• Bike Bucharest - March 2018 - 3
Romania Travel Advices

Bucharest – The joyful city of the Balkans

Biking through the city of a thousand faces.

 

According to legend, a farmer by the name of Bucur settled here and founded the city of Bucharest. Bucur comes from the Romanian bucurie, which means »joy«. Not much of which could be seen in these parts up into the late 20th century: The Ottomans chased away the Wallachian princes, the masses rose up against their rulers, a fire raged through the city like a wild architect, an administrative chief by the name of Vlad exacted punishment by impalement, peace was made and broken, dictators came and ruled, whole regions shook, the people studied and were bloodied. The city bears testimony to this turbulent past, and it does so in more than a thousand words. A different face awaits at every corner: Malodorous in one part, pleasantly fragrant in another. Noisy here, quiet there. Medieval buildings stand defiantly aside modern villas. Bucharest has survived. And is turning into a joyful, friendly city. Even for those who wish to explore it by bike.

Bike Bucharest - March 2018 - 1

© Cristian Vasile / www.igu.ro

STAY | Vienna House Easy Airport Bucharest

 

Bicicleta Bar, Strada Selari 2

The first stop for any cyclist should be Bicicleta Bar in the old town. Artists exhibit their works, musicians indulge in various musical genres, workshops impart knowledge, people come to talk and laugh and drink the most adventurous cocktails. But the special thing about Bicicleta Bar is its interior. Old bicycles as far as the eye can see. Designers took apart the rusty contraptions, polished them to a shine and welded them back together – as seats and tables.

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© Cristian Vasile / www.igu.ro

Lipscani District

Lipscani, much of which has been transformed into pedestrian zones, is without a doubt one of the city’s most attractive districts. This is where the art scene meets, pubs beckon with wine and song, the night clubs pump their bass beats deep into your belly. Modern shops stand in hidden labyrinthine courtyards, antique dealers next to art galleries.

 

Caru cu Bere, Strada Stavropoleos 5

The »Beer Cart« in Strada Stravropoleos is one of the city’s most famous pubs. In front of the building, built in 1879 and fully renovated in 2007, lies a wonderful sprawling beer garden. The brew from the pub’s own vats tastes just as good pure or mixed with a lemonade, especially when your stein is served by one of the wonderful dirndl-wearing waitresses.

 

Palace of the Parliament, Strada Izvor 2-4

Like many despots, Ceau˛sescu wasn’t a particularly tall man. But come hell or high water he wanted to tower above them all – which is why, in 1983, he ordered construction of the Palace of the Parliament to begin. Space was needed to build the 364,000 square metre »House of the People«, so he simply had a large portion of the old city centre torn down and forced 40,000 of his people to resettle. The building is the secondlargest in the world after the Pentagon. But Ceau˛sescu was unable to enjoy his palace – when he was overthrown in 1989, it just hadn’t been finished yet.

 

Grădina Cișmigiu

The Ci˛smigiu Gardens are also located in the city centre. The showy 17 hectare public park is the city’s largest and oldest. Everything began around the year 1798 with the construction of two cisneles, or fountains. Some 50 years later, a Viennese landscaper brought some fun into the park with the addition of decorative bridges, lakes, tree-lined lanes, little islands and gazebos. The more playful Romanian face came around 1910 in the form of flower islands, marble busts, playgrounds, restaurants and a zoo.

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© Cristian Vasile / www.igu.ro

Open-Air Museum, Șoseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 28-30

On more than 100,000 square metres, Muzeul Satului on Kiseleff Boulevard shows how Romania’s farmers in the countryside used to live. The open-air museum invites visitors to stroll through a little village of little houses with straw-thatched roofs, a church, and a lake with boats. Agricultural equipment lies all around, women sell souvenirs – jewellery, embroideries, crochet ware – made the old-fashioned way: by hand. (Further back you’ll also find a restaurant with food from today.)

 

Athenaeum, Strada Benjamin Franklin 1-3

Originally intended as a venue for the circus arts, after some back and forth the decision was made in 1865 to build a donorfinanced concert hall instead. A blend of architectural styles, the building houses an auditorium nearly 30 metres in diameter and 16 metres in height. To this day the Athenaeum hosts concerts of international excellence from Ravel to Menuhin. A 70 metre fresco painting in the ceiling of the dome tells Romania’s history starting with Roman times.

 

I am your local host and happy to deliver you personally hidden secrets.

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