Letter from Bucharest – Roma Holiday
20 September 2013
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I arrived in Romania for a short trip to support England in the Bucharest Sevens, the final leg of the FIRA Grand Prix series. I flew here with my regular travelling companion Brian on Wizzair, a budget airline that serves Eastern Europe and which puts Ryanair to shame in terms of customer service.
The best way to see a new city is by taking a tourist bus which in Bucharest took about an hour, taking in Ceaucescu’s Palace, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon and now the home of Romania’s Parliament, and a number of museums and squares. The boulevards and buildings are reminiscent of Paris and the French influence was more obvious with a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and a square named after Charles de Gaulle. However the people seem to relate more to the Italians in their style and outlook.
Bucharest is two hours ahead of the UK so we headed for the Old Town which is the social hub of the city with cafes, bars and restaurants frequented by locals and tourists alike. We found a restaurant serving traditional Romanian cuisine which is not dissimilar to the kind of food I was brought up on coming from a Polish family. Pork is the staple along with cabbage and potatoes but it is really much better tasting than it sounds.
Everything is very cheap compared to the UK with beer between 90p and 150p depending on the kind of bar you were drinking in. We visited a few ending up at the inevitable Irish Pub that is in every city around the world before heading back to the hotel.
On Saturday we will be watching England with their new coach Simon Amor taking on Italy, Wales, hosts Romania and Portugal on Day One of the FIRA tournament where they should start a favourites. I will be posting on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day; the first game is at 9:29am UK time.