Country #56 - Romania

The Sickness

After a very quick four hours of sleep, I woke up to find that I have a bad cold. It’s unfortunate but after the past few days not surprising. I took a taxi to the Chișinău, Moldova airport around 5:00am. My flight was supposed to leave at 7:00am, but ended up being delayed until after 8:30am. This would have been fine except there was literally no information ever given that the flight was even delayed so none of the passengers had any idea what was going on which was pretty annoying.

The flight itself was another short one at about forty-five minutes. I landed in Romania and went through immigrations and customs easily. It’s nice to be back in the EU! I used Uber to go into the city and it was super cheap. It was about a forty minute drive for under $10. There is also a bus that goes to the heart of the city but being sleep deprived and sick I wasn’t exactly in the mood to figure it out. There are two floors at the arrivals terminal so it took me a bit to find my driver because he didn’t speak English. For reference, if you ever take Uber here pickup is on the top floor but the app fails to tell you that.

I arrived at my hotel, The Mansion, which is located in the Old Town of the city. I was met by Alex who was so helpful! He checked me in, told me all about the hotel, and then we chatted about my trip. The Mansion is such a unique place in the center of Bucharest. First off, it was so nice! From the moment that I entered the hotel, I fell in love with it. The hotel is also unique in that each room has a name, and theme, instead of a number. My room was Provence, which was accordingly themed Italian.

After checking in I decided to take a nap because by this point I felt truly sick. I fell asleep so quickly and woke up six hours later… It definitely wasn’t the plan, but it helped me to feel so much better. I really needed the sleep I guess! After my snooze, I headed to eat dinner. I found a great place called Pasta Restaurant where I had, you guessed it, pasta. You choose your pasta and then your sauce - I had the four cheese of course along with a tasty baked cheese and speck ( a type of ham) appetizer. It was only a short five-minute walk back to my hotel through the old town, and on my way, I stopped by a pharmacy to buy some medicine. Thank goodness the pharmacist spoke English and she recommended a cold medicine that I had taken in the U.K. before.

I made my way back to my room where I worked for a little while before falling asleep again. And getting eight more hours of sleep. I hate that I was unable to see more of Bucharest today but it was definitely a necessary rest day!

The Romanian Orthodox Churches

I had a great night’s sleep and woke up early enough to have a very filling and tasty breakfast at The Mansion hotel, complete with an omelet and everything. I was still not feeling great so I lied down again for a bit and took my time getting ready to try and make sure I would feel well enough to see Bucharest today. I was lucky enough to have a late checkout which really took the pressure off having to hurry and I really appreciated it!

Once I was ready around 1:00pm I headed downstairs to leave my bags. It was here that I met Simona, who is the manager. She was so cool! It was great getting to talk with her about my trip and to be able to thank her in person for an amazing stay at The Mansion. After taking a picture and saying our goodbyes I headed out for the day!

My first stop was Stavropoleos Monastery Church. I had no idea how unique the churches would be that I saw today but I was in for something special. Stavropoleos Monastery Church was a Romanian Orthodox Church like the rest that I would see today. It was very small but so unique - it was dark with frescoes and really you just need to see pictures to understand. From there I walked around the Old Town for a bit which was really nice. You can tell that they are really working to make it even better by all of the scaffolding around!

In the Old Town, my second church stop was Biserica Sfântul Anton. It was amazing. Tourists were allowed in but it almost felt like an intrusion. It felt like such a sacred place and people were very actively using it unlike I have seen before - for example, some women were crying inside. After taking it all in I made my way to Piața Unirii, one of the main intersections in town with very large fountains. I then had a long walk up to Patriarchal Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helena where there were a lot of churches but they were unfortunately closed.

My next walk was the longest of the day. The good news, though, was that the weather was actually perfect for once on this trip. The cool sixty-five degrees made it much easier to walk farther while I was feeling under the weather. I walked to Palace of Parliament which you could only tour with your passport on hand and a reservation beforehand. I can understand the reservation, but needing to keep a passport throughout a tour is a bit ridiculous. If Buckingham Palace didn’t need my passport I don’t think this one does. It was an easy decision to not do the palace as I didn’t have my passport on me (though it is the main attraction of the city), but I was glad to be able to see the outside of it from up close at least as it really was magnificent.

After the palace, I walked through a few parks (Parcul Izvor and Cişmigiu Park) on my way to The National Museum of Art of Romania. Both were beautiful and made the walk more enjoyable. When I arrived at The National Museum of Art of Romania it was also unfortunately closed. It was a very random closure too, as there was just a sign on the door that it was closed for three days. I did get to see Revolution Square which was out front, at least! After that stop, I made the walk back towards the hotel. I stopped across the street and had some really good gelato at Cremeria Emilia to end the day. I then got my bags and headed to take an Uber to the airport.

I was really glad to be able to see the city today even though I was unable to actually do some of the main attractions. I enjoyed getting a feel for Bucharest, seeing the architecture, and seeing the people as well. It was honestly probably best as I could go to the airport an hour early and make sure that I avoided potential traffic. It was really important that I made my flight to Oslo, as you can imagine there are not many non-stops from Bucharest! The airport was basic but fine and I found a place to sit and wait for a few hours. I had no idea what to expect coming into Romania. However, it was a unique European country and definitely beat my expectations! I really enjoyed my time in the country even though I was sick, and would love to come back someday.

When I landed in Oslo, Norway I took the train from the airport to the heart of the city (the National Theater stop) and then walked to my hotel, Scandic St. Olavs plass. I had an unfortunately short stay in Oslo due to my flight schedule but Scandic St. Olavs plass helped to make the few hours that I did have perfect! I was greeted with enthusiasm about my trip and I loved talking about it with the kind employee who was working the night shift! She gave me a great room that was really large and super comfortable. There were heated floors in the bathroom, a nice couch, and a window overlooking a really cool giant sculpture outside! I was exhausted and got such a great night's sleep before having to wake up super early and wish the same employee goodbye. Like I said, it was an unfortunately short trip! I wish I had had more time to explore the hotel and visit Oslo as it is one of my favorite cities. However, I’m very excited for Bergen tomorrow!

56 countries down, 140 to go.

To learn more about The Mansion click here.

To learn more about Scandic St. Olavs plass click here.