Tourism in Bucharest
There are lots of welcoming cafes, bars and especially wonderful new coffee shops in Bucharest. I found the service from these seemingly younger businesses to be friendly whereas the service elements was distinctly lacking from those organisations who purely exist for tourists.
Our one must-do was to go to a castle in Transylvania and the wonderful concierge recommended two choices to us. We picked the one that picked us up at the hotel (wisely, as it turned out) and set our alarm for 6am for the one and only big adventure of this trip. The mini bus duly arrived and we got on to find it was a really a converted van with no leg room. Still, the sights will make us forget about the lack of space I thought.
After a few minutes as the bus approached capacity, we’re told that there is something wrong with this it and another one will be coming. We’re waiting 25 minutes with barely an apology and start debating after about 10 whether this is going to be very comfortable. We couldn’t feel any air-con and were concerned about spending 4-5 hours in these conditions with the heat approaching 40c.
We did pop onto the next ‘bus’ when it came, we couldn’t even sit together, were told ‘it should have’ air con and on that basis, we were out.
So, no castle for us and having got up at 6am for nothing, the ever-wonderful hotel concierge then recommended the usual hop-on/hop-off tourist bus and with the heat, we reluctantly decided to give it a go. The first one of the day arrived over 20 mins (again, no apology) so it didn’t bode well. We got on, having invested the time waiting for it in the heat but there was no tourist info given out on it. What is the point in it if it’s not going to give you any information about the places of interest we’re driving past?!
It only ran every 20 minutes and as they didn’t stick to timetable, we didn’t fancy our chances of waiting in the sweltering heat for it. We cut our losses (about £5 each for 24 hours) and never used for the rest of the day.
So the rest of the trip was via the super-efficient Uber and as it cooled down a bit, we managed to walk a bit more too. We did find we needed a passport to get into their national library which obviously we keep locked in the safe rather than carrying around with us, so that was another no-go site.
We did get to another must-do, a village which was disappointedly just a bunch of old/reconstructed houses that we couldn’t actually go inside. Once again, there was no welcome, it felt more like we were visiting someone in prison and they were doing us a favour by turning up for work.
There was no map (other than one or two near the entrance) so we couldn’t find anything of interest although, perversely came across the IKEA house. Who knew that would be the only thrill of the hour. Avoiding that tourist bus, we managed to walk to the small but perfectly formed Steam coffee shop and got our Bucharest adventure back on track.