From Sunny Beach to Bucharest, Romania
This morning, with much relief, we left Sunny Beach and made our way to Bucharest. We travelled along the same road that we did yesterday when we went to Balchik, passing through Varna again. A few of us thought that we would have been better off staying in Varna than in tacky Sunny Beach. Departure time was early as we had to cross the Bulgarian and Romanian borders today, an interesting exercise as some of the border guards appear to be still stuck in Communist ways and that the 1990 revolution had no bearing on them at all. Their scowling and unfriendly looks were enough to give concern to the tour guide.
We arrived in Bucharest in the afternoon and had sufficient time to do a quick city tour, which included the Parliament Palace, University Square and the former Communist headquarters. Enormous resources were used to build the 5,000 room Parliament building, now deemed a white elephant as it’s not used effectively. It must give the people angst when they have to do without bare essentials and yet this monstronsity of a building stare them in the face everyday. There were some thoughts of destroying the building after Ceausescu died, however some argued that although the people’s resources were utilized to build the Parliament Palace, at least it was built from Romanian material and architecture and therefore should be preserved. I agree.
Legend has it that Bucharest was discovered by Bucur, a shepherd, who came to look for grass for his animals. He built a church somewhere on the eastern bank of Dambovita, but its exact location or time is not known. By the time of the reign of Vlad Tepes (1459-1462) there was a palace and court here and Historic Bucharest had since evolved around the palace. Bucharest today has a population of 2 million living in six districts, each in charge of its own town planning.