Hotel Carpati,

Str Matei Milo 16, Bucuresti, Romania

phone: (40 21) 315 01 40; fax: (40 21) 312 18 57. V.

Click here for their website and email.

Carpati is nothing to get excited about, but, as far as Bucharest goes, a very good deal. The beds are fine. My room (a double) had a balcony. The TV was working, the employees very helpful. The maid will do laundry for a reasonable amount. The front desk will coordinate that. Most rooms, even those with showers and sink, due to certain plumbing restrictions, have a shared toilet in the hall. The toilet is kept clean by the maid. I had no complaints. For breakfast you'll go downstairs to the breakfast room. Eggs to order and all of the other stuff that one finds in the Balkan at that time of the day. Coffee is good too. The meal is cheerfully served by a hotel employee.

I arrived by night train from Budapest. It's a long train ride and that is the best way to go, other than to fly, and I had planned to follow the old Orient Express. As you know by now, I walk. It is a long walk from the train station to Victoria Blvd, but that's what I did. An easier way is to contact the hotel (the Carpati, or any one you decide) and let them tell you how to go. Knowing what I know now, I'd go out of the station again, find an ATM, or change some money in the station. Standing in front of the station, disregard the cabbies, go immediately right to where you see a bus stop. Cross the street and wait for a bus # 157 (contact the hotel to make sure) then take it to the last station. It makes a loop, and then you are just about a 2 min walk from the hotel Carpati. The location is good, though to go food shopping, there is a beautiful new, modern Unimart some distance away. Make a right at the big intersection past University Square (Metro Station below). Get used to walking or let them tell you where to get a day transportation ticket. There is a lovely park nearby. On the far side entrance there is a booth that sells transportation tickets (across from a MacDonald's). Except for hotels (apartments might be a much better choice for a longer stay), everything else is very, very cheap. There is an Internet place across from the Pizza hut at the Victoria Intersection. I had the occasional food bar for the street kids. Mostly, I avoided them. While waiting for the train to go upcountry to see the castles, a little 8 or 9-year-old girl walked in. Wearing a small tank-top, loose pants, hair in a tight black pony tail, she went from person to person. One elder Romanian lady read her the riot act. The girl dutyfully stood still, listening to it all, saying nothing, then she continued her rounds after the lady had finished. I gave her a Luna Bar which she happily started to open with her teeth. Speaking of upcountry. There are ways to do this. You can do it on your own via the trains, and get it done in one, probably two days, or you can take a tour in a mini bus. For several people they want about $50-70 a person or so. The Romania Tour company that was recommended to me, let me down big time. Since it was weekend, and I was alone, the price started at $90. Then I was called and told that someone else, other than the regular guides would do the job. Next I was called again and told that the price was to go up. I told them to shove it. Whoever was that person who substituted as guide, was getting greedy. A country where people make about $100 a month, earning $20-50, whatever his share was after expenses, was apparently not enough. Now they were getting nothing at all. What I have found here and in the Balkan in general, was that the concept of customer service is still somewhat alien. Too much of the old, Soviet style communist mentality remains, where it really did not matter if you had customers or not, because the state would pay all wages. Now that they are learning to be capitalists, these attitudes are bound to change, once they understand the idea of competition. Where I did find excellent customer service was in the hotels, and in the larger, modern stores. As for the language. I was shocked to listen to them, sounding just like Italians. It is a Romanic language after all, with its roots in the Roman empire, even before the time of East Rome and Constantinople.

Bucharest Practicalities

(Highly recommended reading)


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