- Sue Stipek
Bucharest - moving forward
My impression of Bucharest after admittedly a brief stay is that it is a recovering democracy. We have traveled to several former communist block countries since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991. The first place was Prague 6 months after the fall when we saw a place bruised and battered - struggling to become a democracy. Last year we visited again and Prague and the Czech Republic are a thriving example of a new republic. We have visited many Eastern European capitals since 1992 - Kiev, Budapest, Vilnius, Tallin, Riga, Warsaw, Berlin, Zagreb. Bucharest, comparatively, seems to be late to the party - but now on a recovery path. I see this by observation, not study of the political situation in this country.
Tourism is not as developed in Bucharest as other capitals. We shall see about the rest of the country since we are renting a car and will travel around the country for the next 5 days. We visited the Old Town and the Herastrau Park with its large Village Museum - a large collection of historic Romanian structures, mainly from rural villages. The park is very pleasant and a gathering place for many locals. This year the weather has been sweltering (in the mid 90's) so strolling under the green canopy was much better than dodging cars on the city streets.
Old Town is all pedestrian only and filled with a lot of lovely cafes and some tourist shops. Not as large or as interesting as other old towns.
To drive a car in Bucharest wold be complete folly. The Parking situation is horrendous. And traffic is bad at most times of the day.
Metro is good and cheap. But we could not find a good map of the trams. There are a lot of buses, but again we did not have a system map.
One thing that we did notice is extensive bike trails and the use of rental, dockless scooters. Several companies are in this market - Lime being the most noticeable. It would have been fun to try these but you need to rent them with a cellphone (smartphone) and I only have one - not Larry.
All in all Bucharest is not a tourist friendly place.
Last day there we took at taxi to the airport to rent a car for about 5 days. We rented online and met the company representative at the airport. The automatic Ford Fiesta is solid and we hope it serves us well as we go on to Brasov and castle hopping.