Reading online blogs about people visiting Bucharest in Romania made it seem as though this city was an up and coming metropolis for music, art, and interesting culture. When Jeremy and I travelled through the Balkans, Romania also peaked my interest, but it was out of the way so I made a mental note to stop there later on and immerse myself into the country. Chatting back and forth with Vera, the owner of a hostel in Bucharest via Workaway, I made plans to head there directly after my brief pause in England, and would be learning the inner-workings of being a receptionist.

Highlights of receptionist work in a hostel: constantly meeting people from around the world and being amazed/inspired by all the crazy and far off stories/locations they have been, helping people around a city and recommending my favorite off the beaten path shops, music venues, places to sightsee, etc. Working with locals who were hilarious, encountering crazy guests, days off to get lost around the city and country.

Downfalls of being a receptionist: all of the above, plus night shifts, coworkers and guests constantly yelling at all times of the day and night, having to sleep with earplugs because our room was directly next to the entrance, incompetent policemen who just stand and watch drunk and aggressive guests make fools of themselves in the street instead of doing something about the problem, and who could forget the incredibly comfortable reception chair that made my lower back feel amazing after hours of staying in one spot?

Overall, I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, because I met so many entertaining and welcoming people, was able to practice my Spanish with all of my coworkers, and explore another Balkan paradise. Bucharest was filled with loads of hidden treasures, whether that meant walking down side streets to find stunningly framed clothing hanging on a line in front of a contrasting peeling wall, or people sweeping the streets with brooms made of actual sticks. Beer was cheap, company was plenty, music was flowing, and trends such as craft brews, bike culture, rock climbing, house/electronic music and modern architecture are engraining their ways into the society very quickly.

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Carturesti, an all-white book store in the center of the Old Town. I spent a couple hours sitting here reading, every once in a while looking up to admire the beautiful interior and people watching.

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The chandelier in the Choral Temple Synagogue in the old Jewish Quarter. There was a very detailed museum set up on the first floor of this now-defunct synagogue highlighting the migration and assassination of Romanian/Moldovan Jews during the Holocaust.

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The sunlight spreads into the courtyard behind the former Unirea Sfanta Synagogue that now functions as the city’s Jewish Museum.

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Clothes hang in one of the gypsy neighborhoods.

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The walk into the Old City along the canal.

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The Palace of the Parliament is the second largest administrative building in the world behind the Pentagon, although more than 70% of the building sits empty.

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The CEC Palace, home to the national savings bank CEC, was built on the grounds of a crumbling monastery that was destroyed in the late 19th century. The Palace was erected on it’s location in 1900, and has since been used as the venue for the Princess’ 60th birthday in 2009, among other regal events.

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The Macca Villacross Passage housed the first stock exchange house of Bucharest, and is now a covered fork-shaped street that holds various restaurants.

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Wires hang precariously from an electrical pole near the center of the city.

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More Wires.

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Brisk days + steady rainfall = wonderful reflections

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Kretzulescu Palace, built at the beginning of the 20th century now houses the UNESCO European Centre for Higher Education.

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This man told me how he bought his Ushanka hat in Russia, however was very adamant in his support for Ukraine. “Slava Ukrayini (Glory to Ukraine!)” he shouted. (Translated from Romanian via a coworker)

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A couple sells goods at a secondhand market in the suburbs of Bucharest.

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Instruments for sale at the secondhand market.

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The small area where people were cooking mititei (a traditional Balkan meat dish similar to sausage) billowed out smoke in the cold afternoon air of the secondhand market. We enjoyed some with loafs of bread and mulled wine.

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The next three photos are from an abandoned Typographical Institute that functioned as the first independent news paper outlet in Romania during the early 20th century. Empty spaces left behind on the walls used to have faces of important historical figures in them. The building has no plans in the future to be revitalized.

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