Updated: Jan 1
Someone compared Bucharest to Berlin and I was like ummm nice try. Yes, yes, the dark gray clouds, -1 real feel, November time doesn’t always show a city in the nicest of light, but I assure you, the light wasn’t the problem.
I saw all major sites, including walking around the Palace of Parliament, which is gigantic. Apparently what you see above ground doesn’t even compare to what is below ground. I thought it was a bit excessive myself.
I don’t even know what I ate in Bucharest and that scares me, because I always remember meals. I did have an awkward tea house experience though. I do this weird thing when I have to go to a food establishment alone, I get super nervous and unsure of myself. I once wore a onesie with a bum flap to Christmas dinner so those two emotions aren’t generally in my repertoire. This tea experience (see below) set me over the edge and now I don’t want to ever go to a food establishment alone. Thanks Bucharest.
Not Tea for Two
I walked 32 minutes out of my way to go to Ceainaria Infinitea. Rated super high on Google so I thought yeah I will do exercise for a good cuppa. I go upstairs since the tea room is basically someone's living room/ apartment. I wait. Two people budge in front of me. The waiter asks if anyone has a reservation. Honestly that is quickly becoming my most hated word in the English language. The two people who budged did not have a reservation but they got seated. The guy sees me waiting for ages and goes:
“you alone, just you, by yourself?” me “yup”
The tea house is basically a living room so there are miss- matched chairs, tables and furniture everywhere but it is clearly full. To my astonishment, he removes a glass figurine from the tiniest side table and grabs a chair from another room. I sit. When people walk by they hit my legs so I was getting the impression it wasn’t actually a space for me to be occupying. A woman waiter then walks past me, hitting my arm with her tray.
So I say, “could I please have a menu?”
The waiter goes, “who put you here?”
Me “the gentleman”
Her response “oh”
I waited 10 minutes to be seated at a table that was the most make-shift thing you’ve ever seen, then waited 5 minutes to receive a menu, then another 20 for my tea and small fruit bread to arrive. There are not proper meals here so I was hungry and my ankles were bruised from everyone kicking them walking past.
Here is a quaint town. It does have a Christmas market that looked decent. I departed the day the market opened in the end of November, so I didn’t actually get to see in action, only the stalls. I went here for an Erasmus project management training so if you were wondering what the heck I was doing in Timișoara, that’s the reason. My food and accommodation was pre-chosen by the company who ran the training. For our authentic Romanian experience, they took us to Miorița. It was quite lovely. Romanians eat a lot of lard/ fat in different forms- spreads, fried, baked etc. etc.
What surprised me the most was a taxi situation that occurred. When I arrived at 22:50 from my Bucharest flight, there were no taxi’s outside the small airport. Uber was going to be a 20 minute wait and just as I was about to book one, a taxi driver walks up to me and asks if I need a ride and where I was going. I said yes and he grabs my bag, puts it in the trunk.
To my surprise, when I went to open the back door, there was already someone in the front passenger seat of the cab. So I thought WTF the driver quoted me 50 lei (10.50 euros). I was told beforehand that 40 lei from the airport was what it should cost but since there was a nighttime surcharge, I thought whatever (so unlike me). But obviously with someone in the taxi already, I shouldn’t have to pay the full amount, we should be splitting it.
The driver says he will be back. I am enraged, speaking with this nice Italian who was already in the taxi. We both had the same thought of this is bull shit, we aren’t paying double and have to share, waiting for the person to get dropped off first. The driver then comes back with two more passengers and tells them to get inside the car. I flip my shit, get out of the cab and go to grab my bag from the trunk. Seeing this, the driver goes “okay, okay” and tells the girls they can’t come. The only saving grace was that the Italian gentleman insisted that I get dropped off first. I paid the 50 lei and aggressively slammed the taxi door when I got to my hotel.
I say this surprised me because I expect and have encountered shit like this in Asia but in Romania? Who would have thought. Keep sharp ladies and gents.