Romanian Honeymoon, September & October 2017
Day 3, Bucharest – September 28
I had forgotten how nice it was to be in a large city.
Having slept off the stress of the night before, we awoke to the sounds of birds, cars, people, and everything else that comes from living in a bustling urban area. We had a late night coming up that day so we spent a part of the morning relaxing and napping, though some point in the day was interjected with a phone call from a friend of ours in Bucharest.
“Do you want to go on a road trip tomorrow?” he asked, as I blinked at my husband.
Here’s the thing: you can’t just ask me if I want to go on a road trip. It doesn’t matter when or where or why, I am Always Down For A Road Trip. Except that we would have to leave before dawn the next day and we were about to go to a concert that night, soooo…
Yeah, no. Of course we said yes. Why wouldn’t we?!
Lesson #4: Say yes. To everything.
Maybe one to take with a grain of salt, but if there’s anything we learned from our three weeks in Romania it’s that when a local (at least one that you trust) invites you to do something, say yes and make room and time. That road trip turned out to be a highlight of my life, and many other activities we participated in thanks to friends were amazing… all thanks to our saying “Sure! Let’s do it!”
Before we could get there, though, we had to get through the rest of the evening which meant finding our way to a place we had never been to attend a concert in another language that I had won tickets to the week before. I had actually tried to buy tickets in the weeks preceding, but the website didn’t like my American cards and then it sold out, so until the contest popped up on Instagram I kind of thought we were screwed.
The objective was to show who was the biggest fan of either CTC, the rap group my husband and I love, or Carla’s Dreams, the other amazing band that would be performing. So, I supplied my entry:
The social media people of Red Bull Romania were gracious: we were in.
Through the Children’s Park
It was our first true adventure out of the apartment and “off the beaten path” of walking five feet from the metro, and we had to find our way to Sala Polivalenta where the concert was being held. We got turned around a little and finally managed to get someone to help us figure out where we were so we could see where we needed to go. The easiest way to get there for us, it seemed, was to walk through Parcul Tinertului, which featured an expansive and slightly bizarre Children’s Park that had us a little unsure where we’d found ourselves or if we were heading in the right direction.
This place was amazing. Truly.
It was a little like being in a theme park like King’s Dominion or Universal Studios where characters are plastered everywhere, except it was a local park halfway across the world that made you wonder if they actually had the rights to this sort of thing and actually what is it? How did it get here? Yes, we could have googled it, but we were focused on getting to the concert and instead in the dim of twilight found ourselves in this delightfully wondrous yet eerie children’s area. I’m excited to see what this place is like in the summer, also, because we went in the fall and at night and I imagine it’s just bustling during summer days.
Though we weren’t sure we were going the right way due to the fairground type situation, eventually we saw people wearing t-shirts for either CTC or Carla’s Dreams and knew we must be in the right place. It was time to see if we could navigate entering a concert venue and figuring out where to go in another language!
Red Bull Soundclash: CTC vs. Carla’s Dreams
I will hopefully at some point recount the finer details of the concert itself over at Headphone Couture, but for today I feel like it’s important to stick to the essentials: you know, the whole travel and life in another country part of it. Needless to say, the entire experience was amazing and a great way to truly “kick off” our Romanian adventure.
Since I had won a contest, we entered through the press entrance and thankfully the process of being asked for my name was something I understood. It also helped that once I was recognized as the only contest winner who didn’t have a clearly Romanian name they decided to speak to me in English, which was both a relief and a source of stress. I wanted to practice speaking the language, after all.
We got our wristbands and headed in, stopping once to participate in a promotion from the grocery store Lidl (yes, they have those in Romania too!) where we won some white chocolate and a Pringles-like can of paprika chips (which I was a fan of before going to Romania, so imagine my delight that paprika chips were EVERYWHERE) and then I decided to go ahead and buy us two bottles of water which were overpriced for Romania but cheap by American concert standards (I want to say I spent, like, $4 total on both of them) and headed into the venue.
Lesson #5: Relax your beverage standards, especially with water.
I knew to expect that drinks would be served without ice in Europe, but I was surprised by how often getting a bottle of water meant just getting a room temperature bottle, and everywhere we went we saw people drinking water that hadn’t been chilled to death. If you’re someone who likes your water near freezing, prepare to have to be a bit more open minded.
The concert itself was incredible, and at the end of the day it didn’t matter to us much that it was in another language. Both bands were amazing as they went head to head in a “battle of the bands” style competition, and between different rounds the announcer spoke clearly enough that I was able to translate much of it for my husband. We were just there to enjoy the music and have a great time, and we managed to do just that in a really relaxed way.
Also, as far as rap groups go? CTC is amazing. I cannot recommend them enough.
Afterward we had planned to explore more, but we now had a road trip to go on the next morning, which meant leaving the apartment at something like 5:00 am to catch the metro to the place where we were meeting our friend, so it was back “home” and back to sleep to prepare for our overnight trip with strangers and to see how things would unfold.
We were still tired? Sure. But it was totally worth it.