We went looking for Dracula but instead fell in love with Romania…
Yes, believe it or not I had spent an entire week in Romania traveling around the country with a guide in his very tiny vehicle, while enjoying the country of Romania. How did I come about taking this journey through Romania? One word…Dracula! I absolutely love Halloween and so one year my husband had the great idea that we should take a Dracula tour around Romania during Halloween. Intrigued, I looked into tour operators who did this and actually found a reputable one. After everything checked out, I booked our flights, hotels, and tours and we were off to Bucharest. Unfortunately, no Dracula tour was offered over Halloween so we opted for the beginning of November. This ended up being a great time of year to go because it wasn’t too hot or too cold.
I would love to talk about our whole trip in one article, but it would be way too long, so for this article I am going to focus on Bucharest, Romania. So what is there to see in Bucharest, Romania? Surprisingly, a lot! On our day we opted for a full-day, private sight-seeing tour of Bucharest. We first stopped at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum which I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. After touring the grounds for two hours, we ended up having an amazing time looking at various structures that have been built throughout Romania including wooden churches dating back 1000 years. All of the buildings and monuments were physically transported from all over Romania and placed here to preserve them.
Did you know that Bucharest is one of the few cities like Paris, New York, and Rome to have an Arcul de Triumf (The Triumphal Arch)? That’s right, it is located in one of the busy intersections so if you were going by it and blinked, you might miss it. This city also has its own little Times Square with billboards and lights that take over the side of buildings. Some are in English, but most are in Romanian.
My favorite tour of Bucharest was their parliament building which is called the Palace of the Parliament, and was built in the 1980s during the reign of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. It was a long and arduous project building this massive complex, but it is now the largest parliament/administrative building in the world, even larger than the Pentagon. The palace houses the Romanian Parliament which consists of the Chamber of Deputies, and the Senate, as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art. The building boasts one of the largest convention centers in the world.
You can see the massive parliament building even in the thick fog. This was the view from our hotel room.
Walking through this massive building makes you feel as though you don’t belong there. However, the building is so massive that curiosity really got to us. There are marble stair cases, meeting rooms that are larger than my house, carpeting that rivals the carpeting in Kensington Palace, and many treasures. We only did a 2-hour tour but we could have easily done an entire day in this building.
It is quite cheap to travel around Romania as when we were there one USD was equivalent to almost four Romanian Leu. Full meals would cost us $3 and that was with a beer. The food is very good there, and if you ever go you must try the smoked lard.
NOTE: I must give warning that in the 1980’s when many people were forced out of their homes and into apartment style living. They had to leave their pets outside. Bucharest and southern Romania have a large dog population that roams freely and they sometimes form packs. As Americans, we are kind to our animals but if you were to travel here you must be cautious when approaching any animals.