Monday, March 09, 2009

Big in Bucharest

En route from Bucharest to Brasov which is about a three hour trip. The views are nice, we're going up into some mountains, the Carpathians I believe. It also looks like it was a good idea not to have posted my jacket to London yet as it's snowing outside. Maybe I'll post it from Sofia.

Bucharest had two highlights although one of them had nothing to do with Romania. The Romanian highlight was the Palace of the Parliament. This is the second largest building in the world (in terms of how much land it covers. I think tall buildings are generally more impressive than broad ones). It's about 170m on each side, a giant square with towers on each corner. The rooms inside are huge. There is a gallery that goes along the front of the building that is 150m long. Most rooms are very tall, some going up to 19m tall. No one is changing a light without a ladder here. The building has 3500 tons of crystal in the chandeliers, a fortune in gold leaf, a lot of the floors and walls are marble, and all the materials and labour came from Romania. This is the kind of structure you only get when you have a megalomaniac dictator running the country.

The other highlight was going to see Watchmen, which was fantastic. It stayed true to the book, but obviously they had to cut a lot of stuff, and the cuts they made left the main point intact, although they had to change the ending a bit as without all the stuff they cut it would have been a giant deus ex machina.

Another interesting thing in Bucharest was the history museum. They had a replica of Trajan's column, which I believe commemorates the Roman's conquest of what is now Romania. As it was indoors and they couldn't fit in vertically, they put all the sections in order around the walls so you could see them up close and follow the story, which I doubt I'll be able to do when I see the original.

I feel like I'm getting a bit blase with my sightseeing. I think that it's partly that I've been on the go for over a month, and partly that the last week and a bit have been in between places, the places en route between the cities I'm really excited about. I remember how excited I was when I arrived in Moscow, a feeling I didn't have in Kiev or Bucharest.

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