First visit in Bucharest // October 2021

We visited Bucharest during the autumn holiday in October 2021. It was that time of the year when the trees began to throw their leaves – and the ones who stayed showed us a mix of red, yellow, and orange colors. My boyfriend Frederik and I had been booking the cheapest trip we could find – the choice stood between Bucharest and Kyiv – but we decided to go to Bucharest. 

We had booked a little AIRBNB apartment in an authentic building in Bucharest. We had been in Budapest a couple of months earlier and this was a quite different experience here than in Budapest. In Budapest, we were greeted by the sight of green streets, but in Bucharest, the streets were more gray and dirty. Of course, it cannot be avoided to mention that we were in Budapest at a different time of the year. 

See the full photo album here:https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/12/the-streets-of-bucharest/

Our AIRBNB was very interesting and authentic. We lived on the 7 floors in an old building. We couldn’t use the elevator because there was a sign saying “Please don’t use the elevator under normal conditions – you risk being stuck”. So we stopped thinking about that idea in a hurry. We lived in a little apartment with only one room – which was the bedroom + a little bathroom. I am just saying that Frederik couldn’t even sit on the toilet in a normal way. Our apartment had a view over some old gray buildings. Our air conditioner was a pipe sticking out through a hole in the wall. Every morning we were woken up by gray pigeons sitting outside on the pipe and gurgling. 

Although the apartment was not a pure luxury, we were still incredibly happy to stay there because of the whole authentic experience. After all, we lived among Romanians and were not hidden away in a nice little hotel with a breakfast buffet. One night we were woken by a little Romanian woman talking outside in the hallway. Frederik and I took turns looking out of the glass eye and eagerly followed a conversation in Romansh about a chest of drawers that had to be carried up by her neighbors at midnight. Water was handed out – the conversation was pleasant and the work was done together.

One thing I could feel in Bucharest was the fact that it was an old Soviet city – and where it wasn’t that many years ago that the Soviet Union left. The city still bears the stamp of the Soviet uniform gray atmosphere.

We could also clearly feel this when we visited Nicolae Caucessauc`s mansion. Romania has been under the soviet since 1944. In 1944 soviet forces broke through to Jassy, in northeastern Romania, and convinced the king to sign an armistice with the Allies and concede control of his country to the USSR. The soviet and communism in Romania fell in 1989 with Nicolae Caucessauc. We visited the mansion on an autumn day in drizzling rain and we both became pretty depressed by the atmosphere. We began to speak badly to each other and were overall pretty depressed over the sight of the old gray communist buildings. We therefore quickly decided that now we wanted to move on and look at other parts of the city. 

See the full photo album here:https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/12/palatul-parlamentului-or-nicolae-ceausescus-castle/

One of the other days we decided to visit a big park in the city. We visited King Mihai Park. We were pretty happy about that decision because the result was an incredibly beautiful autumn day. We spent hours just walking around in the park and smelling, falling, and seeing all the colors and scents of autumn. The park was incredibly beautiful and it was the best to get a little break from the big concrete city. 

See the full photo album here:https://www.aishashakoor.com/2022/02/12/king-mihai-park-bucharest/

The rest of the days we used to walk around in the city and take a day trip outside of the city to see Transylvania. We visited museums: the National Geology Museum and the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History. We can recommend going to museums in other countries if you have an afternoon to kill. We spent the rest of the days just strolling around and just experiencing Bucharest. 

Bucharest is a city full of history – where you can still experience the history and the remnants of history that are still stuck in the streets and can be seen in buildings. You can easily be fooled by the gray concrete buildings – but there are an incredible number of hidden gems hidden around the big city.

// Aisha Shakoor