BL #37: Tour a Communist-Era Monstrosity

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August 8th 2014
Published: September 30th 2017
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How Many Communists Does It Take To Change a Bulb?How Many Communists Does It Take To Change a Bulb?How Many Communists Does It Take To Change a Bulb?

This chandelier in the performance hall is so monstrous that bulbs can only be changed from the top - workers have to lower themselves from above to get at them. Funny thing about this performance hall - while it can still be used for things like speeches, you can't really perform anything here, since there is no backstage!
Geo: 47.0167, 28.8497

Nicolae Ceausescu was both a madman and a megalomaniac - perhaps his most infamous project was construction of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, the World's second-largest building trailing only the Pentagon. Construction started in 1984 and supposedly finished in 1997, though parts of the building remain unfinished, and the price tag for this monstrosity is somewhere over 3.3 billion Euros. There is no logic behind a building as grotesquely over-the-top as this one, and projects like this can only be blamed upon the massive egos of crazy bastards who wanted to leave behind some sort of a legacy.

Unfortunately, Ceausescu's legacy is one of fear, control, and utter stupidity, as his policies essentially ruined the country - Google his brilliant ban on contraception, a move that was intended to drive up the population of Romania to increase its workforce, and turn the country into an economic powerhouse. That's just one of the prime examples of his complete and utter incompetence, and the devastation he inflicted upon Romanians. The Palace of Parliament is almost a constant reminder to Romanians, of his reign of terror.

It's actually tough to form an opinion on the Palace, as it's so gargantuan that it's difficult to even comprehend its scope. It's excess to the extreme, and you can't help but wonder how much the lives of Romanians would have been improved had some of the money used for the palace been directed towards social programs or economic development. Of course, that's assuming that most of that money would have actually made it to the people - Ceausescu was known for corruption and nepotism, so had the money not been wasted on the palace, it may have just magically disappeared into the offshore bank accounts of the Communist ruling elite.

As much as I hate to admit it, the Palace is quite beautiful, at least in some ways. The attention to detail is incredible in some parts of the Palace, while in others, you can see how certain areas were simply slapped together, for the sake of completion. But in the end, the whole concept and origin of Ceausescu's Palace is completely ugly, and not even some of the Palace's beautiful spots can wipe his stink off of this place.

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Brioche Doree ...Brioche Doree ...
Brioche Doree ...

... normally I would stay far away from this chain while in France, but in areas where the quality of French pastries is lacking, I'm all over it! However, though Romania has a reputation for being an inexpensive place to visit, the Bucharest airport's pricing is out of hand - two sandwiches, two bottles of iced tea, and a pain au chocolat cost us $36 CAD! No matter how good the prosciutto and ham sandwich and the chicken schnitzel sandwich were, such an astronomical price could never be justified. I'd bet that a Brioche Doree in Charles de Gaulle airport would have cost us substantially less.

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