After sleeping in, and enjoying the morning with music playing the background (something of a revelation to us after so long on the road), Robert cooked us breakfast. He refused any help and told us the plan for the day while we ate. He had created a walking route of Bucharest, highlighting several important areas and buildings, including a tour of the Palace of Parliament!
Normally we don't do expensive touristy things, but Robert treated us to the excursion, saying we couldn't possibly come to Romania and not see the second largest building in the world. Of course he was right and we were grateful for it. The place was jaw-droppingly humongous.
Every room we visited was massive, spacious, and ornately decorated. It made Chatsworth look like a doll's house:
Our tour guide was cute and spunky. She filled us with the usual touristy facts like how many light bulbs there were, how many square meters each room was, and how much the chandeliers weighed (several tons). When she wasn't talking, our guide hurried us along like sheep, snapping out the lights in each room just as we were about to photograph it. An old Japanese guy thought this was pretty hilarious.
The most interesting fact I learned was that many of the carpets in the building had to be woven in the room they were destined for. They were so large and so heavy they had to be made on site!
I got dizzy looking down at this one, which seemed to stretch on forever.
I think this is the room where Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci got married…
Or maybe it was this one… I don't remember.
The final part of the tour, a trip to the balcony, boasted some great views of the city. Here is Robert posing with the silly visitor number badges we received in exchange for our passports to enter the building:
After our visit, we walked through the city for the next destination in our tour. On the way, Rob asked us what we did do in cities, if we didn't generally visit the touristy sites. Arriving in Bucharest's quiet, pedestrian-only, "Old Town" helped us answer that question.
We go for walks, admiring the architecture…
…and witty graffiti.
We pet the dogs.
And we (me especially) are amused with little things. I really liked how the letters on this financial building were crooked, creating a whimsical look…
And how old buildings are reflected in the new ones:
I particularly liked this old bank building:
…and the swanky cars out front:
After meandering around the Old Town, we proceeded to our final destination of the day: a huge beautiful park filled with people enjoying the late afternoon. There were dudes eying pretty ladies:
And many people walking hand-in-hand down shady paths. Kids rode around on little scooters, and groups of moms pushed strollers along as they chatted.
After a peaceful exploration of the park (which had a lake and paddle-boats, fountains, bridges, ruins, lots of sculptures, and a cotton candy stand) Tyler found this black swan to photograph. We didn't even know there was such a thing!
With a final moment in the park listening to an old man playing an accordion, we went home where Rob treated us to more of his mother's delicious food.
Thank you for being such a great host and tour guide, Rob!