Another Bucharest Metro Challenge

MetroChallengeGoogleOn the last day of the interminable Romanian school holidays (the school year ended way back on June 21) we this morning finally honoured Son of Bucharest Life’s ongoing wish to reclaim our Bucharest Metro Challenge record.

As you may remember, we first did the challenge (to visit every station on the Bucharest metro in as short a time as possible) back in 2010: it took us three hours, 28 minutes and 24 seconds.

We held the record for less than a year: a local photographer, Cosmin Iftode, managed to do it in three hours, 20 minutes and 13 seconds in August 2011. This was impressive, not least given the fact that two new stations had opened (Jiului and Parc Bazilescu) since our original challenge.

With nobody else mad enough to do it, Cosmin’s 2011 record was – as of this morning – still the time to beat.

Alas, we can report that despite our best efforts it remains the time to beat.

We took the usual route (from Pantelimon to Berceni), but got off to a very slow start: our Pantelimon-Republica shuttle sat in the tunnel just outside Republica station for almost ten minutes. From that moment on it was always going to be difficult to set a new best time, although by the time we had made it round to the M4 we were more or less back on track. Disaster unfortunately struck again at Basarab station, however, where on the way back from Parc Bazilescu we had to wait almost 15 minutes for a train. That was more or less curtains.

Our final time today was therefore a thoroughly disappointing three hours, 31 minutes and 29 seconds: slower even than our original record (which was set on a Saturday).

Will we be having another go? Yes: but not, we imagine, for some time.

16 thoughts on “Another Bucharest Metro Challenge

  1. Dotage 🙂

    And on a side note, during my infancy on the metro, does getting on metro at Gara De Nord with the intention of going to the Dinamo game (Stefan Cel Mare) and finally realising on arrival at Crangasi …….. That i’d gone the wrong way !!!

    I wonder just how many have done similar to me 🙂


    1. It’s happened to me at least twice. Once I went the wrong way and ended up in Pipera instead of Piata Sudului. Another time I took the wrong train at Eroilor and went to Politehnica instead of Grozavesti.

      Both times it was because I was wearing headphones and wasn’t paying attention. 🙂


    2. I’ve ended up going the wrong direction as well. One time I missed seven stations because I was rockin out to some news tunes I had just downloaded. It’s shameful. Mostly because somehow Britney Spears ended up on my playlist.


  2. I took the metro on a whim this morning in the rain for the first time since last February. I got on a random bus outside my apartment in front of Cismigiu (bus #178) and ended up at the Pacii Metro station in Militari. There’s nothing like Militari neighborhood in the rain to get you really depressed. So I quickly hopped on the metro and then ended up at Dristor 1 which made me feel even worse. I simply could not live in the blocs of Bucharest. You couldn’t give me free rent and make me live in them. You couldn’t even pay me to live in them. The atmosphere is so inordinately different than in the historic center of Bucharest it’s just not funny. It was such a shock this morning that I couldn’t quite believe it was the same city I am living in.


    1. As Giuseppe said, I’ll quite happily contribute to any mechanism that removes you from this forum!

      What the hell are you doing still living in a Country and City you constantly slag off?

      Where the hell do you expect people who live in the blocs of Bucharest to live then ??????????

      You really are an obnoxious and aloof buffoon Davin and I’m just thankful you’re not British as the dog defending loonies have done enough damage this week as it is!


      1. I love Bucharest as it was and is meant to be free of the effects and legacy of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. It would be very interesting to have seen how the city would have expanded sans communism. No other European city’s historic architecture and psyche was as scarred as Bucharest was and is during peacetime.

        Anyone who takes an apartment in Militarii or Dristor over one in the center by choice is a goddamn fool. I’ll take my hipster bistros and bars over the peasantry any day!


      2. @Davin

        So unless people do and live as you do they are peasants?

        Do you have many Romanian friends and do you talk to them as you do here?

        It’s hard to pick out the most comical part of your post but talking about Ceausescu scarring the architecture with his legacy means you don’t appreciate the People’s Palace for example, or the many other architectural legacies created during the communist era?

        I am no supporter of communism but to imply the architecture created by communism is ruining the buildings of Bucharest is absurd and makes me think you’re either a WUM or mentally ill.

        Which is it?


      3. @Roger, thousands of beautiful villas were destroyed for the palace. He destroyed a whole area of Bucharest and a whole part of the city’s cultural heritage. Ceausescu destroyed people’s lives. Some Romanians committed suicide when he bulldozed their houses. It was a crime. The palace was also a huge waste of money while Romanians starved and today goes largely unused. I do talk to Romanians, and they fully agree with what I have to say.


      4. What I am pointing out is that Bucharest has developed unnaturally because of communism. For example, without Ceausescu forcibly relocating hundreds of thousands of peasants to the blocs of Bucharest, they would never have come here. It’s the capital city! What business would they have had here if Ceausescu hadn’t begun to try to do away with the Romanian village and build up the industrial sector? What I often find in Bucharest are extreme juxtapositions, uncommon ones that you simply don’t normally find in a Western European city. Another one is the fact that Romania never had a woman’s or feminist movement. Elena Ceausescu was not exactly a proponent of women’s rights. And still today, almost 24 years after the fall of communism, Romanian women seem to be enmeshed in traditional female stereotypes wielding their beauty as their only real power in a society full of swaggering men.


      5. Yet, despite its lack of progressivism vis a vis feminism, it still seems to fulfill your hipster criteria. Perhaps you need to better-examine your own assumptions and beliefs – or is living in Bucharest’s nominally non-peasant districts just a fashion statement for you?


      6. Davin, I have to ruin your pink image of Bucharest – but this city always had similar problems as today. Books and documents describe the situation and lifestyle from 17, 18 century and you’d be surprised how actual they sound. First: peasants always came to Bucuresti in large numbers; to work, to sell, to shop, to divorce – which was possible only here, in Mitropolie – and many of them decided to settle. So crowded was the place, that sometimes couples or families with children had to rent a room; sharing the same room with a different couple. There was huge contrast and mix between rich and poor. Palaces surrounded by huts made of earth, dust if not mud everywhere. Nobody took photos of this situation, because “street photography” wasn’t invented; but it doesn’t mean Bucharest was only about nice villas and luxury.
        Romanian women didn’t make a Feminist Movement most probably because they didn’t want one. They were educated to wish to be happy: have healthy and well-fed children and harmony with their husbands (as they describe happiness 200 – 300 years ago). I don’t think their purpose was to be ‘equal’ – as in terms of law, in theory, they already had equal rights.
        In Wallachia, in contrast with west Europe, a woman could go to the court, initiate a divorce, or defend herself, recover the money and proprieties she brought into the marriage, inherit, etc + they always kept the children. 66% of divorces between 1700 – 1800 were initiated by women; orthodox could re-marry after divorce. I don’t say they all had a life on roses; but at least they had a gateway and those who were determined, were able to change their life.
        In terms of jobs and studies, it’s not like they had real restrictions. First ladies in europe to be: architect, engineer (chemistry), doctor in law, they were from here. If they wanted to be pilots, fight in the war, drive a car, etc, nobody stopped them. They had the right to vote quite the same time as in the UK, if not few years earlier.
        Romanian women avoid politics as cats avoid water, because they concentrate on their own individual goals; this might not change soon.


      7. @Davin

        Fair enough, you have your opinion regarding Ceausescu and the Palace, architecture etc but what I don’t understand, is why you continue to live in a City and Country you continually mock, along with its people.

        Why do you not understand why people live in the ‘blocs’ of Bucharest??????

        Where the hell else are they going to live?????

        How do you know the individual circumstances as to where they choose or indeed are forced by funds, lack of choice etc to live!

        THINK about how you are coming across and what you are saying, surely you’re not a fool, are you?


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