Bucharest, Romania – a visit

Bucharest was a city about which I knew little. I knew that the fictional character of Count Dracula hailed from Transylvania in the north of Romania. The city of Sibiu was a beautiful location when I visited the week before Christmas in 2021. The Romanian capital city was a mystery to me. I’d heard grim murmurings about how the city was polluted and crime-ridden. However when Ryanair had a flash sale last  month I noticed that a return flight to Bucharest would cost 60eur for a four night stay in January. I purchased my ticket, invited my friend and departed last Friday morning. A dive into the unknown.

Parliament Palace

From Dublin the flight takes 3.5 hours. We landed in Otopeni Airport (located twenty kilometres north of the city) at 5pm. It was already dark. Purchasing a seven day public transport pass we took the number 783 bus to the Old Town Centre – called Lipscani. The rain was heavy but the forecast for the coming days was encouraging. Upon arrival we encountered a friendly gentleman who attempted to assist us in entering my friend’s apartment (we were staying a five minute walk from each other). His motives were mercenary, his assistance was unnecessary but he wasn’t threatening. That evening we dined in the pub downstairs from my flat before heading to a bar called the Storage Room for a few sociables. It was quite plush in its décor. What was that smell though? Indoors? It was very retro. There were ashtrays on every table and people were happily puffing on cigarettes and shisha pipes. Smoking is banned in bars in Romania – but I guess this venue never got the email.

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Stavropepleos Monastery Church

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