Bucharest, Romania: Lost footage from Caru' Cu Bere

B is for Bucharest, Blogging, and B-Sides: Unexpected Hogwarts, Unexpected Blog Fodder 

Now you've done it, guys. These photos I took in Bucharest, three Christmases ago, were initially destined to fade into the murky oblivion that is the bowels of my hard drive BUT! much like Nosferatu rising from his dusty coffin, these pictures live again. Of course I have this month's #TRAVELLINKUP to thank - the theme being 'outtakes' - and so, here are the patrons of my second chance saloon: My Blogging B-Sides from Bucharest, Romania...

Hogwarts meets beer hall: Caru' cu Bere are the self-proclaimed custodians of "the old spirit of Bucharest", said spirit possibly being their 19th century beer recipe.

Sometime in the winter of 2014 I booked an Uber from the deepest, darkest depths of South London (Streatham is amazing for unearthing designer treasures at charity shops, if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty) to Shoreditch. My driver was a very chatty man who, delightfully, shared the same name as Hagrid's pet dragon in Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. What would've been a painful hour-long crawl in rush hour traffic was made delightful by the vivid picture Norbert painted of his native Romania. So inspired by his depiction of the rugged, almost barbaric wilderness and gothic mythology of Transylvania; I immediately booked a flight from London to Bucharest, where I would then take a train to Brasov as my base for exploring the fabled castles that inspired the most famous vampire of all time.

I had but one night in Bucharest, so I sought to spend my few hours with a visit to one of the capital's most famous historic restaurants - Caru' cu Bere. Describing themselves as custodians of "the old spirit of Bucharest" - said spirit possibly being the beer made from an 1879 recipe - Caru' cu Bere is like Hogwarts meets beer hall; with Neo-Gothic archiecture, stained glass, mosaics and carved panelings meets buxomy wenches wielding tankards of beer the size of your head and men in traditional costume bearing platters of meat fit for a despotic ruler of old.

The food at Caru' cu Bere is supposed to be rather good - in fact the breakfast has been described as "worth getting up for" - as is their famous beer made exactly as it was in the 19th century; but being neither a beer drinker nor prepared for being confronted by a massive plate of meats after an especially uncomfortable WizzAir flight, I didn't have the delish-orgasm promised to me by various travel guides. Still, the service was warm and cordial, a huge improvement from its notoriously bad standards back in the 1980s and 1990s, and the folklore show (an almost-evening event) was rather entertaining. Caru' cu Bere is very much a tourist destination; but one whose mildly-pandering thematic-ness is easily overlooked for its historical credentials, atmosphere, and sheer fun factor. The festive ambience within spilled out onto the streets and into nearby University Square, where a Christmas market was in full swing - complete with sizzling sausages, a Goliath of a fir tree, and traders selling souvenirs (knitted scarves, fur hats, and crucifixes - oh my!)

Fancy yourself a vampire weekend? 

Flights from London to Bucharest start at £23I'd highly recommend travelling in winter for a truly picturesque experience. Take an early flight to Bucharest and spend the day exploring the city (believe me - a day is all you need). Then take a train to Brasov. From the moment the train pulls away from the platform; it's postcard-perfect views of snowy mountains and gingerbread houses all the way to Transylvania.  

Inspired by this month's #TRAVELLINKUP: Outtakes. Thank you; Polly, Angie, Emma, and Eppie for giving me the excuse to resurrect these forgotten photos! x


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