Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bucharest and Brasnov Click here for Pictures

Finally. I made it to Bucharest. I had to put faith in the hostel that they got my email and my reservations were set. When I arrived 14 hours later I was happy to find that they did get the email and all was well.

Bucharest is not a charming city. This city has some bad rap for its shabby appearance. It seems all of the buildings are covered with advertisements. The advertisements don't discriminate what buildings they hit. It could be a block of communist buildings or architectural masterpieces. I would think the EU with all their strict guidelines wouldn't allow this, but maybe this applies only in cities with less corruption in their government. Thick black cables tangle the city's skyline. The city makes no attempt to hide these ugly cables for internet, tram, and so forth. It is a bit odd.

I once read that The Economist called Bucharest one of the most corrupt cities in the world. I did not witness this firsthand. Though, I did see the darker side of things. For instance, the stray dog problem is out of control. There are thousands of dogs strolling around the city.

It was hard finding charm in this rather charmless city. I did have some helpful Romanians direct me where to go, which made me believe the city would have been more appealing if I had a local as a guide. I wasn't alone. My travel companion was a wonderful Turkish girl who befriended me at the hostel. Ceran and I walked around and chatted about our countries. It was fun having her to talk to and I learned a lot about Istanbul. I think it might be my list of places to visit sometime.

Brasov. Transylvania, Romania.

I woke up today with the very ambitious idea that I was going to view all the castles around Brasov. It was pouring rain and lightning outside. I was woken up by Jill, my British companion for today. We walked outside and were soaking wet within minutes. We decided it would be best to rent a cab. Cabs in Romanian tend to be really reliable and super cheap. We went back to the hostel and found three more older Australians and along we went. Our first destination was Bran Castle. The castle that inspired Bran Stoker's Dracula. Vlad or Dracula rather was held for prisoner here for only a short while. The other castles were impressive, but there is a line to use the computer. More to come later.