Bă, n-auzi! Welcome to Bucharest, dude, and feel free to spit out your frustrations all over the place, just like everyone else here. Blame it all on beggars, corruption, bureaucracy, stray dogs, rubbish, that omnipresent inefficiency and, yes, on the goddamn Others. Once you're done with that, get loose and let yourself go with the flow, let your senses be challenged by the city beat. Then stop all of a sudden, careful that a car does not put an end to your life, and look around you.

You might very well experience many definitely contrasting and possibly unexpected things: great, tasty pastry, Aura Urziceanu's voice, drivers' crazy rush and lack of respect for anything, Maria Tănase, the manele, that thankfully long lost "Petit Paris", the world's second biggest building (and arguably world's biggest heap of shit), the Gypsies, a classical music concert at the Athenaeum's great acoustics hall, the omnipresent tupeu, Stavropoleos Church's Western and Eastern architecture mix, the fițe, the covrigi in Piața Romană, a good book and a sip of tea at the Cărturești, the typical Balkan "dolce far' niente" and that "don't know, can't do, wasn't me" in the air... In the end of the day, hot tar of hell, Bucharest is the only city in Europe to host monkeys living freely in the streets, as well as some live Bruegel art (see the sausage window), not to mention its being the capital city of a country where chaos and incompetence have managed to turn into a brand (and, of course, Bucharest alone, as an intangible entity, is guilty for that, the rest of Romania is a victim, I’ve heard that in nearly all failed countries I have been to).

Maybe an appropriate way of defining Bucharest would be "city of the contrasts". This city cannot be put in the books as a tourist attraction, because its looks and sometimes shaken and stirred nature are proofs enough to show it has not been conceived for tourists or their comfort, but rather for the heterogeneous crowd living here. Furthermore, it is not convenient, as it did not develop in a place where "convenience" has ever had any sense. So, better do not expect things to happen in this place, as the only guaranteed issue to expect is that it will generate strong feelings, both to the good and to the bad. There's no "simply crossing Bucharest". Hell no. Thank the holy stray dog for that.

I love Bucharest for its small, old times' houses or fine, secluded, unadvertised museums and churches (have you ever heard of Casa Melic, Casa Zambaccian, about Antim or Radu Vodă monasteries, not to mention the beautiful Great Synagogue?). What better a start into the day than a cup of Turkish coffee, grabbing some of the fewer local donuts and langoși (i.e. not the 3 in 1 fluffy kind with a sexy hole in the middle) on the way, having some ciorbă de lobodă at the Nicorești or some monastic oven baked eggplants at the Rossetya, a glass of the captivating Rotenberg Menestrel aside? Add to it a no frill, straight-forward atmosphere easing communication, as well as enhancing unexpected experiences and you are there.

Then, I hate Bucharest at times for the overwhelming despair in the air, for the ever tougher rush, for the brainless drivers that only respect the one next to them when they fear that by hitting him / her they would scratch their shiny, narcissist metal boxes. I hate the red tape and the lack of self respect, which leads to a lack of respect for the others. And then, these issues are nothing when compared to mortals playing gods, mocking at their and others’ impotence or doing things just for the show while always blaming fate for all of their misfortune. But then, one can always look at it from a different perspective: this is an actors’ country, from head to toe.

I appreciate Bucharest generally speaking, because it has a bad reputation and it is not likely to turn into any sort of mass tourism destination, thank Nanak for that. And yes, because this is not a place where one can get bored. Ever. So, why not tune on some of Teleorman's great Liviu Vasilică's songs (rest in peace, man) and relax, eyes wide open on the mad traffic and hands greasy due to those filling mici. Why would one ever come to Bucharest other than for business, the (still) cheap drinks and whores, or for the international airport here? Because it is different. So different that it hurts, thrills, tickles, outrages and excites, all at the same time. One can learn more only by joining this crazy, apparently incoherent crowd.

When all is said and done, I love this city, but I hate the hate-infested Romania in it. That hatred where one assumes he / she is better for simply coming from a certain area, where superiority or inferiority come in a package linked to one’s navel. Yes, I know that is not a reasonable thing to say. But then, this website is not meant to be reasonable. And if loving Bucharest is a blasphemy, that is not much of an issue, as I do not believe in religion, the dogmas, narcissism and marketing ado it is all about, disregarding of the plethora of toppings it uses while selling slices of God wrapped in shiny, Xmas paper. Rare, medium or well done, ma’am?


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This site is about my vision of Bucharest: places to see, thoughts, activities, as well as a few hotels and restaurants. I do not mean the information here to be exhaustive, complete of fair. 

This represents solely my approach of the city, which is - as always - an imperfect, human one.
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