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August 18th 2010
Published: August 20th 2010
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Arc de TriumphArc de TriumphArc de Triumph

This one looks just like the one in France which inspired it.
Day 2- Bucharest, Romania

Another beautiful day. We have been fortunate with the weather. Let’s hope it stays that way.

As you could see by our itinerary, we are seeing many of the Soviet Bloc or as they say here, Eastern Bloc countries on this vacation. We will not visit Russia but we will see the Soviet influence all around.

We started today with a tour of Bucharest, capital of Romania with a population of 2.5 million. The ride yesterday from the airport came through many industrial areas and soviet-style housing and gave me a negative first impression.

Today was much different. Yes, we saw many shocking housing units but we also got to see some of the post-communist development. But the most impressive sight of all was an incredible building that was undertaken by the communist president Nicolae Ceausescu. He undertook to build a huge presidential residence/office in the middle of the city. He relocated over 20,000 people to build his palace. It started in 1984 and was not yet finished in 1989 when he was overthrown by the people. There were about 20,000 people employed and work continued 24/7 for five years. It had lasting
Wire nestWire nestWire nest

I could not resist this photo. Most of you know that I spend my career in the 'wires' business. Only, these are not power lines but cable tv/internet cables.
damage to an already weak economy.

The building is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest civilian administrative building, most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building.

Our guide is Romanian and lived through the revolution. Just to hear his stories are incredible. We stopped at the building that was the headquarters of the Communist Party where his overthrow took place. There are many monuments to the heroes of the day. Over 1000 people were killed in the uprising. They are considered modern day heroes now.

Ceausescu escaped from the building in a helicopter on December 23, 1989 and was soon captured. On December 25, he was tried and he and his wife were executed. This guy seemed crazy at the end. He was even at odds with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who was at this time calling for reforms.

Today, the Communist Party is outlawed. The country is still recovering but from what I have seen they will do well. The people are friendly and willing to provide help with a smile.

After touring downtown, we took the bus to our next destination, the mountain resort village of Sinania. We

I'm standing in front of a monument recognizing the 1989 revolution. This is the spot where 1000 people were killed in protest of the communist leader.
will be there for three nights. The first full day will include a trip to the castle of Dracula.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


People's HousePeople's House
People's House

This was a highlight of the day's tour. Built between 1984 and 1989. It was to be President Ceausescu's residence and office.
There's my partnerThere's my partner
There's my partner

Just behind Jackie is a window that Michael Jackson once addressed a concert crowd saying "Hello Budapest." Cool but wrong city name.
Camille downs oneCamille downs one
Camille downs one

We were all expected to experience the welcome ritual. It required a bite of bread, dipped in salt, followed by a shot of liquor.
The CrewThe Crew
The Crew

Jay and Camille join us for dinner at nice restaurant above the village. The food and wine were excellent.
Flowers at RestaurantFlowers at Restaurant
Flowers at Restaurant

We picked a good time to visit. Many flowers in full bloom.
The PeopleThe People
The People

This grandmother sat across from us.

20th August 2010

Sounds incredible
Love the pictures and your blog........we are so happy you all are having a great time. Isn't it amazing to see how these leaders spent money on themselves while the common folks were starving. Same thing we saw in China...
20th August 2010

great pictures and commentary
Keep up the great work. I trust you'll put this into book form like the other trips, huh??? xox
20th August 2010

The flowers are beautiful!
Glad your second day was nice, sunny and interesting!! I enjoy seeing photos of the people as well - smetimes it tells a story more than buildings, etc. I love the tress and greenery behind you as you sat in the restaurant - can't wait to hear about your visit to the castle! Have fun...
20th August 2010

After only a couple of blogs, I feel like I'm on the tour with you . . . sort of. You make it so interesting.
21st August 2010

Traveling with you
I have followed your travels and ejoyed your excitiment ( not so much on the plane ride, easy Jackie remember FFA regulations ) . Keep me posted. Melia
21st August 2010

Russell to Russia
You've come a long way baby! Great shots - forget college just send everyone on a trip around the world.
21st August 2010

Very cool! It's fun to read your blog since we're not familiar with that part of the world. Glad the girls like you! Some things never change, no matter where you are!

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