Europa dell'Est & Russia
Wow, some travelers just don't see
's charm. And I wonder how they miss all the beauty amongst the orderly chaos. I intended to "stomach" the city for four days because I had heard so many negative things and I liked it so much that after I toured the rest of the country, I came back and stayed six more days in Bucharest. I am glad that I have the ability to see the beauty along with the beast in every place I visit. If you like perfect order, stay in Paris and pay the high prices. Bucharest is for the more adventurous who want to rub elbows with the real world.
I urge anyone is planning to go to
to stay well away. It’s damp, smelly, thieves, beggars, insects and bad sanitation (I mean real bad).
is a great town, with everything from a vibrant night life to the oldest museum in Europe. The middle-ages part of the city is wonderful, and if you visit it during August you might just be there for the medieval festival.
I spent time in
and other parts of Romania in the early 1970s while working there for a U.S.-based cultural exchange program. Even though under Communist rule, the city was clean, safe to walk around at all hours, with no thieves and beggars. With freedom comes responsibility -- I visited again in 1996 and was appalled at the amount of garbage in the streets and the fourfold increase in traffic. The people that I interfaced and worked with during the '70s were fantastic -- I have many good memories and mental photographs of those times.
Don't go to
in winter -- it could be depressing. But in spring and summer, with all the old buildings and villas -- often real palaces -- in the shade of kind of a forest of old trees, it gets really romantic. It's a city for walking, discovering narrow, leafy backstreets; getting lost in old, quite chaotic, but charming quarters. You can't compare it with any other big city in Europe.
has the best mici (meat rolls) ever. Sarmala is also very good.
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