What can Bucharest really pride itself on?

Last Friday evening we hosted a casual dinner at the Beraria Gambrinus for six distinguished English gentlemen, all in their sixties and seventies, and all except one visiting Bucharest for the first time. (What were we doing in such fine company? Well, one was a close friend of our father’s, and had invited us to join them for the evening).

Anyway, one of the questions we were asked over the course of the evening was ‘What does Bucharest pride itself on?’

We were stumped. We ended up mumbling something all a bit perfunctory (and unimaginative) about the sheer size of Casa Poporului as well as the fact that Bucharest is still a very safe city compared with any number of other places we could mention – not least in England – but we could tell that nobody was entirely happy with the answer.

It was only in the taxi on the way home that the definitive answer to the question became all rather obvious: kerbstones. Bucharest has the most amazingly well-kept kerbstones in Europe, if not the world.

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They are well kept of course because they are changed so often: in our sector, the People’s Republic of Sector 3, led by our dear leader Robert Negoita (he of Info 3 fame), the kerbstones are changed at least every couple of years.

This year, however, the local council has outdone itself, and is not just replacing existing kerbstones, it is actually placing brand new ones where before there were none (and where, the contrarian might argue, there is no need). One such place is Calea Vitan: the tram lines which run down the middle of the road are currently being fenced in by some beautiful new kerbstones. How lucky we are.

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Spending money on replacing kerbstones that do not need replacing is not, of course, a new phenomenon: it has been going on for years. It appears to be a popular way for the mayors of the various sectors to – how can we put this – ‘show their appreciation’ to some of the people who financed their campaigns. And as much as we or anybody else might want them to spend our money on the millions of infinitely more useful things that need improving in Bucharest, we can’t see anything changing anytime soon.

That’s why we should try and claim these amazing kerbstones as our own, and spread the word far and wide: Bucharest has the finest kerbstones in the world.

*Beams with pride*

PS What else did the six distinguished gentlemen get up to in Bucharest? Well, dinner at Caru cu Bere, Casa Poporului and the Sightseeing Bus – twice, apparently.

20 thoughts on “What can Bucharest really pride itself on?

  1. errr…best nightlife in EU? best clubs bigger and more luxurious than everywhere….filled with gorgeous chicks better than..late late closing hours…? the night ain t over at 1oclcok cause i gotta commute tomm…
    now when u look at the fab nightlife u d think that crime is rife? the lowest in EU?booom,,,hows that even possible?i could go on…but if you re 60 70…then this city s not for u…actually no big city s good for u.

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      1. I wonder what sort of material those kerbstones are made of, it almost looks like brick or some sort of fire clay. I’ve never seen such kerbstones used elsewhere in the city.

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      2. They poured colored concrete – those sector 3 kerbstones are being put to use a lot for strips of green space and green track. Regular kerbstones are being used for sidewalks, now in combination with a kind of pavement they’re using on Unirii Blvd and Baba Novac (it’s actually really good quality).

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      3. @Craig. You’ve got some sort of Rodney Trotter character playing for your team. Meaning, he’s really 38 but pretending to be only 25 years of age!

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    1. I was thinking the same thing: if there’s something that sets Bucharest apart from (most) other capitals in Europe, it’s the amazing nightlife. Of course, if you’re in the “senior citizen” category that’s unlikely to impress you 🙂

      A couple of Dutch guys from the Hague were sent to Bucharest by their company for a sort of exchange program. A friend of mine who works for the same company decided to show them around town; they ended up going out almost every night for the duration of their stay. When they had to leave, one of them was literally in tears. The other one was too busy updating his Facebook page with photos and check-ins.

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      1. As anyone who has been to Dublin can testify, boozers and nightlife can drag down somewhere that is already a dump. For those of us who prefer kerbstones to kerb-crawling, Bucharest will have much more to pride itself on once the Cathedral for the People’s Salvation is finished. Does any other EU capital have the vision to build such a place or, as London showed at the end of the millennium , are they much more interested in constructing big wheels, circus tents and other monuments to the consumer society?

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      2. Plenty of EU capitals have the vision to pay for an ugly, unnecessary building which will run over budget and have even more public funds directed towards its completion when there are much more important things to spend the money on. The Cathedral for the People’s Suffering is nothing special.

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  2. ”PS What else did the six distinguished gentlemen get up to in Bucharest? Well, dinner at Caru cu Bere, Casa Poporului and the Sightseeing Bus – twice, apparently”…………What, no Dubliner!?!? @Florin Gorgeous Chicks? You should do the Mick Dundee test on a few of ’em first!

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  3. Yeah, Sector 3’s getting those awful kerbstones throughout. However – and I do wish I’d taken a picture – they probably ran out of actual stone halfway. The kerbstones placed on Ramnicu Valcea Street are just a fiberglass shell placed on top of the old kerb. Same reddish color and everything. I’m not even kidding, I accidentally hit one as I crossed the street somewhere near the “Mihai Botez” school and it sounded hollow so I took a closer look.

    I mean, how can I take pride in Bucharest where we’re faking even our beloved *borduri*? I’ve never felt so betrayed in my life!

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    1. Those kerbstones on Râmnicu Vâlcea are hit on more often than a stripper in a seedy joint, so it makes no sense to replace them with anything valuable.

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      1. …so just cause they get loads and wear and tear they need to be replaced with *fiber glass*? You know that stone is actually a more durable material than fiberglass, right?

        Oh wait – I just found the mayor of Sector 3, the logic totally checks out!

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