Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The Transylvania Chronicles - Day Eight

7th September 2007,
Bucharest, RUMANIA

The tour operators definitely saved the very best until last today with (another) bumpy ride to Lake Snagov, the historic signifance of which you'll know by now (if not, see the previous entry - and then learn it, damn it!). The lake itself surrounds the monastery housing big Vlad's tomb. Of course, whether this is his actual resting place is conjecture. I'd like to be the first to confirm it, but I can't. Doh! Below the beating sun, the priest, the only one there actually is on the island, related its history to us between mobile phone calls before letting us nose around.

Having feasted on history for the day, we all piled on the bus for Bucharest (oi, oi!), where our first stop was the "Museo de la Aldea" and the second one lunch (shame about the miserable waitress!). We were then taken to see the city's architectural masterpiece: the Palace of the Parliament, a building that the guide was evidently proud of, and with good reason. You'll see why in the photographs.

After slipping in one final church, we had free time to wander round the city, which is more beautiful than I first imagined, I confess. It's still dark though! Unfortunately, we couldn't find a novel, as is our custom of taking some literature from every country, which shows how "unpopular" the Rumanian language is. But maybe Rumanian will have its day as the country consolidates its place in Europe.

The goodbye dinner was a slightly sober affair, everyone knowing we'd come to the end of the road. Some were looking forward to going home, some wanting to stay longer (maybe that was just me!). E-mails, telephone numbers and embraces were exchanged, the sign of a successful tour and good time had by all, but always a slightly tearful affair.

We decided to make the most of a cold evening and had one final drink in the city. Much to our delight, the final waitress was Spanish-speaking, as if trying to bring us closer to home. There were some final laughs as we remembered some humourous times during the trip and spoke of equally humourous times at home.And that was where our journey came to an end.

Yours with a tear,

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