A Travellerspoint blog

Bucharest's Potato on a Stick.

snow 0 °C

After a half a century of wars followed by decades of tyrannical rule under the egotistical despot Nicolae Ceaușescu, Romania was on its knees. Ceaușescu developed a cult of personality and bankrupted the country in the 1980s with self-agrandising mega-projects like the world's biggest parliament building in the capital, Bucharest. But his starving people revolted in 1989 and he was executed along with his wife. This 'unusual' potato on a stick monument in Freedom Square is a symbol of that revolution...
Bucharest may be the closest we come to Asia on this trip but it has more of a French feel than its ex-Eastern Bloc neighbours. In some ways, and in some areas. Bucharest is as elegant as Paris. It even has an Arc de Triomphe at the end of a wide boulevard, and the old city is full of majestic buildings and grand hotels...
There are truly beautiful buildings like the University Library...
A splendid arcade of coffee houses...
A magnificent national bank...
It even has several branches of our favourite Parisian baker – Paul...
Bucharest, in its day, was one of the great capitals of Europe but, like any fading Grand Dame, it could use a hefty dollop of make-up and some new togs to make it presentable. However, Bucharest was just a one night stand on our way high into the Carpathian mountains to Transylvania to visit Bran castle, home of another of Romania's despotic rulers, Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Count Dracula. In the middle of the 15th century Prince Vlad III had anyone who upset him impaled on a pikestaff so that he could enjoy watching them die from his castle...
Whoa...Hold your pikestaffs a moment. This castle doesn't look anything like Dracula's foreboding fortress in the gloomy Transylvanian mountains - blue skies and palm trees; really?

Confession time: It started snowing on our way to Bucharest airport to pick up our hire car and some of the mountain roads were closed – so we walked straight past the car hire booths to the airline ticket office and jumped on the next flight to the sub-tropical island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. So, dear blogwatcher, don't worry if you don't hear from us for a week or so. We are just chilling out in balmy Larnaca where the sandy beaches are awash in sunbathers and the fishermen are out catching our supper in the bay.

Posted by Hawkson 08:31 Archived in Romania

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Smart move. No fun driving on snowy mountain roads. Plenty of that to come right here in B.C. if you so desire. Do post some photos of the balmy beaches. A little vicarious warmth is welcome mid-November on Gabriola.

by R and B

Have a delicious time on Cyprus basking in sunshine and warmth. It is actually sunny in Vancouver today. Personally the potato on the spike would have driven me to Cyprus, snow or no snow. Way to go, great way to be remembered.

by Sue Fitzwilson

What an elegant city, one of many on your trip that few of us have seen. Thanks for the introductions and reminder of the fabulous richness of Europe - East and West. Pity to miss the castle. Potato on a stick does look like a monument to Vlad the Impaler. Enjoy the sun next stop. We have a pale imitation of it today, but oh so non sub-tropical.

by Tom Whalley

It looks like I am at the bottom of the page again. I was in Nanaimo getting my eyes checked Some of those places look cold so I hope you get warm in Cyprus. There is a huge new moon coming up tonight and they say it will not be here again for 50 or more years. I don't think I will last that long so I had better stay up late tonight.
Love to you

by Jean McLaren

We have booked a short trip to Romania in mid January and since booking have come to realise Bucharest is a great city of art and culture. Your travel blog has certainly wetted our appetites for our visit. Depending on the winter weather we will have to plan our trip day by day. Hopefully we can manage a train journey into the country and enjoy the snowy peaks from the warmth of the carriage.

by david copson

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