Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bucharest

This past weekend I made my farthest trip into Eastern Europe, the city of Bucharest in Romania.  The first thing you notice when you visit this city is the Palace of Parliament, the largest civilian building in the world... Most expensive too.
This building was the idea of the Romanian communist President Nicolae Ceaușescu, it was a bad idea.  Infront of the palace is a large area for people to gather and one of the most impressive boulevard water fountains I have ever seen.   Ceaușescu did not live to see the completion of this building.  Michael Jackson was actually the first person to give a speech form the balcony Ceaușescu built.
 Along the length of the water fountain was a tree covered walkway.
 Ceaușescu wanted the boulevard Unirii, this fountain is in the center, to be the best boulevard in Europe.  And although this is a few millimeters wider, I think people consider Paris Champs-Elysees boulevard to be nicer... Of course, Chicago Grand Boulevard is #1.
 All over Europe are free walking tours of cities, Bucharest has an independent company providing the tour.  Tour guide was great, she knew everything about Bucharest and Romania.
 Romanian Orthodox is the main religion in Romania, my first time visiting an Orthodox church and I found a food market inside. I think they were even selling wine, bread for sure.
 This is the oldest new church in Bucharest, it's called Biserica Sfântul Anton and has been rebuild dozens of times.  
 The building itself is not so old, but the relics inside date back to the 1500's.
 Bust of Dracula.
 This is another small Romanian Orthodox church in Bucharest.  As explained by the tour guide, churches are small because of the relationships are formed between the families of the church and the priest.  Large churches can't form the same bond.
 This building is unique because you can still see the bullet holes from the 1998 revolution on the top horizontal wall of the building.  Look close.
 Inside the Palace is amazing but not amazing, very simple.
 If you tour the palace you get to see 2% of the building, or 4 rooms.  Most of the rooms toured are diplomatic or ceremonial.  This room was a diplomatic room, the room inside the room is used by the translators.
 This stair case was rebuilt seven times in order to please Ceaușescu.
 The palace was built from Romanian sourced material, including all the marble.
 A ceremonial room.
 This was suppose to be Ceaușescu head of the communist party room, but it ended up being the human rights room. The wall to the left contains a secret escape passageway.
 Back outside the palace.
 The tour guide described this as the most beautiful building in Bucharest that you can't tour inside of... closed to the public.
 This is another building closed to the public, it's for military parties and such.  But of course, it can be rented.
 This is the statue in the center of Revolution Square, I'm not sure wha that hut is doing to the left of the statue, but the smoke coming from the hut smelled horrible.
 In the back of the square is this building and balcony.  Nicolae Ceaușescu gave his final speech from this balcony but from this photo you can see that's it's not really an amazing balcony.  But if you watch the video on YouTube of the final speech, the angle from which this balcony is shown looks like it's ten times higher than it really is.  That's propaganda.
 Another square near Revolution Square.
 I visited Bucharest during the Romanian Presidential election.  After carefully studying all the presidential posters thought the city, I support Victor Ponta.  Go Ponta!  This guy definitely spent the most on posting posters.
It turns out, Victor Ponta now faces Klaus Iohonnis in a run off election. I guess we need to wait to see who wins.