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Maria and Gerry’s Travel Diary

Monday, 26 Jun 2006

Location: Bucharest, Romania

MapFrom Veliko Turnova to Bucharest.
This morning it was hot again as it has been most days.Notices that in these countries people are on the move very early in the morning.Got woken up by an ancien bus crunching its gears as it slowed to take a corner.Not even 6am yet We were actually waiting for the breakfast room to open this morning.Stopped at the entrance of the fortress we had seen from the hotel last night to take some photos and have its history explained The foundations date from Roman times.Then onto the pretty litle village of Arbenaies so calles after the Greek speaking Albanians who settled the 16thC Today it is much visited for its unique archtecture and any new house must comply with these trends.As a result it has become the holiday retreat for the rich and famous and we were pointed where a Bulgarian soccer star had his mini palace built there.Visited an Orthodox church built in the 16thC.
All the winding narrow streets are cobblestoned and even the hotel we passed was built in the prevailing style.
Onto Rouse acity on the Danube which forms the border between Bulgaria and Romania where we had our lunch.We mat have noted that it is difficult to find decent coffee in Europe,it is either the very strong Turkish type,small cups with half the contents grounds,espresso or instant.Now we are quite often taken for Americans so they think we want instant or what they call American coffee.However in Rouse we found a place which served real latte and mochacino.Rouse goes back at least to Roman times and probably earlier.Its an important port on the Danube which is a busy waterway.After coffee ate our sanwiches in a park with a beautiful fountain then walked the pedestrian mall.Ran into a couple from Tasmania,who were backpacking theit way around Turkey and the Balkans.As is usual exchanged travel experiences.Time for another coffee for Maria but I settled for a beer.Not far to go the border crossing the Danube on the very long Friendship Bridge built in the 50's.Took a while to cross as trucks were blocking the bus lane but no real hassles.The closer counties come to joining the EU the frienlier they become towards tourists but at times the old totalatarian comminist tendencies reassert themselves.Yhe roads in Romania were even worse than in Bulgaria if that is possible,houses tumbled down and secondary roads unsealed.It was only 55km to Bucherest but road conditions and extensive roadworks to improve the infrastructure hindered progress.
We approached Buchrest from the south and our hotel was in the north of the city no ring road so a good opportunity to see the centre of the city.Our room was on the 9th floor.and overlooks a park.
Dinner that night at the hotel.