We arrived early in the morning and my first impressions of Bucharest were good ones. I was surprised to see modern trains and backpackers at the Gara De Nord train station – after our previous Eastern Europe countries it was quite the change. Miniskirts are gone, and people dress much, much better. With cute little boutiques, bakeries, graffiti and a few “artsy” people around, it feels as though people here are starting to come out of the mold and try to express themselves. It’s quite nice!
The architecture is also lovely. We haven’t seen much yet but there are innumerable old buildings with impressive moldings and statues decorating the outside. While there are still ugly Soviet-style apartment buildings, and many abandoned older buildings, it just has a really cool feel. And the cobblestone streets are back!
After settling into our hostel we were ready to get back out into the city and explore. We headed to the “arc the triomphe” park. There, we found a little flea market, where we couldn’t resist exploring a little.
Our main goal on the agenda today was the Museum of the Romanian Peasant: I just couldn’t resist going after reading the description in our guidebook. The guidebook says that it’s “so good that you want to hug it”, and for once they were not lying. It is by far the best museum I’ve ever been to: it’s huge, the architecture is stunning, the exhibits are incredible, the content is great. It’s interactive and quirky at the same time. It was a shame that photography was not allowed, because I could have easily gone through an entire memory card in there. I saw the most fantastic embroideries and laces, the ethnic dress of all of the different peasant groups (there are so many!), stunning pottery and tile works, carpets and wood carvings. It came as a surprise to us just how colourful and beautiful their homes and their dress is (was, in some cases).
A great feature of the museum is that they purchase old workshops, churches and buildings (set for destruction, I imagine) – and relocate them *inside* the museum. Yes, that’s right! One room contains an entire two-story wooden house, another contains a windmill (plus two wheels) and a last one contains a church. There is also a church in the yard, which I was able to grab a few shots of.
If you go (and I encourage you to go!) allow at least three hours to take it all in. The place is massive!
Later that night, Travis cooked dinner and we met up with the two Kiwis we met in Chisinau. It was really great to catch up with them! Josh invited us to go drink in the old town after, which was really nice.
Thank you for the drinks Josh!