Another option would have been to rent a car in Romania and one in
Greece and fly between Romania and Greece, but there was no suitable
flight within a certain budget, so we dropped this idea.
Romania surprised me a bit. I was expecting a poor, backward, former
east block country. Instead, the cities we visited were in a pretty good
shape. Good infrastructure, clean cities, good standard, everything
quite modern. Old historic places had been nicely restored and streets
and public places were clean.
Also Bulgaria was in quite a good shape. Plovdiv has a lot of things
to see (very interesting old town).
In Greece we found relatively high prices, especially in restaurants
and ice cream parlours (ice cream even more expensive than in Munich).
Costs were moderate in Romania and Bulgaria, but quite high in Greece.
We ate in a number of different restaurants. The restaurants on Thassos
island all more or less offered similar dishes (in the kind of "fish and
chips" style. In Romania they had the Kürtőskalács spit cake which our
kids liked a lot.
We booked a number of hotels and apartments in the 40-80 Euro price
range, using international booking portals. The room standard was not
Money / Exchange rate (June 2019)
1 Euro = 4.72 RON
1 Euro = 1.95583 BGN (Bulgarian Lev)
For current exchange rates check the Universal
Mobile phones and prepaid cards
Because Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are all EU member states, we had EU
roaming in all three countries (using our German SIM cards) and didn't
have to get local SIM cards.
Temperatures in Romania initially were topping at 25°C, mostly sunny
weather. In Bulgaria temperatures went up to 30°C and in Greece it was
even hotter. Towards the end of the trip also in Bucharest the
temperatures were around 30°C, but there were some very heavy
Health / Vaccinations
No vaccinations needed for the Balkans.
VISA / Entry requirements
VISA free entry for EU nationals and nationals of several other
countries (including Malaysia).
Pretty good, no issues at all during the trip.
- Transylvania (Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu), Veliko Tarnovo and
Plovdiv were all very interesting.
Things to avoid
- Beware of the taxi drivers in Bucharest. Many of them like to
We drove around in a rented car. In all places we visited, driving with
a car was easy and it was easy to find a parking. The road network
overall is quite good. In the Bulgarian mountains there are some curvy
and narrow roads.
Hotel Charter Otopeni, Bucharest airport. 228 Leu
for a room with free WLAN, A/C, TV, furniture, actually not bad
standard. The bed is a bit hard. Breakfast restaurant open only until
10am. Good shower with plenty of water.
Weather: sunny, 29°C in Munich.
We leave home at 6pm by car and at 6:23pm get
into the train to the airport. At 7:40 pm we reach the airport and by
8pm we are checked in. After a dinner in McDonald's we reach the gate at
The flight is delayed by 15 minutes to 9:45pm, luckily because we are a
bit late at the gate.
The plane is an Airbus A200, the crew seems to be Latvian. We take off
after 10pm. Only a drink is served because they run out of sandwiches.
Once in Romania we quickly go through passport control. We retrieve the
luggage, then get 1000 Lei cash from an ATM.
Taxi drivers initially refuse to bring us to the hotel because it's too
close (5 km) to the airport. The fare would be 2 to 3.5 leu per km. In
the end we settle on two taxis for 30 Lei each.
We arrive at the hotel at 1:40am and check in. The hotel is ok, but a
bit old. We sleep after 2:30am.
Classic apartment , Brasov. 63 Euro for a nice
apartment about 4km from Brasov. This stylish place has two toilets
(one with shower), one living-room (with sleeping sofa) and two
bedrooms. Free WLAN. Fully furnished kitchen, lots of
furniture, Clothes washing machine.
Weather: hot and sunny already in the morning.
Strong sun. More fresh in Transylvania. About 22°C in the late
afternoon. Some clouds.
I get up at 9am, then get ready. The kids are still sleeping, tired of
yesterday. We take the 11am shuttle to the airport, then have lunch
Shortly before 12pm we reach the arrivals area, but nobody is there from
the car rental. Phone calls to the car rental's hotline, but nobody
answers. Finally at 12:30pm somebody shows up. They drive us to an
office outside the airport. There they tell us that the reservation was
cancelled because we were late.
Lots of discussion. Finally we decide to get back to the airport and
another car. At 3pm we have booked a
car from Sixt (Ford Kuga) for the insane price of 900 Euro. But at least
with this we are allowed to drive to Greece. All other car rentals do
not allow this.
Then we have to wait another 40 minutes to get the car and at 4pm we
finally drive towards the Peles castle.
It's a quiet and smooth drive on the good roads of Romania. Well
We arrive to the Peles castle at 6pm and park the car. Beautiful
castle in a beautiful park. We walk a bit in the park, because by now
the castle is closed.
Then we go to the city of Sinaia (800m altitude, fresh 22°C), where the
castle is located. I didn't know about this place, but it's a huge
tourist centre. Beautiful setting in the mountains, nice forests, nicely
choreographed streets and buildings. Lots of people, shops, restaurants.
We walk around a bit, buy some food and drinks in a Carrefour
supermarket, then have dinner in a nearby restaurant. Cheap food, but
poor food quality.
Around 9pm we start driving to Brasov and arrive at 10:05pm.
Classic Apartment , Brasov.
Weather: sunny with some clouds, a few drops of
rain around 1pm. Top temperatures around 25-26°C, strong
Day spent in Brasov, visiting the city. I get out in the morning around
10:30am and drive into town. The idea is to bring my mom to the only
catholic church in town for mass. We quickly reach the church, but I
can't find a parking. We spend 30 minutes driving around Brasov without
being able to find a parking. In the end, at 11:10am I drop off my
mom at the catholic church and then continue looking for a parking. I
find one finally 10 minutes later about 1km away.
Then I walk back into town and head to the church to rejoin my mom.
Brasov is a town with a very cute historic centre. It has been restored
and is full of shops and restaurants. Big pedestrian area in the
historic core. Many, many people on this Sunday.
Once in the
church I meet again my mom and we get out and do some sightseeing. After
some time my brother Albert arrives and joins us. Then I walk back to
the car and pick up Shirley and the kids and transfer them to the
historic core, where they join Albert and my mom.
Again I spend another half an hour looking for a parking. There is
practically no empty parking available today. They should do something
about this, i.e. set up more parkings for cars, because like this a lot
of traffic in the city is caused by people looking for a parking.
Around 3pm I join again the others and we have a lunch. Then
we walk to the cable car and get to
the top of a small mountain south of
(18 RON to go up
Nice panoramic view from the top.
Then we get down again and continue exploring Brasov. Between 6 to
7pm Shirley and the kids have some food in a KFC restaurant, then
take a taxi back to the apartment with my mom.
Albert and I will continue staying in town until after 10pm. We
initially walk to the citadel, then have a dinner in a restaurant on
Piata Sfatului at 8pm. After 9pm we do some blue hour photography, after
10pm we get back to the hotels.
Casa Adela, Sibiu. 140 RON for an apartment with two
living room, a fully furnished kitchen, bathroom with shower. Washing
machine for the clothes, free WLAN, parking for the car. Broken shower
(water comes out, but you have to hold the shower head in one hand).
Weather: a mix of sunny, blue skies, clouds, partially
overcast and some rain. No rain in the evening in Sibiu. Quite hot
(top temperatures around 29°C). Fresh in the evening in Sibiu.
Day spent driving from Brasov to Sighisoara, visiting Sighisoara and
continuing to Sibiu.
Very smooth drive on the Romanian
roads. Mostly only one lane per side, but not so many slow trucks to
Sighisoara is cute and has a pretty historic core in the citadel, but is
not such a big place. In fact we only spend 3 1/2 hours there, from 1pm
to 4:30pm (including the lunch break).
With a stop for shopping food in a Lidl supermarket on the way, we'll
reach the apartment in Sibiu by 7pm.
Simple dinner with take-away food from a McDonalds restaurant.
In the evening around 9:30pm I'm in the centre of Sibiu (Piata Mare
square) for some blue hour photography.
Casa Adela, Sibiu.
overcast in the morning, the sky opens up at about 11am, then
sunshine, then after 3pm the sky closes up again and it rains lightly
after 6:30pm. Dry again after 8:30pm. More fresh than yesterday due to
the cloud cover.
Because it's overcast we spend the morning in the apartment and in fact
only get out after 2pm. We buy some groceries in a nearby supermarket,
then drive into town and
park the car in the Cazarma 90 parking on Piata Unirii. The parking is
conveniently located not far from Piata Mare and is relatively cheap
(about 2 Lei/hour). From here you are immediately in the pedestrian area
of the old town.
We have some late lunch at 3pm in a restaurant, then continue
exploring the historic centre. It's nice, but not as nice as the
one in Brasov and there is less to see than in Brasov.
After 6:15pm we walk back
to the car and drive to the Shopping City Sibiu, a shopping mall which
happens to be not far from our apartment.
When we arrive around 6:40pm it has already started raining, so our
timing has been perfect - we managed to get back into the car just in
time before the rain.
The mall is modern and nice, but not comparable
to the malls in the Middle
East or East Asia, which are giant places where you can spend
almost the whole day. There are several stores, big and less big, and
and Auchan supermarket.
Most importantly, there is a big food court on the first floor with a
good choice of meals. Several fast food outlets, but also places where
you can get better food, such as for instance a choice of salads or
Around 9pm we drive back to the apartment. Tomorrow we will drive to
Bulgaria, but first will change the car with another one.
Apartment Panoramna Terasa, Veliko Tarnovo. 60 Euro
for an apartment with a nice view of the city. Kitchen, shower room,
toilet, three bedrooms. The apartment has A/C in every room. WLAN is
available, but slow (often so slow to be unusable). Not enough hot
water in the shower: for instance Shirley in the evening can't wash
her hair, because all the hot water is already finished.
Weather: sunny with a few clouds the whole day.
Top temperatures above 30°C, no rain. 22°C in the evening in Veliko
Day spent getting from Sibiu to Veliko
Tarnovo. We manage to leave the apartment around 10:40am, then refuel
the car and start driving to the airport parking in Otopeni, where we
will return the car and get a new one with which we can go to Greece.
With a couple of stops and some traffic jam we manage to reach the
airport parking by 3:15pm. The road from Sibiu across the mountains to
Bucharest is for a large section a non-stop urban area with 50km/h speed
limit. Really incredible. Only the last 100km before Bucharest are a
Once at the Airport car rental parking things proceed quite smoothly. We
are transferred to a new car, not another Ford Kuga as promised, but an
oldish Open Astara (a small SUV).
Then I key in Veliko Tarnovo and this time use the Here navigation app.
The stupid app, instead of sending us on the motorway circle surrounding
Bucharest, makes us pass through the entire Bucharest metropolis from
north to south, with all the endless traffic jams. The route may be
shorter, but takes more time.
At the border to Bulgaria things proceed more smoothly than I had
expected. Very short queue for the bridge toll (25 RON), then we cross
On the other side there is
just the Bulgarian passport control. Also there, there is a relatively
short queue (maybe 5-10minutes).
After that we can proceed. Then the question about the Bulgarian
motorway vignette pops up. Do I need one or not? I check the route
with/without motorways with Google Maps and notice it's the same. On the
other hand, at the border the cheapest vignette they sell costs the
equivalent of 10 Euro - quite pricey. So I decide to skip the vignette
After that it's a smooth drive on roads with little traffic. We reach
Veliko Tarnovo at 8:10pm. After a dinner in a restaurant (food is
inexpensive and not bad) we get to the apartment.
Apartament Panoramna Terasa, Veliko Tarnovo.
Weather: sunny, blue sky the whole day.Strong sun and hot with
temperatures up to 30°C.
Today we explore Veliko Tarnovo and the nearby Arbanasi village.
Veliko Tarnovo is actually a quite small place and the only really
interesting thing is this Tsarevets fortress. The city itself is cute,
but is very focused on tourists. For instance the main Piccolo road is
full of shops, one retail outlet after the other. Countless shoe shops.
We leave the apartment quite late at 11:45am and walk towards the
fortress (700m from the apartment). Group ticket (12 BGN, up to 6
people) for the fortress.
The fortress compound is
on a hill surrounded by the river. It has been renovated recently or
some time ago. Quite big complex, with a newly built or restored church
on the top.
At 1:30pm we have a lunch, then walk back to the apartment. There the
ladies will take a rest, while I get out again, and this time walk to
the Asen dynasty monument. This is a metal monument with the shape of a
with a nearby museum. The
monument is interesting, and from here you have a good view of the old
town of Veliko Tarnovo.
At 5pm I'm back in the apartment. We'll get out again, this time with
the car, at 5:30pm and we drive to Arbanasi. This is suggested as a
place to visit in the tourist guidebooks. In reality, except for some
cute houses, this village has very few attractions.
In the evening we have a dinner in a restaurant. At 9:30pm I'm back at
the fortress for some blue hour photography.
Tarnovo -> Thassos
Green Velvet hotel, Thassos (Pefkari bay near
Limenaria). 38.50 Euro for a small double room with attached bathroom
+ shower. The room has A/C, a balcony, a cupboard, LCD TV, a fridge,
small table + chair, hair dryer. The A/C unit is very noisy. Good
location on a bay with a beach (20m from the sea). Free WLAN, but
often so slow to be unusable.
Weather: hot and sunny in Bulgaria, top
temperatures around 33°C. In Greece it's a mix of cloudy and sunny.
Lots of rain on Thassos.
We leave the hotel around 10:15am and start driving towards
Greece. The road is not a motorway, but quite decent.
Not so much traffic and no
traffic jams. Also, the terrain is not too difficult, i.e. few and not
so steep mountain ranges to cross.
After a short break for lunch at 12:15pm we reach the border to Greece
There is some queue (maybe
10 minutes), but otherwise it's not too difficult to cross into Greece.
On the Greek side we quickly reach the coastal motorway and drive
towards the ferry in Keramoti. We reach the ferry harbour around 4:50pm.
Shortly after 5pm we are on the ferry. This leaves at 5:15pm and
lands in Thassos around 5:40pm. When we are about to leave the
ferry, it starts raining heavily and we all get wet.
Then we drive along the western coast towards Limenaria, where our hotel
is. It's a slow drive on a narrow road full of curves. Nice scenery
every now and then. Finally we reach the hotel around 6:50pm.
The price of diesel is higher in Greece than in Bulgaria (1.4
Euro/litre vs. 1.19 Euro/litre). Also the price level in general is much
higher in Greece than in Bulgaria or Romania. Meals in restaurants for
instance cost 2-3 times what they cost in Bulgaria or Romania.
Green Velvet hotel, Thassos.
Weather: sunny, blue sky with a few small clouds
every now and then, quite hot (top temperatures of 31°C).
Around noon I swim a bit in the sea with Natasha. The water is not too
cold, but the sea floor consists of stones, so it's difficult to walk
into the sea until it's deep enough for swimming.
Around 3pm we drive to Limenaria, where we have some late
lunch in a restaurant. The
price level is high. Food here is more expensive than in Germany. But
when the bill comes, the owner discounts it by 12%.
After lunch we check a bit Limenaria, then drive to Limenas, the main
centre of Thassos on the northern coast. We'll be there between
5:30pm and 7:45pm. It's a big tourist centre with a lot of shops
(even some kind of pedestrian area with shops).
The food price level also here is high. One scoop of ice cream
costs 1.70 Euro in the first place we check, and 1.50 Euro in the second
place we check. Compare that to the 50-70 Euro cents a scoop of ice
cream costs in Romania and Bulgaria.
Green Velvet hotel, Thassos.
Weather: same as yesterday, perhaps even a bit
hotter. Some thin clouds layer in the afternoon.
As yesterday, we swim in the sea between 12pm and about 2:30pm. Then we
have some late lunch after 3pm. After 5pm I drive to a place along the
southern coast, the Giola lagoon.
It's basically a circular
hole in the rock full of seawater, which is used by people to jump into
the sea. The access is via a steep road, initially paved, then a dirt
The last 200-300m are on a
private ground (you must order something in a cafe/restaurant to be
allowed to park free of charge). Pretty cool place on this late Sunday
afternoon. Lots of young people.
In the evening after 8pm we walk into the nearby town of Potos for some
shopping and a snack. This is a nice small town along the coast
with its own beach and small harbour. Lots of restaurants, cafes and
shops. Lots of tourists. I wonder how this place looks like in the high
season in July or August. Must be even more crowded.
Green Velvet hotel, Thassos.
Weather: as yesterday, but with more clouds. Some
cloud cover starting at 2pm, lasting for a few hours. Rain in the
evening after 11pm.
Another day with the same
pattern: breakfast, then swimming between 12:30 pm and 2pm, lunch around
4pm. Then we drive again to Limenas and this time explore the ancient
ruins. Those in town are rather unimpressive, but out of town, on a hill
at 60m above sea level overlooking the city there are the ruins of an
ancient theatre, not sure whether Greek or Roman. To access it, you park
the car in town at the eastern end (Karnagio bar) and you take a small
trail across the forest. Very picturesque, with views of the sea.
Around 9pm I'm with the kids again in Potos for some food and shopping.
Apartment in Plovdiv ("ulitsa Bogomil 47"). 92 BGN
for a large apartment with two bedrooms, one living-room, one
multi-purpose room with a sleeping sofa, a
table and a fully furnished kitchen. Bathroom with shower and separate
toilet. Boiler system for hot water, but the shower has enough hot
water. Free fast Internet. 1km walking distance from the city centre.
The initial impression from the outside is that of a Bruchbude
(German for ramshackle building), but somehow the unit is functional.
Very old elevator, but still working.
The biggest problem of this place is that only one
room (the multi-purpose kitchen one) has A/C. The kids complain that
they can't sleep at night because it is too hot.
Weather: sunny, mostly blue sky with sometimes
some clouds, hot (top temperatures of 32°C)
Transfer from Thassos to Plovdiv (Bulgaria). We leave the hotel in
Thassos at 10:15am, then drive to the ferry in Limenas along the east
coast. Very nice scenery, less developed than the west coast. We catch
the 12pm ferry to the mainland (trip duration: about 45 minutes, 42 Euro
for the car + five people).
Then we drive to the border to Bulgaria. 20 minutes waiting time. The
idea would be to stop somewhere in Bulgaria to refuel the car and eat
but there is no suitable
place, so we drive non-stop to Plovdiv, arriving at 4:50pm. On the way
we cross a mountain range (very bad road with lots of curves).
The centre of Plovdiv is very nice. Big pedestrian area, nice park.
Restoration works ongoing at a main square. We have a late lunch/early
dinner around 6pm, then explore a bit Plovdiv.
Apartment in Plovdiv
same as yesterday, sunny, very hot (up to 32°C), a few clouds in the
sky, no rain.
I get out at 9:10am for a morning photo session of the old town. Until
about 11:20am I'll be exploring the historical city centre of Plovdiv in
and around the hill. At the Roman theatre there are works ongoing,
probably they are setting up the theatre for a play.
Cobblestone streets, interesting old Bulgarian style buildings, many
converted into museums, some into hotels or restaurants. Nice view from
the prehistoric fortress at the top of the hill over Plovdiv.
Once back in the apartment I take a rest and after 12pm I get out with
We stop at a KFC
restaurant for some quick food, then drive into the city centre and park
the car in a side street. Then we walk to the mosque and from there
slowly up the hill of the historic centre, stopping here and there.
We'll be back at the car around 4:15pm. But the car isn't there. It has
been towed away by the police. Turns out that we parked in a place where
parking wasn't allowed. In my defence I can say that the street sign
showing the parking prohibition has been removed. In fact, when I parked
the car I checked a bit if there was any parking prohibition sign
There is just one at the
entrance to the street, and I missed that.
So we call a taxi (4 BGN) and drive to the place where the car is. BGN
66 to retrieve the car (I take cash at an ATM, because I don't have
A bit after 5pm we are back in the car and drive to the Plovdiv Mall.
Big nice modern mall with a large food court where we'll have some ice
cream and a dinner. Cheap excellent pizza for BGN 5 (25cm) or 10 (30cm),
where you can choose the ingredients and which is ready in 2 minutes.
In the evening after 9:30pm I'm again in town for some blue hour
apartment in Bucharest. 380 Lei for a nice big apartment. Shiny stone
floor, stylish interior, fully equipped kitchen (+washing machine),
two bathrooms each with shower, living room, three bedrooms. Only two
A/C units (one in the living room, one in one of the bedrooms). Free
WLAN. Elegant furniture, decent beds. Excellent location directly on
Unirii square, in walking distance of the parliament building. The
only problem is that the showers have no shower cabins or curtains -
the floor gets wet.
Weather: sunny and hot in Bulgaria with top
temperatures above 30°C. 20°C in the evening in Bucharest when we
arrive (it has rained a lot).
We leave the apartment in Plovdiv at 10:15am and drive to the nearby
supermarket for some food. Then we drive to the Enio Bonchev Rose
distillery museum 25km from Kazanlak. This is a rose oil manufacturing
location and I was thinking to visit the place.
When we arrive at 11:55am it turns out that nobody is there and if you
want to visit the place you have to call one day before to make an
appointment. Also, there are no rose fields with roses (probably the
season is over). But there are lavender fields.
So we continue driving to Kazanlak. After a stop along the way, we reach
the Rose Museum in Kazanlak at 12:43pm. This is a small, but interesting
museum showing the history of rose oil production.
After the museum visit we drive to the Laguna restaurant for some lunch.
Quite a good restaurant, we stay there until 2:40pm (also because you
have to wait quite some time for the food).
We then visit the Thracian tomb (that is the replica of the Thracian
tomb). This is located in a park and is quite small inside (circular
burial chamber, around 3 metres of diameter; 6 Lev ticket for adults, 2
Lev for kids).
It's 4:10pm when we are
done with the tomb. We drive into the centre of Kazanlak for some
shopping (rose oil products), then drive to Bucharest.
The road is reasonably good. Only small sections are mountain roads;
most of the road is relatively easy to drive. Most of the time it's one
lane per direction (only a few sections with two lanes per side).
Crossing the border is also relatively fast today. We reach Bucharest at
8:55pm, then lose about 10 minutes to find the correct location of the
In the evening I buy some food and drinks in a Carrefour supermarket.
apartment in Bucharest.
weather pattern: hot and sunny in the morning, gradual clouds
build-up, heavy showers in the afternoon. It first rains at 2:30pm, quite heavily for about half
an hour. Then it's sunny again and after 5pm it starts raining again,
this time very heavily until almost 6pm. Very strong wind, lots of
We get out quite late (the owner came at 10:10am to collect the payment)
at 11:30am and drive to Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti”,
sort of an open air museum with traditional Romanian houses. We arrive
there around 11:50am and also find a parking next to the entrance. I
walk back to take a picture of the arch, then at 12:15pm we enter into
This museum contains a number of nice historical houses, but also a lot
of not so interesting houses.
At 1:45pm we get out and drive to the
former Ceausescu residence. It doesn't take long to get there, but the
place is not too interesting and the entrance fee is a bit high (the
equivalent of 10 Euro/person).
So we don't go in and instead drive to a petrol station to fill the tank
of the car
(before returning it). By
coincidence this petrol station is near Gara de Nord (the train
station), so we check out the left luggage service of the train station.
It's reasonably priced (10 Lei for a big luggage, 6 for a smaller bag).
As soon as we enter the
train station it starts raining heavily. We wait until the worst of the
rain is over, then I take an umbrella and walk back to the car. With the
car I drive to the train station (had to park about 300m from the triai
station as there was no parking close to it) and pick up the ladies.
We drive to the Sixt car
rental station at the Radisson Blu hotel (nice hotel by the way) and at
3:30pm return the car.
It's almost 4pm when we leave the Radisson Blu hotel. Since we are only
about 2km from the apartment,
we'll spend the next 1:30
hours walking back to the apartment through the historic centre of
Quite a few interesting buildings along the way, but no nice pedestrian
Around 5:20pm we are stuck for 40 minutes because of the rain storm.
Only after 6pm we are able
to continue walking.
At Unirii square we stop briefly at a KFC restaurant, then walk to a
street nearby with many restaurants. There we have a quick dinner, then
get back to the hotel.
Overall Bucharest looks like a nice city with enough things to see to
keep you busy for at least a couple of days.
Home, sweet home
Weather: hot and sunny. In the morning blue sky,
then some clouds build-up and some brief rain around 1:30pm. Then hot
and cloudy and sunny again. 16°C and rainy in the evening in Munich.
A bit after 11am we return the apartment to the landlord and check out.
On the street we walk to
the nearby taxi stand. Since it's only one taxi and the driver shows no
interest,we walk to the taxi stand on the opposite side, where we
finally find two taxis.
With these taxis we drive to the northern train station (Gara de Nord)
and leave the luggage in the luggage deposit (10 Lei for a suitcase, 7
Lei for a small bag).
Then we go to a KFC restaurant in the train station (no A/C, very hot)
and the kids have some food (it's around 12pm).
We walk to the metro station (staircase inside the railway station) and
buy a group ticket (5 people, 8 Lei). With the metro we go to the Izvor
We cross a nice big park and walk to the presidential palace.Turns out
that this is closed until July, i.e. we can't visit the interior.
So we walk back to Unirii square. Since it is starting to rain, we
decide to get to the Mega Mall. Change of plans as a taxi driver tells
us that the AFI mall is much nicer. So we look for a taxi to bring us
Difficult to find a honest taxi driver. Most taxis we ask refuse to use
the meter. Other taxis are "private" taxis and charge four times the
price. What a banana republic.
Finally we settle on a fixed price to the mall with one taxi (25 Lei;
Shirley will pay 20 Lei in her taxi).
At 2pm we are at the AFI mall. This is finally a really nice shopping
mall. Large variety of shops, from discount level to high quality or
international brands. Large food court. Good air conditioning.
At 3:45pm we get out and look for a taxi to the Gara de Nord (to
retrieve the luggage). Difficult again to find a taxi. Shirley finds a
taxi with no meter. This guy initially charges 25 Lei for the 4km, then
accepts 20 Lei after Shirley complains.
My taxi is different. This seems to have a working meter but when we
arrive it shows 35 Lei for the 4km. But the price per km should be 3.50
Lei with this taxi, i.e. 14 Lei for the 4km. Heavy discussion. We agree
to go to the police. But there is no police here. Driver wants to drive
me to a police station, but my mom has already gone out and I can't
leave here alone here.
I offer to settle the matter for 20 Lei. Driver asks for 30 Lei, then
starts shouting and getting intimidating. He actually looks like
somebody who has just left a prison. In the end I give him 25 Lei and
leave the taxi.
We retrieve the bags and now the problem is how to get to the airport
since we are five people and have lots of luggage and the taxi drivers
are totally unreliable.
I check and there is a bus to the airport, but it takes one hour or
After some searching we settle on 100 Lei for a big car with a large
boot space (not an official taxi). Expensive, but hopefully there won't
be more surprises or arguments.
So we drive to the airport and arrive at the airport around 5pm. Plenty
of time, since the flight is at 7:25pm.
We quickly check in (short queue at the counters) and then proceed
slowly to the gates.
At the security check they
apparently allow bottles with soft drinks, but these have to be scanned
Expensive food and drinks in the gates area. 8 Lei for a bottle of half
a litre of mineral water (in some places even 11 Lei for the same
bottle). Sandwiches cost 28 Lei (as much as in Munich airport).
The plane takes off at 7:55pm with half an hour of delay. During the
flight there are some turbulences over Bosnia, as we cross some high
altitude clouds. Then we lose some more time near Munich (maybe 10
minutes), as the airport is not ready for landing due to the weather. We
finally reach the gate at 9:15pm local time. Then we have to wait for a
long time for the luggage and reach home after 11pm.
Copyright 2019 Alfred Molon