More like a Romanian excursion. Bucharest. An old world Eastern European city. Really old world. Where architectural gems are scattered amongst abandoned buildings and vacant lots. Where Communist era buildings dominate the sky and offer a reminder of the not too distant past.
Sometimes, it's enough to make you lie down, close your eyes, and reflect on it all. Until you informed by a stern-looking policeman to move along. Note: The images below link to my Picasa photo album with all trip photos.
Former Eastern Bloc country. Check. May 1st. Check. May Day Celebration. Of course. Well actually, we weren't quite so certain that any events were planned. But after wandering around the massive Palatul Parlamentului, we came across some festivities in a park. This was the mici si bere (grill and beer) party. The Social Democratic Party sponsored the party and provided music, beer, and traditional grilled meat to the assembled crowd; the beer and meat were free). Entertainment was a Romanian rap singer with four young female dancers dressed in short shorts and hoodies. Good for a giggle or two.
In one of the pocket guides we read, it stated that for a genuine local experience you could feed a few stray dogs. Um, no. I had never been to a large city with so many strays wandering around; they were everywhere. And seemed to know how to cross the streets and navigate traffic quite well. They seemed wary of people. Probably for the best. We were told that a few years ago, the city rounded up and killed up to 75% of the stray dog population. I cannot even imagine what it was like before they culled the population.
Just some harmless graffiti folks. Nothing to see. Move along.
There was a large police presence in the city. Quite noticeable. On our way to the airport, our taxi driver remarked that the number of policeman was unusual even for Bucharest. He guessed that the President was probably heading into town. Sure enough, a heavily guarded motorcade passed by a few minutes later.
To see more images from our trip to Bucharest, click here.
Finally, a little video. On our first night in Bucharest, we ate at a fun beerhall/restaurant called Caru' cu Bere. I had it on my recommended list. And, when we walked by it in the afternoon, TJ put in on our "must go" list. We were seated right next to the bar and staircase. Which, at first, we thought was not a good place. Then, the floorshow started. Dancers came out and started moving around the open space. High-kicking and twirling in and around waiters and customers. Awesome! We met up with some guys (Mike and Francesco) from London the next day. And decided to meet them at Caru' cu Bere (again) for a late dinner. And another floorshow.