18 March 2017

Winter weekend in Bucharest

Bucarest, Romania

The main reason of our visit to Bucharest was the Ryanair low cost offer; in fact we paid € 15.98 for a round trip ticket from the Bologna airport. It was perfect for us as we live in a city called Modena which is very close to Bologna. The flight was leaving on the Friday afternoon and coming back on the Sunday evening. Obviously this was the second reason because none of us had to ask for special permissions at work. Many of our friends who have already been to Bucharest several times have warned us about the bad weather conditions during the winter, but the ticket was so cheap that we didn't want to give up. At the arrival in Bucharest, we took the express airport shuttle (about LEI 8.00/person) to the University square in the city where we had rented our apartment: Rosuites Apartment Accommodation. The location was good, because the subway station and the main bus stop were close and also just 15 minutes of walk to the old city/Lipscani. Even if the building from the outside seemed was coming down with its "hand crank" lift, the apartment was ok, more than enough for a weekend. We recommend this apartment for anyone looking for a place to stay at a very reasonable price. (€ 45.00 per night for four). At the arrival we settled our things in the apartments and we quickly went out toward the old town full of shops, pubs, night clubs and restaurants. We had dinner at Hanù Lui Manuc Restaurant: three levels building with a spectacular interior courtyard. It was totally touristic, well organized with traditional musicians, dancers and many other traditional attractions. They served good simple Romanian food. The prices were higher than the average but we really enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere. Overall Hanu' lui Manuc seemed like a good place to have dinner when in the old town and better than many of the more touristy places. The one bad thing about this place is that due to the crowd the waiters were always in a big hurry and often made mistakes with the orders.
After the dinner we did nothing special even if everything was open in the old town, we just came back to our apartment by walk and had good rest. There was melting snow everywhere and thank God we all had waterproof shoos which helped us a lot on our way back home. The following day we went to the Herastrau Park and to the village museum. We travelled by metro because the city was well linked and the day pass was very cheap (10.00 LEI). Despite what our friends have told us in Italy before our departure, the weather was good: cold but sunny. Harastrau Park, which is located close the village museum, was clean and well looked after. At that time the lake here was frozen so, many of the activities were closed anyways beside the beautiful winter landscapes offered by the lake, there were a great number of facilities for children, benches distributed on the whole surface of the park for a chat and footpaths for jogging. The Herastrau Park gave access to the open air Village Museum, another program in itself; it displayed samples of ancient houses moved here from several regions of the country. The entry ticket was cheap, just 10 LEI per person.
Very interesting place which gives to the visitors the real idea of how people lived once upon a time. The rustic houses surrounded by snow were really fascinating. Was a lovely way to spend few hours before having lunch. It has got late (3pm) when finally we have reached the old town and this time   our goal was Carù cu Bere Restaurant. We heard about this palce many times and people said that if you go to Bucharest as a tourist you can't leave the town without eating at Carù cu Bere. It was really true! The place was fantastic and the food was excellent: it looked like an old church and it was overcrowded. We had to wait about 40 minutes before getting a place to sit eventhough it has been worth going there, they serve traditional romanian food, prices are little bit higher but it is one of those places one should see. After this delicious meal, we left for a walk around the old town visiting an orthodox church and taking some pictures, all very relaxed and casual.We didn't of course miss the dinner at the restaurant: Vatra, we went there to taste their soups because of some reviews on TripAdvisor saying it was excellent, but sadly there was no soups that day so we had to settled down with some few items they had :-(  So disappointing! The food was ok, yes a decent place but nothing special neither in taste nor in its presentation. Especially the Sarmale was not so appetizing. (the best one since was at Hanù Lui Manuc). The staff was not so friendly such as in Carù Cu Bere or Hanù Lui Manuc, some of them were not fluent in English which might be interpreted as rudeness which probably gave a wrong judgement. They didn't seem to connect with the customers at all. Probably once the cultural differences are clear sure there will be no complaints :-). Certainly great value for money but in any case higher for what they offer. We are sure that Bucharest has a lot of better other places to eat. Even though the restaurant was full, not only with tourists but also with locals. We missed the nightlife also the second evening: straight back home after dinner, because our alarm goes off very early, around eight. We hope there will be time in the future to enjoy the wonderful nightlife of Bucharest. One of our programs of the day after has been cancelled since we got in front of the parliment, which was closed for a month due to the maintainence. But we learned something important that day: in order to save time (our flight back was leaving in the evening), we thought about travelling by taxi and split the expences. We realized that when travelling in packs (4) taxi was cheaper that public trasport. From the university square to the parliment, we spent just 5 LEI, not even an Euro. Since the parliment was closed, we had to satisfy ourselves by visiting the modern art gallery. We took the taxi again to Lipscani where we had our last meal of Romania, before getting back to Italy. Taxis display their rates per km along the side of their car, which was not the same for all, we took the one with the lowest price: 1.39 LEI/km. We also ensured that the meter was turned on. The driver dropped us in front of the Lacrima si sfinti Restaurant. Very warm welcoming with tasty Rumanian food and excellent service of the waiters. The one who was serving us recommended a different main course than the one we had initially chosen as well as a glass of wine and both were very fine. Prices appeared reasonable with about 70 EUR for four. Generally Lacrimi si Sfinti looked like a modern twist to traditional cooking. It's worth a visit definitely. We enjoyed this place a lot; We finished up our lunch with palinka and we left to the airport by taxi.

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