Saturday, 18 September 2010

Charlie Holiday - One last look at Bucharest...



Unlike Budapest, my time in Bucharest was well rushed. And like Budapest, it is a city that I want to return to someday soon, money and time permitting. Maybe, maybe, but who knows in the life of El Director where my wanderings will next take me?



Called the Paris of the East, much of Bucharest was modeled on the French Capital. Above is Romania's version of the Arcul de Triumf, the third such structure now built on this site. It has a rich and varied history, like much of the city. Grand structures are the order of the day, and Bucharest's wide boulevards are filled with memorials and monuments to many victories and events. Unlike Budapest, much of the past still exists in the Romanian capital and can be seen freely in the streets of Bucharest.



Nestled in the modern concrete jungle are many historic gems, mainly churches from the Orthodox faith, and they look simply stunning. Bucharest itself is a fairly modern city by European standards, its founding can be traced to just over 500 years ago. And so many of the buildings are not of an ancient stock, but still have an architectural marvel of their own. And it can be weird, amongst the brutalism of the modern city to see such structures nestled away.



But there has been restoration galore in Bucharest as well, and now in the EU, the city has its swing. It will take time, but in the next decade, Bucharest is going to become a tourist hotspot. It has it all - cultural attractions, fantastic food and a city with people who are very funky. There is a lot to see in this country, and for the first time visitor to Romania, Bucharest is one great place to start. The city is not the easiest to get around, and can be at times overwhelming. But persevere, and enjoy this great place. For a quick weekend, it beats a lot of other European city breaks and trust me, you will come back wanting more...