At half-past 5 a.m., the conductor knocks on the door and tells us we are pulling into Bucharest. Despite a steady slumber I feel tired, and I wish we had taken a longer route so I could have slept longer. I had heard Transylvania was nice this time of year. Wouldn’t the conductor much prefer that route to this one?
Fifteen minutes later and we are in the station, shivering and looking for a place to have breakfast. The station has many options for low-cost breakfast spots with wifi: KFC, McDonald’s, and a local chain called “SoCoffee.” We go to SoCoffee which is virtually indistinguishable from any European Starbucks competitor. We get breakfast sandwiches that are cold on the inside, juice, and coffee. I do some homework while my dad tries to figure out what we are going to do in Bucharest. Early-morning coffee in new countries is becoming a “thing” during this trip (it’s also Jerry Seinfeld’s next stupid webseries venture) and I don’t like it, mostly because I don’t like early morning. Anyway I get my work done and we are off to the first couple of sights: a monastery and the Romanian history museum.
I’m beginning to grow cold when we reach the the monastery which is warm, but has nuns with large boxy headdresses and is dark, so I am ready to leave after a couple short minutes of getting warm. Our next stop, the Romanian history museum, is right around the corner. I am able to secure a student discount and go through the museum, which curiously has no displays after WWI. However, we get a comprehensive history of how and and why Romania came to be, and learn a little bit about the Roman history of the region as well.
After that, we walked to a nearby Romanian holocaust museum, housed in a former synagogue. The proprietor there went over the congregation’s history prior to its conversion into a museum and the exhibits, while small, gave memorable testimony to the atrocities committed in the 1940s.Next, we sought the now-defunct Dracula Museum to no avail before looking for a local lunch, and finding it in the city’s old town.
With the day drawing to a close, and a flight booked that evening to Belgrade, we walked north to the Museum of Romanian Literature which, no surprise, had everything written in Romanian. We were tired, and still had some time to kill, so we hung around until we decided on our next move. The airport was not far and we had two hours, so we decided to walk there from the museum, which took a little over an hour. That is to say it took a little over an hour to walk to an airport. We mistakenly walked to the municipal airport, thankfully only a couple of miles from the airport we were supposed to go to. The desk clerk there told us we could just hop on the 780 or 783 bus on the street, and that would take us to the correct station. We waited only ten minutes, hopped on the bus, and got to the correct airport. The bus ticketing system was completely automated, and since we didn’t have a bus card or ticket we didn’t (couldn’t) pay. In our terminal’s food court, we left our remaining Romanian currency in a tip jar to appease the Bucharestian transit gods, may they not strike our plane down for not paying for our buses. Praise be.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.