Cruising the Danube from the Black Sea to the North Sea
April-May 2023: Day 8

Bucharest, Romania


We arrived in Bucharest, Romania late on Tuesday afternoon. It was raining and the traffic was chaotic from airport to hotel. The journey usually took around 30 minutes but this time it was 90 minutes. So after a late dinner, a quick briefing about the start of the cruise and a good night's sleep our bags were outside the door by 0730 as required (AND they were picked up at 0731) and we were off to breakfast in the grand dining room of the Marriott Hotel. We boarded the coaches at 0830 and set off through Bucharest to see the old and new city. Then a visit to the opulent summer house of Ceauşescu and his family, the communist dictator of Romania. A walk through the old town ended with lunch at Hanul Lui Manuc - an old "caravanseri". After lunch we returned to the coaches for the 2 hour drive south to Giurgiu and the Danube River where our cruise ship the "Scenic Jade" awaited us.

From The Marriott Hotel to "Commie Condo" - driving through Bucharest

Ceauşescu's Spring Residence

When the Ceauşescu family was overthrown, some of the army headed directly to the Spring palace to place it under guard. This was to stop looting and to guard the valuables that were rumoured to be inside. Thus the residence remains exactly as it was in December 1989. However the Ceauşescu's personal effects including clothes and many pairs of shoes were sold off to play for maintenance of the residence.

Arriving at the residence
Shoe booties to protect the floor coverings
Chess board just for show - the family could not play.
There wre many tapestries
The bathroom fixtures were gold plated - not the solid gold of rumour.
The peacocks survived...
but not if the cat can shut them up!

Old Bucharest and Lunch at Hanu Lui Manuc Restaurant

From the Spring residence we drove through the central city for a walk through the old section of the city. We arrived at a large restaurant that was once a caravanseri, a place where itinerant traders could leave their horses or camels and conduct trade in the upstairs rooms. We had a set menu of minced pork rolled in cabbage leaves with a very large dollop of creamy polenta, washed down with beer or wine. After lunch we walked back to the coaches then had a quick photo stop at the enormous parliament buildings. These were a legacy of Ceauşescu's regime. It is the second largest building in the world (after the Pentagon) but the heaviest. It had not been finished when Ceauşescu was toppled but was known as the "People's Palace" firstly as the entire population of Romania could fit inside it and because everybody had paid to build it either in money or labour or both!

Ceauşescu's attempt to copy the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Bright decorations...
Rabbits and eggs - of course it is easter!
King Carol in front of the University
Known to the locals as the "Skewered Potato".
Life in a bubble - when it rains!
Our guide in Bucharest
The old market arcade
Walking through the old town
Romulus and Remus - a gift from Italy.
Manu Lui Manuc - an old coaching inn now a large restaurant

And on to our ship - the Scenic Jade

From Bucharest we headed south on the coaches to the river port of Giurgiu on the Danube River. We passed through farmland mostly in crops, with the yellow of Canola prominent. Once at the river we quickly boarded our cruise ship - the Scenc Jade - and were escorted to our cabin for the next 3 week - Deck 2 Cabin 230, towards the stern on the port side..

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Last updated: 30 May 2023