So it's been a while since Russ was here for his visit on his return to the Silver State from his stint in Macau. We had a calm, cultural, relaxing time, as always.
First on the list was Manchester, which I have talked plenty about, so will just mention that it's suffering from Glasgow disease and I hope they get stricter on the door.
Second was Berlin: perfect, as always.
Third was our only new city of this adventure, Bucharest. I really knew nothing about it other than it's ex-communist, the first gay pride parade a year or two ago had violent neonazi protesters, and it has the world's second largest building, the Palace of the Parliament.
Bucharest is very odd - it used to model itself as a second Paris (and indeed had very close ties with France, pre-WWII), but much of that grandeur is gone. But neither is it a socialist canvass, such as Sofia. It's a large, pleasant enough, but not very engaging, city. I think I've not written about it because I've found it so hard to be inspired by it either in awe or horror. Perhaps if I knew more history, as in Berlin, it'd've leapt out at me more, but as it was... well, it was*. Pics below.
I can say it's desperately poor - we spoke to several people and they all said the average person earns €200-€250/month. It's cheap, but it ain't that cheap; it must be a truly dismal existence.
But, to something a bit more exciting (to me, at least), my friend Kimb'uh took a video of me at my citizenship ceremony. So, here it is, on 18 October 2010, the very moment I became British: http://mearsfamily.net/share/shauns-citizenship-ceremony.avi
*I also think it was a bit of the travel overexposure I've spoken of before. "Bucharest? Oh. It's so... European."
Full pics at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=309308&id=713081334&l=cde3676217
The view of the Palace of the Parliament from my hotel room
The balcony where Nicolae Ceaușescu gave his last speech, assuring the masses everything would be alright. He was apprehended and executed within hours.
Now that's what I want to see when I visit the East! This was the Ministry of Defence, or something similar.
This was another pile that Ceaușescu was building at the time of his death. My tourguide called it a mortuary, but I imagine he meant mausoleum.
Outside the Palace, leaning on the French connection
Palace of the Parliament
Palace of the Parliament
The new central shopping area. Tens of thousands of people were uprooted and their homes bulldozed to build the Palace and its new surrounding neighbourhood.
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