Saturday, April 30, 2011

Constanta and the Black Sea

Constanta, Romany, built on the ruins of the roman city of Tomis, is a treasure trove of artifacts for the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Attempts are being made to display the old finds but the day we visited their museum the plumbing was out of order. Such was the state of many of the facilities in Romania. Constanta is memorable in that the entry points into the city have large ships with the name “Constanta” on the ship hull. Nice signage!
All my life I have felt sorry for the folks who were forced to live under communism. You know, bad apartments, long lines, no food and dismal beaches. Now I find out I was wrong all along. Yes, they have those ugly concrete apartment buildings, they did stand in lines, but as for beaches, they are class. Although looking like Galveston six months after Hurricane Ike – patchy construction and reconstruction, vacant buildings that at one time were the site of many wonderful parties. We were there in early April and the beaches were deserted but I am sure by mid June they will look like Padre Island during spring break. (Floridian that I am, I always check out the beaches.)
The Romanian government didn’t seem to be stingy when they were building structures to impress the world. Their citizens, they didn’t really put too much thought to them. Down to each tour guide, we were told of the deprivation of the public. Romania in particular, under the agonizing oppression of the dictator Nicolae CeauČ™escu, suffered greatly. While his subjects suffered severe hunger and cold for many years he sold the countries food and products to the world for money he would put into grand building schemes. His royal place in Bucharest , still unfinished, is the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon Building. Dictated to be made exclusively of Romanian materials the palace is gorgeous. Five types of marble, huge crystal chandeliers to make the Queen Mother swoon and fabulous rugs made to cover the stunning pink marble floors. Acres and acres of rugs! The new Republic hopes to have it finished in six years. It is certainly a site to see. Sorry old Nicolae and his wife won’t get to see it – they were tried, found guilty and executed in the 1989 uprising by the people. Whoop!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Syfogin Bucharest, Romania

Our hotel in Bucharest was the Palace Anthenee Hilton, it was interesting having breakfast were Adolph Hitler actually held meetings. This trip was interesting and I must describe to you what we saw, both the beautiful and the ugly.

Romania suffered under Socialism for over forty years and it can be seen in the land and in the people. Bucharest, once considered the Paris of the East has many structures built in the art nouveau and Baroque style. The area around Revolution Square is a busy modern city. It is in this area we spent our first day in Bucharest. After exploring a little and trying to keep on a daytime/ nighttime schedule, we looked for a place for an early dinner. A little underground restaurant with very good local food & wine was just around the corner and also "just right".

After a restful fifteen hour nap, we were ready to see Bucharest for real. Our first stop was “Caru cu Bere” the famous beer garden in Old Town. A great place to enjoy sausage, beer and sauerkraut. Built in 1897 (the year the "Pink House that's Now Blue" was built) the woodwork and Victorian flair was absolutely beautiful. One local said you must see this most beautiful church and across the street visit the most beautiful beer garden in Bucharest. Food was good, beer was great!

After lunch we took in more of Old Town and then headed to the Museum of the Villages. This outdoor museum is a collection of old houses and barns moved into a park like setting in town. It consisted of structures dating as far back as the 1700’s. Homes built partially underground, thatched roof, handmade fences and structures of all kinds. There was one windmill, flour grinding stones, grist mills, and all sorts of things they used then.

By now we had figured out the good taxi, bad taxi routine and were able to take a cab back to our hotel to meet our Aggie friends for dinner.