After returning to Madrid from Greece, I was off to country 24, Romania. I took a solo weekend trip to Bucharest for the weekend. I had never really traveled to Eastern Europe for various reasons. I never really knew countries of Eastern Europe or even researched countries to travel to in that region. I had a few friends who traveled to Bucharest and heard conflicting stories about experiences while in Romania. I have a group of friends who went for New Years and had an amazing time but also have another friend who went a few years ago and had a very bad trip and major emphasis on bad. He pretty much told me he would probably never go to Romania ever again. So I decided to take my chances and head to Bucharest for the weekend to experience it for myself. Worst case scenario, I get kidnapped and turned into a sex slave like in the movie Taken, or it could be an amazing trip and a lot of fun and a wonderful experience. You never really hear too many good stories about Eastern Europe while in America but that didn’t stop me from visiting nor did it give me a bad perception of the country or a tiny bit of fear inside of me.
I left for Bucharest on a Friday night and returned on a Sunday night so it was indeed an extremely quick trip. I arrived at night and had to take a bus from the airport to actually get into the city of Bucharest. The bus ride was about maybe 30 minutes, but seemed much longer to me because I was in an unfamiliar place at night and alone. I finally made it into the town and had directions on my phone of how to get to my hostel once I was at the bus stop. Of course because nothing is ever simple, I couldn’t find the street that I was looking for and had to ask for help. I went into a Subway restaurant to ask for directions but none of the workers spoke English. So I went back outside and asked a random person that was walking by for help and she too, spoke no English. I showed her the directions on my phone hoping that she would recognize a street name and could point me in the right direction but that was a fail as well. She then asked an older man that was walking by and finally, I would get some help. This man not only knew where it was that I was trying to get to, but also offered to walk me there. VERY sketchy I know, but I didn’t sense a bad vibe or negative energy from him. My mother does always tell me that I’m entirely too trusting of people and this was one of those moments where she was ABSOLUTELY right. I also have a positive outlook and think positive thoughts when it comes to situations like these. I trust that the universe will send me someone to help me find my way or give me whatever help I need at the time and the universe always delivers! This man turned out to be extremely nice! He walked me to my hostel and with what little English he spoke, we managed to have a decent conversation. I learned that he has some family in America and he tries to go visit when he can.
I checked into my hostel and then ventured out alone for some food. I was starving and needed to eat immediately! I ended up at a restaurant right around the corner from where my hostel was located. I stayed at Antique Hostel right in Old Town. It was very centrally located and the staff was great. They were very helpful and very accommodating.
Saturday was the only full day I had so I woke up early, got a map and then was on my way to see as many sights as I could see. The first thing I went to see was the Parliament building because it is one of the world’s largest government buildings.
I also saw the Arc de Triomf
While by the Arc I decided to stop and have lunch. I went to this restaurant called II Corso and HIGHLY recommend eating at this restaurant. It was decently priced and the food was very good. I had duck, roasted vegetables and truffle mashed potatoes and a traditional dessert.
After having a lunch, I was kind of tired and wanted to take a nap BUT the universe would have it otherwise! I was walking through Herastrau Park and met some Italians and ended up staying out and not taking a nap. This all came about because I had to walk through the park to get back to my hostel. So I was walking minding my business and then I heard some guys yelling in a THICK Italian accent, Rihanna Rihanna. I just knew Rihanna wasn’t in the park and then a few seconds later realized they were referring to me as Rihanna. So I stopped in my tracks and laughed and told them I wasn’t Rihanna and they insisted I was THE island princess and so I went with it and the rest was history! We had a few beers together, enjoyed some food and then ended up going to the club together later that night.
This is one thing that I appreciate about traveling alone. You meet people and make new friends. I’m so glad that I decided to walk through the park to get home because I now have friends in Salerno, Italy. They were great guys and extremely entertaining. I learned a bit of Italian and also discovered that I can understand Italian because it’s pretty similar to Spanish. I think that maybe if I had been with a friend traveling I wouldn’t have met these guys or made new friends. Either way, I’m glad that I did!
Bucharest is an incredibly beautiful city with a lot to see. I saw some of the Old Town and ventured around quite a bit. I went to the Cismigu Park, which is basically the Central Park of Bucharest. It was a very pretty park and a nice place to go out and have a picnic or enjoy a drink. I also went to the famous street that is well known for the graffiti and street art.
Lastly, there was a restaurant that I went to for some traditional Romanian food and I cannot remember the name off the top of my head unfortunately. It is a well known restaurant and is close to Old Town. The food was AMAZING! It was an extremely cute restaurant that had seating both indoors and outdoors. I had a traditional dish with duck and it was cooked to perfection and seasoned just as well.
Bucharest was a blast! It’s definitely a party city and the food is amazing! It is a place that I hope to return to for a longer stay. My quick weekend trip was not enough time but I’m glad that I went and had the experience. Eastern Europe isn’t so bad after all and I definitely plan on visiting more countries in Eastern Europe. Moral of this story is that you will not get Taken in Eastern Europe nor are the people uncivilized violent barbarians and you should definitely visit Romania!