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January 2016

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6 Things I Learned In Bucharest

January 23, 2016

Hi lovelies
I want to write about the current political situation in Europe,
I really do. But I’m so angry about so many things and I can’t quite find the
words yet, so instead, I give you… my first travel journal!
I went to Bucharest for ten days over Christmas this year
and here’s what I learned.

1. Their Christmas lights are on a whole different level.
Everyone always says Vienna is magical around Christmas time.
Christmas markets pop up all over the place and we put little decorations on
our street lights. Very cute. In Bucharest, it literally looks like Santa made
his reindeers drape lights all over the sky. And their Christmas markets have live entertainment, handmade porcelain crockery and lots of sweets.
The Christmas market at Piata Universitatii had all the sweets in the world.
2. Cabs are ridiculously cheap.
Seriously. At 1.39 lei per kilometer, most cab rides within
the city will be around the price of a subway ticket in Western Europe. I felt
like a queen taking the cab everywhere. That being said, you have to ask the
cab driver nicely to take you – if your destination is too close, they will
refuse you, often without being very nice about it, either.
3. Romanian breweries are seriously cool.
They’re called berarii,
they’re really big, everything is wooden and looks super old and authentic, and
you can order pretty much everything from traditional Romanian sarmale (pork wrapped in cabbage) to a
bacon cheeseburger at insanely low prices (comparatively, of course). 
I mean, look how cool! It’s a giant hall dedicated to beer!
4. Everything is pickled.
EVERYTHING.
I think if they could make their tap water pickled, they would.
Like in many places in Eastern Europe, pickled vegetables are very common here.
Which is great if you like the taste. Despite my best efforts, the pickled
peppers and I did not get along.
But I got along great with this cutie at Muzeul Satului, even though she didn’t really speak English!
5. Their supermarkets are heaven.
As an Austrian, I’m reeeeally easily impressed with
supermarkets. Anything open past 7pm is a small miracle in my book. Bucharest has all the big chains like Carrefour and
Auchan, which, if you’ve never been to one, are hypermarkets the size of a
small country, and they stay open 24/7. Also, they contain enough food to feed said country as well as
both of its neighbors. I could lose myself in one of those stores for days. And the malls! They have ice-skating, cinemas, one of them even had a rollercoaster. It’s heaven.
Carturesti was by far my favorite shop of those I discovered. They had books, tea and stationery. What more could you want from life?!
6. There are small hip places to discover everywhere.
From what I’ve seen, many Eastern European cities have a
beautiful center with impressive buildings and less pretty Communist-era
apartment blocks on the outskirts. This also holds true for Bucharest. But what
is unique to the city are the little shops and stores popping up all over the
city, whether it’s a cute new French café or a beauty salon where you can also
take out books. 
One little coffee shop even shared my life philosophy… coffee first!
In general, I think Eastern Europe is seriously underrated
and does not get enough credit. Especially in your twenties, when your travel
budget may be limited, I find it’s a wonderful place to explore. There are
cultural activities, there’s cheap beer and, if you enjoy shopping as much as I
do, there’s really no better place for that. 
So what’s your next destination? 
Love,
Damita