Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bucharest

Made it back to Bucharest safe and sound. Not sure why but it seems that Romania is draining my energy because I feel lazy again. Believe it or not, almost everyone we talk to says that Bucharest sucks and to skip it. It certainly isn't the most interesting or happiest place we've been but it's not really that bad either. If I had to sum up the entire country in one word it would be "gray" and that seems to be the story of Bucharest too. It has some great architecture and impressive buildings but unlike the nicer cities in Europe it's all just one depressing gray colour. Must really suck to be here in the winter. In that sense though it's probably a lot like home.... Anyway, unlike the truly beautiful cities where a lot of work has been put in recently to maintain everything, it feels like Bucharest has been neglected and it's more like visiting a dying beauty on her death bed. Hopefully joining the EU will bring her back to life.
It is saturday today and obviously people here don't do much on the weekend because the centre of town was quite dead. Where are all the people? There doesn't seem to be much of a tourist centre either and we couldn't even find any souvenir shops. The main "attraction" now is the massively huge parliament building built by the last communist leader, Ceausescu. Actually, his story is especially interesting to us because he demolished huge stretches of the city for his crazy building projects. Stretching out from the parliament building is a very long street modelled on the Champs Elysees in Paris, complete with massive fountains and wide sidewalks. Totally reminds us of Ashgabat and the crazy Turkmenistan president's projects. Maybe Bucharest is a good example of what Ashgabat will look like 15 years after Turkmenbashi is gone and people stop maintaining everything. (Made it back to Bucharest safe and sound. Not sure why but it seems that Romania is draining my energy because I feel lazy again. Believe it or not, almost everyone we talk to says that Bucharest sucks and to skip it. It certainly isn't the most interesting or happiest place we've been but it's not really that bad either. If I had to sum up the entire country in one word it would be "gray" and that seems to be the story of Bucharest too. It has some great architecture and impressive buildings but unlike the nicer cities in Europe it's all just one depressing gray colour. Must really suck to be here in the winter. In that sense though it's probably a lot like home.... Anyway, unlike the truly beautiful cities where a lot of work has been put in recently to maintain everything, it feels like Bucharest has been neglected and it's more like visiting a dying beauty on her death bed. Hopefully joining the EU will bring her back to life.
It is saturday today and obviously people here don't do much on the weekend because the centre of town was quite dead. Where are all the people? There doesn't seem to be much of a tourist centre either and we couldn't even find any souvenir shops. The main "attraction" now is the massively huge parliament building built by the last communist leader, Ceausescu. Actually, his story is especially interesting to us because he demolished huge stretches of the city for his crazy building projects. Stretching out from the parliament building is a very long street modelled on the Champs Elysees in Paris, complete with massive fountains and wide sidewalks. Totally reminds us of Ashgabat and the crazy Turkmenistan president's projects. Maybe Bucharest is a good example of what Ashgabat will look like 15 years after Turkmenbashi is gone and people stop maintaining everything. (Ceausescu was overthrown and executed during the 1989 revolution here. We'll have to wait and see what happens to Turkmenbashi...)
It was nice to walk around for a bit but there is no need to get stuck here like we did in Brasov. Tomorrow we are taking the train to Varna, Bulgaria for a few days relaxation on the Black Sea coast.
Ammon

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