A couple of chilled days in Bucharest, slowing down after the continual pace of the road trip. Even managed to get back "live" in the journal, and not just writing up old events based on scribbled notes. I thought about fixing the weird shifting between tenses, and then decided that I'm not paying myself to edit. Sorry.
A quiet day. No fixed wake up and no fixed plans besides a quiet dinner at home with Andy's family. This was the last dinner with Andy's parents before they flew out to Scotland.
We lazily had breakfast and set off to Mall Vitan (officially București Mall) to shop for some clothes and find some good chillout space. We ended up ticking some of the boxes for clothes shopping, and randomly ran in to Andy's parents, who were doing the same thing. We found a bit of chillout time in a coffee shop, before catching a taxi back home for dinner.
București Mall is interesting in that it's built inside one of Romania's old "Hunger Circuses". These buildings - all identical in design - were constructed all across the country during Ceașescu's rule, designed to be the sole distribution centres for food. Only two were ever completed as designed, but București Mall was built using the shell of one of the unfinished buildings.
After dinner and a quick recap of the ~1500 photos Andy and I had accumulated, Andy's parents went back to their hotel for an early night, and we settled down to watch the first episode of season 1 of Masterchef Romania with Andy's grandmother. It's very interesting watching a show where the format is completely familiar, but the language is foreign. I was able to pick up little bits of the dialogue, especially the dish descriptions, since most of my Romanian vocabulary is food, but thankfully Andy was willing to live translate the scathing commentary of the judges. There is definitely a harsher standard of feedback in this version. One aspirant - a waiter who foolishly told a panel of chefs he was prone to offering unsolicited "advice" to the chefs at his workplace - had his entire plate of food flung to the floor by the first judge after a single mouthful because it was terrible. I think I will enjoy watching this - although I will try to find English subtitles online to spare Andy from translating all the snark.
This morning we were woking by a large group of cats (likely a mix of pets and feral) singing the song of their people at about 05:30 - 06:00. The cat convention eventually ended and I went back to sleep, but the result was a lazy, drowsy morning. We finally booked our accomodation in Prague and Český Krumlov, as well as the coach between the two, so it feels good to have that "sorted".
After lunch we ventured out to AFI Cotroceni (our favourite mall in Bucharest), for coffee, pastry, and journalling. There's something very satisfying about sitting in a busy mall, in a comfy chair, with a coffee, a journal and four different-coloured pens laid out before you. It's also nice to be up-to-date and not worry about forgetting things you want to write about. Of course, if I've forgotten things in my catch-up, I'll never know.
We got to catch up with one of Andy's primary school friends and her husband tonight for dinner. For me it was also a chance to meet their (almost 2 year old) daughter. She's very cute, and she definitely dominated the evening, but beyond that it was just nice to catch up with friends after a week of nothing but family. We're still waiting for them to come visit us in Australia1, but it's great to see them here.
Another (relatively) early night tonight, chilling with Andy's grandmother as she watches a gloriously cheesy Turkish soap opera. It's filmed in Turkish, dubbed in Romanian, so I understand basically nothing, and yet still get all I need from it.
I know you're reading this - just book the flights already! ↩