Thursday, June 30, 2011

Continuation of First Day in Bucharest

The blog is being a bit difficult, so I am going to try this again. So we went to the museum, saw the sights, and moved on. For being the national history museum, there wasn't much history to see. We continued our walk around the city to the river that runs through it. Interestingly, Bucharest is called "Little Paris." I think this is because of the river, triumphal arch (I'll get a picture of that tomorrow), and the streets lined with outdoor cafes (at least where we are staying). It appears that everything is done in districts here. We happen to be staying in the restaurant and wedding dress district. Walking down the streets nearby you only see those two options.

Parliament Building
Continuing on the walk, we found the 2nd biggest government building in the world (second to the Pentagon in D.C.). It was originally built for the communist dictator but now houses parliament. We walked all the way around to the back and found a modern art museum. We thought this would be a great way to cut through the building to save ourselves that long walk again, but denied. We left without seeing the museum. I was ok with it.

By this time, mom and I were starving, but we didn't want to eat too much because we were going somewhere special for her birthday that night. We settled on the French Bakery next door to our hotel. We had a strange sandwich with mozzarella and mayo and a Greek salad that was nothing like a Greek salad. It was a good snack though.
Next was an adventure to find a grocery store. This was no easy task because they are not labeled very well. After walking for a while, I happened to peek in a door, and hooray it was a little grocery store perfect for buying water and some snacks for later.

Baked Apple, Yum!
Fast forward to dinner, we went to a traditional Romanian restaurant called Caru' cu Bere. We weren't sure what to expect, but part of the fun of traveling is that you get to experience new things all the time. We didn't have a reservation because they were fully booked for the evening, but our hotel friend at the front desk said that we should just go and wait a bit and we would get a table. When we got there, they said that we could have a table for an hour, so we took it. The menu looked like a newspaper full of Romanian words mixed with some English. We ended up with a mixed grill of chicken and lots of different sausages. It ended up being very good, and for dessert we had a baked apple. It was a whole apple that had been baked, amazing. Mom even got to try out some traditional Romanian dancing! What a fun night :)

Mom doing traditional Romanian Dance.

First Full Day in Bucharest

It was raining this morning, so after a nice breakfast of croissant, tea, and sour cherries, we decided to hang out in the hotel room to wait it out.  I, of course, fell asleep after watching a show on the National Geographic channel about big foot. I learned that big foot is real and probably a type of monkey. (As I write this I am learning about crocodile dinosaur).After the nap and feeling quite refreshed, mom and I headed out with map in hand. This was quite amazing, the map not us going out, because we had read somewhere about how this county has no good maps, and if you found one it was useless. I refer to this as the "map of lies." Our map of lies took us to the Romanian Natural History Museum.

Natural History Museum Dino!
We were welcomed at the entrance by a very inquisitive man who told us all about the museum, and we were in luck because there was some kind of press conference going on just as we walked in. The museum had a strange assortment of stone tombs, old books, and a dinosaur. Peter would have loved it! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We have arrived in Bucharest, Romania and are sitting in our lovely hotel room at the Hotel Rembrandt complete with free internet, TV/ DVD player, and not a mini bar but a mini box. It is all very exciting. There is even an elevator that only one person can fit in at a time. Mom and I had to take turns. I am jumping ahead though so many things happened before I arrived.

It all started about fifteen minutes before our driver was scheduled to arrive. Well, he was fifteen minutes early and that threw me off a bit. Even more so, I went upstairs for a minute and when I walked out of my room, I heard the song "Leaving on a Jet Plane" blaring with no one around. My sister Kate has quite the sense of humor. I then quickly grabbed all of my luggage (or so I thought) and went out to the car to start this most ridiculous journey. Everything was going great and we were almost to the airport when I realized that I hadn't grabbed my phone. This would normally not be much of a problem, but it is an iphone and does everything.  Turns out, I left it sitting on the couch and forgot to pack it in with my things. Oh well at least I have my laptop. While all of this was going on and mom and I were in line to check in, a pigeon was flying around. I found this to be quite funny, but mom however, did not. Then lots of time went by and a couple of flights later with no sleep I am here in Bucharest, Romania. Mom is working on finding things to do and arranging transportation while I am fighting my sleepyness and writing this blog.

Tomorrow we will explore the city. I wonder what we will find?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here we go again!

Well, my presentation is done for the most part. Now I have to learn my notes and make sure I sound like I know what I'm talking about. I know the information is good, but I wonder if it is the right kind of presentation. At least I go first so I can get it out of the way and enjoy Bulgaria.

My suitcase is packed, and just when I think I don't have that much stuff, I was still able to fill an entire suitcase. I just don't know how that happens! I also encountered my first travel problem, and I haven't even left yet. July 10th has been a problem for me and hotels. The hotel that I am staying at for the rest of my time in Istanbul is booked, so is the second one I tried to book. When I woke up this morning and tried to find another hotel I was feeling very good because I found one and booked it. When I sent the confirmation to mom to print, turns out I didn't look at the dates carefully and I booked it for June 30th. I have no idea how that happened. So now I wait to see if customer service will be able to change the dates without charging me. That is the last time I try to book a hotel when I just wake up.

Anyway, in about an hour mom and I will be picked up by the car service and off to Newark Airport for our 8+ hour flight to somewhere in Germany and then the quick flight to Bucharest. By tomorrow morning I will be settling into vampire country. Again, I have asked myself why I am doing all of this. I guess I will find out in the coming days!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gearing up for the next adventure!

Here I go again. Where is it this time? Paris, Rome, Rio, Cape Town? None of the above! I am heading to Eastern Europe to vampire country for a little bit of work and a lot of learning about an area of the world I don't know much about at all. On June 28th I will be hopping a plane with my mom to Bucharest, Romania. Then it's off to Sofia, Bulgaria where yours truly will be presenting at the Bulgarian Comparative Education Society's International Education Conference. After that's all said and done, mom will be flying home, and I will be flying to Istanbul to experience two continents at once. After this trip is over I will have visited 5 continents! It would have been 6, but apparently central America is considered part of North America. Perhaps my next trip will be to Peru or Brazil? Time to focus on this one, and as usual there is so much to do!

Mom is finishing up her school year this week, and I am here in New Jersey trying to get ready for the big presentation. What I know so far is that I will be presenting on Wednesday, July 6th right after the key note speaker. Yikes, talk about pressure. Not only that, I will be surrounded by professors and PhD's who are experts in the field of comparative education. It's pretty amazing that my paper was chosen! Now I need to buckle down and come up with a fabulous 20 minute power point presentation that will encapsulate all of my research and a 50 page thesis. No problem. That's why instead of doing my presentation I read The Alchemist and half of The Daily Five.

Journey Bear is also excited to be going on another trip, but he has been spending an awful lot of time by the pool! More on that later.

If anyone has any recommendations about what to do while I'm in Istanbul, I would love that (especially food that I should try).