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 11: Rainy or Sunny England? A Pink Martini and a League Finishing
Time period 1st April – May 31st
With spring in full bloom the weeks have passed merrily away; it doesn’t seem many spectacular things have occurred other than the normal.
Away from Bucharest I was luckily enough to take two short trips over the Easter break:
The 1st in England was enjoyable enough, it is always nice to see family and friends. It is strange though how time moves forward yet things or people don’t change.
I have been away from my hometown for several years now with University and since moving to Romania, yet people who inhibit the area have barely changed let alone the infrastructure or behaviours of the community.
I guess this occurs everywhere, it is hard to break the mould or mind-sets of people who are not so open to the world or wider picture.
My 2nd trip took place in Barcelona; it was a little more adventurous and certainly less relaxing than England but equally enjoyable for differing reasons.
I have written about Barcelona elsewhere so shan’t repeat but it is a hustling lively city; there are great things to admire and visit with other more boisterous or questionable places to witness upon.
An intriguing city none the less and a recommended destination for any potential visitors – beware the heavy onset of tourists and deadly cost of the city though.
I must add I don’t know why there is a belief it always rains in England, during my time there I did not witness any precipitation. In sunny Barcelona heavy rain kicked up for two days and then back in Bucharest torrential rain also made its presence known. So the morale of the story – for sun go to England. (Well not sun but mild weather at least)
Back in Bucharest during my brief few days here over the Easter break I prayed witness to a concert one evening – Pink Martini were the visitors to Bucharest. Pink Martini having formed in the nineties sing a selection of musical genres from Classical, Latin, Jazz, to Classic pop. These various genres are sung in a variety languages often being intermixed creating blissfully powerful melodies to hum along to.
Pink Martini seem to be a revered band in Romania so a buzz of anticipation was created by fans of the musical entourage with their imminent arrival. I myself had only heard the bands musical style since being in Romania soon becoming a fan of their relaxing lyrics and intriguing flair they emit.
With company I went along to the performance with ponder at how the show would go, the host for the event was the Sala Palatului conference/music hall. The communist built building is certainly not the prettiest and is in need of a refurb but the performance was appealing enough.
The band were certainly entertaining with humour and anecdotes whilst showcasing their range of songs and talents. At various points they invited participants from the audience to come up on the stage and dance away, it was a nice twist but overplayed with people still swaying around some 10 minutes later. Plus this occurrence happened more than once making the show less entertaining. Overall an enjoyable evening but not breath-taking.
With the end of the teaching year fast approaching things elsewhere are also wrapping up, the end of the Romanian football league season 2016-2017. Having previously witnessed a game between Dinamo and Steaua Bucuresti at the national stadium I was keen to observe another Romanian football game; with the season ending on Saturday 13th May this seemed a great opportunity to intake another such episode of football.
Bizarrely on this last game of the season 3 teams were in the running for the title; Dinamo were the underdogs being 2 points adrift of bitter rivals Steaua and FC Viitorul Constanta.
Constanta are a relatively new team to the league being formed in 2009 by Romanian football legend Gheorghe Hagi. Hagi is a highly respected and thought of person in Romania and in certain other European places. He has been praised for the way he has operated his football club FC Viitorul Constanta using home grown talent from its football academies.
Having seen a game at the national stadium I wanted to view an alternative pitch, with it being rather difficult to get to Constanta for their game, Dinamo’s home game against FC Astra Giurgiu would suffice.
Stadionul Dinamo is an unusual stadium to say the least, the pitch is concealed being submerged from the outer surface levels and being rather hidden amongst a hospital and apartment buildings surrounding the stands.
The stands were quite a distance from the football pitch as a silly running track encircled the playing area, luckily the VIP seats gave a decent vantage point. Although it was a VIP seat it did not break the bank and they were not so luxurious but seeing some of the questionable characters elsewhere it was definitely an ideal place to be sitting.
Astra Giurgiu could not topple the league and were playing for pride, on the other hand Dinamo with results elsewhere could be crowned champions. Demonstrating this a replica trophy was also brought into the 15,000 seater stadium, although half if that were in attendance for this game.
Could Dinamo achieve such a feat? Well the team would have to come out and perform to firstly guarantee a win for themselves, and that’s exactly what they DID NOT do.
The game finished 1-1; overall it was a rather poor game of football except for maybe 10-15 minutes in each half. There was not much to cheer about, despite this the home fans were true and passionate enough. I am unsure where the away fans sit, I am not sure there even were any as when the away team scored the arena was struck with a lull of silence.
The Dinamo fans had cause to celebrate the following weekend however with a 2 – 0 victory against ACS Poli Timişoara ensuring they won the Romanian League Cup.
Even if Dinamo had won their last league game it would not have changed their positional standing as both Steaua and Constanta came up trumps against their opponents.
Somehow FC Viitorul Constanta were crowned champions even though Steaua were level on points and had a superior goal difference. I am not fully sure how the Romanian league operates overall, at a midway point in the season the teams get split with the top or bottom teams then only playing each other for the remaining games. What I am sure of was the game witnessed was rather disappointing and FC Viitorul Constanta had become league champions.
With warm stifling summer weather becoming more prevalent in Bucharest it is an appropriate time to venture outdoors enjoying scenery, the sights of blooming trees and flowers are peaceful to gaze upon but I found myself inside more than once undertaking my new favourite hobby.
I did not complete as many as desired but 6 more escape rooms were completed with varying degrees of success. It is difficult to explain the intrigue, mystery and charm attached to completing an escape room. There are many elements, to the unknown of the room, the story-line, the often artistically astoundingly exquisite art work or décor, the teamwork needed, the enjoyment of solving a tricky puzzle and of course the great relief of hopefully escaping.
I urge anyone to give an escape room a go, you will be enthralled by the experience. Some recommended rooms for those who find themselves in Bucharest are: The Black Pearl, Cabin in The woods, The Bike room.
With holidays done and escapes completed it is time to escape away once more…..
“What is too silly to be spoken can be sung.”