We have been living in Turkey for almost 3 months. For John, we have decided not to invest in a long term stay visa but instead to leave the country every three months for a nearby foreign country. John did some quick research, found some places that Turkish Airlines flies to and Bucharest was the winner. Cheap and short flight. We had two days to stay and in the end it felt more than enough...

Bucharest is not the most beautiful city. At some point in its history, it was considered the Paris of Eastern Europe but wars and communism took most of its beauty away. Whatever was not destroyed during wars was left unused during the communism era due to being to fancy for their taste. Now the city is covered with a lot of old and rotten beautiful buildings and giant new ones. It is getting more touristic but maybe not in the most graceful way. Our hotel was on one of the main streets, and it had super luxury shops and closed up, deserted buildings at the same time. I might be very wrong and might have not appreciated this city due to our short time there, but it also did not help that the people of Bucharest were not very friendly or smiley. We did not have many reasons to bond.

We still had a great time and enjoyed a few things very much.

Old City

Our hotel was very near the Old City Center and the up and coming Lispcani district. It was quite fun to wake up in the morning and walk down that way to have breakfast, browse through the sreet vendors and have fast food sushi for dinner. The photo below is one of the first ones of the trip. On our cold morning, we bumped into this old, simple chair that was left out on the street.

By the University Square, we saw some of the most beautiful book stands. When they are closed, they display the interesting, original artwork on them. When they are open, they are simply bookshelfs. I have searched about them and actually the artwork changes every year. It is a part of the I love Bucharest art program.

Peasant Museum

The city has an award winning small museum called Peasant Museum. It exhibits artifact from Romanian peasant's life, church, school. To me, the most interesting part of this museum was its collection of museum signage and informational pieces with hand written text and hand drawn illustrations. As you entered each section, you could find the photocopied and laminated information sheets, all with different styles in a little folder hanging on the wall. So cozy! I could not take photos, but I have the museum ticket with a tasty radish photo and an illustration of exhibited chairs, insipired by the museum itself.

Parliament Palace and MNAC

Parliament Palace in Bucharest is one of the largest, widest buildings in the world. Some sources say it is the biggest, some say Pentagon is. Regardless, being in front of it, walking around it, you are pretty impressed with its size and Nicolae Ceauşescu's ego. He wanted to build this huge building for his government and even added residential space to make it bigger. Of course, they flattened that part of the city to make room for the giant building.

Currently, the Palace is only partially used by the parliament. There is also a small section that was slightly modified to house the National Museum of Contemporary Art. The rest is unused. The third photo below shows one part of the building where a jeep is almost entering the palace. There is not much monitoring. The first two photos show the wall around the building. The last one is the section that became the museum.

The museum itself did not have an impressive collection. Quite a smorgasbord of artists and media. My favorite part of the museum is the terrace cafe (the sketch below is from there) and the ticket design. The terrace cafe did not have much to offer early in the morning, other than bitter coffee and various cocktail options, but the open terrace on top of a giant, deserted building, in the middle of a big open space looking at the rest of the Bucharest felt special. Especially, as we were the first and for a while only people there in the morning. The ticket's illustrator look and feel, and its color combination made it an instant favorite for me. The museum itself did not feel that modern but the ticket did.

One installation from the museum that made me smile. Rhinos are never out of fashion in this household.

And that was it. After that, we returned home.