March adventures: flowers, art, and recycling!

Because I don’t plan on posting everything I do on a daily basis, I’ll just update you with some highlights… from March. I skipped February because nothing special happened: I was just waiting for the snow to melt, the weather to become nicer, and my mood to improve. Because March just ended, I can talk all about what happened.

I haven’t talked about this yet, but I ordered some stuff from wish.com – I will write a review about this experience later on.  So in March, I received all the stuff – with one exception. Below you can see the items I did receive:

Then, somehow spring came, and we were surrounded by trees in bloom! and not only. I really like early spring flowers, much more than those of later spring and so on. The early spring flowers are so fragile and pretty, almost like life itself. No wonder Japanese people have a cherry blossom viewing festival in April.

                             their scent is sweet but subtle. i love it!

 

 

                                                                                  the same type of tree, but not the same tree.

On a nice sunny day, we went to have some ice cream. It was really warm that day – some 22 degrees Celsius! we wore short sleeves even! this is amazing because i can’t recall any March till now to have been so warm! We had Italian ice cream [or gelato] and we selected different aromas. We got coffee, kiwi, something nutty … and i sadly forgot the other 2 flavors. I don’t even have pics of them 😦 the biscuit on top is extra and for free!

Then, at a certain moment my friend suggested we went to some galleries to see some art. said and done. except we only managed to see two of them. And one of these wasn’t even that impressive: it had only 6 or 8 pieces of art displayed. To their defense, it looked as i they were still arranging the place, but who knows – maybe this was on purpose?

Must point out the painting here were unsettling. The starry eyes made me think of the darkness many people try hard to hide. At the same time, I remembered reading somewhere that the human eyes contain something in them that can’t be counted: it’s more numerous than the stars in the universe. Should search again to see what that was.

The second gallery had more stuff to offer, and I even liked and kinda understood the artist’s view on things. This artist’s paintings had titles as well, and would go well in an office, or a house with an industrial, modern, futuristic, or minimalist look. This art would clash badly with classic, heavy furniture.

The second painting is called ‘information overload,’ i don’t have the name of the third painting. The last painting is called ‘anxiety amplifier’ and i can see why. I also don’t know the name of the paintings in the first image. I’m sorry about that.

This second gallery also has a boutique where you can buy various stuff: clothes, jewelry, paintings and wall decors, as well as some accessories for your home and games. Below are some examples of what you can purchase. If you’re ever in Bucharest, you can visit this gallery at the following address: C.A.ROSETTI NR. 2-4 street, sector 1.

                 this crown was heavy! were the kings wearing such heavy crowns?! maybe heavier?

I also got to see some cute art on a wall! you can’t really call it graffiti, or can you? as you can see it is really cute and i saw this on a wall next to a cafe, right before entering the first art gallery.

                                                                       a flower shop front

This month i tried to do some cleaning in my closet. I took some clothes I didn’t wear anymore at H&M and they gave me a 5 lei coupon discount for a future purchase of at least 40 lei – from the new collections. Apparently they reuse these clothes to make other stuff. The items I took there were not wearable anymore, and I didn’t want to just throw it away.

On other news, below you can learn what happens to me when I try to recycle other stuff, like papers, plastics, and what not.

This is all for now. See you again next week!


©2013-2017 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

5 Romanian etiquette rules

In my previous post I mentioned I would make an entry related to etiquette in Romania. So, here it is! These are stuff I either saw myself or was told.

1. Shoes – on or off?

In Romania, you take your shoes off when entering your own home, or the home of those close to you – friends and family, unless told otherwise. It helps with keeping the house clean(er).

You keep your shoes on when you go visit people you’re not very close to – say, if you meet the parents of your partner for the first time. Some of these people you don’t know very well, might ask you to take your shoes off when entering their home.

  • why should I take my shoes off? If it rained, chances are your shoes are dirty and your host doesn’t want their floors or carpets to get dirty, especially if the house looks as clean as a 5 star hotel room.

2. Bring something when you visit someone

In the past, when paying a visit, it was a sign of good manners not to go empty handed. People were usually bringing something symbolic, like flowers, something sweet, or something to drink. The “something sweet” was something home made, but bought stuff were also OK. A casserole of home cooked food also works well – remember this is something symbolic. If the younger generations do this these days, it must be because they grew up seeing their parents do it.

While this habit might seem weird for some, consider that Romania used to be a communist country and during the regime the living conditions were harsh. For some people it would have been a financial burden to receive and entertain guests, so the guests were considerate towards this effort by bringing something to the “party.”

3. Greet your neighbors when meeting them

This applies for when meeting them in the common areas of the apartment building, as many Romanians still live in apartment buildings. If you happen to meet any of your neighbors, they will say “hello” and the polite thing to do is to reply. Easy, right?

When visiting friends, you might encounter their neighbors and they might say “hello” even if they don’t know you. It costs nothing to reply back with a “hello.” Greeting random people they see waiting around their building is not that weird since many Romanians are renting out their apartments. Your friend’s neighbors might think you’re renting a place there and you’re new.

4. Greet your cashier

All cashiers I went to, would say “hello” to all their customers, me included. They would also say “bye bye” after giving them their change and receipt. The client is supposed to answer to both greetings. This gesture sure doesn’t cost nor time nor money. I generally say “thanks” before leaving. I sometimes add “have a nice day” as well.

5. Speaking of the change… Don’t expect it full

Let’ assume you’re supposed to receive 7.37 … well, let’s just say you’ll receive 7.35 instead, and demanding the extra 0.02 is nowadays considered a bit weird, if not quite rude. The cases when you’ll receive your full change is rare (I only saw it happening at one supermarket- Kaufland) The coins of the 0.01 value (1 ban) are generally disregarded by most people. I don’t think the 0.05 coins (5 bani) are too popular either.

Don’t ask me how much money I lost this way. However, you’ll be surprised to learn or see just how many Romanians simply leave all the coins in their change to the cashier. They might take the 0.5 coin (50 bani) but not the 0.1 coins (10 bani).


disclaimer: i don’t own the pictures in this post, they belong to their respective creators. i just found them online.

©2013-2017 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

Snowy January in Bucharest

It is March already, oops. wanted to post this at least in February, but if you read back my posts, you know why this didn’t happen.

So, December, as you might already know, was super cold. But we had no snow. Snow came in January..

I took this picture at night and the only edits I used was cropping and the writing on it. I can use the #nofilter hashtag too. That night we were watching a Korean horror movie. I must say the movie was pretty good. However, at a certain moment I was wondering why is there so much light, even though it was about 3 am.. The answer was rather shocking for me: it was snowing like crazy. The snowstorm continued for a day or two, I believe. In any case, this wasn’t the first snow of the year, but the first snow wasn’t as ferocious, so to say.

Here are some pictures I randomly found on my computer. They are taken last year, still in January. There isn’t much difference if you ask me.

I really wanted to build a snowman. this year. I never got around to. Somebody else build the one you see below. Too bad the wind blew its hat off, as you’d better see the mop as hair.  Like thi, we see the hairstyle is specific to the 1990s era (any Backstreet Boys fans out there?).

In any case, the snow didn’t last very long. The video below will show you what the snow looked like after a few days. The worst part was the ice that formed like magic, as if hoping we would fall and break our feet. Luckily this didn’t happen to anyone I know. I recorded the last part of the video at night, and it seems the light was worse than I thought.

  • [disclaimer] I didn’t record these videos after the same snowfall. We had about 3 in total, this year. I just edited them in the same video to make it easier on myself. I also don’t remember which of my smartphones I used to record.

  • I recorded this video in January 2016. I always wanted to post it on my blog, but I don’t think I did. In any case, this is what it looks like to walk in snow, in Bucharest. because the mayor of the city doesn’t care to send people in the streets to remove the snow.

At a certain moment in January [of this year], me and my friend were walking downtown. I forgot why I decided to do that. Perhaps I just felt the need to move, to feel more active. In any case at a certain moment we came across this stand with bikes for rent.  I didn’t go too close to have a better look, to see how the system works, however I thought it was pretty neat to have this in Bucharest. You can also see the snow, and the lights from the bike stand and bikes themselves looked quite nice as well.

On a different evening, I asked my friend to go out somewhere. We went in the Old Town area – it’s filled with cafés, restaurants, and bars. I have no idea how we stumbled across a sorta steampunk looking café, that seemed to want to take us back in time.

Sadly, the lights weren’t too good, and we couldn’t take much or better pictures. I had a hot tea and my friend had a café latte. Or this is what I remember it being. We weren’t impressed much with the drinks, but we promised we would go again. We have yet to go again. I believe the owner of the place was the bartender there (for now at least).

Mara Mura – the sweetest looking cafe in Bucharest

On Sunday I was searching for a place to sit at, have a coffee, relax, study more Chinese, and just hope to people watch. However I found more than I was hoping for: a place where relaxation, cuteness, and inspiration go hand in hand.

The place is called Mara Mura, it is hidden on a narrow, one way street. The location of this cafe couldn’t be more fitting: the cafe is rather small, like a treasure that needs to be found. Just look at the picture above showing just a corner of the quiet terrace: I could spend the whole afternoon here doing nothing but relaxing!

The tables had each a small and cute yellow flower decorating them.

I received my menu and instantly I wondered if I made a mistake by sitting there: the menu was much shorter than what I was used to, however it was sweet and to the point. I ordered an espresso [8 lei = US$1.97 or Euro 1.79] and a Rose Lemonade [15 lei = US$3.69 or Euro 3.36]. I didn’t recognize the classic lemonade on the menu, so I ordered a coffee to be able to “better judge” this cafe. Read my post on how order stuff at new places to make sure you’ll like what you get.

The white and pink jar contains sugar. The yellow one was conveniently holding 3 teaspoons. I didn’t ask for sugar, but the presentation of my coffee exceeded my expectations. But look at my coffee cup! In the picture it seems bigger than it actually is! Is this a tea party for dolls? But it’s all good: espresso is served in small cups like this one. But it’s so cute!

And how about the yellow jar in which they brought not 1, not 2, but 3 teaspoons? Isn’t that adorable? It’s still small, but 2 of those teaspoons were small too: to nicely fit into the espresso cup 😉 By the way, I need to buy one too – I need one of those in my life! Don’t you? It’s made of ceramics, just like the cup and its saucer, so if it breaks, it’s gone!

I’ll have one of these, please! What for? To collect dust in them, of course!

The Rose Lemonade came in an unopened glass bottle. But the taste! The taste! It tasted like roses! as is someone made lemonade out of roses! No wonder it was called that! Take a closer look at the bottle – this is not made in Romania, but the owner did us a favor by importing this!

Yea, I drank it all before taking a closer picture of it. ooops!

This is not all! As I was enjoying my coffee, some British chicks came and sat at the next table. Two of them went inside to see what else they had and came out all excited reporting to their other friend “they have all sorts of good stuff!” Naturally, I had to go investigate! 

I didn’t expect to enter Candy Land! But, silly me not to believe the sign on the [other] window!

And the interior! it was amazing! The first thing i saw was these cakes!

OMG! I was salivating! I don’t think my picture taking skills do these desserts any justice! [but I hope this blog entry might] And, Wait! there’s more!

Chocolate! Macarons! Big cake! mini cakes! all the good stuff!

This is not all, because the interior is also nicely decorated. Furthermore, you can buy books too! and possibly other stuff as well, but I didn’t pay much attention to the other exposed merch. But here is just a sample of the art and one of the books! I believe it’s a children’s book, it is rather thin with hard covers. The art is really sweet too!  This book is written in Romanian and costs 35 lei if I remember correctly. That means US$8.62 or Euro7.85, but it’s a cute memento, right?

When I went to pay, I also got a slice of cake to go – I really wanted to enjoy it at home to relax for longer, of course. Want to see what I got?

Apple cake covered in confectioners sugar sold by weight and my piece cost a bit over 8 lei. The manager was beyond nice and gave me 2 choux on the house – I had to explain why was I taking so many pictures of the place. In case you don’t know, many cafes or cake places don’t allow people taking pictures of their shelves. This rule is also reinforced in the malls, stores, and supermarkets. The choux on the left was with coffee, the other one with passion fruit. I liked the one with passion fruit more, perhaps because I could barely feel the coffee in the other one. 

The apple cake! OMG! SO SOFT! and it doesn’t taste like apple pie, but like apple cake! These desserts are sweet but subtle. I generally dislike buying Romanian sweets because I don’t find them sweet.. as if they forget to add the sugar. But these beauties had a reasonable amount of sugar: not overly sweet. I recommend having these with milk-coffee, or with some subtle tasting tea. 

This is the box my cakes were packed in: simple, cute, and elegant at the same time. How nice!

I totally recommend this relaxation oasis to anyone who wants to unwind and enjoy some home-made sweets at the same time. Please go check their website [it’s in Romanian], like them on FaceBook, and follow them on Instagram as well! you won’t regret it!

I forgot to mention there’s a swing in the shop’s window. How cool is that? In any case, now that I know where this treasure is, I’ll go again to buy more sweets 😉 and Rose Lemonade!


©2013-2016 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

Dragobete – Romanian Valentine’s Day

Hello World~~~

Everyone is searching for love. We all need more love in our lives. Love is celebrated in many different ways around the world, however one day in particular stands out: lover’s day.

This day may or may not be celebrated everywhere. Lover’s day may not be observed on the same day all over the world. For instance, USA has the famous Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Similarly South Korea recently marked November 11th as Pepero Day, when people gift Pepero snacks to their loved ones as a symbol of affection.  Japan has transformed Christmas into a holiday dedicated to couples.

image [hopefully] belongs to bartonarboretum.org

Romanians also have a holiday dedicated to love and couples. This is the Dragobete on February 24th. I will not copy and paste anything in my post, you can read the short Wikipage about it.

The article says that we should go collect snowdrops flowers and to give them to the person we love. Luckily, these days, if we want to do this, all we have to do is to buy them from people selling them on the streets. Walking through Downtown Bucharest is very easy to see old ladies selling snowdrops planted in tiny baskets.

What I would like to point out is the fact that this is a very old tradition, of about 2000 years. This aspect makes me think that humanity was always in search for true and long lasting romantic love. This thought of mine is reinforced by the many legends from various nations involving lovers who have to pass through some tests to prove their love.

What are your thoughts on love? should we all have a single day in which to show and reinforce our feelings for a special someone, or is it better to have different days spread throughout the year for more love in the year?

See ya!~~~

Downtown Bucharest.

Hi world.

In Bucharest there are many ways of reaching the Downtown area no matter where you are, but the buses, trolleybuses and the subway train are the main ones. While you can take the tram as well to reach Downtown, and there are many tram routes, they will drop you off near this area. They will drop you off  within walking distance to various city destinations. Read on to find out about the other common way of getting downtown.

So the easiest way of reaching Downtown is by public transportation and while I read that some countries have some bus routes free of charge, this is not the case in Bucharest. In fact ticket inspectors come quite often to see who paid their fare and who did not. Those who are caught must pay much more than the fare for one way, which is 1.3 lei… I guess this is about some US .50 cents?

In order to pay your fare, you must load a white and green card specially issued for this purpose and it’s the same size as your credit card and made of plastic. It’s also best to have cash on hand when going to a booth where you can recharge it. Below is a closed bus ticket booth and hopefully you’re lucky to find one that is open and that can also accept a credit or debit card. This is because not all are always open and not all receive card payment. The one near my place closes at 2PM and I don’t think it’s open on weekends.

SP_A0095

So, you got your card charged with at least 2 tickets, for a round trip using a single bus. Now you have to get in the bus and the first thing you should do is to make sure you pay the travel fare, as having the card charged doesn’t mean you paid your fare. This should be easy enough: all buses have an orange machine, actually 3 of them but you only need one, and you have to take the card and place it as close as possible to the front of the machine, on the dark-colored circle. A green light and a BEEP will tell you you’ve been successful. A really loud and long BEEP with a red light will tell you an error occurred and you have to try again. Don’t worry, as multiple charges are not possible, unless you tell the machine to charge again by pressing the button 2 as many times as you need. See below the orange machine that validates your travel fare.

SP_A0079

As you can see, there is a screen too where various messages are displayed in Romanian, so I don’t know what they mean, I do know that the amount money left on the card is displayed after a successful travel charge.  This machine is inside a tram and because they’re longer, you’ll find more of these machines, usually near the doors. Below, an image inside a tram. The inside of a bus is similar, maybe a bit more crowded with seats. This is a nice tram, as opposed to older and uglier trams.

SP_A0159

If you go Downtown late in the evening, you might risk not having a ride back. Worry not, as a few night buses go all over the city every 30 minutes. The fare to ride them is the same as for the day routes, but make sure you get in the correct bus: the N123 bus for instance will not go to the same place as 123 bus that functions in the daytime!

Taking a taxi to or from Downtown is another option. All taxis are yellow and they’re easy to recognize from among other yellow cars that you see. You’ll see 2 types of taxis: the ones that belong to some big taxi company and some that are independent and will charge about 3 times as much. They’re also easy to tell apart: the big companies printed their cars with many phone numbers, for the various phone companies operating here and of course their name.  All taxis have the fare printed on the door and if you take it, make sure the meter functions or you may just ride it free. But this is a story for a different entry. Talking about taking the subway is subject for another entry as well!

Why do you want to go downtown? I usually go Downtown to check out the mall at Unirii, I go to random coffee shops in the Historical Center and to take a walk.  There are many shopping opportunities Downtown, several old churches and other attractions to check out.