A Travellerspoint blog

Romania

Bucharest to Budapest

Old town Bucharest

overcast 85 °F

Today's schedule included a tour of the city, a walk around Old Town Bucharest and a two hour bus ride to the Danube where we met our ship.

Today's Bucharest is a paradox of the many different cultures that have inhabited the city over the ages. Most visible is the wide variety of communist era buildings modeled after similar structures in North Korea, and the current western influenced buildings. We passed the massive Parliament Palace. Bucharest's unmistakable Palace of Parliament, due to its immense physical, psychic and historic stature, is perhaps the most controversial building in Romania. Meant to be the crowning achievement of 'Centrul Civic' or 'Civic Centre' - Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu's ambitious urban development plan - the Palace of Parliament represents one of the most extravagant and expensive building projects in the history of mankind; certainly of the last century. Claiming superlative as the world's second-largest building by surface area (after the sneakily spacious US Pentagon), the Palace of Parliament is one of Romania's biggest tourist attractions, despite popular disdain.

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We then headed to the Old Town area. We visited a 500 year old church. Most Romanians are Greek Orthodox, and, as this is a holy weekend - the Ascension of the Virgin Mary today, many faithful were visiting the churche. We spent a few minutes in a typical old Romanian house which is now a restaurant to get a glimpse of the old style of architecture.

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We were then treated to lunch at a wonderful restaurant. The appetizer was a mousse filled salmon, and the main course was chicken and a very interesting potato and carrot puree.

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It was then on through the agriculture country side of Southern Romania. Corn, sunflowers and hay are the crops of choice, and there were many little local fruit stands set up along the road. Boarding was quick and we finished our day with the on board safety brief, the Captains Welcome Cocktail party and a wonderful dinner.

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Posted by rpickett 02:02 Archived in Romania Tagged bucharest Comments (0)

Bucharest to Budapest

Bucharest

sunny 81 °F

After an uneventful flight from Charleston, to Atlanta to Paris we arrived in Bucharest Romania on a hot early afternoon. Luckily when we arrived at the Hilton Athenee Hotel, our room was ready, as we were ready for a shower, dinner and sleep.

Today we headed to the hills outside of Romania to the Peles Castle. When the King Carol I of Romania (1839–1914), under whose reign the country gained its independence, first visited the site of the future castle in 1866, he fell in love with the magnificent mountain scenery. In 1872, the Crown purchased 1,300 square kilometres (500 sq mi) of land near the Piatra Arsă River. The estate was named the Royal Estate of Sinaia. The King commissioned the construction of a royal hunting preserve and summer retreat on the property, and the foundation was laid for Peleș Castle on 22 August 1873. Several auxiliary buildings were built simultaneously with the castle: the guards' chambers, the Economat Building, the Foișor hunting lodge, the royal stables, and a power plant. Peleș became the world's first castle fully powered by locally produced electricity. Artists like George Enescu, Sarah Bernhardt, Jacques Thibaud and Vasile Alecsandri visited often as guests of Queen Elizabeth of Romania (herself a writer also known under the pen name of Carmen Sylva). In more recent times, many foreign dignitaries such as Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and Yasser Arafat were welcomed at the castle.
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Posted by rpickett 08:32 Archived in Romania Tagged castle peles Comments (1)

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