Bucharest inside and out

I’ll be honest – it was just too darn hot. In the morning, after a teeny amount of sleep, I just had to get up to escape the stifling heat in the dorm. I showered, and didn’t feel much better as I only exchanged the hot sweat for hot water.

The main tourist sight in Bucharest is the Palace of Parliament, an enormous building built at huge human cost by Ceausecsu. Homes were flattened to create the huge open space required for its foundations and the planned promanade in front of it. It’s still around 10% unfinished, but amongst the largest buildings in the world. There’s no denying it’s impressive, but in the heat I wasn’t about to circle it to find out excactly how big it was. I’d also been told that the tour was a little dull (for every room, the guide just tells you the dimensions, material the carpet is made from and what the room is used for) so skipped that and just took some exterior photos.

I walked around for an hour or so until I found a shop selling postcards, then sorted some stamps from a Post Office (there’s a novelty – every other country in Europe seems to sell them from gift shops or tobacconists). Off they went into the wild postal yonder and I headed for a (very) nearby cinema to finally catch Transformers in the big(ish) screen. Pretty enjoyable in a “my brain has turned to cheese” kind of way. Bizarrely, despite the film being brand new, the print used seemed to be scratched to hell and even jumped a couple of times. I suppose it’s just that whole “Bucharest” experience.

Like Cluj, the cinemas in Bucharest all seem to have one screen but each show a different film. I noted that another was showing The Shooter and walked round to that one after scarfing down a McD’s. OK, so it’s hardly touristy but it was so cheap and I did miss it in Oz (the film, not the McD’s). Great film, by the way. Probably full of factual holes that would make any any military person weep into his dress uniform, but I don’t care.

I located a pizza place with the help of the kind staff at the hostel and ate as much of that as I could before collecting my things and catching the last bus up to the airport. My flight checkin was at 5:00 and the only other option was to pay for a room for about 4 hours, and a taxi. Cheapskate that I am, I’ve developed an ability to sleep on concrete and tile floors.

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