Our train to Bucharest gives the impression as if it had travelled to us straight from the last century: a blue Romanian train, complete with hectic Romanian train conductors speaking only Romanian and a few English phrases – our first encounter with the country we are going to spend the next week in. The sign on the train announces a journey from Wien Westbahnhof to Bucuresti Nord – another reminder of the not too distant past.
The wooden interior of our train coach reminds us of a boat’s interior, meanwhile the train conductor wants to sell us a two-person-compartment for 40€ extra. Neither him nor his offer seem particularly trustworthy to us, so we decline and have some wine to toast our journey. But not enough, our imagination of travelling luxuriously in a sleeping car, waking up to an included breakfast in the morning, is destroyed brutally with his impolite “No breakfast. Pay for breakfast in restaurant”. Before and after passing the Hungarian-Romanian border at around 3 am at night we dream of breakfast and arriving well-rested in the city we have chosen to research. After a 20 hour journey we have finally arrived in Bucharest.
Our neighbourhood lies south to the infamous Boulevard Unirii and greets us with a space that functions as a sidewalk for pedestrians, path for cyclists, parking space and a sort of public space with colourful benches – existing side by side.
Bucharest greets us with turbo capitalism – the various billboards on top of the buildings are blinking and shining colourfully. The different companies are trying to outshine each other with their advertisements – there is even a huge can of pepsi on one of the enormous buildings built in the Ceausescu era in the former historic centre of Bucharest that had to be razed to the ground for his new city centre.
Shopping centers, orthodox churches, many of which have been rebuilt after 1989, wide boulevards and the omnipresent flow of cars dominate the city centre. Above all this looms the huge former House of the People, now in use as the Romanian parliament, one of the largest buildings of the world.
For tomorrow we have a walking tour planned, so stay tuned for more on huge buildings, impressive traffic and public space!
Building of the day: Făgăraș, train-station, midway between the Hungarian-Romanian border and Bucharest
Insider joke of the day: dreaming of the promised breakfast
GIF of the day: #vampire #Romania #Transylvania