Exploring Bucharest surroundings.
Program of the day is to visit northern part of the town, almost at its border, in order to see some nice buildings and the huge parks that give to capital of Romania powerful green lungs. My friend C. come to take me with her car and together we go along the wide avenues that from the centre of Bucharest lead to the North. A widespread idea about towns in general and especially those ones in the eastern countries is that they could also have a charming centre but their suburbs are quite spoiled maybe filled with massive dormitory buildings. I have to admit that this is sometime true and without mentioning them I can confirm I’ve see several towns matching this description. This is definitely not the case of Bucharest, at least if we refer to the the part of the town we are visiting today. This is an important residential area where probably the richest families live, exploiting the closeness with the green areas and the lakes. Where we stop first during our tour, is a noble building, the Ghica-Linden Palace Ensemble. Today it is managed by private and it is used for events such as weddings. Moving further I see that there are extensions to the town aimed to host business hubs and malls. There are several reasons to live in this part of Bucharest but the most important are the parks and among the parks the biggest and the most popular is Herăstrău Park.
Herăstrău Park & the National village museum.
Located in the northeast part of Bucharest not far from the two airports, the smaller and older Băneasa and the big Otopeni, Herăstrău park is very popular among the locals. Bucureşteni comes here to enjoy the greenery and the big lake in several ways. Many are the ones practising sports, mainly running and cycling of course but there is also who do yoga. The lake gives also the chance to row and to sail but only for training purpose. There is who is reading and who just enjoying the springtime that even if not supported by a sun that is too shy for it, finds better testimonials in the gorgeous flowers. The park hosts also some fountains and nice sculptures. I like the one with turkey made by Oscar Han that you can see in the picture. However one of the most significant monument of the park is the one dedicated to the founders of European Union by the artist Ionel Stoicescu. Tvelve heads of men that gave their huge contribution to the idea of Europe as community. Italy is very well represented by Alcide de Gasperi and Altiero Spinelli. The latter is really one of the fathers of Europe as we know since he is one of the author of Ventotene’s Manifesto that in 1941 was encouraging the birth of a federation of European states as antidote to war. But let’s revert to the park. Coming there also offers the chance to visit one of the best ethnographic museum I’ve ever seen. The National Village Museum extends to an area of around 100.000 square meters with original houses and churches from all the regions of Romania moved here from their locations. It is interesting how this country has so many different styles. Partially it is an effect of the many influences of neighbours in the past. Hungarians, Turkish, Russians gave their ‘friendly’ contribution to regional styles but of course a lot is purely Romanian. My favourite ones are the houses of the Lipovans, a population of Russian origins living in the Danube delta and in Bessarabia. Doors and windows of these houses are simply beautiful.
Second half of the day.
Original idea was to walk from the park towards the centre to explore deeply the area but three factors were waiting for us to change our plan. The first one, quite pleasant was the hunger and the way to calm it down: a Lebanese restaurant with an Italian name. Second one is the rain that was expecting us outside the restaurant. Few drops in the beginning but becoming stronger and stronger to finally turn into a serious shower making the taxi the only option to get back to our car. Third and final one is the sudden laziness probably effect of the gloomy weather and of the Lebanese food. In short the tour of Bucharest neighbours ends here. The day has still space in the evening for a light dinner spent in a French patisserie. By the way, if in general in Romania they look very proud of their Latin roots and in general Italy is considered a very close country, in Bucharest there is apparently a stronger relationship with France. This town was once called the little Paris of the East and for sure there are points in common, the large boulevards, the elegant architecture of some building and even an “Arc de Triomphe”. Ok. With this final little note, my post ends. But as usual, I will not leave you without a gallery, this time of Bucharest.