Today is the day i officially recognized my compulsive need for organizing my trips and my obsession for the local scoop. So, i joined a community filled with like-minded people, on SpottedbyLocals to create a bigger and better guide for Bucharest.
So, get packing and come visit 😉
Yes, we have hipsters. And no, most of them will not be seen in the Old Town. They will be at brunch, at the movies or biking, of course. Want to do the same? Here are top 5 hipster activities in Bucharest:
- Brunch at Acuarela Bufet
Dare to stray from the Old Center and get to 3, Gina Patrichi Street, close to Victoriei Boulvard.
In a quiet and leafy old house, you’ll get to enjoy delicious omllettes and traditional pita-like goodies called “turtite” – flat bread baked on the stove with different stuffing.
Relax and cool off in Herastrau Park by “renting” a bike for free at the Arcul de Triumf entrance. Look for the yellow I’Velo sign.
- Outdoor movie night
Like all respectable hipsters, ours are movie buffs as well. But much about watching a movie is location, location, location. One of the most cozy is “Gradina cu filme” – The Movie Garden, in Piata Romana. With a big screen surrounded by cool graffiti and cool beers to go with the movie it’s a hipster’s must.
- Urban festival
This one has it all : eco projects, gourmet sandwiches, aspiring indie bands, tote bags, gelato…you name it, we’ve got it. But only for three days in June ( 12, 13 and 14) so make sure you don’t miss Street Delivery
- Roof top bar
In an abandoned factory of course. Open this summer, Deschis Gastrobar gathers hipsters from all four corners of the city on Splaiul Unirii for burgers and electro music. You just have to walk up three flights of stairs in this abandoned and dirty building. You’ll be fine.
Useful links to help you plan your hipster activities:
Wanderlust. A word that means discovering oneself through travel. But it also implies that you can’t do that unless you aimlessly walk around. As in “on the next street corner I will surely find something awesome and start my magical trip with no effort”. That sounds truly great. But it only happens to the lucky few. The others usually miss out on half the iconic places, fight over getting lost every single day, fall for tourist traps and never go in that thrifty jewelry store because it’s not on the “shopping boulevard”. And the only thing this type of wandering helps you discover about yourself is that blisters on your feet and bad food turn you into a “bridezilla” without the “bride” part.
This, however, is my way – the way of the traveler with a plan. Let’s see if I can at least tempt you, by walking you through my prepping process.
I’m going to skip the part about the airplane tickets, because this seems to be something most of us would agree upon. So let’s go straight ahead to the accommodations. I never go for the historic center and big hotels. Instead, I research the close-by neighborhoods, full of charm and local feel, and find a nice room on airbnb. That way, I can always ask for tips from my host, shop at the local market, have brunch downstairs at a quirky café and fantasize about living there.
Now that I have a place to stay, the real fun begins. Here it would probably be the perfect moment to mention that I sometimes enjoy planning trips almost as much as taking them. I start with the lesser known attractions, neighborhoods, things to do. Because we all know the top ten places to see in Barcelona. They’re in every movie, magazine and pinterest list. So I rely on travel bloggers, locals or trip advisor more. And since I’m an art buff, I always also look for urban art, murals, small galleries and art fairs.
When I’m done with those, I look for places to eat. Remember the tourist traps I mentioned before? A sure way to stay clear of them is by choosing the stingy looking family owned side street bistros, packed with locals. I ate in a three tables wooden greasy fish “restaurant” in Barcelona, a family owned Turkish restaurant in the middle of the Bazaar of Istanbul, in a local market, from a fishing boat and I never got food poisoning or paid 50 Euro for dried chicken breast. Also, I never had to eat at McDonalds.
Last but not least, to make sure I enjoy all my discoveries and don’t get lost and robbed on an alley, I also research local transportation. The key to a romantic getaway? No swollen feet after walking what looked like a mile on the map, but were three, in fact.
“Ok, ok, I hear what you’re saying and that sounds good, but where is the adventure, where are the stories?” I hear you asking. Trust me, they’re still there. You will still get lost, thereby discovering all by yourself that small quirky café that wasn’t on tripadvisor. You will still miss a train or bus and get to know a nice local while waiting for the next one. But instead of swearing because it happened three days in a row, having a fight with your spouse/friend about who should have checked the map, you will laugh and enjoy that moment of adventure because it only happened once. Ok, twice.
So go ahead, dare to “wander” with a plan. A map, a backpack with an extra sweater, water, snacks, band-aid, an extra pair of comfortable shoes, a raincoat. Be prepared. Because the world will take you by surprise nonetheless.