Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bucharest the capital village


The villages are the true Romania, not the towns. In fact the towns, when they are not German as all the good looking ones are, are villages which have expanded. 

Bucharest is a village too. Like all Wallachian villages it straggles a road, in this case the road from Vienna and Brasov to Giurgiu and Constantinople which became the famous  Mogo┼čoaia Bridge (so-called because it was made of planks sitting on mud) and was renamed the Avenue of Victory (Calea Victoriei) after Romania achieved independence from the Sublime Porte. But Bucharest is a village in many senses. Everyone knows everyone, everyone gossips, everyone knows the inside track and is shocked at your naivety or ignorance if you don't know it. No village goes in for character assassination more than Bucharest. 

Bucharest has most of the defects that the word parochial summarises but I like parochiality and think it the only antidote to the globalised internationalist spirit of the age. On the other hand unlike real villages Bucharest has restaurants, opera and lots of highly intelligent people. The best of both worlds perhaps but sometimes an escape to the countryside is a  great delight.

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