Useful Information, Bucharest
Romania's capital, the nation's centre of cultural and economic life, was founded more than 500 years ago and is a natural starting point for visits to the country. During the 1930's its tree-lined boulevards and "fin de siecle" architecture gave it the nickname "Little Paris". There is even an Arc de Triomphe on the impressive Soseaua Kisseleff which is longer than the Champs Elysees and has ranges of trees which flower beautifully in the spring.
Despite the massive reconstruction of the 1980s, Bucharest remains a Garden City, leafy and pleasant, with cafes open on sidewalks in the summer, and with boats on its lakes and rivers. Finding your way is easy in Bucharest. The underground network offers a standard fare and covers most of the city. Major boulevards run North-South from the Arcul de Triumf (Triumphal Arch) down to the Centrul Civic (Civic Center), crossed by others going East-West. Calea Victoriei - a continuation of Soseaua Kisseleff - is the place where the city's inhabitants prefer taking strolls on summer evenings and where you will find majestic public buildings like the National History Museum and the main Post Office, whereas close to its Southern end there is the lovely Parcul Cismigiu (Cismigiu Park). Bulevardul (Boulevard) Magheru is parallel to Calea Victoriei and it hosts tourist and airline offices, cinemas and hotels. You will be intrigued by the city's eclectic mixture of architecture, from Curtea Veche, the remains of Prince Vlad Tepes 15th century palace - he was the city's founder as well as the inspiration for "Dracula", - to Orthodox Churches, Second Empire mansions, the stolid Stalinist architecture of the communist years and the colossal 6,000 room Parliament House, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.
Favorite thing: Wander around. Although Bucuresti is a large city, you can see a great deal of it on foot because so much of what a tourist probably wants to see is generally in the same area. Walk up and down the Calea Victoriei, walk over to the University, shop on B-dul M. Kogalniceanu. Visit Cismigiu and the Stavropoleos Church. Okay--take a taxi to the People's Palace and the Village Museum. But you do yourself a disservice if you don't simply wander the streets and discover such spots as strada Lipscani and so many others.
In the suburbs and little villages you find these small shops where they sell fruit, veg meat etc.
This is where you would go to get your fresh produce if you are self-catering
Fondest memory: This is Stefan the Great Boulevard, part of a ring highway surounding the center of Bucharest. The traffic here can be a bit hard.