The difference between Romania and the US is about as wide as the difference between staying in a 5 star hotel and a Super 8. It looks familiar but is completely different is so many aspects. Just walking around town, you can tell the people have been through a lot, from forced communism to the breaking up of the Soviet Union to getting rid of there dominant leader via hanging. It was rare to make eye contact and absolutely no one offered a friendly greeting, quite a contrast to what I’ve grown accustomed to in Little Rock. The roads were filthy with cars parked on all the sidewalks, and just a few blocks off the main road, you could see the remnants off all the Soviet construction which likely amassed 80% of the buildings.
Our hotel was a few blocks north of the center of Bucharest, and likely the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. Five star hotels are truly in a league of their own, no matter the country. It was a sharp contrast to the building directly across the street, with it’s busted in windows and broken balconies with 1980’s era satellite dishes. All the while, there is evidence of progress. There were many upper class stores along our street along with new hotels, casinos, and restaurants. We didn’t figure this out though until the next day because we landed about 9pm and got to the hotel about 1130. That first night the hotel called ahead to a restaurant around the corner, who were kind enough to stay open late so we could eat. The food was fantastic. I had a local plate called mossakka, which is kind of like a blend between lasagna and shepard's pie.
After a decent breakfast buffet, we went walking around town to view the sites to see. The amount of history here is just as much if not more than the land we flew over the day prior. The university was a few blocks away, as well as the second largest building in the world, the People’s House. Apparently, the old president used to live there and there are many stories and rumors about what happened inside the building back in the communist days, most of which are probably not the kind you want spread. That evening we ate at a restaurant with traditional fare that is about 120 years old. Once again I tried a new Romanian meal, which was just as good as the last nights fare. Finally, on at about 3am the next morning we all left for the airport to fly to Southwest Asia.
the day i almost died
3 years ago