Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bucharest, Romania Part II

At the end of my third week in Bucharest, I have discovered that Bucharest is a safer city than I first thought. I feel quite comfortable walking about. I am staying in a residential neighborhood with mostly elderly people. Within a five minute walk there are grocery stores, a large market, pharmacy, butchers and other stores. The weather has cleared, it is warm and sunny. With the warmer weather many people are out and about. There is also a huge increase in car traffic. It is standard though for cars to stop at crosswalks to let pedestrians cross.

Romania was a communist block country after WW II until the December 1989 National uprising which led to its overthrow. It is now  semi-parliamentary democracy and a member state if the European Union and NATO. 

Most of the elderly being from the communist block country are poor and as described to me by the young are ill. The young have a better quality of life however the average salary is about 400 USD per month. Housing is approximately 300 USD per month. I was told by a young Romanian that decent jobs are available to those who are intelligent and "go getters". 

Romanians are described as friendly, warm and hospitable with a fun-loving nature and innate sense of humor. The young people I met are eager to share their culture and also to ask about your life. Most of the young speak English. I have experienced the warmth and friendliness of the people I met.

Romanian is the Official language derived from Old Latin. It is considered a Romantic language with words from Slavic languages. Supposedly it is easier for English to understand. For me it has not been however the reading is not too bad. 

Bucharest is a very large city with a population of 2 to 3 million. It is a relatively clean city and Inwould describe as safe. There are scams from some people offering tours and taxi scams. As in many large cities there is graffiti which I think is more prominent in Bucharest than other places I have been. There are 150000 to 200, 000 stray dogs in Bucharest. I read that if you do not bother them they will not bother you. Another place I read that they bite about 50 people per day. I decided to cross to the other side of the street to avoid them. The gypsies and beggars are fairly prominent in some areas and they can be annoying. Ignore them and keep walking. 

Bucharest is known for its wide, tree lined boulevards with very large traffic circles at intersecting streets which are helpful for navigating the city. 

A few museums that are worthwhile are:
The Museum of the Romanian Peasant features a large collection of furniture, pottery, costumes, fabrics, and apparel. And religious objects. I took the audio tour lasting 3 hours and found the historical information fascinating. I would visit this museum again. One must pay to take photos so I do not have photos.

The Village Museum is an open-air museum in Herastrau Park that displays 300 buildings that reflect the history and diversity of Romanians rural architecture from all regions of the country. There is no entry to the interior of the structures but there is a written commentary about each structure in both English and Romanian.

The National Museum of Art houses 70,000 works by Romanian artists. The Romanian religious art was beautiful. another museum that you had to pay to take photos. 

Photos of the Village Museum:

Herastrau Park is a large park within the city of Bucharest with a lake, quiet areas, playgrounds, sporting areas, entertainment and restaurants. It is beautiful with lovely walking areas. I have been twice and plan on going again. 
The lake and a restaurant shaped as a boat.

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