Of public space and farewells

Our last entire day in Bucharest, the city we had learned to love in these last few days, came fast. Surprised and sad about how fast the week had passed, we headed to our first appointment. Florin Badița, civic activist and initiator of ‘Corruption kills’, or in Romanian ‘Corupția ucide’ and his friend Dalia agreed to meet with us, once again, at Piața Victoriei, one of the most important squares for our project.

Both pointed out that the protest culture in Romania is strongly evolving and that people want to become more active in civic life and also think more about public space. We also learned that Romanian society is still learning to express their free speech in public space through protests.

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With our heads full we headed to the Palace of the Parliament or “House of the People”. Separated into two different groups we experienced the second biggest administrative building in the world. Huge halls, long hallways, gigantic carpets and heavy curtains accompanied our tour. From the balcony of the building we could see the whole huge Boulevardul Unirii and Piața Constituției, where a stage for a festival was just being built. It was a nice contrast to see the square empty and not crowded by cars, but surrounded by cars along a fence around the square. After the end of our tour we went through Parcul Izvor to Parcul Cișmigiu, being as lively as ever and thus, a big contrast to the huge and empty rooms we had just seen.

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Arriving at Parcul Cișmigiu we met with Oana-Valentina Suciu, assistant professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of Bucharest. Oana appeared to us to be one of the most likeable people from the start and we ended up having one of our longest meetings with her – Thank you, Oana!

From Oana we learned that with the evolving of the protest culture the culture of being kind to each other was rediscovered by the people in Bucharest too – at least during the protests. She more or less agreed to our theory about the in-between spaces and little green spots but added that the people using these spots and spaces often do not realise that they in fact are using public space.

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Finished with our conversation we said our goodbyes and went through the park to one of her recommendations, Cărturești Carusel. It turned out to be a real insider tip: the old art nouveau building was restored beautifully and houses a bookshop now. Shopping for books, postcards and ceramics, we had a realisation: this is our last night in Bucharest – we had to enjoy the atmosphere of the city once more. Getting some Asian food and having a drink at a rooftop bar seemed to us the perfect ending to a perfect field trip. We drank to everything we had experienced, to everyone we had met and vowed to visit Bucharest again.

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Building of the day: Cărturești Carusel, the bookshop

Insider joke of the day: “How about we stay another week in Bucharest?”

GIF of the day: #leaving #sad #wanttostay

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