I took off from Timisoara at about 5 in the morning to catch the early morning train to Bucharest. Apparently Bucharest and Budapest are two of the most commonly confused city names, so to clarify I am currently in the capital of Romania.
I got to the hostel about eleven hours later and went to grab a quick bite to eat right around the corner. The food here is so hearty and cheap. Any and all passionate meat eaters need to take a trip to the Balkans because it is probably one of the only places where you can find meat stuffed with more meat! Being a vegetarian here would be a waste of an amazing meat culture. Also, the beer is fantastic. Germany seems a bit overrated from these part of the world. All the graffiti, food, and drinks are just as good if not better here (less touristy).
Because I was quite exhausted from the train, I called it a night and decided to explore the next day.
Bucharest is not my favorite city, but it is interesting none-the-less. Each building was drastically different from another. The architecture schizophrenically changed shape with every passing block. From communist, to Romanian, to French, to Roman all the buildings constantly changed design.
I find the communist architecture interesting but not very aesthetically pleasing. One building specifically was unbelievably large and hilariously oxymoronic. The Parliament building/palace which was built during the communist era is astoundingly not socialistic as it cost nearly 4 billion euros to construct (money that could have been used on the people), is one of the largest buildings in the world, and it mostly unused. The only plus side to visiting was that we actually got to see the Prime Minister while we were there because the wealth required to construct such a building could have been spent on so many more useful ways.
A girl I met from Australia was telling me that there is an entire community of folks here in Bucharest who live in the sewers. Because they have no way of making money, many children and adults climb beneath the city to stay warm in the cold winter nights. It seems like such a waste to have spent so much money on a almost entirely unused/useless building when so many of the Romanian people need more resources.
I was speaking to a new friend who is from Bucharest and he told me that most of the people here hate that building because it represents such corruption. On post cards he wants his home to be represented by the Opera house – an indicator of culture, instead of this monument of superfluous spending.
I think the reason I did not like Bucharest as much as other cities in the Balkans is because everything was interesting but not fascinating, beautiful but not gorgeous, it was nice but not fantastic. I guess I’m trying to say that nothing particularly stood out to me about this place, I think Timisoara was a better fit for me.
I will say however though that Bucharest has amazing night life. The drinks are cheap and the main city center has bar after bar after club lined up next to each other. The objectification of women was too much for me to enjoy it. The center seemed like a mix of Vegas, Amsterdam and Octoberfest to me. Anyone who wants to party would love this part of Europe. The nightlife has been pretty fantastic and I’m here during the off-season.
So now I’m off to Transylvania.