train to Buzau
bus to Berca
Pension and Marian
Well, this is a very interesting two days to type!
The first day we made our way to Bucharest. This should be fairly easy, we lugged our bags down to the station to find out that the trains have already been delayed by over an hour, so we decided to see if we could get a bus. On exiting the station, the taxi drivers wanted to take us all the way for 100 Euro. No thanks, 100 Lei is the price by train, so we will be right.
There were no buses going past for a while, and Anna went to check the progress of the trains. Still majorly delayed. On coming out the taxi driver dropped his price to 60 Euro. Nope, not interested, but thanks. While we were waiting,a person came up to us, and had overheard that we wanted to go to Bucharest. He was going there anyway, and offered us a ride for 100 Lei. As this was the price we would pay for the train, we accepted without haggling. Going to his car, we found he was a taxi driver, but this would be a private ride.
The ride itself was pretty interesting, we passed out of the hills following a small river. There were small hydroelectric installations being set up all along the river.
Out of the hills, we passed into flat agricultural land. This was mostly sunflowers, and the views of vellow plains is stunning.
As we drove, we passed between dry and wet. The rain was getting steadily harder as we went south. By the time we made it to Bucharest it was pouring down so hard that you could only just see out of the windshield. Being dropped at the station was handy, as we knew nothing about the city. However, we knew nothing about the city!
We were in a bit of luck though, as the station offers internet, so we could look up a place to stay. It turns out there is one fairly close to the station that is in our price range. Walking over to it when there was a slight lull in the rain, we checked into Joe’s Hostel. It is more of a cazare than a hostel, which was good for us. The young guy behind the counter was not much use, but the older man that was there later on was pretty nice (we assume this is Joe). The room was OK, but I am very sick of old mattresses that the springs stick through. A lot of places have had similar beds, and it does not make for a good nights sleep if you have no internal padding yourself.
The rain eased up at some point overnight, but it was still fairly cool.
After seeing the weather forecast, we decided to leave Bucharest today. More rain, basically. The hostel would only take our bags for a few hours, and while that was annoying, it was still something (It was the young guy again).
Walking from the station to down town was a bit of an eye opener. We had assumed that the city would be similar to Cluj, but it is in a lot worse condition. There are some beautiful old buildings slowly crumbling into dust, and (bad) graffiti everywhere. The road was in an appalling condition, although it did look as if it was going to be redone soon. As we got to one of the larger streets we started seeing expensive brand shops. The shops themselves are perfect. The outside on street level is perfect. If you look up from that, the building is falling apart! This was a trend throughout the small bit of the city we saw. Closer to down town, there were a lot of fully renovated buildings and they seemed to be well done.
So, to cut a short story shorter, we went to see the building Ceausescu built. It is big. It is also not as ghastly as we had expected. There was some sort of style to it. The main Boulevard leading to it (or away in our case) was very disappointing. Most of the shops were closed, the footpath was raising apart and although there were trees and things, it had no feel to it. It could have been such a nice place, a few shops, cafes, a restaurant or two. Just give it a bit of style.
From there we walked into the main down town area. Here it is all cafes and restaurants. There is nothing else! It was fun for a bit to wander around the streets, but eventually every street looked the same. The same umbrellas, the same seats, the same prices, and I swear the same waiter.
Time to go. Back to the hostel to pick up our bags on time.
That was it. Our trip to Bucharest was over. We hardly saw the city, so can not really comment on it. I think it is a city that if you know people could be fun, but what city isn’t? I know! Dar Es Salam!
So we caught a train out to Buzau. Once there we wanted to go straight to Berca. There was a reason for this, and staying out of a big city was one of them. So, asking all the bus drivers where to go was interesting. We have stumbled out of any English speaking territory, and it was a bit confusing. Being rescued by a lovely lady that also spoke no English, we were shepherded to a bus to go to a different bus station. Here we could get a mini bus up into the hills again.
Arriving in Berca after a scenic drive, there was a main street with a few bars, but only one pension that we could see. Asking around we discovered that apparently it is the only one. Checking in we were given an expensive long room right under the roof. It was not too bad, but we have had a lot better for a lot less. Then back out to dinner where we met Marion. Marion is an Engineer working out here at the moment. A great guy and we had a long night talking to him and his friend. He also let us know there was another pension that would be cheaper, as well as making us promise to meet again tomorrow to play pool and try his home made tuica!