When I head to a large city anywhere in the world, the first thing I try and figure out is how to move using local transport – buses, trams or the metro. Bucharest didn’t disappoint.
Moving around like a local
Whether it is buses, trams or the metro, over years of travelling, it’s finally sunk into my head that it is the quickest, cheapest and most effective way to move around the city.
The afternoon after checking into my hotel, I collected a map of Bucharest, and made sure the receptionist explained anything and everything there was to be explained. This included making sure to clearly circle all the main attractions, the easiest way to get to them, the nearest metro station, and most important of all, walking back to the hotel from the station.
Izvor metro station it was. Literally a short walk from the hotel, once I was on the main road.
The station was built in 1979, as part of the first line on a metro network that Nicolae Ceausescu had planned. The idea was to facilitate the movement of thousands of workers to factories that were mostly located on the outskirts of the city.
Built along the right bank of the Dabovita River, Ceausescu he had the entire neighbourhood on this side of Izvor neighourhood demolished so that he could build himself a fancy address to govern the country – the Palace of the Parliament.
Graffiti – art or vandalism
It may be an eyesore for the locals who use it to travel every day. However, as a tourist in a new city, it was fascinating for me to see that some of their older trains were covered in graffiti. It also made for an interesting photograph and did brighten up the moment, especially when you consider that the stations are dimly lit.
The last time I saw so much graffiti on trains was on the New York subways, in magazines and movies.
There’s an interesting story that revolves around Izvor station. When it was being built, Ceausescu gave orders that it should be connected to the Palace of the Parliament via an interconnecting train tunnel.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to verify whether it is true or not.