Bucharest Journals

A Brief Stint in Romania

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A travel journal to Bucharest by TianjinPaul

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First Impressions of Romania

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Over the course of my many travels, and before touching down in Bucharest, there had only been two places that set really over-powering first impressions as I landed. The first was Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia. I flew there from Shermetyevo in Moscow and, in so doing, passed over the frozen and unspoiled wilderness of Siberia. It was miles and miles of pure white snow. This was only broken by the huge smoggy cloud that hung over the Mongolian capital. It gave the impression that I was witnessing man's best attempts at sullying nature. The areas surrounding the airport were similarly tainted and dirty as they took in the majority of Mongolia's industry. The second place was Muscat, the capital of Oman into...Read More

Time Travel

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It may astound you to discover that not only can you catch a flight using Tarom or Lufthansa at Bucharest airport, but you can also enjoy a dose of time travel. Obviously, I do not mean actual time travel. That would be a rather ridiculous notion. However, taking a flight from Otopeni is something of a schizophrenic experience. It blended the ultra-modern and developed with an antiquity, chaos and squalor that I thought would have been confined to the last century.In getting to Otopeni we had driven through Bulgris, across the Danube and up to Bucharest in 40 degree heat. Without air-conditioning in the car, we were sweltering. Therefore, I was looking forward to stepping into the icy bla...Read More

Bucharest and Beijing

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The premise of this article may sound a little far fetched. However, I am going to beg the reader to suspend judgement until the culmination of the next few paragraphs as I do believe the observations I am about to detail to be rather insightful. My main point is that after spending an afternoon in Bucharest, I found myself continually comparing it to China, where I spent four very happy years of my life. Perhaps I should a little more specific here before we move on. Bucharest reminded me of China when I first arrived in 2006 as the surge of economic growth really began to gain speed.As I already stated, I understand that this may all sound a little contrived and perhaps a touch stretched...Read More

History on Wheels

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If someone were to ask me exactly what started my interest in travel and acted as the catalyst for my experiences in Mongolia, China and other far flung corners, I would argue that amongst many contributory factors was a book I read when I was 16 years old. I found 'Lambada Country' by Giles Whittel in a second-hand book-store in Scarborough in north-east Yorkshire and was transfixed. Whittel, who would later become the Los Angeles correspondent for The Times, took a bicycle journey through Eastern Europe just months after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. It was a fascinating book that did the job that good travel writing should always do: it made me want to get up and go....Read More

Crossing the Border

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As I grew up in the UK, the idea of crossing a border by land still seems a little alien (Scotland and Wales do not really count). When I hear such language, I always find myself thinking of Le Carre spy novels or of Bond movies with men dressed in black scurrying around and attempting to avoid the beams of massive search lights and the barks of ferocious looking dogs. Obviously, this is not really a fair reflection on the modern-day reality. In fact, since the formation of the EU, you barely notice passing between countries - going between France and Italy is the same as taking a regular train within either country. For example, the train from Nice (where I currently live) to Ventimiglia simply conti...Read More