No matter where you go and how much you prepare yourself beforehand, places have the habit of surprising you – sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way and sometimes you just go, “Well, I didn’t see that one coming.”
Therefore: Welcome to our first search engine friendly top something list. Grab a seat and some popcorn and prepare to be amazed.
1. The architecture
When we decided to go to Bucharest, we were thinking ‘plattenbau’ and were surprised by the gorgeous little (and not so little) mansions from and before the 19th century. Despite the fact that (or maybe even because) some of them are slowly falling apart, they give their areas a certain romantic vibe and the mixture of old and new makes for an interesting urban image.
2. The stray dogs
The last time we saw stray dogs was in India and the poor things were scared of their own shadow and looked miserable. The dogs in Bucharest look healthy in a way that made us look for the owner when we encountered the first one. They also seemed to be pretty relaxed if cautious. Some of them seem to have been given rabies shots? (At least that’s how we interpreted the yellow mark some of them had in their ears. If someone knows what those marks really stand for, please let us know in the comments).
3. The crime
If you listen to some people you get the impression that Bucharest is one of the most dangerous cities in Europe, no, the world. If you’re foolish enough to go there, you will be robbed within minutes after you step off the plane. The whole city is filled with shady looking people who are all crooks and you’re bound to return with only one kidney. At the very least, they’ll nick your purse.
While all this makes Bucharest sound like a dark and dangerous place and consequently everybody who dares to venture there (=us) sound like tough as nails adventurers, the real Bucharest is quick to destroy that particular image.
You can find trouble in Bucharest like in every other place in the world, but if you use some common sense you’ll have nothing to worry about. We have never, at any point, felt unsafe, not in the old city centre, the train station (where I spent two hours because I managed to miss the earlier train) or in the midst of the ‘plattenbau’ area.
4. The coffee
Ah. Coffee. Brew of Life. But despite trying, we haven’t found great coffee in Bucharest. There has been a lot of bad coffee and worse coffee, watery espressi and, dare I say it, instant coffee. We all heaved a sigh of relief when we finally encountered decent coffee but that was it. Decent coffee, not great coffee.
If anybody knows a place in Bucharest where they serve great coffee, feel free to prove us wrong.
5. The cake
While we did expect lots and lots of delicious meat dishes (and we weren’t disappointed) we weren’t expecting all the gorgeous cake you can get here. Patisseries can be found pretty much everywhere and the cake they offer is both beautiful and delicous. It definitly compensated for the coffee flop.
What surprising things did you encounter on your last trip?