Housesitting in Romania – Pablo and Arthur in Bucharest 07.01.20 – 22.01.20

During our time in Bratislava we applied for a Housesit in Romania. After a short video chat with the friendly hosts they confirmed our request. So we went from Bratislava, via Vienna to Bucharest. There we took care of the two Pekingese Arthur and Pablo and we will tell you about this time in this article.

Below are two pictures from the flight over Romania. On the way from Vienna to Bucharest, it is definitely worthwhile to sit at the window.

Arrival and first meeting

Our first ride with Uber 😀

In the afternoon of February 7th we took the bus back to Vienna and from there we flew to Bucharest. The distance from the airport to our hosts’ apartment in the Dorobanti district is about 15 km and according to Niclaas, the easiest way is to take an Uber. We had never done this before and were very curious if and how it would work.

The first trip was supposed to be a flop and cost Martin a lot of nerves … 😀

There is a parking garage with 3 levels directly at the exit of the airport. Even if you select “ground floor” in the app, it is possible that you will suddenly find “Meet your driver on level 2” there. Great! So we went upstairs. But by the time we got there, the driver had already cancelled the trip (this cost us a 10 Ron fine each time). That happened to us twice. Luckily our third driver had a little more patience then, because even until we found him, several minutes passed and there were 2 changes of floors.

In retrospect, we would simply walk a few hundred meters away from the area next time and then book a ride. Saves nerves. Or maybe even take the bus. But after we were in the car everything went without any problems and we paid about 48 Ron (Romanian Lei). That equals quite exactly 10 €, 1 Leu equals 0,21 Euro. So the trip was very cheap. Over the next weeks we would drive more often with Uber. For 10 Lei (2,10 €) you can drive almost through the whole city, but taxis are also very cheap. A dream, if this would be also possible in our country.

Arthur and Pablo

After about 30 minutes of driving we had arrived at our new apartment for a limited time and met Niclaas, our host, but of course also Pablo and Arthur, the two Pekingese. We spent a nice evening and went of course also for a walk with the them. We quickly noticed that despite their size, they have strong personalities. 😀

Pablo behaves in any case like the boss in the ring, no matter which dog comes to meet him. Arthur usually joins in. Besides, Pablo is always on the lookout for cats hiding under cars. Arthur is mostly quite relaxed and walks well on a leash, Pablo unfortunately pulls like crazy. We tried to practice with him, towards the end it got a bit better. It was a bit exhausting to walk with the two, but also funny. But all in all they are very nice dogs who also like to play. Arthur has a plush panda that is almost as big as he is. It looks very funny when he walks around with it. 😀 Pablo has a small duck and two squeaky toys. One looks like an egg with horns, the other one is pink and rather triangular. He likes the egg better: if you throw it, he brings it back. But he gets scared when it squeaks, so he treats it like a raw egg when he puts it in his mouth. 😀

Living in Bucharest

Our apartment was located in the Dorobanti district. By Romanian standards an upscale quarter and so it was, at first sight, surprisingly “European”. It could have been any other big city. On closer inspection, however, one sees of course then nevertheless various differences.

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Modern and old buildings alternate. In between, again and again, decaying buildings, or churches. Very interesting in any case. You have everything you need there and there are countless shopping facilities, banks, pharmacies, hairdressers, etc. … There are some parks and you can discover an embassy in almost every street. So we lived very close to the embassy of Turkmenistan. 😀

We felt very comfortable there and you could walk to the city centre in about 40 minutes or take the metro or a bus, which is very cheap in Romania. Of course Uber is always a comfortable alternative.

House of the people

In Bucharest, the Palace of Parliament (then “House of the People”) was built from 1983 – 1989, according to the dictator’s Ceaușescu ideas. About 20,000 workers were employed to construct one of the largest buildings in the world in terms of area. Since the whole thing was to be located very centrally, a lot of space had to be created for it. To realize the building and the surrounding parks, more than 40,000 apartments, 12 churches and 3 synagogues had to be demolished. An unimaginable area. In general, the building is absurdly large, the largest hall is over 16 meters high and has a surface of about 2200 square meters. Inside very expensive materials were used. The following figures are also unimaginable: 1.000.000 m³ of marble, 3500 tons of crystal for the chandeliers, brocade materials in which gold was woven, a total of 200.000 square meters and expensive woods.

The largest chandelier weighs 5 (five!) tons. There is room for 5 people inside to keep it clean. Just crazy. The curtains in the photo are 16 meters long and weigh 200 kg each.

The building is really impressive and if you are in Bucharest you should take the tour there. On the other hand it is unfortunately also more or less completely useless. Just 400 of the 1.100 are in use. The maintenance costs several millions every year and already now you have to start renovating it, even though it is only 30 years old and actually still not completely finished. It has cost enormous amounts of money and resources and has driven tens of thousands of people out of their homes. Sad to see, where the delusions of one individual can lead. He never saw it completed though, because he was executed in 1989 after a revolution.

Today it is the seat of the Chamber of Deputies, and is largely empty. Various halls and halls are used for events and conferences.

Romanian Athenaeum

The Athenaeum in Bucharest was completed in 1888 and today serves as a concert hall for international and concerts of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. We were there on January 20th and listened to a concert of the Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra.

It was a very beautiful, interesting and for European ears surely also unusual concert. Besides well-known pieces by Béla BARTÓK and Beethoven, there were also some pieces with a solo flutist who played various traditional Chinese flutes. Furthermore an outstanding solo pianist, as well as the conclusion with Gheorghe Zamfir on the pan flute. The tickets were cheap and it was definitely an experience. Furthermore the concert hall inside, as well as the building from the outside is really worth seeing!

Conclusion on Housesitting in Romania

We enjoyed our time in Bucharest very much and you will learn more about it in further articles. There will be another article about the stray dogs and one about craftbeer and vegan food. We also visited Sibiu and Brasov. There we spent a few more nice days before we went back to Bucharest to take the train to Sofia.

We are currently in Croatia, where we enjoy our last housesit for the time being. The weather is very good and here you don’t really notice anything of corona and panic buying. We live in Zgališće, a small village east of Zagreb. The plan is to fly from Zadar to Cologne on March 29th. We have already found an apartment for interim rent in Cologne and Mecki had already arranged a few job interviews. Due to the closed schools and daycare centers in North Rhine-Westphalia, however, it will probably all be postponed a bit.

In any case, we will use our (for the time being) last days of travel as much as possible and have planned some more trips here. Since we are allowed to use our hostess’s car, we are quiet independent.

Stay calm and healthy,

Mecki and Mucki

PS: Leave us some noodles and some toilet paper.