Call of Romania (7): Bucharest

I spent only one day in Bucharest, so there was not much time for pictures. But, since I passed the Athenaeum anyway,

couldn’t help taking a piktcha. Or 2. By the way, a story I heard from a friend – on holidays in Switzerland, they stayed at Hotel Ibis. They had pictures on the walls with different hotels from the chain around the world. In their room there was – exactly, Romania. But the picture was showing this building:

Cool people, these Ibis guys. Made a hotel inside the most famous concert hall in the country. Kidding. It’s the Athenaeum. Hotel Ibis is far away, and far from any resemblance.
Further on I crossed Calea Victoriei, oldest street in town, nowadays shopping spree street,

to meet two friends close to the Cismigiu park. While waiting for them I heard a loud noise, and when they came I said let’s go and check it out. What? Where? Let’s cross the Dâmboviţa river first,

and then head towards… yes.

Car races! Formula 3000 (or formula 3? or is it the same?). We had no ticket, of course, just went to check it out. We asked where we can get tickets from, far away, of course. When we were about to go away, I heard a question: “You have no ticket?”. “Err… no.” I was afraid it was a scammer trying to sell us “black market” tickets. “Take these, we’re leaving”, he said. “They’re still valid”. I looked probably incredulous and puzzled, because he came with us to the gate and showed us in, talking to the guards – “they’re ok, they’re ok.”
Then he left. And we were in for a Formula 3000 race. I had never seen the guy before in my life, or thereafter. Was just a good boyscout. Thank you.

We saw the last 3 races on the circuit around the Parliament Palace. And amidst deafening motor noise, I finally understood the racing obsession many people have. The sensations are incredibly overwhelming. Those decibels, they go all the way through your body, and the cars, they go SO FAST – the combination is exhilarating.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay close to the track (actually, we couldn’t have resisted the noise), so we had to go down on the other side, to get to the tribunes. Got this shot at a car on the way, it must have stopped for some technical reason

and one passing by, caught by chance.

While some people had found alternative viewing spots,

we ended up at the silver tribune, bang in front of the Parliament Palace. Surprisingly, it was not jampacked,

probably half of the population of Bucharest is on holiday.
Very good. The city is livable under these circumstances. So we watched the end of the respective race, no idea what class, but cool cars,

then the formula 3 race followed, start taped below:

and aspects of the race below:

at the end, there was a Logan Cup, with the by now famous romanian low-cost cars driven by VIPs.


Was a fun end of the day, especially since some twisted and turned on the track, but no one got hurt, fortunately.
Conclusion – now I get that car races have a charm that is impossible to get from watching them on TV (shocking, isnt it? life is NEVER like on TV), and – they are NO CHILD’S GAME. Makes you dizzy just watching, they’re so fast.

When leaving we took a peek into some tents exposing… err… cars,

a Formula 1 simulator,

and that was that with car races. We headed on through old Bucharest, the area called Curtea Veche, = old court,

and through the Lipscani area, which we found upside-down given some archaeological diggings:

They apparently wanted to refurbish the pavement, but found some historic site underneath! And now they don’t know what to do with them. Meanwhile, i kinda like it like this.

The Hanul cu Tei galleries

are a quiet corner i hadnt known of

and i lika.

I said earlier that I consider Bucharest an interesting city, with touristic potential. Because I, as a tourist, would be interested to see the violent confluence of 3 ages: medieval-burgeois, communist and wild modern capitalist, and Bucharest is the perfect colored example.

There’s plenty to do to improve life in the city, and help tourists get around, e.g., refurbish the old town,

but it should be possible.

It’s said it’s a city you either hate, or it gets into your blood. I don’t hate it, i don’t have it in my blood, but as a tourist, i’d wanna check it out.

This concludes the mini-series on Romania, and pretty much the blogging year 2008. Finally. Only half a year late. Better later than never, I guess.

2 thoughts on “Call of Romania (7): Bucharest

  1. You summed up Bucharest wonderfully – it is a place which you will fall in love with if you give it time.

    At the moment, I am trying to build up a photo library of great pictures of Romania, and I would be thrilled if you would consider adding one of your stunning pictures of Romania onto my site ( ), along with a comment about why you liked that particular place so much.

    I love it when people show the country I love in such a positive way!


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