Romanian Living Blog

An expats working, socialising and living blog of thoughts and adventures delved within Bucharest and further afield in this alluring yet often baffling country.

RLB 10: Flowers, Football (Rivalry); More Escaping and Driving

Time period: 1st March – 31st March 2017

On the evening of March the 1st I found myself in Romania’s national arena engulfed in a noise of profanities, football chants and flares being set-off.

I was here to witness a cup game between two of Romania’s most bitter of football rivals; Steaua Bucuresti versus Dinamo Bucuresti.

This was the second tie of the semi-final round and Dinamo had the edge from the 1st leg. Nothing was to change within this game however as Dinamo stormed out 3-1 victors. In my modest opinion a deserved result as the visiting team fought more fiercely, more proudly and with more desire to see them through to the cup final.

This was my first experience of witnessing a Romanian football game live and it had been a greatly enjoyable spectacle; I had inadvertently sat amongst the Dinamo fans as I had bought a ticket from the Dinamo ticket office it seemed. The price was very reasonable, I think around 15 lei (£3), a sensational difference to the English football theatre with an electric atmosphere and quality of football equal to or better than many dreary games I have observed on English soil.

Upon entering the stadium I was impressed with the prowess and the luminosity of the 55,000 seater arena, certainly from the second tier or nose bleed section I could easily see the ground was not at full capacity for tonight’s show.

What was noticeable as I was sat amongst the Dinamo fans was the raw passion and energy they demonstrated through chants, crowd movement and flares.

Oh so many flares; when I first heard one startled I thought a shot had been rung out somewhere, quickly though white smoky whispers near the football pitch revealed the true culprit of the noise.

Although I am not sure how these flares found their way into the stadium as before the game I entered through 3 security gates to enter inside the arena. What I am sure of though is the game atmosphere was tremendously enjoyable to witness and be a part of, I am not sure if I have a slight preference for either side although I am slightly swayed towards…..

This month I once again found myself trapped, locked in, caught in a room with 60 minutes to escape; actually I found myself 6 times during the month of March experiencing an escape room. The enthralment, mystery, and intrigue that derives from each room and wanting to solve the puzzles that lay within fuels the fire of wanting to partake in more upon more rooms.

What is quite curious regarding the experience is the extreme anticipation of wanting to enter a room to then fiercely attempting to escape out of the room below the 60 given minutes.

This month saw triumphs in all but one of the rooms, me and my original partner continued to work together, we did bring in another two players for one room but it is difficult to say whether more players is beneficial or disadvantageous.

On the one hand more minds may equal quicker results on tricky puzzles yet too many people can also spoil the fun with contrasting opinions or over complexing the situation; or simply by being in the way making it more difficult. What is vital no matter the number of players  is the importance of communication and teamwork between team members to understand and solve the riddles as quickly as possible.

One Saturday I found myself in another tricky type situation with obstacles and conundrums that required thinking about, this was not an escape room however but driving in Bucharest.

Driving may not sound so overly complex but when driving in a foreign country on the other side of the road in an urban jungle such as Bucharest it becomes a little more complicated.

Often I have been in a taxi and defied belief at some of the driving on display in Romania’s capital; it seems at times there are no rules and many cars have visibly been in accidents.

I was truthfully a little anxious but equally thrilled about driving, it was luckily a quiet evening and I pottered about without any trouble. It had been great fun driving as I realised nearly two years had surpassed without me being behind a car’s steering wheel; undoubtedly I miss driving yet I am not in a hurry to purchase a car for the roads of Bucharest – just yet.

With the month being March and spring arriving upon us there were an abundance of flowers to be seen all throughout the city of Bucharest and I imagine elsewhere in Romania.

The first of March in Romania is referred to as Martisor, on travels elsewhere I know this is also a celebrated day in other countries, in the UK not but essentially the essence of the day is to celebrate springs arrival and if you are lucky enough to be female you may receive a red and white bracelet, pin badge or other such gifts as well of course flowers. If you are lucky enough to be a man you may have to give these gifts to beloved ones, colleagues etc.

Now this whole affair is nice and traditional and rather pleasing to witness and take part in of course. The only downside is women’s day befalls one week later meaning more flowers and gifts are intended to be given – for the women of course.

I asked around when man’s day is but it seems an unknown myth as I heard various dates but nothing conclusive, I rectified these two days and the whole gift giving by making cookies instead – I believe they went down satisfactorily enough by my colleagues.

This month had been full of surprises and various adventures; another cultured Saturday also revealed a hidden surprise.

The day had started with a friend visiting some museums; nothing spectacular, the 1st destination was a museum of ages which contained information about progression and people but it was all rather obvious stuff really.

The second museum was definitely more of a hidden gem, it was a building I had gazed admiringly at before but never before entered and was unware of the history of the building. The eloquently designed structure was the George Enescu museum; George Enescu is considered one of Romania’s most important historical figures, there is a school and a street in his name that I know of here in Bucharest.

George Enescu had a few talents it seems dabbing his hands as a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher. Speaking of hands weirdly inside the museum some moulded hands of the admired man can be seen – it was a rather strange sight to behold.

The museum is definitely worth a visit for any potential visitors but there are many such great places similar to this that are not being marketed to locals or tourists. In all of my visits and months spent here this was the first time I had been recommend to visit this building, a shame really but should the local tourist board highlight this significant building more I am sure more visitors would flock there.

Until the next flight however…..

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

(Marcus Aurelius)



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