If I had to sum up Bucharest in one word, it would be “gritty”. A lot of it is not well kept up, but it also feels like it might have a hip underground vibe to it. The people are not as friendly toward tourists like Poland was, but I’m always appreciative to see new places.
I think two full days in Bucharest is sufficient.
For a third day, I recommend a day trip to Sinaia.
Draculas Castle is way overrated. I don’t recommend it.
Definitely stay in or near to the old town.
Use Uber. Taxis here are notorious for overcharging.
Do a free walking tour to learn some of the history and to get a feel of where things are at.
Be sure to try Romanian wine.
Sr. Elizondo took a rest day, so I was on my own. With map in hand, iPhone charged, I was ready to go. Normally, this would not be a big deal. However, Bucharest has no English signs/translations, and many people do not speak English either. No fear!
It turned out, I did need help a few times with directions. While customer service in businesses is lacking here, individuals on the street were friendly and kind. They used their broken English and hand signals to put me in the right direction and all with a smile. I hope they understood my gratitude in return.
I love visiting parks when I travel. Here is Cigismiu Park.
Finding my way back to Victoria Street, I went into the National Art Museum. A local told me I was lucky to see thie royal palace as it’s usually closed for events.
Onward to the Palace of a Parliament. This is one of the biggest if not the biggest parliament building in Europe. It’s ginormous.
I walked by this Orthodox Church (the main religion in Romania) and took a peek inside.
On my way back to the hotel, I did some shopping at Cos and purchased a couple of books with stories set in Romania.
Not bad for a day on my own.
We arrived late into Bucharest so I hired a private transfer to the hotel. Our driver was so friendly and full of information. His two bits of advice: “Don’t walk to the right of our hotel at night” and “Don’t take taxis. Ubers are better $”. Got it.
For the first day, we decided to wing it without a specific itinerary. The thing that becomes immediately apparent is the buildings. Bucharest has some beautiful architecture that commands your attention. It’s a shame they are not all in their pristine state. I understand why it used to be called Little Paris.
Here’s a building that has seen better days, but I”m sure it was a beauty at one time.
Today was a whopping high of 97 degrees! A high noon beer break in the shade was necessary.
(Tip: Here and in Poland they are not familiar with the term “pale ale”. Call it blonde and save yourself the confusion.)
The “Old Town” is on the smaller side with mostly restaurants and shops.. It”s not a traditional old town, but more of an area designated to be the “Old Town”.
The one shop I was sure to visit was Carturesti Bookstore.
My thought about Bucharest after day one is the city has such potential to be a tourist mecca, but isn’t interested in being one. They don’t feel that open towards tourists.
I finally pushed the “book” button and Sr. Elizondo and l will be on our way to Eastern Europe this summer. After much deliberation, we decided to spend two weeks in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. I’m beyond excited since I know very little about these countries, and can’t wait to start researching and putting together an itinerary for us.
Bran Castle (aka: Dracula’s Castle) Transylvania is definitely on the ‘must see’ list.