My collection of random memorable moments.
My photos barely capture the enormity of this palace, the second largest administrative building in the world (behind the US Pentagon). Intended to be the, “heart of the Romanian people,” its construction displaced 40.000 people and more than 20.000 workers spent 13 years building the 350.000m2 palace.
Just about everything in the palace seemed out of proportion, with 20 meter high ceilings and 250kg velvet curtains, 1.000 rooms and more than 3.500 tons of crystal in the chandeliers, and so on. Shall we tour?
With little more than a day to explore the city, I gave priority first to one of its major boulevards, Calea Victoriei, brimming with photo opportunities, and whatever else caught my eye on this crisp but sunny day. Museums would have to wait for another visit.
Though not known for certain, Vlad the Impaler’s hometown has its origins in the Romanian word for joy, Bucur, and that is indeed what I felt within moments of my arrival. If something could be decorated or strung with lights, the joyful people of Bucharest were on it! The city may be the, “Paris of the East,” but easily rivals New York City for its display of Christmas lights. And so began my whirlwind 48 hours in Romania’s capital.
Regrets. Last-minute, slapdash planning with little time for research meant I sulked in Cluj-Napoca over the lack of time to absorb the achingly beautiful architecture around every corner, and could only window-gaze at the closed quaint second-hand stores and chic modern boutiques. Adding insult to injury is that we also missed so many dining opportunities in Transylvania’s culinary and cultural capital.
Our route toward Transylvania passed through several of Maramures’ old villages. Off the side roads, and not always easy to find, are gorgeous wooden churches. The Maramures region is approximately 80% woodlands, so wood is the favored means of artistic expression in these parts.
Time to gush about how enchanting we found Romania. If only the photos could capture the gush-worthiness we experienced in person…