University Square (Piata Universitatii)
In the last 15 years University Square has proved to be a popular railing point at the time of national crisis as well as celebration: people gathered here during the 1989 revolution and the sad events of June 1990 and they continue to gather here every time the national team wins a soccer game (which unfortunatelly doesn't happen very often these days). If you see a lot of people loitering around the underground passage entrance in front of the National Theater is because it's probably the most popular meeting place in Bucharest. It's a place buzzing with crowds and traffic, a true center of activity. The square is surrounded by interesting architecture starting with the University of Bucharest building on the square's northwestern corner. Facing the university there are four statues of illustrious pedagogues and statesmen. On the other northern corner, adjacent to the Intercontinental hotel, is the National Theater of Bucharest. Opposite it lies the beautiful building of the School of Architecture, behind a little square with a small fountain where people stop and sit when the weather is nice. On the southwestern corner of the square, the Bucharest History Museum traces the city history from the beginning to modern days and across from it lies the neo-Classical building of the Coltea Hospital and its lovely church. In the middle of the square, in a little island, there are ten stone crosses that pay homage to those killed during the 1989 revolution. Below the square there is an underground passage with shops and eateries which allows pedestrians to cross to from one side of the square to another and also leads to the subway station.
Questions that start with "why" are not very often worth asking in Bucharest. However, I’m asking them here, to share them with you.
Why don't you let the passengers off the bus or tram first, before you try to barge on?
Why cannot I buy bus tickets form the non-stop kiosks in the bus-stop, but only from a separate kiosk off the bus-stop, which sells only bus tickets from 6AM to 9 PM?
Why is that car hooting at me while I cross the street when I have a green man?
Why cannot I take pictures of the façade of certain palaces and villas which host public institutions or embassies?
Why all restaurants serving traditional Romanian cuisine put noisy music?
Why are most waiters sullen and reluctant to be polite?
Why do churches have the national flag at the entrance?
Why do you press up against my back when we're in a queue even though we have plenty of space?
Why do I have to queue three separate times to buy a piece of cake or to make one single bank transaction?
Why would the pretentious chap who has just left the trendy café get into his convertible, put on his hat and gloves because it is so cold, and then proceed to put the top down?
Why put the fruit in the fridge but leave the fruit juice (marked ''store in refrigerator'') out of the fridge?
This is an intersection in the Militari neighborhood. It's an area that doesn't have any atractions that you can find in the center, but it's a good example of how people live. Its not a bad neighborhood, but its crowded like every place in Bucharest. In the pic, the tall apartment buildings specific for neighborhoods built in communist times.
Location: Iuliu Maniu Boulevard.
Lively bar and nightclub
My friend and I visited Fire Club one night during our visit to Bucharest in March 2008.
This popular bar and nightclub is located on Strada Gabroveni, a small street that runs parallel to Strada Lipscani in the heart of Bucharest. The area offers a few good nightlife venues, with the Offside Pub (see other tip) just a few doors away from the Fire Club.
There is a 10 Lei (2 GBP) cover charge to enter Fire Club, and you will get your hand stamped by one of the bouncers as proof of payment.
When we first arrived, we sat at one of the tables in the ground floor bar area. There was music playing in the background and music videos being shown on large screen TVs. We sat for a while, drinking draught Ursus beer at 4 Lei (0.80 GBP) per 500ml, before deciding to head downstairs to the club area.
Downstairs, there is another bar, a dance floor, and a small seating area with wooden blocks to sit on and small wooden tables. Being a Saturday night, the club was packed out and was particularly popular with students and other young locals. No draught beer is available downstairs, so we drank bottled Ursus beers at 5 Lei (1 GBP) per bottle. We sampled the Ursus Blond (a typical lager) and the Ursus Black (similar to Guinness).
A full drinks menu can be found on the club’s website here: DRINKS.
Expect to pay between 3 and 6 Lei (0.60 – 1.20 GBP) for a local beer, up to 7 Lei for Czech beers and up to 9 Lei for Hoegaarden and Guinness. You will find the usual selection of popular drinks such as Smirnoff Ice (12 Lei / 2.40 GBP) and Red Bull (10 Lei / 2 GBP), as well as a large range of spirits, wines, soft drinks (4 Lei / 0.80 GBP per bottle and hot beverages).
The music consisted largely of rock, pop and indie music from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. It was quite an eclectic mix, from The Proclaimers to The Kaiser Chiefs, as well as music from two of Sheffield’s finest bands; The Arctic Monkeys and Pulp.
No dress code was apparent – I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and trainers, and most people were casually dressed.
A lively bar and club, with bottled beers and a good selection of music!
Watch your gas tank & know your currency.
Know thy currency. Romania recently changed their currency, and so you definitely don't want to over pay them for gas. For now, gas prices are shown in both the old & new currency, which is simply divided by 10,000!
See the picture..
Their octane is much higher than what is typical for the US.