Bucharest has an air of faded grandeur. I had heard negative things from friends who had visited it and read equally negative comments on travel sites, but I warmed to the city.
It has those massive imposing buildings that European cities do so well and the U.K. doesn’t do at all. Sadly many of them look neglected and there is a lot of graffiti. Not the colourful, imaginative, street art graffiti that I saw and loved in Latin America. Just words sprayed in black. There are also gaps where some buildings are skeletal and roofless.
But the old city, where I was staying, has a lot of bookshops and several theatres (always a good sign, in my opinion).
Do not believe the Foreign Office website when it tells you that most businesses in Bucharest will accept euros. Despite being technically in the Euro Zone the official currency is the local lei (lions). Pretty much anywhere I came across turned their noses up at euros, apart from my hotel which graciously deigned to accept payment in euros when I completely forgot the PIN for my credit card.
I can highly recommend the Romanian Museum of Kitsch which probably deserves a post to itself. Watch this space.
From what I have experienced so far Romanian cuisine is delicious, filling, fattening and served in extremely large portions. Good job I was walking around a lot.
The people I came across were kind and friendly (especially the waiter who ran after me with the mobile phone I had left behind on a table). They also spoke English. Thanks to You Tube I can now speak about six words of Romanian and that’s it.
After a few days in Bucharest on my own, I have now joined up with my Angloville group to volunteer on an English conversation programme for a week, as I was missing teaching English, travelling and meeting new people.