Whilst my friend was interrailing around Europe alone this summer I decided I’d like to go out and give him some company, choosing where that place would be proved difficult due to timing and him going to places I’d already been to but after some planning we eventually settled on… Bucharest!

Bucharest is an interesting place and like much of Eastern Europe its communist past is still evident, it’s not always the prettiest of places but we’ve both just graduated in History so it appealed to our interests. We went on a free walking tour that went into detail about the city and Romania’s history, our guide spoke perfect English and made the effort to speak to everyone individually whilst walking from place to place.

Hearing about Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) was one of the highlights of the tour, the stories of his awful acts shocked all of us, I didn’t even know what impaling entailed beforehand!

The guide kept emphasizing to us that Romania has been influenced by both the West and the East due to its location, the European and Asian elements of the city were visible. This oriental-looking church was my favourite building we came across.

On our last morning we visited the Palace of the Parliament, formally known as the People’s Palace during the communist era. The building is the second largest in the world (after the Pentagon) and was built from materials sourced entirely from Romania – there’s your two interesting facts for the day! The tyrannical government spent fortunes building this whilst much of the public were living in poverty therefore it’s not the most popular site for some locals. I grew to quite like the Palace but then I’m just a Western visitor!

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