 032


Bucharest Samsung 045 Needing more research data, I follow this up with a Tuborg.





A slice of Romanian Birthday cake which flavors my palette with the taste of chocolate and coffee is a complement to my research data and my need further exploration.


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 Bucharest Samsung 060                                                                                                                          Mojo’s is a multi level “Groovy” spot in Old Town run by a couple of fun loving Brits. With Karaoke available upstairs, part of the birthday celebration eventually moves up there.



Bucharest Samsung 059


Bucharest Samsung 070 From Sinatra’s “My Way” to “Boom, Boom Shake The House” along with a crowd participating “Sweet Caroline”, the room is filled with singing …  “Super Stars”.



Bucharest Samsung 082 I see “Dawn’s Early Light” as I hop a cab back to Hello Hotel.

The Sun’s coming up and I am just going down.



Back at the hotel, I recap my night at Old Town Lipscani with the night clerk and spend about half an hour learning about life in Romania. I obtain a map and get a little help planning my walk about in a few hours.


Bucharest – Day Two, Kinda


A late afternoon flight to Istanbul and I have time for a highlight self guided walking tour of Bucharest.


  Bucharest Samsung 110                                                                                                                               With a simple metro system, I board M1-Yellow Line from Gara de Nord to Piata Victoriei.



Bucharest Samsung 090 A short walk from Piata Victoriei and I am at Arcul de Triumf built in 1922 for Romania’s Great War Dead.

The original Arc was made of wood.



Across from The Arc of Triumph is a huge park that today in one small area is hosting an arts and craft street fair.


Bucharest Samsung 092


Bucharest Samsung 093 There are numerous gardens, play areas and walking paths to be enjoyed.





Bucharest Samsung 094


Back on the metro I exit at Piata Uniri and begin a walk towards The Parliament Building.


Bucharest Samsung 099 Bulevardul Unirii is lined with water fountains all the way to Parliament.






Bucharest Samsung 103


Bucharest Samsung 102The waterfalls are an impressive “eye of the storm” as you walk the very busy street.





Bucharest Samsung 107

At the intersection of Libertatii and Unirii is the front of Parliament Building a huge complex.

It’s past 1:30PM as I leave Parliament and head back to Gara de Nord. I do not have the luxury to take the inexpensive Airport Bus LE$6 for a 4:25PM flight. Instead, at this point the extra LE$44 for a taxi seems worth it.


Bucharest Samsung 111

Despite traffic jams in the city the cab drive does a nice job getting me to the airport on time even after stop for gas and probably to “check his mail”.

Except for having to raid my “trust fund”, I am now glad I missed my original flight from Budapest to Istanbul. I can now cross Romania of my list of “195 Countries To Visit Before I Die”.

I am sure a return is in my future because like Count Dracula I also enjoy the nightlife here.


Bucharest Samsung 112With Seat 14D Boarding Pass, there is no doubt that I will make it to Istanbul.

Tarom 263, Please Take Me To The Land of The Great Ottoman Empire.

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