After leaving the office much too late, I legged it to the airport with Big Phil and just about made the plane on time. All going well until I was wedged between two big massive lads for the 3 and a half hour flight, which meant no elbow room for Mac. The flight to Bucharest was as smooth as a baby's arse and once through we headed out to get a taxi. I had read online about the taxis from the airport being a bit dodgy so we were extra careful to ensure the local wasn't trying to rip us off. He tried his luck of course and asked for 50 euros before we handed over a tenner and told he could feck off.
As it was getting late we dropped our bags off at the hostel and headed out for some fast food before wandering into the old town at midnight as things began to kick off. Christ it was loose down there! The Old Town is basically a few narrow streets lined with bars and clubs with people trying to coax you in. We stopped off for one in Trinity College (not quite as you'd imagine), but left sharply when unsure if it was a legit bar or something a tad more seedy and continued onto a few more places, busting out dance moves until late into the night.
With a heavy head I was up at 10 and met Big Phil to grab some breakfast from the local bakery which was pretty tasty. Feeling a tad better we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and worked our way up north to see the Romanian Arc de Triomphe which is pretty impressive. After a few snaps we continued on through some beautiful parks stopping off at the Romanian national rugby stadium and finally arriving at the National Village museum. It was a pretty cool outdoor museum but I hadn't a clue what the buildings meant, so we decided to hop the fence and go for a pint in the sun. Culture ay!
After a bit of a break we continued onto the Peasant Museum passing through what felt like 40 parks en route. 5 minutes in the museum and I finally realised that I'm not a fan of random museums at all. So straight outside we headed and popped into a local flea market to pick up a few things and try some local food called Mici. Essentially its an extremely greasy sausage and my stomach was up and down like a lady of the night's undies for the next hour.
Once feeling good enough to walk we arrived back in the city centre which has some truly spectacular architecture and made our way across the Danube to the Romanian Parliament which is one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen. It was built by the ex dictator of the country and randomly the first person to speak from it's balcony was Michael Jackson where he proclaimed, "I love Budapest!". Needless to say sales for Jackos CDs plummeted thereafter.
We got back to the ranch at about 6pm for a shower before going to the Old Town for some dinner in an Italian restaurant. The food wasn't the greatest and pool Phil being a foodie wasn't too impressed! Once finished, we were out for a night on the town starting off in some small local bars and ending up at the decent nightclub with the locals. Bucharest hadn't seen the likes of the dance moves that graced the dance floor that night and the looks of admiration/confusion said it all. The sun was rising as we made it home.
With a mighty heavy head we both checked out at 11am and I'm a little ashamed to admit had a kebab for breakfast. We decided to see as much of the historic town as possible so made our way back over to the Parliament for the tour. After queuing for about 20 minutes we realised they only let tourists in with a passport...nightmare! So we walked back to the Old Town, tails between our legs, and waited in the main park for a walking tour to begin.
The walking tour was great and would fully recommend it to anyone visiting the city for a few days. It gave a great overview of the recent history of Bucharest and weaved it's way around the main landmarks. With sunshine beaming down we even stopped off at a bust to Vlad the Impaler, who Ireland's very own Bram Stoker based Dracula on. Fully up to date with our Romanian history, we decided the finish the weekend at a local restaurant which Phil was much more impressed by! After grabbing our bags from the hostel we got the local bus (avoiding dodgy taxi men!) to the airport and were on our way back to the Emerald Isle.
Although the trip to Romania was short, Bucharest didn't disappoint. The Paris of the East is far more beautiful than I had expected with amazing architecture dotted around the city. The party scene is great fun and extra special in the summer as I'm told. The locals were friendly (except dodgy taxi men) and the city centre extremely safe, so book those cheap flights asap!