After an interesting April in Bucharest, let me tell you about what happened in May.
The biggest news was the end of lockdown on 15th May. From that day on, we haven’t had to take our written ‘permission slips’ with us when we go out. We are also now able to go anywhere in Bucharest for any reason.
We have to wear masks in closed places like shops and public transport. Shopping malls and restaurants, cafes and bars are still closed.
So, as you can imagine, the first two weeks of May before we regained some freedom were pretty much the same as April. We’d settled into our flat, had a routine going, and generally did nothing much at all except eat, daily exercises in the living room, and a daily walk outside or to the shop.
Oh, by the way, we’ve once again extended our stay in this apartment. We’ll be here until 15th July. There are very few options to go anywhere else right now, and we thought that our previous leaving date of 15th June would be far too early to find another country to move to.
Here are the front doors of our building. It kind of feels like home now.
We continued to eat healthily, and as the weather was mostly good in May, we ate a lot of salads. So we’re still doing what we can to take care of our health.
Have I told you that Bucharest is some kind of ‘cat city’? We noticed this when we first arrived and were staying in the Old Town. There are stray cats everywhere you look. Here’s some we’ve seen in our neighbourhood.
They’re not very friendly though, or maybe they’re afraid of people, because they rarely let you touch them.
I’m not a cat person, but some of them are adorable, like this one curled into a little ball having a nap.
Out and about
In our neighbourhood there’s a really great park where we go from time to time to sit on the bench and get some sun. It’s much nicer than sitting on the bus stop bench as we were doing in April when the parks were still closed.
We’ve also been going on long walks, and of course I’ve been taking photos of buildings that I find interesting – like these two. They’re very similar, both being kind of ‘boat shaped’ but they’re so different as well. I prefer the one on the left.
Here are some other buildings I found interesting.
Bucharest is very beautiful, although it’s quite sad because it seems that a lot of buildings have been abandoned or are not maintained. There’s quite a bit of urban decay going on here unfortunately.
We also ventured out to find the local market – Obor market. What an amazing place it is! There’s a small outside section selling clothes, bags, shoes, and some other things. And there’s another huge outside section for flowers and gardening. There’s also fast food stands.
Here we discovered a Romanian food called ‘mici’. It’s like a sausage without skin, and it’s usually eaten with mustard. It’s really cheap and great just to eat as a snack before heading inside the market. Mici was invented in the late 19th century, and these days more than 440 million mici are eaten in Romania each year! They are most popular for outside grilling (barbecues), but people also eat them at home and in restaurants and pubs. It’s the unofficial national dish of Romania, and very tasty.
The inside of the Obor market is amazing. There are two big buildings housing the markets. In one building you can find household items, clothes, dried fruits and nuts, pet supplies and a lot of other various things. There’s also a fish market here, and we’ve started buying fish there instead of in the supermarket. It’s not too expensive and the quality is very good.
In the other big building is the fruit and vegetables on the ground floor. A huge floor with many sellers. The prices are all pretty similar so it doesn’t really matter who you buy from. On the first floor (or second, depending on where you’re from) there are butchers, cheese sellers and other food like dried fruits etc.
It’s a great place to get almost everything we need, and we find ourselves going there a couple of times a week now. It’s a nice walk there, good in the warm weather, and we get a load of fresh food every time.
Another shopping experience we had was just down the road from our apartment. There’s a bakery there which was closed when we first arrived in this neighbourhood, but opened again sometime in May. Olivier decided to try some bread, so he bought one of these big round loaves. It was huge! And so delicious after eating supermarket bread for so long!
One day while walking, we came across a Russian shop! We went inside and found all kinds of Russian foods and drink. I think I’m a lot more sensitive than I used to be (or maybe not), because when we saw the Russian beer I started crying right in the middle of the shop! It was impossible to control the tears. I loved my time in Russia and I really miss it. I’m so grateful that I was able to spend so many years there. I miss our friends there, too, and seeing the Russian products just brought back so many emotions.
We’ve since been back to the Russian shop and bought some beer and a couple of other things for old times’ sake.
We’ve been on a few really long walks since lock down ended. One day we even walked back into the Old Town to see where we stayed back in March when we arrived. I’m not sorry to have left that small studio!
We sat on the bench we used to sit on to get some sun when we stayed there for the first two weeks here. It was strange being there again – it brought back memories of our nightmare arrival we experienced and reminded me how much has changed since then.
We also found these cute little ice-cream chairs outside a shop in the Old Town.
Herastrau Park (King Michael Park) and the Village Museum
On the last day of May we went to the largest park in Bucharest, Herastrau Park.
In this park is the Village Museum. It’s an open-air museum, with traditional houses and other buildings and structures from all around Romania. The buildings were transported from villages to the museum in Bucharest over the years. It was really interesting to see the size of the houses, some of them are so small!
And there were even houses half buried under the ground (pit-houses), like these ones.
The museum is amazing, and more cats!
After the museum we spent some time walking back through the park to the metro. The park really is huge, about 187 ha, so we didn’t walk all around it, but what we saw was lovely so we may go back again one day before we leave.
Random bits of Bucharest
We took the metro to Herastrau Park, and in the metro we saw this kiosk which reminded us so much of the kiosks in Moscow. In this kiosk you can buy chocolates, beer, wine, spirits, cigarettes, and even women’s tights. Very handy.
After taking these photos, a couple of women who worked in the metro told me that I can’t take photos here. Too late.
This time of year, there are a lot of flowers in bloom. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of roses everywhere. They seem to be a favourite here. There are a lot of miniature roses too, and while I was taking some photos of these beautiful blooms, I failed to notice the lady bird. I was most surprised when I saw it there later at home when I was looking through the day’s photos.
And here’s some neighbourhood irises, just to finish this post with something beautiful.
How was your May? Anything exciting happen in your part of the world? Let me know below in the comments.