A few months ago my friend Lisa had a trip for work to Bucharest, Romania – so I decided to meet her there. It was a great opportunity for the two of us to get together … and do a little sightseeing.
Bucharest was a fascinating mix between blocky communist architecture, and the beautiful Parisian-style architecture that predates the communists.
We were basically sight seeing for a weekend, so we did a bit of walking around, taking pictures of the buildings and checking out the sights. Bucharest itself actually looked pretty bad at first, as we got lost in the in the middle of the city, wandering among ugly buildings, along busy streets, and dirty corners. But things looked much brighter when we finally wandered down an under-construction road (in search of a restaurant from our guidebook) and found the ‘old-town’ area. It was adorable. Pedestrian-only, clean streets, umbrella covered tables on the sidewalk, and Parisian-style old post offices and such. Thank goodness we finally found that area!
The food was pretty great. There was lots of polenta – which I love, and meat, and some pretty good desserts.
We also toured the Palace of Parliament, a communist monstrosity – second in size only to the Pentagon. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Palace is the world’s largest civilian administrative building, most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building. The thing was unfathomably huge, it’s hard to really conceptualize.We took an hour long tour inside – admiring Romanian marble, rugs, wood carving, and chandeliers … and barely scratched the surface of the place.
Other items of interest included the Roman peasant museum, and, the tourist trap that we couldn’t resist … the Count Dracula Club. Famed Transylvania is in Romania, so they take advantage of tourists with a themed bar/restaurant. Lisa and I were almost the only people in the place, and they seated us alone, in a corner, atop a rickety iron platform. Our table was a trunk with a blood-red table cloth. Our chairs were dungeon style iron benches, hanging from chains in the brick wall. It was hilarious. The whole place was lit by candle lights and red mood lighting. Lisa and I ordered some drinks (including tuica – plum-flavored Romanian brandy) and soaked in the atmosphere. Our 19 year old waiter flirted with us … and then blew out the candle for the pleasure of hearing us freak out in the pitch black with the spooky music. Which … of course, we did. We were literally holding hands. We were pretty convinced that Ryan and Brad (Lisa’s husband) would have been laughing at us if they were there. But they weren’t … so we held hands … and freaked out.
A little while later they turned off the lights – leaving only candelight, and Dracula’s voice echoed through the building. He slowly made his way around to our table (where we were, of course, trapped in a corner) and proceeded to touch and admire my neck in the creepiest creepiest fashion. *shiver*. He kept leaving and coming back … and echoing stories about people who had come to his house before … yeah – we didn’t calm down until it was very clear the show was over & Dracula began posing for pictures with tourists.
It was a pretty fun trip overall, and it was great to see Lisa. :)