I visited Romania, including
in Oct.'05 and was surprised with how friendly everyone was throughout my entire two week trip. Romanians are very polite, hard working people.
was a huge disappointment and I don't recommend this city as a tourist destination. As our first introduction to Romania, Bucharest was depressing, ugly, and we hated it. I wish we had seen more of the countryside and stayed in Brasov -- we visited for a day and liked it. If you're going to Bucharest for cheap beer, clubbing, and staying out late, you'll probably like it. Otherwise, stay away. There's no tourist information office, which means you have to go searching for a map and any other info you need. The city is dirty, sadly ugly, and the people seem beaten down. I never thought I'd miss those schlocky tourist shops, but I did -- no postcards, no souvenirs, even finding bottled water was difficult. The metro was incredibly confusing, although fast and cheap. The food was mediocre but cheap. Everything was cheap, so it's easy to stay on a budget. The stray dogs and cats wandering around, the children sleeping in the streets, the taxi drivers trying to rip you off -- it…
is a unique city with lots to offer... let's not forget it was once known as the "Paris of the East". True, not all parts of Bucharest are luxurious, but the culture, welcoming people and great architecture makes it worth while.
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).
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.
is the ugliest, most depressing, most boring large city I have ever visited. I cannot understand how in the world anyone can call this city "the Paris of Eastern Europe" -- it's the biggest misnomer I've ever heard. There are a handful of splendid buildings in the city center around Piata Universitate but everything else in between is pure squalor. The only truly interesting sight is the big Palace, built by Romania's last dictator Ceausescu, which really impressed me by its monumental size and beautifully decorated interior. Having travelled through other eastern European countries, I found food prices in Bucharest relatively high. Inexpensive restaurants are very hard to come by. If you want to have a good time and live on a low budget, visit Sofia, which is a very charming city with a great night life and lower prices.
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