18-19 August, 2011
Most of the places I have travelled to on this trip have struck me as conservative and family-oriented, backpacker hostels notwithstanding. Even Sofia. But arriving in Bucharest in the late evening I sense I have come to a city that is vibrant and edgy, probably the most in that way since Naples. I just feel like I have to have my guard up a little more than usual. And another thing about Bucharest. It feels (how shall I put this delicately?) a little…racy. In my first short walk around after checking into my hostel, I had helpful suggestions about how I could spend my money to relieve tensions that must inevitably build up. One from a lady (of the night?) and others from guys (pimps?). I tried to fob them off with “I’m too old for that now, women are a thing of the past for me…”, only to get the response “Ah! So you’re gay? OK, no problem…”. I am not so naive as to believe you cannot find “sex for sale” in any city of the world if you want to look for it. But in Bucharest, it looks for you.
I want to emphasise that this was just my subjective impression after spending a very short time in Bucharest (and comparing it to places I also spent only a few days in). And I really enjoyed my visit and never at any time felt unsafe.
The last pics are of the palatial building constructed during the rule of the last communst leader Ceasescu in the 80s. It is so big it is ridiculous. 12 stories and about 3,000 rooms apparently. And lashings of marble inside. Astounding.