Wednesday, December 12, 2012


We left Brasov around noon the next day, and took a train down to Bucharest. When we arrived at our hostel, it was already getting dark. It was a dreary rainy sort of day, and it took us forever to walk to our hostel which was pretty far from the metro stop they suggested we get off at.
It was also in a... interesting neighborhood. This was one of the houses on the street. Also note the sketchy apartment complex to the right. The hostel itself was brand new, and it looked like they had bought one of these abandoned houses and fixed it up. It had high ceilings and crown molding. The beds were in what were probably once dining and living rooms. It was an odd mix of elegant and...hostel. There were unframed cheaply printed pictures on the wall, and a room with at least 8 beds in it can only be so fancy. 
One of the people staying in our room was an american truck driver in his 40s who claimed he was in Romania to find a wife. Later he was replaced by this guy who spent his entire time there in bed on his computer. Hosteling is always full of characters.
The first night, we didn't do much. We went to McDo for dinner (it was gigantic! They had a special area for Birthday parties and a separate cafe  -- it is easily the biggest McDo I've ever been in in my life). Then we walked down the "Champs Elysee of Romania". This huge boulevard was specifically designed to be a "challenge" to the Champs Elysee of Paris and was designed to be some nominal amount of meters longer just to show them up. I didn't really get what the point of that was, but Tristan suggested that what the communists were trying to say was something like "Your Champs Elysee is only for the rich. It is based on commercialism. Ours is lined with housing for the people."  Anyway, I'm sure that today these apartments are some of the most expensive in the country.

We ended the night by playing a pirated version of Monopoly in the hostel's abandoned common room. 
The next day we saw all the sights of Bucharest which there weren't that many of, to be honest. 

The national library. It's clear that Romania has fully embraced capitalism.

The People's Palace - or today the House of Parliament. It's one of the biggest Parliament buildings in the world, or something. There are pictures of me with this building, but they must have been taken with Tristan's camera, and I still don't have those photos

This disturbing and befuddling monument is the Revolution Square where one of the key events of the revolution took place (I guess that might be obvious)
We had an early dinner at a popular Romanian restaurant. Normally you need reservations, but not when you eat at 5. It was really delicious. I had a sausage and bean soup dish, and Tristan had chicken schnitzel. Then we went back to the hostel to rest our extremely tired feet. We had intended to go back out but we never did. We did make one small trip out to the small store around the corner for water -- which was pretty nervous-making because the neighborhood's general abandonedness. We paid for our water through the window because they don't let you in after a certain time and we made it back without incident.

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