Yes, you read that correctly. Probably not a place you'd think a newbie solo backpacker would try so soon into his travels but hey, surprise!
Indeed then, I caught a flight out of Cyprus to board a Hungarian plane full of Romanians. As you do, right? Besides, who travels from Cyprus to Romania!? In fact, why am I travelling from Cyprus to Romania!? Such random destinations have surely gotta mean the plane will be half empty, right? Hell no, it was packed and as I eluded to above, it was full of Romanians (perhaps unsurprisingly). I recall thinking this was only flight I could ever remember when hardly a word of English was exchanged throughout the journey.
So what images do you conjure up when you hear the name Romania? I know exactly what Kate would say as the retail store she works for were forever having to 'keep a close eye' on a lot of Roma-looking youths. Gypsies, if we're being frank. Although these were often Irish gypsies I believe.
'You can tell em a mile off' she'd say and I know exactly what she means as a lot of them are certainly distinctive looking.
Speaking of the Roma people, I've read that genetic and linguistic evidence identified an Indian origin for Romani people. I don't think that's too surprising as they are often very dark skinned. I've also read that many Romani do not declare their ethnicity in the census and do not have an identity card or birth certificate. They're like a load of Jason Bourne's, invisible.
I landed here in Bucharest seriously apprehensive if I'm honest. Why? Well, largely because of all the negative press Romania received in Cyprus. In their defence, they were only being protective telling me to 'look out' and 'have eyes in the back of my head'. I touched down in the capital city at 7.30pm and admittedly there were already warning signs prevalent throughout the airport stating only use official public transport as other methods could endanger you. Crickey.
Anyhow, I navigated myself to the bus smoothly as I did my research prior and sat back in for the 40 minute ride. It was a good chance to get to see some of the sights and watch the Sun transition from day light to twilight whilst the temperature remained at a pleasing 20 degrees for a while yet.
I managed to find my hostel OK. For those of you not following me on Instagram (theunlikelytraveller), I posted this late last night showing my accommodation for the next couple of nights:
Yep, I kid you not, I am on the top bunk bed in a four bed dorm. #rollbacktheyears. (It's gotta be like 25 years or summit since I last had that experience!).
When was the last time you were on the top of a bunk bed?
I'll check in with you all in the next couple of days with hopefully only good things to say about Romania. Time will tell...