May in Bucharest – and Freedom

bucharest 0km 2

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. 

healthy food
Some healthy food on our table
healthy salad
We often eat like this – delicious!

Cats

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.

the local park
The fountain in the local park
cheryl in the park
Enjoying the sun

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. 

old building

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.

Shopping

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.

obor market
A part of the outside of the Obor Market

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! 

The bakery is on the left
The bread looked so good we had to buy a loaf

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.

Olivier in the Russian shop with Russian vodka

We’ve since been back to the Russian shop and bought some beer and a couple of other things for old times’ sake.

Our Russian shopping

Just walking

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.

ice cream chairs
Ice cream chairs 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. 

One of the park’s entrances
The Arcul de Triumf 
Charles de Gaulle with Olivier

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! 

old house village museum 1
house village museum
An old wooden gate
A wooden windmill
A church
A cart
That’s me on the verandah
An old well

And there were even houses half buried under the ground (pit-houses), like these ones.

pit houses village museum
Pit-houses – they’re half buried under the ground

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.

entrance to herastrau park
These ladies line both sides of this park entrance

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.

So many things to buy in the metro kiosk
A close-up of the wine, spirits and tights

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.

roses and lady bird
A nice surprise on the rose

And here’s some neighbourhood irises, just to finish this post with something beautiful.

irises in Bucharest
Irises in a garden near our building

How was your May?  Anything exciting happen in your part of the world?  Let me know below in the comments.

~ Cheryl

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 “May in Bucharest – and Freedom”

  1. Hi Cheryl, I’m so glad that things are working out so well for you in Bucharest – and that you’ve mangaged to extend your lease for another month. The 15th of June is almost here and who’d have thought we’d all still be living with travel restrictions. I’m not sure when things will return to normal for travel – some countries are opening up, but a lot (like Australia and NZ) are staying in full border and interstate lockdown. Not a problem for those of us who are homebodies, but a dilemma for those travelling or wanting to return. Stay safe and keep the updates coming!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM ?

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    1. Hi Leanne, yes, I’m also glad we’ve extended our stay until mid-July. I can’t believe that it’s been almost 3 months since we left Moscow! This year will be over before we’ve done anything! I feel sorry for those in countries that are staying closed. As you said, there are some people who aren’t interested in travelling, but for those who want to get away there’s just no possibility. Luckily here in Europe we’ll be able to move more or less freely in a month or so, unless something else happens. Fingers crossed that things will continue to improve. 🙂 x

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  2. Cheryl, I always enjoy your posts! Lots of interesting info about Bucharest and I enjoyed the pictures too! I’m glad you are able to get out more. I am traveling a lot thru this month to visit family so I’m way behind on my blog reading. Keep your stories coming!!!

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    1. Hi Rita, thanks for reading about May in Bucharest! June has started off in a very positive way, let’s hope it continues! I hope you have a great time on your travels this month, and enjoy seeing your family again! Keep in touch! 🙂 x

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  3. Hi Cheryl, what a great insight into your world over there! Thanks so much for showing us what it’s like. I love the boat like buildings and the colour of the gardens and markets. It’s so interesting to see your life and I wish you all the best. #mlstl

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    1. Hi Debbie, it’s kind of surreal actually, that I’m here in Romania! It’s not where I had planned to be, as you know, and I feel really strange sometimes when I remember where I am! Thanks for your interest in what’s happening here. I love taking photos of what’s around me, knowing that it’s not at all like it is back ‘home’ in Australia! I’m pretty lucky to be here! Thanks for stopping by and reading. 🙂

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  4. Hi Cheryl, I really enjoyed this post! It brought back so many memories of our time in Bucharest. I’m glad you are able to visit the parks since the lockdown is over. We got to do the same in Tbilisi. Everything is now open in Georgia, though masks are still required everywhere. I love all your photos, too, especially the ones from the Village museum and the King Michael Park. we spent time there during the spring when everything was just beginning to bloom. I also have a picture of that windmill. It’s so cool! Thank you for sharing this. I can’t wait to read about your trips to the castles!

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    1. Hi Christina, yes, it’s great to be able to explore Bucharest now that we’re free to go out and about. And the visit to the castles was amazing – I’ll be writing about that soon. We’re hoping to go to see some other parks in Bucharest – there seems to be so many of them! And the weather’s quite good right now, really warm. I’ve had more sun already in May and June than I had all last year in Moscow! So glad you like my photos, and that windmill is just beautiful, isn’t it?! Hope you’re having fun inn Chiatura, I’m looking forward to reading your next blog post!! 🙂 xx

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  5. Hi Cheryl, Bucharest looks lovely so it is good that you can spend some time there even if it was unplanned at the beginning. Restrictions are being eased here in Australia although we are still meant to be social distancing but I think many people didn’t get the memo! Thanks for sharing about life in Bucharest and linking up at #MLSTL. x

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    1. Hi Sue, yes, Bucharest is a lovely place, and the people are really very friendly here (compared to Russia, where if they don’t know you they are not friendly at all!). I find social distancing very hard to maintain, even outside. It’s just not natural to distance yourself from other humans. 😦 I do find all of this situation very difficult to digest. Hopefully we’ll all be back to freedom and borders will open up again very soon. 🙂 x

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