At the moment of writing this post I am back home, Montreal QC.
I just realized that I never published my final Bucharest post, so here it is. I will write about the few last days I spent in that amazing city.
First of all, The Silver Church club where we went on a Friday night (after having some beers at the Cheers Bar). The Silver Church club is big, crowded and very cheap on Friday nights, I don’t know if it’s the same on the other nights of the week. There is no entrance fee, bottled beer is 5 Lei (less than $2), the music is pretty cool, mostly 90’s pop, so it brings back a lot of memories for the 20-30 year olds and the people are very friendly, unlike the fiţe crowd at places like Club Bamboo. I really enjoyed that night because I got the chance to see Bogdan, Theo, Ionica, Pizdinu, Sebi and a few others – it was the last time I went out with these amazing new friends!
At The Silver Church I met a group of friends from France and eventually we moved to Expirat Club, located in the Lipscani area. The venue was pretty cool, the beer was cheap and that night they played rock music which by the end of the night was more of hard-core and metal. I am open to all kinds of music so I enjoyed it, however some might not like it. I left Expirat a little after 7 am and walked home to Piata Romana.
On Saturday night Bogdan, Dan with two girls and I made it to Deja-Vu – once again. I finally decided to go for the “Bandidas” drink… why is this drink special? Well, basically because I have to get on the bar and stay on my knees. Jenny, one of the barmaids also comes up, she pours some strong alcohol from 2 different bottles into my mouth, then she squeezes the lemon juice from a fresh lemon with her teeth… later she closes my mouth, shakes my head (in order to mix the alcohol and lemon juice) and only then I can swallow the cocktail, which as I already mentioned is pretty strong. For the ladies who read this blog – if you ever go for that drink a barman will do it for you and not a barmaid, you also get to chose which barman/barmaid will serve the drink. This was the most exotic way of drinking, at least for me.
And now some final thoughts, tips and advice on Bucuresti.
First of all 3 venues you MUST visit;
– Deja-Vu cocktail bar (and please go for a cocktail and not a beer)
If you want to take a cab, try to learn how to say your destination in Romanian. Some cab drivers still try to screw the tourists (one cab driver told me the fare would be 20 Euros, when I spoke to another cab driver in Romanian he told me the fare would be around 2 Euros).
Traveling by metro is probably the safest and fastest way. If you are planning to stay in Bucuresti for a few weeks and think you will use the metro often – maybe buying a monthly pass would be a good idea. It costs about $8 and gives you unlimited access to the metro for one whole month. The cheapest ticket you can buy is for 2 rides and it costs about $0.80. The tickets could be purchased at the cash at any metro station.
Most (if not all) people in Bucharest who are under 30 speak decent English, so getting around should be relatively easy… and NO, Romanians do NOT sound like Borat.
When you are paying your bill at a restaurant or a bar, the tip is NOT included in the final price. People usually tip 10% in Bucharest. However I highly suggest to tip more if the service was great and to tip less (or not tip at all) for horrible service since some places still do offer very bad service (like Grand Cafe Galleron). Maybe if more people tip for the quality of service, the quality will eventually go up!
Walking at night in downtown area is safe, from what I have seen. A few times I walked late at night with my big Canon camera hanging off my neck and to be honest I was a little concerned – however nothing bad happened even though a few bums and other questionable people walked by me. The known issue of stray dogs is getting handled in Bucuresti. All the dogs are vaccinated against rabies and usually these dogs don’t care about you walking by. Some dogs might follow you but not because they will attack you but because they expect some food.
Taking a cab to the airport is quite expensive. There is a great alternative though, the express bus (#783) which I took from Piata Romana to the Otopeni airport. Once again you need to buy a ticket for 2 fares which will cost a little over $2. The bus also stop at Piata Victoriei, The Arc of Triumph and some other places. From Piata Romana it took about 45 minutes to get to the airport. There is usually enough place in the bus so you could sit.
For the whole stay in Bucharest I rented an apartment about 100 meters away from the Piata Romana metro. I loved the location, it is close to everything since it’s located in the downtown area. The apartment was cleaned every 3-4 days or so, this also includes fresh bed sheets, fresh towels, soap and toilet paper. Normally cheaper than a hotel room but you also get fully equipped kitchen and more privacy… in my opinion. I dealt with Catalin who offers quite a few apartments for rent around town. He can offer you Studio apartments for as low as 28 Euros per day, one bedroom apartments and luxurious 2 bedroom apartments for under 90 Euros per day. Lower rates are available for longer stay. Please mention AlexTraveling.com when booking. You can reach Catalin by phone: (+4)-0722.607.433 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I guess that’s all I wanted to write for now, can’t wait till my next visit to Bucharest (this summer) 😀
Thank You for reading, don’t forget to comment and visit again soon! I am going to be traveling through Europe starting May 2010 and this blog will be updated more and more!