By Dean Edgar
It has always staggered me how many people come to Bucharest to “see the sites”. As far as I know there are not that many: The People’s Palace (super hard to book a tour), the Village Museum (great in the summer), our very own nature reserve, Parcul Văcăreşti (beautiful place, but badly needs some serious tourism investment). There’s the bus tour that basically goes from the north of the city in to the centre in about 30 minutes. A couple of other museums and that’s about it. Romania, as a country, is beautiful, inviting, varied with very mixed landscapes and architecture. But when it comes to the capital city, nothing.
I spend a lot of time in Centrul Vechi, otherwise known as the Old Town, a place that should be the jewel in the crown of Bucharest, but no, it’s nowhere near. Buildings falling down, or being held up with grotesque scaffolding. Many buildings are empty due to horrendously high rents, with the landlords maintaining that they will never drop their valuation, and many have squatters. One street is busy and the next a ghost street. Sibiu, Braşov and Alba Iulia (the citadel is a must see if you haven’t been) have got it right. Nice squares, good bars and restaurants, fun places to be, and with the full support of the mayor’s office and regional investment boards. Unfortunately, for some reason, Bucharest lags way behind.
It is always easy to apportion blame, some lies with the landlords, some with the mayor’s office, some with the Government. Someone needs to get a grip and start using some of the EU funds that are available and start investing. The same can be said for the Black Sea resorts, the ski resorts, the Danube Delta. More and more people are coming to Romania for a holiday, it would be great to see Romania welcoming them with open arms and some resemblance of the level of service they are accustomed to along with and integrated tourism policy.
I am proud to call Romania my home and I am enjoying seeing more and more visitors coming here. And, lest we forget, they are a superb revenue source!
Until the next time, have a great February. Gentlemen, don’t forget Valentines Day on the 14th and Marțișor on the 1st March!
Dean Edgar has been living the expat dream here in Romania for 11 years. He is General Manager of Moorcroft Services, a company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. They can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, house hunting, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need see www.moorcroft.ro for further details.