Across the Friendship Bridge and over to Bucharest
Reports I read online before we left, all talked about how the only bridge over the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania, can take hours to cross due to heavy traffic. The reality was that it was so easy, car and people free, that we slowed down a few times to make sure that we are not missing some control point along the way. One booth on the Romanian side housed both countries passport checks, which took all but half a minute to pass through. Easy!
Romania’s might be going through economic recovery which is faster than Bulgaria’s, but its roads so far have brought back memories of pothole ridden Sofia of 10 years ago. A short 60km after the border and we were driving on a road that had tracks. I have to say, it was the first one for me. Tracks on asphalt, all on the circle road around Bucharest.
Their roads and drivers leave a lot to be desired, but the hospitality is second to none so far. Green grass, buckets of toys and trampoline – the kids are in heaven.
Bucharest itself is not so inviting. Some places just call on you to explore and dig deeper, Romania’s capital is not one of those. The center has a good collection of beautiful buildings and charming walking area. Unfortunately the busy part was full of fancy restaurants and snobby looking people jumping out of expensive vehicles.
The river walk was next to mind altering traffic, although still enjoyable.
We were missing the connection somehow. No street food, no cafes everywhere and other than the cars, not a whole lot of action around. Not much to connect to. We were just outsiders walking in a city, which is fun for approximately 30min on a good day.
The most exciting part of our walk turned out the nudity of the statue in front of the National Museum of History. A controversial fixture depicting the birth of the Romanian nation, which might be here only for a short while if many, many people have their way. We left our mark on it just in case.
Bucharest did not win us, but we did find some lovely people right in the outskirts of its busy streets.