There are many cities that I have loved in Europe. My current favorites are Berlin, Barcelona, Budapest, and Dubrovnik. They offer many things to do, beautiful scenery, and a great night life. In Berlin you will find a cool artsy city with amazing clubbing. In Barcelona you have the architecture of Gaudi, beaches, and shot bars. In Budapest you have bath houses for daytime, and ruin pubs (basically the world’s weirdest and coolest bars) for the night time. In Dubrovnik you can cliff dive into the water, hang out with peacocks, and eat amazing seafood before going to a cliff bar. These are cities to spend a good deal of time in.
On the other side of the coin you have Bucharest. Don’t go to Bucharest. As someone who traveled the Balkans and who met many other travelers I haven’t met a single person who liked Bucharest. You have a small attractive and touristy old town surrounded by the world’s shittiest communist apartment buildings. There is very little to do and the night life is as douchey as it gets.
I arrived in Bucharest the day before my birthday. I checked into a hostel that turned out to be in the middle of no where, and it didn’t seem to really have any other guests. It also had a garden that seemed to be infested with the entire world’s population of mosquitos. Nor does anyone tell you that buying bug spray or insect repellent is nearly impossible in a neighborhood in Bucharest. I spent the hours leading up to my birthday crying alone in my empty dorm room covered in mosquito bites. I was kind of having a meltdown. I knew I had to change hostels the next day, but at that moment I blamed all of Bucharest and kind of just wanted out of the city.
I woke up a year older, and went on a free walking tour. I saw the little the city has to offer. Mainly I learned that communism destroys good architecture and then puts up the world’s ugliest buildings. Fuck you communists. I also saw the statue about the end of commuism that the locals call “potato on a stick”. Luckily I made a friend on the tour, and soon switched into his nice party hostel that had a location that didn’t make me feel like I was going to attacked by a stray dog or robbed by a gypsy.
I spent my birthday night smoking hookah with my new friends (while the boys at the table next to us tried to woo me over). Afterwards we walked around looking for places to party and I had an idea I thought would be hilarious. I decided we should go to a strip club. It turns out they don’t charge cover for strip clubs in Bucharest. There is a reason why. They suck. Basically they are a tiny bar where only three girls take turns dancing. Not attractive women either. Literally the world’s ugliest strippers. They didn’t get naked either. They danced in little dresses that never came off. It was all disappointing. Then the two of them came over and tried to talk to two of my male friends. Charlie got stuck with the stripper who spoke almost no English. They sat awkwardly next to each other for a few minutes. Then she asked if he would buy her a drink. He said no and she left. The other stripper talked to Tudor for a bit, but left as well when he said no to a private dance.
All while this was going on my friend Trevor and I sat in the middle laughing. We also watched the one redeeming thing this club had to offer. An amazing pole dancer. Now this woman wasn’t attractive, and she was also clothed, but she could pole dance. She spent her whole number doing insane pole tricks. I was honestly impressed. When she finished we paid for our drinks and left. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
The only thing worth doing in Bucharest is the escape room. My hostel ran it. They basically lock you in a room and you use the clues to find how to open the door. Our team got it with eight minutes to spare, and it would have been more except for the fucking briefcase we got stuck on. I found that I am great at escape rooms. Give me a random object and I can usually figure out what to do with it. I kept having to say, “Guys I got it open. Look over here.”
I did an excursion to “Dracula’s Castle” and random other castles and Brasov. It made me wish I had visited Brasov instead of Bucharest. Transylvania is the gorgeous part of Romania. Visit there if you go to Romania. It is mountains and woods. It was great to be out of the city. Luckily my time in Bucharest ended and I was off to Sofia.