May 25, 2016: Arriving in Bucharest

This morning, around six, we pulled into Romania’s capital and largest city of Bucharest.  This was the last stop for our train so we did not have to worry about quickly getting off of the train, which is the best way because that adds a lot of panic.  You don’t want to oversleep and miss your station!

We did not have any word from our hostel yet as to whether or not we would be able to go straight there as it was first thing in the morning so we went to the Subway at the Gara de Nord Railway Terminal to see if we could get breakfast as Liesl was super excited to find that there was one there, but they were closed.  So we ended up going to McDonald’s instead as we knew that there would be food that we could eat there for breakfast and we could wait there with wifi until we knew where we could go.  Breakfast was fine, the coffee was awful, though.  We don’t expect McDonald’s to live up to European standards of coffee but in the US McDonald’s McCafe brand is one of the best coffees that you can generally get (definitely better than Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts) and yet, this wasn’t even remotely up to US standards.  It was awful.

While we were there a man overheard us talking about travelling and came over and introduced himself.  His name was David and he was a retired Anglican priest from British Columbia who had been travelling and had had some travel complications.  He is a full time traveller like us.  He had cell phone questions as he had just arrived by plane from the Philippines and did not know how the local mobile phones would work and he needed to get to Budapest, Hungary and was hoping that we had some insight into that process.

We ended up moving from McDonald’s to So! Coffee which was far better and hung out there with David for quite some time working on his phone, getting him a travel plan and so forth.    You often make new friends when travelling, everyone is in the same adventure together.

We were at the Gara de Nord for a few hours and had coffee, food and even hot chocolate before leaving.  Our hostel, the Crazy Duck Lodge, had responded long before that our room was ready and that someone was at the front desk so that we could arrive any time that we wanted.

We grabbed a taxi and went to the hostel arriving before noon.  We got checked into our room and the girls played out front with some of the staff doing chalk drawings on the “driveway”.  They had a great time.  The room was really nice and the shower is great.  We are liking the hostel private room here.  If we return to Bucharest we will definitely use the Crazy Duck Lodge again.

We relaxed in the room for a bit and I worked on some writing while I could.  The girls took naps, as well.

Around four we set out to walk down to the old town and see what was there.  That is one of the big attractions in Bucharest, a restored old town with lots of restaurants and shopping.

Our hostel is not far, but it was a decent walk to the old town.  Fine for me, but rather a lot for Ciana.  I had to carry her much of the way.

We walked around the old town for a bit, everyone was really starving.  We did not spend too much time before settling on Xclusive Grill & Crepes.  I grabbed a negroni and we ordered dinner.  The food and service were so so.  They got our order wrong and things took a while.  It wasn’t bad, but it was clearly focused on tourists and not looking for much repeat business.  Dinner was fine, but we would not make a point of returning.  The girls have been so addicted to crepes recently that we had thought that it would work out well.  Luciana fell asleep during dinner, again.

We decided to just grab a taxi back to the hostel after dinner.  We were tired and it was starting to rain and Luciana was not going to put up with another long walk, especially wet and this much more tired.

It was an early night for us.  I stayed up for a while posting and writing.  Everyone else was off to bed almost as soon as we got back.

Tomorrow is our chance to really see Bucharest and do something.  So we are going to be tourists for the day.  The one big thing that we hope to get to do is to go see the Parliament House.  That is the biggest attraction in the country.