It came as a surprise to me to be facing the world’s second-largest building. As you can imagine it is grand and imposing. Neo-classically styled it has 12 storeys with 3100 rooms, and it isn’t even finished yet!
I’m not visiting Dubai or the Far East; I’m in Europe. Built in 1984 the Palace of Parliament is Ceausescu’s most infamous creation. I’m in awe as I visit Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
A stroll around the city provides an endearing mismatch of eras that leaves me wondering what century I’m in. Modern office buildings sit next to remains of medieval churches, by their side French palaces with baroque facades. A centre for artisan culture alongside fast living. It’s no wonder Bucharest earned the nickname, ‘Little Paris’.
I take in the towering ‘Arch Of Triumph’ and the 19th century Roman Athenaeum, this is a city packed with sights. Some may not appeal to tourists; Stray dogs, beggars, loud traffic, and a tangible element of the underworld. Put this aside and exercise caution as you would in any city.
From districts haunted by communism to the lively open-air bar scene in the historic centre. Bucharest is, both architecturally and culturally, an inspiration.
This is my entry into the National Geographic Travel Writing competition. The brief is to write 200 words on your most inspirational travel experience. The closing date is January 24th 2014 and there is a fantastic prize up for grabs of an unforgettable trip to Vietnam. Be lucky!