Friday, 1 June 2018

Bucharest, Romania (DoubleTree by Hilton, Unirii Square)

Today I’m planning to walk to the old part of Budapest. On the way out the door I let the hotel’s front desk know that I’ll sign up for the day trip to Vlad’s Castle on Monday. I read the reviews and many people enjoyed the visit, so why not go?

It is still very warm in Bucharest and thankful that I’m staying in an air conditioned room. The temperature was in the high 70’s when I left, but will probably close to 90 when I walk back.

I followed my phone’s GPS and took the back streets to the old city rather than walk down one of the main streets. I had to zig-zag down a few narrow streets and backtracked a couple of times, but got to where I needed to be in about 45 minutes. I wanted to see what the neighborhoods looked like that were behind the large apartment buildings that line the city’s grand boulevards.

Most of the city is a little run down and most sidewalks and streets are in need of repair. I can see effort is being made to make upgrades but think it will be a number of years before the restoration is complete. So many new buildings, but this is a city of two million and there is still so much work to do. The people seem happy for the most part, though homeless people can be found in a number of places.

The oldest part of the city is relatively small. Recent efforts to restore this part of the city have been successful. This is where a good share of Bucharest’s night life happens and many excellent restaurants and bars can be found here. Between former President Nicolae Ceausescu’s plans for new buildings and a major earthquake in 1977, many buildings were torn down and replaced.

I enjoyed walking down a few of the streets in the old city where you could get a sense of what it looked like. The Carturesti Carusel is a well-known bookstore that has retained and enhanced its old world charm.

From there I walked back to the hotel. I was drenched in sweat and ready for a shower. And a nap.

After posting a travel blog update, I started working on confirming reservations to visit Istanbul, Turkey and Malta before returning to London mid-July. I was glad to get those plans out of the way.

Cousin Craig and I spoke several times about Aunt Floye – his dad’s and my grandfather’s oldest sister. We remember all of the trips she took to many countries around the world and the souvenirs she brought back after each of these trips. She started to travel in the 50’s after her two sons were on their own. It was extraordinary for many people to travel to some of the remote places she visited. She certainly had the courage to get out and see the world. I’ve been carrying around with me as I travel a picture of her when she graduated high school and a lock of her hair that I intended to send to her family, but haven’t received a reply back from anyone who is interested. I guess she will continue to travel with me as I continue my adventures.

After a small dinner in the coffee shop off of the hotel lobby, I returned to my room and watched a couple of episodes of The Crown.

Tomorrow I’m walking to the Palace of the Parliament. It is a bit further away that today’s walk. It will be good exercise.

To see pictures: CLICK HERE

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