Hey guys! I haven’t forgotten about you! As many of us, I was celebrating the Christmas and New Years time off from uni with friends. This was the 2nd year away from my home (Canada) so it was interesting to see how that would play out. Of course, unlike the first time I didn’t celebrate in the UK. I decided to take advantage of the freedom of movement within the EU (European Union) and travel to Romania to spend it with new friends I had made at Brunel! I flew into Henri Coanda International Airport on Christmas Eve (24th) and was immediately welcomed into the country by my lovely surrogate family! Driving around Bucharest allowed me to experience the sights and sounds of this post-communist city. I was amazing by the architecture of the buildings around me and the amazing shape they were in.
My hotel was situated right across from the Palace of the Parliament, which is the Second Largest Building in the world according to Guinness Book of World Records.
I was so lucky to see it covered in snow.. Beautiful..
I’ll get into that later. Needless to say, I was excited to try the different foods come Christmas day! We went into to small town north of Bucharest for Christmas Lunch. Foods consisted of traditional Romanian dishes, including my favorite:
Salata Boeuf (Beef Salad) is a traditional Romanian dish, generally served during all festive and special occasions. It is a combination of finely chopped beef or chicken and root vegetables, folded in mayonaise and finished with muraturi, pickled vegetable garnishes. It can be made vegetarian, too. Yum! In the evening, I went to a Christmas market. No where near the size of Winter Wonderland mind you, but it still had the important elements to make it a Romanian tradition (and DA! Mulled Wine was served).
Afterwards we went on a little bar hop around some of the more popular bars in the city: The Vintage, Mojo and Bicicleta. It was my second time drinking Romanian beer (I had first sampled it at one of our Bier Markets located in Toronto). I must say I will be looking for it when I return to London! Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without some Karaoke!
Apparently there’s a video floating around, so if I come across it I shall post it on the blog :p. Another fun part of my trip was visiting bamboo, one of the Most popular (and expensive) nightclubs in Romania.
That being said, coming from London and then comparing the price you would never notice the high prices. One of the attractive things about visiting this country is how inexpensive it is to actually do things here! The bill, for example for 5 bottles of Vodka between the group I was with was 950 Lei (164 Pounds)!
Another highlight was visiting the Palace of the Parliament. This was 25 Lei for a one-hour tour, however I believe it is free for students. I unfortunately did not have my student card so I had to pay. Keep it handy guys! Also, you must have some sort of identification as it is a functioning government building(I used my passport). The structure itself was nice enough, but inside you really get a feel for what the architect was trying to accomplish. From the marble throughout the palace, to the 2-tonne chandelier in one of the main rooms. We even go to see the balcony which was meant to be the place the revolution leader would speak to his people from in the main square…
It wasn’t completed in time however, so the only people who actually got to address people was Michael Jackson in 1997!
Believe it or not, my friends and I decided to take a day from partying and study.. Yes.. Study.
We went to this small cafe-like place where you don’t pay for the drinks and food, but rather the actual time you spend there. Finger foods and tea/coffee is free, as is the internet. I would love to see something like this around Uxbridge, which Brunel is located. The library can get crowded and noisy at times. They actually restrict the amount of people allowed in at a time. Another interesting (and inexpensive) experience was ‘VIP Cinemas.’ Here, you watch a movie like you would anywhere else, except you also are treated to an open bar, and buffet. Also, the chairs are mechanical (such as a laz-e-boy) chair. Amazing!
Now, for the main event: NYE. We decided to go back to Vintage for their party. The price we paid included finger foods and 5 bottles of our choice. The price again, like Bamboo was not bad at all. We started with only 6 of us, but my friends were surprised to see another 10 of their old classmates show up!
At 12am the champagne was all over the place. Literally. Inside, outside the club, in the streets… Everyone was having an amazing time!
What another amazing night and what a way to end one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I would never trade the time for anything. I URGE YOU…If you come to London for studies, PLEASE take advantage of the freedom of movement and visit other countries. You’ll experience different cultures that you might not have been able to back home or even in the UK. Also, please explore London and what may things it has to offer. Oh, I almost forgot. I quit smoking as of January 1st 2015 at 12:00am. I have decided to start vaping instead as an alternative to help me quit. As controversial it is, I am going to give you guys monthly updates on my journey. Wish me good luck!
Merry Christmas and have a very happy and prosperous New Year! PS. SNOW! I haven’t been in a ‘real’ winter for about 3 years! I was so happy to actually make use of my winter parka and boots! PLEASE LET IT SNOW IN LONDON!