Ahh Bucharest, the so called Paris of the east. It really isn’t but the communist leader of Romania, Nicolae Ceauşescu had ambitions of it being so. My first stop was to the Presidential palace, which is now the parliament building among many other things. Apparently its the second largest building in the world by surface area. Its also commonly labelled as the world most unnecessary building also. It was built on land devastated by an earthquake. The funny thing was, Ceauşescu wanted the land to build his grand palace of all things Romanian, but to do it he need to knock down 40,000 houses and a stadium. An earthquake did the hard part and building commenced.
Ceauşescu never lived long enough to see the completed building. He was killed before it was finished and many of his plans for the internal decorations were too communist to follow through with. Still the place is almost made completely from marble.
I paid the princely sum of 25 lei ($8 AUD) for the tour, but wait the next tour leaving in english was a long tour and that was 45 lei. Oh if i want to take photos thats another 30 lei. The tour ended up costing $25 AUD and lasted for 2 hours. No wonder communism was toppled in this country where the leader drove Mercedes and had a gigantic marble palace while the people drove around in Dacia 1300’s.
The bleakness of the weather suited the bleakness that some of the city portrayed, but really the main difference between Bucharest and many other cities is it is the one in Romania and suffered at the hands of a communist regime who liked to knock buildings down for very functional but bland grey concrete towers.
After the opulance of the palatial tour, i went for the opulance of a nice 3 course lunch at one of the best Restaurants in Bucharest, Caru’ cu Bere. For 30 lei ($10) I had the chicken soup followed by the pork and salad, followed by cake and all washed down with half a litre of their own brewed beer. I then proceeded to walk around the city til I couldn’t walk anymore.
Tomorrow I’m off to the heart of Transylvania, Brasov. I will be able to answer that age old question “Can you buy a dracula snowdome?”