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Back in Bucharest

Having learned my lesson about Bucharest breakfasts last time I was here, I got dressed and packed, and then hung around the hostel until their breakfast. It wasn't much, but I grabbed sustenance and dashed out to the metro station. I arrived at Parliament in time for the first tour, as planned, but apparently the first tour was only a partial tour. The first full tour wasn't until 10:45. I got my ticket, and figured that I'd do a lap around outside, and still be back with plenty of time to be 15 minutes early for the security check, like the ticket guy instructed. Most of the lap was uneventful. There were very view gates to peek into, and it mostly was open field, as far as I saw. Then, I stumbled upon an interesting little church, which surely wasn't there in communist times. Finally, I got to a gate to go back in. But the guard informed mme that I wasn't on the correct side, I had to go straight, left, and another left to get to the correct entrance. Crap! It had taken me almost half an hour to get this far, and I wasn't close to done. I picked up the pace and power walked into the entrance with just enough time to catch my breath before the guide started his instructions. I would have been ok if I showed up a tad later, because security took a while, but not too much later. The tour began with a walk through many impressively large chambers. This guide clarified the statistics on the largeness of the building- 2nd largest administrative building by area (after the Pentagon), 3rd largest by volume (after where Nasa builds space shuttles and something in Mexico), and heaviest. The whole time, the guide was pretty robotic. He gave his speech, stating tons of facts and statistics, and asking for questions like he didn't really welcome them as they'd be off speech. He regularly pointed out that the rooms were available to rent for events, as if he was selling them, just not very well. The rooms were impressive in their hugeness, but not as much in their decoration. I'm sure the decorations were expensive, but they looked like normal designs you'd find in any lace or on a wedding cake. We took the elevator up to the terrace, but even though it looked big enough for at least a dozen people, the guide only let 7 people in at a time (6 tourist + the elevator operator), claiming a weight limit. The "terrace" of course, means the roof. There are wires and pipes everywhere, and it feels much more utilitarian than pretty. It does have a good view of the city though. We continued to the balcony where Michael Jackson addressed the crowd, and then to the basement. The basement was more or less what one might expect from an unfinished basement- concrete with vents everywhere. There was a tiny display of things from communist times, but it really looked like more of a flea market. Due to the massive size, it was totally worth the money to walk around the palace. The guide said we had walked 2.5 km and only seen 5%. However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend paying extra for the extended tour. I'd say just take whatever tour they had available when you arrive. I grabbed a burger and fries at a local fast food chain I had noticed around town- spring something. It was ok, but nothing special. Then I began my afternoon of exciting museums. Many were closed on Tuesdays, but I had a list of museums that were open. I started at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant. I found the building relatively easily, but because it was undergoing restoration, it was a bit more challenging to find the entrance. Due to the restorations, they had one room open. It had very few items and nothing in English. It was kind of a waste. Next, I headed over to the Storck art museum, just because it was closest. It wasn't exactly where my map had it, but with a good circle around the block, I found it. My map said it was opening hours. The sign on the gate said it was opening hours. But the gate was locked. It was not open. So, I headed to the next closest museum listed as being open. This one was also not located where my map had it. It took multiple circles around the area to finally find the George Severeanu museum. Entrance is 5 leu, my map gave me a 50% discount, so the guy charged me 4 ldeu to get in. I don't know where he took math, but I wasn't going to argue over less than a dollar when the museum probably could use the money. I was the only one there and he even had to run around and turn on the lights for me. The collection is a bunch of old coins that had been issued by the various powers controlling Romania over history, or that were used commonly by Romanians. It was somewhat interesting, but not overly so. At least it was open though. I still had time, so I walked toward the next two closest museums. On the way, I passed the university's art exposition. It wasn't very good, but it was open, unlike the Theodor Aman gallery next to it. I got sick and tired of walking around, trying to find museums that weren't marked at the proper location on the map, and that weren't open anyway. Dear Minister of Tourism for Romania, tourists are interested in spending their money to see what your country has to offer. But the tourist sites need to be open when they say they will be open. (Also, they should be open 7 days per week, but that's something else.) I came away from today with a less-than-great opinion of Romanian professionalism. I grabbed my bag from the hostel and made it to the airport bus earlier than I needed to, but my feet were tired and I didn't have anything else to do in the city since I wasn't even going to try the othedr museums on my list

Parliament Palace from the outside

Parliament Palace from the outside


Church out back of the palace

Church out back of the palace


Huge chandelier

Huge chandelier


Lacy ceilings

Lacy ceilings


A ballroom

A ballroom


View of Bucharest

View of Bucharest


Museum in the basement

Museum in the basement


What was open of the peasant museum

What was open of the peasant museum

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Romania

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