Friday, 4 March 2016

Bucharest: Belated Birthday Gift

Normally, Romania isn't the most typical holiday destination in Europe. Usually it tends to be the Western European countries such as France, Germany, Spain and so on. Since Athiei and I have visited some of Western Europe and we know that we'll probably go there in the future, we decided to visit somewhere slightly random, Bucuharest in Romania. 

He got us flight tickets for my birthday earlier in January and we scheduled our holiday to happen during my Reading week. 

We decided to rent an AirBnb which was extremely good value for what we got. We stayed at Daniel Epure's place where we got a huge bedroom, a shared kitchen and a bathroom with all the facilities we needed like really fast WiFi, cooking utensils, towels, an amazing shower all for 20 euros per night (including cleaning fee) for the both of us. 

The most intriguing part of the AirBnb was the old school elevator that they had. It had push in buttons with manual double doors. Not to mention that it could fit a maximum of four people or less really. The AirBnb was really easy to find and thankfully we arrived at the same time where our housemate (another person who was renting the apartment) arrived to open the door for us!

Our apartment was just a branch off Calea Victoriei, which is one of the main streets in Bucharest. 
A stroll along the street led you to most of the city's museums and statues as well.

Along Calea Victoriei was the Atheneul Roman, one of the theatres where orchestras would perform weekly. Tickets were reasonable enough with the cheapest ticket being around 7 euros (25 lei). Unfortunately, tickets for the show we wanted to go to were sold out (I should have called earlier). But anyway, it was a great time for us to absorb the sun rays which we tend to lack in Ireland.

Instead, Athiei and I just continued to explore the rest of Calea Victoriei and stopped by the Memorialul Renașterii

Majority of our trip was spent taking photographs (both Athiei and I brought our cameras) and it was interesting to see the differences in perspectives we took by our lenses.

We went to the Grădina Cișmigiu (Cișmigiu Gardens) which was just around the corner from our AirBnb to enjoy the wonderful sun and also relax.

Then we got greedy eyes at a local bakery store which sold these elongated crepes (clătite) filled with an assortment of fillings. We got the one filled with vanilla custard whereas there was also ones filled with nutella, cherry jam and so on.

Aside from the Grădina Cișmigiu, we visited the Parcul Herăstrău (Herăstrău Park) and took a two hour stroll around the place snapping shots of both what we saw and of ourselves.

We definitely got countless stares from passerbys as neither of us were stereotypically White (It's a rather homogenous society with the few exceptions we saw - we actually began to count how many)

For some reason, there were not many people in the park so it allowed us to take lovely shots of the park without any people in the background.

And we helped ourselves to the muffins sold in the park to settle our tummies.
We ate alot. yes we did.

Then we found a railway track in the middle of the park (random!). We saw that people were just walking across the tracks and there was not a single train that passed by...

So we took it as an opportunity to take more photographs!

The struggle of balance was real. I haven't done a scorpion in a long time but I'm glad I was still able to relatively manage it for enough time to take a photograph!

We didn't get to enter the Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of Parliament) as we were rather tired from all the walking in the park but it was a great time to wander around the old town which was also just a ten minute walk away from our AirBnb.

Strolling through the old town,

We stumbled upon this amazing bookstore which recently opened in a refurbished 19th century building, Cărturești Carusel (Carousel of Light), It has 6 floors of amazing books, stationery, music, manga and random quirky gadgets.

If you know me well, I'm an avid fan of all things food related. So we stopped by one of the most amazing restaurants, Caru' cu Bere. It had two floors of beautiful interior design with waiters and waitresses dressed in adorable outfits.

During certain times throughout the day, there are even string quartets there to serenade you while you enjoy your meal.

Between 12-6 every day,  they have a lunch offer for 5 euros (19.90 lei) for a 3 course meal! 
It was so good that we actually came to eat here on two different days.

Appetiser: Mămăliguţă cu brânză şi smântână (polenta with cheese, cream and egg) was such a heavy meal and it had such lovely creamy textures

Appetiser: Ciorbă de fasola cu carne afumată (bean soup with smoked pork) which was absolutely delicious and heartwarming

Starter: Ciorba de perişoare - Meatball soup which was super delicious! We had it on both days!

Main course: Piept de pui la grătar (Grilled chicken with rice) had some tasty meat with flavourful rice with chopped vegetables

Main course: Grilled Mititei (Romanian skinless sausages) with wedges and creamy mustard

Dessert: Tort de mere (Apple cake) which had chunks of sweet apple on cake like base with caramelised sugar on top

Dessert: Cremă de zahăr ars (Creme caramel) which was had a nice kick of vanilla flavour with it

We people watched as people watched us. 

It was a great time for both of us to just unwind, relax and also just enjoy each other's company which we haven't had in a while. I had a loads of fun.

Definitely appreciated everything I had for the past four days :)

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