Monday, May 31, 2010

Travel Log: Bucharest. Again.

I really like Bucharest. And I take back all those nasty things I ever said about it before I actually went there. But you see, everyone I knew who had been there spoke so poorly of the place, I just had to figure it wasn't worth the time. Oh but those people clearly never left the train station or airport, which, I will be the first to admit, are pretty awful places. I know, I know, I've written about Bucharest already, and even about one failed attempt to get there, but I just have to talk about it again.

Bucharest makes me feel like I'm home in New York City. Kind of. The hustle and bustle. The metro (which is decidedly small but way cleaner and nicer cars). The cultural activities. The museums. The parks. The fashion. The RESTAURANTS. The expensiveness of it all. Oh, I could live there in a heartbeat. And go broke a few heartbeats later.

I have now been to Bucharest four (five?) times, always to accompany a friend for doctor's appointments. But each time I made it my goal to see a little something something, and this most recent time, I decided to stay a few extra days for a mini-vacation to explore a bit more. I now know the subway without looking at a map (not terribly hard, considering it's only 3 lines), and can find my way from place to place on foot without a map (at least in main chunk of the city). While there I have eaten Thai, Sushi, Turkish, Lebanese, and Italian food, sat for hours on end at wonderful cafes and tea shops, and just generally enjoyed being in a major world city. Ok so maybe "major world city" is a bit generous. But. It's great. Did I mention the lattes? I even ate a real salad, a salad like I think of salad in America and which doesn't involve boiled potatoes or mayonnaise but does include lots of greens, cherry tomatoes, and grated parmesan cheese. This is kind of a big deal. Can I get an Amen?

Sushi place in Lipscani, the "old city." Oh my gosh, it was so expensive and so amazingly good, I had to take a picture

Habibi Lebanese restaurant. I actually intended to go to another one, but I didn't even remotely consider there would be TWO across the street from each other, so when I saw Lebanese, I assumed this was it. Sadly, it was not it, and I think the other one was probably better. C'est la vie

Divan Turkish restaurant. Food = awesome. Ratio of chair height to table height = less than awesome

Inside the People's Palace, the 2nd largest building in the world after the Pentagon. Pretty much a bunch of massive rooms and hallways and government spaces

Great hidden tea house called Serendipity. The inside is way cozy as well

With my former roommate and teammate Luci (in Bucharest to help Dave and Erin with the kiddos when Erin goes into labor) at the fountains in the center of town which were on for the first time I've seen!

I still want to see a few more museums and catch the philharmonic or some kind of theatre. And since it looks like my friend will have a follow-up appointment at the end of this summer, I bet I may just be able to make that happen. Until then... 

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