Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Top ten places to take visiting friends in Bucharest.

Princess  Eleonore af Schaumburg-Lippe lists her ten places to take visiting friends in Bucharest.

My ten place to show friends in Bucharest would be:

The Stavropoleos church

The Patriarchal Cathedral

The Village Museum

The Antim monastery


Mogo┼čoaia Palace

The Dacian treasures in the basement of the National History Museum

Caru cu Bere

Cernica monastery

The Royal Palace (National Art Museum)

TicTac restaurant near Cismigiu would once have been my first choice but it is only a shrunken thing. Sarpile Rosu is no more. The Old Town has been spoilt. I would take them to a good, simple terrace - perhaps Blanduziei, No. 2, Str. Academiei, close to the entrance to the National Bank. The food is mediocre but the terrace is so charming and the feeling genuine, unlike the nearby new Old Town. The waiter told me Mihai Eminescu used to eat there, though I am not sure if I believe everything waiters tell me. Maybe to some music hall - Miss Piranda. Gypsy music is definitely de rigueur. Casa Doina. The Theodor Aman museum. Somewhere on the waterside at Lake Herestrau - perhaps to Casa di David. Pasarea Monastery. Athenee Palace Hilton is a must of course but now we have far more than ten.

I am trying to think of odd cheap places and can only think of TicTac which was pure 1980s - and Blanduziei likewise perhaps. Why I do not know strange bars full of gypsies? I must get out more. 

Thinking about it, walking through decrepit fin de (last) siecle streets is, actually, by far the best thing to do with visitors. They are Bucharest's great charm.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

'In or around 1955 the British discovered sex and instantly made it ridiculous.'

'In or around 1955 the British discovered sex and instantly made it ridiculous.' Sir Oswald Mosley

Monday, 16 July 2012

Facebook shows us that we are all parallel straight lines

Facebook conversations remind me of these lines from Aldous Huxley's masterpiece Crome Yellow (Brave New World is rubbish): 

Parallel straight lines, Denis reflected, meet only at infinity.
He might talk for ever of care-charmer sleep and she of
meteorology till the end of time. Did one ever establish contact
with anyone? We are all parallel straight lines. Jenny was only
a little more parallel than most.

Monday, 9 July 2012


This looks like the wonderful Jal beach in Albania where I camped (for the first and last time in my life) two years ago. Or was it 3? I wrote about it here. Anyway shall go back this year I hope.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sic transit Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson and Diana Dors

VENUS, take my votive glass:
Since I am not what I was,
What from this day I shall be,
Venus, let me never see.

Matthew Prior

Graham Greene in Bucharest

Graham Greene visited Communist Bucharest and, of course, admired the women. A shame he didn't set a novel here. Bucharest would have been a worthy addition to Greeneland. 

The baddie in Our Man in Havana gets sent to Bucharest at the very end of the book but the denouement of Stamboul Train takes place in Subotica in Yugoslavia and the Orient Express train in which the action takes place is the Ostend-Vienna Orient Express which ran through Belgrade and Sofia but not Bucharest.