It is hard to imagine what the people of Romania endured under the Communist regime. Whole areas of the city were destroyed, and people moved out of their homes, on the orders of their former dictator Nicholae Ceausescu to create the People’s Palace. Not only did it have to be the biggest and the best but leading up to it he had created for him Romania’s longest boulevard, wider than the Champs Elysees in Paris with numerous fountains. Visitors are only permitted, with a guide, to see a small part of the interior. Everywhere, the floors and the walls, are covered in marble with magnificent chandeliers. Apart from the auditorium with its curved seating and raised stage, now the seat of the Romanian parliament, it is hard to imagine what the other rooms, a lot identical to each other, were used for.
Bucharest is a sprawling city and its important to consider where you stay as the majority of things to see and do are centred around the Old Town. I stayed at the boutique Hotel Domenii Plaza which, although it describes itself as being in the centre, isn’t. It is however, near a lovely park and the city’s Arc de Triumph. www.hotelarchdetriomphe.ro
Staying at a hostel isn’t my logical choice but the owners of the Pura Vida Hostels, Anda and Tudor are such great fun, and I was particularly impressed as their dog goes everywhere with them. One of their properties the Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel is in the centre of the old town where the live entertainment takes place every Saturday night. I saw a photograph of one of their double, private rooms and was pleasantly surprised, much nicer than I had expected. In summer, the Sky Bar on its roof is a social hub and ideal for watching the sun go down, as well as for the view. http://www.puravidahostels.ro
Taxis are very cheap. However it is important to either ask your hotel to order their known reliable one or if picking one up in the street either negotiate the price before getting in or make sure the driver puts on his meter. This is a city where taking #UBER could well be an option.
Barbecued meat can often be found on restaurant menus. Doughnuts served with sour cream is one of their traditional desserts. Romanian wines have come a long way. Look out for the brand Liliac.
To read a full account of my trip to Bucharest with included a visit to Dracula’s Castle, check out http://www.justabouttravel.net/2017/06/03/bucharest-a-happening-city/