Goodnight, Sleep Tight…and what comes next?

16 Aug

I crawled into bed with my eyes already half shut.  I had been waiting for this moment for hours, and couldn’t wait for the pillow to cushion my head and the blanket to wrap over my body, enveloping me in a deep, gratifying sleep.  After 3 hours of sleep the previous night followed by an early morning wake up call to finish packing up my bags and sealing up my entire life in Greece, the last thing I needed was a plane delay to push my arrival into Bucharest way past midnight.  Not to mention the 45 minutes I spent sitting on a curb outside the Romanian airport waiting for the hotel shuttle to sweep me away to my evening’s abode.  And then of course my inability to work the shower that apparently required more than the standard pull of a lever or turn of a knob.  Claire decided early on she would forego the shower in place of some much needed zzz’s, but with a day’s worth of heat and sweat and grime and stress clogging my pores and weighing me down, I needed to wash off.

But it was worth it.  I crawled into that bed in the darkened room, freshly clean, and drifted easily into sleep.  Morning came too soon, and the last thing I wanted to do was abandon the covers and embrace this new day.  Yes, I was aware that I only had a mere 5 hours in Romania before shipping out to Croatia, but I was ready to exchange that small window of sightseeing time to stay in bed.  It was comfy; I was comfy in it; what more do I need to say?  But alas, how many more times was I going to be in Romania?  So I got up, splashed some water on my face, packed up my bags, ate the free breakfast that was provided for us by the hotel as compensation for the delayed shuttle arrival (inconvenience pays off on occasion), and headed out to tour the Palatul Parlamentului, or Palace of the Parliament as we English-speakers would say.

The Palace is on the outskirts of Bucharest, but the taxi ride there provided us with a tour of the city and the surrounding parks and gardens.  Bucharest was, surprisingly, pretty.  I wasn’t really expecting much, so I was shocked when I liked everything I was seeing.  It was definitely more orderly and more groomed than Athens, that’s for sure.  After realizing how charming the city actually was (or at least seemed through the taxi cab window), I kinda sorta wished I had more time to spend in Bucharest to wander around the city and experience all it had to offer.  But with such a short amount of time, we took the advice of friends who had previously visited this Eastern European locale and went to the palace.

Built  in 1983 by the then Communist leader of Romania, it is one of the largest buildings in the world, 2nd only to the Pentagon (according to our tour guide).  Made entirely of Romanian materials by Romanian manpower, it is quintessential Romania, packaged into a building.  To make it simple, it was huge.  Beyond huge.  Like, why-on-Earth-does-Romania-need-this-building-at-all huge.  And it wasn’t very attractive.  Sure, it provided some great views, and it was essentially cool to see, but it wasn’t picture-worthy.  Which was good, considering pictures of the interior are not allowed unless you pay for picture rights in advance.  Which they don’t tell you until after the tour begins and someone starts to take a picture.  Which causes a ruckus among the assorted tour members, who all can’t understand why they can’t take pictures.  Which I don’t understand since I don’t really get why these people want to take pictures of these ugly barren rooms anyway.  But the uproar made for some entertainment, especially when a man took a picture later in the tour and this Spanish bitch of a woman who spoke no English (on the English tour…her boyfriend translated everything loudly as the low-speaking Romanian tour guide attempted to speak to the rest of us) flapped her fan dramatically in front of her face and screamed inside the palace, a working parliament building nonetheless, tattling on said man…in Spanish…to the Romanian/English-speaking tour guide…who didn’t really care to begin with.  Apparently her boyfriend paid for the picture-taking rights, and God-forbid anyone who didn’t pay takes one measly picture.  Really?  Really?

There weren’t really any other highlights of the tour.  It was nice to see the palace, and as a student I got in for free, but with a monotone tour guide and nothing really too amazing on view, it’s all just a blur to me now, and I don’t really feel like reading the Wikipedia page to refresh my memory.  I do remember perfectly, however, the cab ride that took forever to get back to the hotel, the anxiety that continued to build up in the back of the cab as I grew more and more sure that I would miss my flight to Croatia, and the relief at making it to the airport just in time.  Phew.

And so that was Romania.  I’m glad I experienced it, seeing as how I never would have otherwise set foot in the country, and seeing as how I will probably never again return.

Oh, and remember that wonderful night of sleep I got in the Romanian hotel, seemingly the highlight of the Romanian leg of my trip, according to this post?  Yeah, well apparently I wasn’t the only thing to crawl delightfully within those sheets.

And that’s how my body turned into one big bed bug feed-fest.



One Response to “Goodnight, Sleep Tight…and what comes next?”

  1. Lindsay August 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    I am guessing this means you are returning home very shortly. When can I see you?

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