Of dead batteries and powerful parks

Another day, another two interviews. We still couldn’t let go of Piața Victoriei so that when we met up with our first interview partner of the day it was one of the topics we talked about. Caterina Preda, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Bucharest, gave us some really interesting insights into the connections between the protests, street art and public space.

For instance she told us about how the protests since the 2012 Roșia Montană protests have truly been places for socialising with friends and acquaintances and at the recent protests since winter 2017 people have even been bringing food and hot tea for the protesters so they could stay longer in the cold. She talked about this as Bucharest’s very own culture of protesting.

When the protests against the government started in the winter of 2017 people started bringing funny messages to Piața Victoriei. Every night people – including Caterina – would go to see what people had come up with.

Halfway into the interview, the battery of the camera died, so we had to improvise a bit. It was a very valuable lesson as to why it can come in really handy to have two batteries because when your camera display is telling you that you have still got 70% battery left, it is obviously lying to you.

Caterina also gave us a lot of recommendations on what we should see in the city, so we have been contemplating staying another week because there is sooo much to see here!

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Upon her recommendation we walked through Parcul Cișmigiu on our way to our meeting with Stefan, still thinking about our realization that small green spaces and also parks, as we have heard from some people, might be the true public spaces of Bucharest. We told both Stefan and Caterina about this theory. Stefan had a somewhat different view on the issue, Caterina, however, somewhat agreed. After thinking about it she came to the conclusion that the only public spaces she uses are the parks in her neighbourhood.

Stefan however stressed his point about shopping centres, being clean and big, and other private spaces like apartments as the spaces people really use for meeting friends and hanging out. The use of apartments for meeting friends and hanging out seem to be a continuity from Communist times when people felt safer in their own private spaces, the only spaces that were their own, that weren’t monitored.

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We met with Stefan at beans & dots, a cafè located in a multi-functional hipster building, including many co-working spaces, cafès and a theatre in the basement. After our meeting with him we called it a day and walked back to our hostel, once again enjoying the architecture and spirit of the city.

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Building of the day: House at Calea Victoriei 32-34

Insider joke of the day: Has the battery died?

GIF of the day:  #camera #interview #deadbattery

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