The Last Days of March in Bucharest

Previous post in this Bucharest series – Bucharest – 24th – 28th March

Sunday 29th March

We’ve spent one full week in Bucharest, Romania.

Our Accommodation

Yesterday we asked the agent who rented us this apartment if we could stay another 30 days after our original booking ends on 4th April.  He said yes, but he increased the daily rate pretty close to double what we’d paid for the first 14 days.

Yes, almost double.

He explained that our first 14 day booking was advertised extra cheap because he needed fast money.  So, when we decided to stay longer, this will be paid at the ‘correct rate’ to cover his costs and make him some profit.

We realised, after some apartment hunting online, that a lot of people rent apartments here, then sub-let them through Booking.com, Air Bnb, and other accommodation sites, to people like us, tourists.  So, he’s renting it from an agent, and then renting it to us.

At first we said that we weren’t happy about the increase, but that we would pay it.  That was last night when we were exhausted.

The front of our apartment – the window is in the bedroom

Time to Move

Today, with fresh eyes, I took another look at Air Bnb and found several flats, with working washing machines and bathrooms which aren’t leaking water all over the floor.  I found a great flat that we’ve booked, a bit far from the old town where we are now, but a lot cheaper than this one would cost us if we stayed.

It’s ok, our original guy will just stop renting it from the agent, he shouldn’t have any costs after we leave. 

We booked the new place to stay for 6 weeks, and those 6 weeks cost less than the extra 4 weeks we were going to book in this place.

Although it will be a pain to move, we can’t afford to pay a lot for accommodation here.  We’d planned to go to Asia, remember?  And we had calculated on the next 6 months of accommodation at Asian prices, not European, prices.  We are not rich, and like a lot of you right now, we don’t have jobs.

So, on the 4th of April we’re moving! 

We’re hoping we’ll be able to get a taxi with no problems on the day, otherwise we’ll have to walk for a couple of hours, with Olivier’s suitcase having one broken wheel (the one he got repaired just before leaving Moscow actually).

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A Short Day

Today’s been a quiet day.  We got up late, because we lost an hour to daylight savings starting overnight.  I also had a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon.  I didn’t sleep well last night.

I feel ok now.

So, we’ve got 5 full days left in this little flat.  Wait until I show you our new flat, it’s huge!!  I only hope that the wifi is good there. It’s an essential right now.

This evening some of our friends from Moscow ‘Skype-called’ Olivier.  It was so nice to hear their voices!  They were some of the last friends we saw before leaving Moscow last Saturday. 

I don’t like keeping in touch by video/Skype/WhatsApp etc.  I find it too hard, emotionally.  So I prefer just messages and emails.  I get photos of my family and small videos of our grandsons from time to time.  It’s enough. 

If I Skyped my family in Australia every day I’d be a bawling mess after every call.  I hate goodbyes, even virtual ones.

No, it’s better for me not to use video calls.

Monday 30th March

Out For a Walk

Today we went for a little walk in our street.  One of the officially accepted reasons we can go out is for ‘personal physical exercise’, including the walking of animals.

As we didn’t need anything from the shop, but needed to go outside for a while for some air, we ticked this ‘exercise’ reason on our official ‘going outside’ forms.

Like for our last shopping trip, we took a handwritten copy and also an electronic pdf copy of this form, just to be sure.

And, like our last shopping trip, our documents weren’t checked.  We didn’t see one single policeman while we were out.

We put on the form that we’re just ‘exercising’ in our street.  Filitti Street is about 100 metres long.  So, we decided to walk from one end to the other a few times.

At the end closest to our apartment, after putting our rubbish in the bin on the way, we found sunshine!  I can’t remember the last time I had real sunshine on my face.  Really.  It was like a gift from above.

born in a car Olivier in the street
The end of our street and sunshine!

After standing in the sun for a while, we did a u-turn (a ‘u-ie’ in slang for my students who are reading this), and headed down the street in the other direction. 

Filitti Street

On one side of the street there are very old buildings which appear to be deserted.  However, there are people’s clothes hanging on the upstairs windows, so it’s quite possible that these buildings are used as squats.

Then after these buildings is a lawyer’s office, then our building, then some other offices or shops after that. 

And on the other side of the street, is the hotel we stayed in on our first night, and then some apartments, a mini-market, and some other buildings.

born in a car our street bucharest
Our street – Filitti Street

So, we wandered down the street, trying to stretch our limbs, which have been very, very inactive over the past week.  My body feels like it’s 100 years old right now. 

There was a cat in the street.  Did I already mention that we’ve seen an awful lot of stray cats here since we arrived?  This cat had made a hole in a rubbish bag that some irresponsible person had left outside their front door.  It seemed that the cat had found something tasty inside, and was eating it directly from the bag.  It didn’t make too much mess, but now that the bag has a hole in it, it’s going to be difficult for someone to pick it up and take it to the bin.

Born in a car Bucharest cat
The cat was eating something from the rubbish bag

And then we arrived at the other end of the street.  We found a bench in the sun, so we sat for a while and watched a few people going past.  One guy had a huge Labrador, who popped over to our bench to see who we were.

There were a few people outside, walking past us.  Most of them without masks, one woman was almost definitely homeless, young people, old people, and in-between people.  All trying to get some sun and ‘exercise’ while it was still relatively warm outside.

born in a car sculpture
This sculpture is at the end of the street furthest from our apartment

We Live in a Dungeon

Then we went home.  Back to the dungeon, which is what it seemed like after being outside under the sun and in the fresh air.  The air in our apartment was very stale compared to the outside air.  We opened all the windows!  Well, there are only 2 windows, but it helped anyway.

Our days are spent online.  For me, it’s mostly Facebook, and replying to messages and emails from friends and family.  I also check expat forums to find out what’s happening here in Bucharest.  Olivier spends most of his online time watching music documentaries, as well as videos about crime – to help him with the writing of his 3rd novel (his first one is published, second one has been written, and the third one is spinning around in his head.  If you’re a French speaker you can order his first book here).

What else?  Well, we decided to take another ‘personal exercise’ excursion in the early evening, before it got dark and cold.  Just to get some more fresh air into our lungs.  It was just another small walk in our street – we made use of the same ‘permission slips’ that we had prepared for the earlier walk. 

There’s nothing to report from this walk.  Just a few people in the street and some stray cats looking for food.

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Party in the Old Town

In the evening, we had a party!  Of course, it was just Olivier and I, but we put on some music by our favourite Russian rockabilly band, our friends the Alligators, and drank some wine, ate some food, and talked about our lives. 

born in a car party food
Our wine and party food

I cried.  Of course, wine facilitates that, even in good times.  But I missed our friends so I had a little cry.

I ended up in bed, at 3.00am, Olivier asleep beside me, watching a documentary on why race horses can run so fast – fascinating!

Tuesday 31st March

Due to the late night, and the effects of the wine, we got up quite late today.  And, as a result, we had a quiet day at home.

Washing, exercising and eating

I did some hand washing of some of my clothes – the washing machine door still won’t open, so we’ve given up on that idea.  Hopefully we’ll have a fully functioning washing machine in our new apartment. 

We did some stretching exercises in the kitchen, a couple of times today because our bodies are starting to seize up!

And apart from that, I’ve just been sitting here on my little white stool in the kitchen pretending to be doing something useful while surfing Facebook.  I don’t really like Facebook, it’s evil, and I’m not even sure it’s a necessary evil, but it’s keeping friends together right now so I guess we can continue using it as a tool for communication.

Olivier’s been doing most of the cooking for the past couple of days.  I don’t really know why I haven’t done any.  Maybe he’s got more delicious ideas than I have.  We’re almost out of fresh fruit and vegetables, and we’ve decided not to buy any more until we’re in our new apartment on Saturday.

born in a car healthy food
We’re generally healthy eaters

So, now we’re looking at 3 days of tinned lentils, pasta, and bread.  We’ve been eating really well since we arrived here.  In Moscow, we tried to eat well, but we had very difficult schedules, teaching sometimes in the evenings so not getting home until 10pm sometimes.  We weren’t able to have a fixed eating schedule then, but now we do, and I think it’s much healthier.

So, it’s the end of March already.  I wonder what April has in store for us.

~ Cheryl

Go now to see what happened in April!

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

12 thoughts on “The Last Days of March in Bucharest”

  1. Hi Cheryl. I’m so glad you found a new, more affordable apartment. It’s really disappointing when people try to take advantage of tourists, especially in times like these. It sounds like you’re going a little stir-crazy. I can relate! I am not one to enjoy being cooped up inside, for a prolonged period of time. Actually, if I don’t get outside, once a day, I get really cranky. I love to be out in the sun, especially this time of year when everything is beginning to bloom. Thankfully, we are not so restricted here in Chiatura. We can go where we want in the town, though the government has entered a curfew for the hours from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am. Also, only one person at a time is allowed in a store. Have you ever done morning pages? Do you even have paper with you? If not you can probably get some at Carrefour. I first started doing them after reading, “The Artist’s Way”. They are an exercise in meditation, that you might enjoy. Chat with you soon. xx

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    1. Hi Christina, I try not to think about the guy increasing the price, his business is probably going to fail because of this crisis, I feel a bit sorry for him. Yes, I think I am going a bit stir crazy. Today I feel a bit down. But we went out for a walk and it was lovely once again to be in the sun. Looking forward to the new place, it’s bigger and more ‘homey’. I’ll take a look a The Artist’s Way, although I’m not a big fan of meditation, I just can’t find the discipline for it (my mind just doesn’t stop wandering and worrying!). xx

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  2. Cheryl, I’ve really enjoyed reading about your “adventures”. You seem very brave to me. Looking forward to your next post and hearing about your new place!

    Rita

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    1. Hi Rita, thanks for reading my ‘adventures’. 🙂 I don’t feel brave, I basically don’t have much choice in anything that’s happened up til now, I’m just going with the flow! I hope you’ll keep reading, I love telling my story! 🙂 x

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  3. What a wonderful account of your life Cheryl. Like you, I cannot stand skype/facetime calls. I bawl as soon as I see someones face. And like you, I cry when I have wine.

    You and me – we were made for each other baby…

    Keep up the brilliant blog – I love the photos and I am sure everyone else appreciates you letting us have a glimpse into your life.

    Take care my friend Liz with an apostrophe…

    XXX

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    1. Hi my gorgeous LIz with an apostrophe! So lovely to see you here. Look out the day we get together with a bottle (or more) of wine! Can’t wait! Thanks for reading my blog, I’m thrilled that you’re here, really! Hope you’ll be publishing something soon (or maybe you have and I missed it? I’m off to check!). 🙂 xx PS. note the bracket thing happening in this message. 🙂

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  4. Hi Cheryl – it’s all SO different from life here in Australia. We have the daily sunshine, the open air, the green of nature and I’m so grateful for all of it. Despite not having those things, you seem to be doing really well and I’m glad you’ve found somewhere safe and secure to settle down and ride out the COVID storm. Keep posting your updates and I look forward to seeing your new apartment.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM ?

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    1. Hi Leanne, yes, it’s really not the same at all! I remember often telling my Russian students that we live in houses in Australia, not flats. They only have houses in the country, for their summer weekends, and they’re often a bit run-down and basic. But generally, it’s all flats and no personal garden or yard to enjoy. I’d give a lot to be in a big Australian yard right now! Yes, I’m doing well, no point in breaking down over it, I can’t change the situation. Yes, I’ll be putting the new flat up as soon as we get in there! Thanks, Leanne, I love hearing from you. 🙂 x

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  5. I do hope all goes well with your move Cheryl. Your accounts of life there are so interesting and I completely understand the fact you prefer texts rather than seeing family, it can be hard at times! Take care and stay well over there! #mlstl

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    1. Hi Debbie, thanks for your kind words. We’re fine really. It could be worse, and it might actually get worse! But we’re just trying to accept the situation and stay calm. You take care too. Thanks for visiting. 🙂 x

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  6. Hi Cheryl you will be able to write a book with all your adventures. People can take advantage can’t they? I’m pleased you were able to find somewhere nicer for a better price. I hope you aren’t too stressed with having your plans completely put on hold for the moment. Thank you for sharing life with us at #MLSTL and sending your positive thoughts. xx

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    1. Hi Sue, I think a lot of people will have great books to write after all this! You know, I’m not stressed at all. Of course I’ve had little bouts of stress – for example when I have to write out the permission slips to go out, in Romanian, and to make sure that they’re absolutely correct because the last thing we need right now is to get a fine for not having the correct paperwork. Apart from that, I don’t feel stress. I think that I generally stress over small things, and right now every problem is so big and uncontrollable (by me, anyway) that there’s no point in stressing. It’s a good time for self-development/improvement actually, for control freaks like me! Thanks for visiting, always nice to see you. Thanks for sending the positive thoughts, too, I really appreciate it. Hope you’re well, too. Take care. 🙂 x

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