Romania, Day One

With some amazing jetlag (during which I tried to see the Van Gogh Museum during my layover in Amsterdam even though my head kept insisting it was 3am and art cannot be properly appreciated by me at 3am), I wandered Bucharest today, taking a walking tour and also wandering on my own quite a bit through Old Town and around various neighborhoods. Here, I saw the National Art Museum (which I was able to enjoy far more than the Van Gogh Museum as, jetlagged, I’m nowhere near as jetlagged as I was in Amsterdam) and several of the sites of the 1989 revolution where Ceausescu was overthrown and executed. Today was also my 12th wedding anniversary so it’s odd to be going through the day without having anyone to talk to, so I’m grateful for the parts of technology which let me talk to Sarah today.

One of the inspiring monuments to the revolution is out front of the Parliament Palace where Ceausescu gave his final speech where things turned on him. Though there are jokes about it, it’s about Democracy piercing the cage of Communism (and not a giant potato on a stick).

Also associated with the revolution is the area in front of the National Theater where much the the killing happened when authorities opened fire on crowds. But there’s also a statue of characters from a Romanian playwright’s work and, though you can hardly see him as the tree obscures him, he sits in a chair enjoying the view of his characters.

The streets were both charming and odd (and by odd I am almost entirely talking about the statue of a naked Roman Emperor Trajan levitating a wolf) and there was a lot to learn about Bucharest and the history of the city and of Romania.

There was also a Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) sighting as he lived in Bucharest for part of his life. More, at least, than the castle they sell tours to as “Dracula’s Castle” where he stayed for 2 or 3 nights. Our tour guide said this happens as the castle looks good, much better than the more villa-like building he would have lived in here.