Bucharest: a story told from experience
January 1, 1970
by Raluca Minzat
Many of you may have heard about this city a lot of bad things, like the fact that there are many junkies or gypsies or whatever and you may consider it depraved, a vicious city but let’s face it, which city doesn’t has it’s bad sides? Every city in this various world has it’s downsides.
Let me tell you the first impression that I have had when I came in Bucharest for the first time. It was an year ago, when I applied for college. My impression? Diversity! A city of everything. I was so excited about the people and delighted about the stimulating atmosphere. I tell you, this city has LIFE (literally speaking), is challenging.
Now, I don’t want to make you believe is the city of perfection, I don’t want to extoll it and rise a castle in it’s behalf. It’ s just a city after all, but an unique one, worth seeing.
Well, I guess that I’ll have to make a list with tourist attractions but as you have guessed Google is full of it, here’s a link. However, for those of you who still haven’t searched it I’ll let you a personal list with places I’ve been and some comments about these.
Places where you can hang out
- Herastrau Park: 3 words: big, peace and activities. Honestly this is my fave, this is the winner of the parks contest from my head. As a nature lover that I like to believe I am, I find myself often lost among the sounds of trees, squirrels and the most beautiful, the sound of silence ( excepting the days with events taking place in the park).
- Cismigiu Park: or Cismigiu Gardens, what I love about this place is the fact that there it is a stronghold.
- Izvor Park: what’s so special about this one? Well, it’s located near Palace of the Parliament. From my point of view, it has a good view.
- IOR Park: or Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park ( he was a voivode, prince of Romania about 150 years ago), and from my perspective it is a very romantic place to spend time with your beloved.
- Lacul Morii: or ”Mill Lake”, very windy usually but this place has a little island with some ruins on it ( it’s very cool actually).
- Tineretului Park: usually full of young people
P.S. This places have a couple of things in common, such as renting bicycles ( Herastrau and Tineretului) and it has lakes (Herastrau, Cismigiu, IOR, Lacul Morii and Tineretului).
P.P.S. Yeah, I’m a nature lover after all.
Something cute I’ve found on one of the Dambovita bridges.
- National Museum of the Roumanian Peasant: now a half of it is under renovation, and believe me, is quite big. May be very useful, interesting for foreign people.
- Cotroceni National Museum: or Cotroceni Palace, I have to admit that it is astonishing…and heavily guarded, but worth paying a visit.
- ”Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History: this is a must-see place when you come to Bucharest. Totally worth it!
P.S. Yes, yes, shame on me for the fact that I’ve only visited three museums, what can I do? the college occupies most of my time.
What else I love about this city? Walking along Victory Avenue (Calea Victoriei) on foot. It has this european but classy air due to the architectural structure, museums, statues. I found myself a couple of times wandering for hours at night, it is a good place for thinking.
Maybe you’re wondering why I’m not saying anything about the clubs, that’s because I’m not attending clubs (yeah, I’m that kind of girl) but if you’re coming to Bucharest you’ll not lack of clubs. There are plenty of them, both for rich people and for average people. For example: Kulturhaus, Silver Church, Princess Club, Bamboo Club, BOA – Beat of Angels Club, Chaboo Club&Pool. And I can recommand you some pubs, most of them located in the Historical Center like: Oktoberfest Pub, Finnish Cocktail&Club, The Vintage Pub, Student Pub, Club Surubelnita, Old City, and many others.
I used to spend a lot of my leisure time in Carturesti bookstores due to the peaceful atmosphere and for the special places for reading. Most of the books are in roumanian but they have books in english and in french too. Best place to hang out for the books lovers!
What about food?
How could I forget something so important? Besides the dozens of restaurants existing in Bucharest, locals favorite dish is prepared at Dristor Kebab or Dristor Doner, same thing. I mean I’ve been there, the food is delicious, and it’s unique. I think that the brand is owned by some turkish man.
The Historical Center
The center of fun, drinking, dancing, socializing and whatever you want to do. The perfect combination of classic and modern, youthful and a little wild and forbidden by night. Not recommended if you want to have a quiet evening. Quite ironic considering the name of the place.
People from Bucharest are hospitable, generally speaking. But there are exceptions as in any other country. I think that they are a little more conservative than occidental people, but it is not generally available. Most of them are kindly, politely, always in hurry, very aggressive in traffic (bad infrastructure), some of them very helpful.
I will mention about homeless people too or very poor people (most elderly), trying to make a living selling various things, singing or playing an instrument. You can see most of them in Union Square, trams, subway.
There are also areas in Bucharest of ill repute as Ferentari and some of Rahova. These neighbourhoods are inhabited by gypsies in bulk. I’m not saying this because I’m a racist, no way, and no one should be, but people who live in these areas are known for the fact that they are more violent and rob people. And of course, there are good people too as in any other culture, race.
As I said at the beginning of the article, Bucharest is a city of everything and is a city for everyone. Very energetic, alive, as a tireless beating heart that will never die. It isn’t perfect, but neither should be.