May 9, 2015
After a long flight from Vancouver to Paris and a fairly long flight from Paris to Bucharest, we arrived on time, late in the afternoon, at the Henri Coandă Airport. For this trip we had decided to take carry-on luggage only, so after passport control we headed straight out to the bus stop. Luckily there was a kiosk there with an attendant selling bus-fare cards, so we bought one there. Her machine didn’t work with our credit card, and it seemed to take a while to load the card with our cash payment, so by the time all that was done the 738 bus which had been waiting at the stop departed. So we had to wait about 20 minutes for the next bus.
The trip into Bucharest only took about half an hour and was very straightforward. We watched the sign at the front of the bus which told us the next stop, and when Piața Romana showed up, we got off. We had printed Google Map instructions on how to walk to the Umbrella Hostel, and although the streets were not well-labelled and it was a bit tricky to find where to turn, we did find our way there. We were a bit pleased about having done that.
After checking us in, Carlos took us up to our room on the second floor, which entailed climbing a very narrow spiral staircase. The room itself was typical of hostel rooms, with a bunk bed that was a large double bed below and a single bed above. After a cup of tea we headed out to explore the city. Caroline was meeting us here for the weekend, having flown out from London, but she was out on a “Two Castles in One Day” bus tour and wouldn’t be back until about 7:30 pm. So, armed with the map from the reception desk we walked back down Strada General Christian Tell and then followed Calea Victoriei towards the Old Town.
We found the Romanian Atheneum, where we were supposed to meet Caroline later, and then visited the historic St Peter and St Paul church. Inside the church were beautiful frescoes of various saints and Biblical scenes. We looked around the Old Town, but it seemed to be mostly made up of bars and restaurants, so we didn’t stay long. Instead we returned to the hostel for more tea, to compensate for our lack of sleep.
After a while we headed out again, this time walking to Cișmigiu Park. Being a beautiful sunny Saturday, the park was very busy with lots of families playing in the children’s playgrounds and others walking along the paths. We wandered along for quite some time, munching on the big box of popcorn that we’d purchased. Then at 7:30 pm we went over to the Atheneum to wait for Caroline; but by 8:15 pm her bus still wasn’t there. An e-mail from her said they were going to be late, and finally her bus arrived a bit after 8:30 pm. We had found a nice Italian restaurant right next to the Atheneum, so we just went there for dinner and the food was quite good. It was nice to see Caroline again and catch up on what she had been doing.