Thursday, 31 March 2011

Romania, Bucharest & Ikea

                      Up to our ears in painting & making good we had a welcome break on Friday. An airport pick up of friends & a combined trip to Ikea Romania. It sounds very sad I know but the excitement of getting out for a day, far away from village life can only be understood when you live in such a small place :) I love being here & my village but going to one of my favourite shops was a very exciting prospect & being Ikea we knew what to expect & what's what. Nigel just wanted the Swedish meatballs, me I wanted to peruse the market hall :):):)
So off towards Rousse we went. Pyce in cyrillic, Rousse is pronounced rooosay & is spelt in various ways including, Ruse,  I have no Idea why a bit like Veliko Turnovo also spelt Tarnovo!
I really like Rousse & must go for the day soon. Its one place I will definitely take my mum when she comes.
On entering Rousse you are faced with the old communist blocks, they go on forever. We got lost in there once. It was a bit frightening at the time as we were very new & green & were not sure of the area
The people who live there are ordinary hard working people who are very nice & bear us no ill will in fact the only thing they may be slightly interested in is the fact we are in an English car :D  Here if you want to live where there is work you live in a flat like this. I know various flats some are very old & depressing still, but others have been lovingly renovated & painted & are now very modern inside.
The outside is of no consequence mostly here but more & more people are putting in new windows & painting balconies, it's all a matter of money, expendable income & there is not much of that here!  Rousse is a big city & I hate big cities but the centre has some lovely pedestrian areas with cafe culture at its best, beautiful parks & as always wonderful achitecture, but we were not going there & we made our way to the border crossing.
Getting through the border is so easy now with no problems whatsoever, it has even changed loads since we last crossed. We went to a kiosk for people with road tax to pay the bridge toll which was 6 Euros or 12 leva. Now I was under the impression via the Sofia echo that the toll had been reduced to 2 Euro in order to attract more visitors over & Romania were holding off, boy were they wrong. We have found you can't trust any information you read, if I want to know something I always ask our solicitor & friend Diana, she is the only person that gets it right, so if you are crossing be safe & take extra just in case :)
           The bridge needs some maintenance as there are bloody great holes in it now, slightly worrying!
I wish I could say The Danube is beautiful but it's not, it's all muddy & murky, so where did the blue go??????
Once we got to the Romanian border we went through, no problems once again & you would normally buy a vignette (road tax) in a little kiosk but they have sectioned it off so lorry's go one side & cars the other & no kiosk. I think there was a new building but Nigel sailed past & I immediately went into panic mode, as the police are well known for stopping you for no reason & will always find a reason to get a bribe off you, well no road tax would be a major problem.  Obviously people do go in or through for the day without paying for one & now they are putting the kibosh on them as you have to show it on the way back through. On the way out of the border the car went into a huge hole & picked up a wobble, all very worrying. The vignette is for 7 days even if you only want it for the day! One way to make a little extra money.
We went to a petrol station to buy a vignette, but they did not have one then after a few we found one that did sell them but they only took Lei, we had Euros & BG Leva oh why did I not think of this scenario? :(
So now my trip became one of tenseness.
Romania is immediately different to Bulgaria. First you notice all the houses have tin roofs, some rusty some gleaming & some painted but all tin, must be really loud when it rains!
They are also quite pretty with decorative stucco & pretty colours in amongst the normal run down houses, its not THAT different :) The other thing that is so obviously different is the houses are built on top of each other with no land. Lots of new building is going on, again with houses all on top of each other, reminds me of living in Croydon :(
 The main road runs through all the little villages turning into small towns then back to villages all the way to Bucharest. Lots of lovely churches along the way & tiny little chapels too.
 Parts of Bucharest are manic & the traffic was pretty bad in places, but not as bad as we have encountered in UK on the M25!
The drivers though are flipping mental & love to honk their horns, Nigel very heartily joins in, he loves it, me, I was worried about the police but they were nowhere in sight :) I concentrated on looking at the buildings & people & must have got on Nigel's nerves with my chatter :D
Not all the roads are manic & some traffic is sedate :)
Tram, bus, car or cart, the choice is yours :D

There are all kinds of architecture, some good, some bad & some downright ugly!
Is that Dracula giving me the evil eye?

I guess it's convenient to be buried here as the tram stops right outside,
 in fact I could throw flowers at the graves!
Yes I know bad photo but they are all taken from inside a moving vehicle!
Yes another church, as in Bulgaria they are everywhere :D

Can't have all those photo's of churches without one of a priest!
Monuments & fresco's
The most famous monument of all M
Reminds me of London
Apart from the communist blocks with shops beneath
We made our way to the airport first as our friends were due to arrive from England. The airport is tiny & everyone has to wait outside to meet arrivals. We arrived as I said earlier with no Lei & it was apparent as soon as we arrived we needed money to park as there were more parking attendants than passengers! After being told to move on by a guy tha spotted us from miles away I asked if the parking would take Euros. The obvious answer was no, why would I not realise this? They are the same as us in the EU but not using the money yet! Sometimes I can be such a div! I asked if we could get change in the airport, yep, so off we went parked & made our way to the departures. There was a money changer there so we changed our sterling & Euros panic over. It was cool waiting for Bev & Kareena as you get a snippet of the people. There were notices everywhere banning cameras & although this was probably only meant for the air strip & planes I was not taking any chances, yep I am a coward sometimes! So no photo's of the gypsy lady in her amazing colourful clothes & head scarf, beautiful would have made a fantastic photo.  There were the official unofficial taxi drivers baying & vying for fare's then arguing with each other when one got in front, quite amusing. It was a gorgeous hot day & I was dressed in my summer ware enjoying the sun & people watching, when they came out. Kareena's cases were so heavy she was glad to get them in the car :)  Then it was off to Ikea & a coffee at last.
I was surprised to see not only a H&M but also a Next!!!!!! Bonus :D Today though it's all about the Ikea!!!
First things first off to the canteen for food & drink
I just love the market hall its the part of Ikea with all the decorative bits & bobs are & all the kitchen gadgets, Love, Love, Love it! I could spend an absolute fortune on garden dinner ware, kitchen ware & jars & bottles alone :D  Well we had no money to let me lose so This is what I purchased, all came to less than 30 leva 15 quid!!!!!!!!
Wood oil, Tea pot, Storage jars (for spices etc) & Jug!
I have already oiled the kitchen table & chopping boards :) The trip home was uneventful as we managed to get a vignette from a petrol station before we hit the ring road. We crossed the border with no probs & managed to get pulled over by the cops in Rousse :D:D:D For some reason they asked for our BG residents card as well as our passport, I told him it's at the Kat office in VT, which it is but really all I needed to do was speak loads of fast English to him as they just wave you off then, bless!
Going back to Bev & Norm's for refreshments we didn't get home to bed till the early hours but a good day was had & very much enjoyed. A normal shopping day in UK but here its a big day out!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments, I very much appreciate them. I am sorry if I do not post a personal reply. Thank you x