This trip started with the best omens. Tarom, the Romanian national airline, had a flight straight from Thessaloniki to Bucharest. At the airport we were greeted by our man from the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce who took us to our hotel. Greek by origin, he had been living in Romania for many years. During our drive, he showed us the sites and didn’t miss the opportunity to point out how prominent Greek families built almost every architecturally notable building we came across.
He left us at Hotel Cismigiu. An old hotel, now bought by a Spanish chain, which was totally renovated on the inside in order to provide all amenities of a 4star European establishment. We had a bit of a rest and made plans for the next day. Early in the evening, our partner took us for dinner to the Lipscani area, to a beer place called Caru’ Cu Bere, An impressive Gothic building dating back to 1899. Great first impressions from the Romanian cuisine.
We returned to the hotel where we felt overwhelmed with the personal Lavazza espresso maker in every apartment and the stacked with goodies minibar. Of course, we had a bit of everything.
The next morning, we went straight to Regina Elisabetta Theatre, a grand hall opposite the hotel, in order to see and organize the venue: Promotion of Epirus as a Tourist Destination and Agricultural Producer. We met with the Commercial Attaché of the Greek Embassy, the Secretary of the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and local partners. Everything was in order within three hours. We were a bit concerned about the outcome but hoped we’d have a good response by our guests.
Having finished our chores, we packed up our concern and went for coffee at the Grand Cafe Van Gogh, one of the oldest in town, with impressive frescos and mosaics, situated in Strada Smardan, the pedestrian walk in the heart of Bucharest. We had lunch at Gambrinus, right underneath our hotel. A huge schnitzel and a big glass of Ursus beer, each.
After a good rest, we went out to dinner. It seems that these trips boost our appetite! Our partner suggested El Bacha. A Lebanese restaurant on the Piaţa Alba lulia square. Tabouleh, Fatoush and Salata Libaneza, Arayes Kafta, along with a huge plate of ‘Mixt Grill’ with beef and chicken. Most yummy Middle Eastern dishes ever! Still today, we don’t know how we managed to sleep after such a huge feast.
Third day in Bucharest. The day of the big event. We were up since 6:30 and got around to Regina Elisabetta around 8. Our partners were already there. We took a last look at our presentation, made sure the sound was perfect and then, suddenly, problem: the huge chandeliers of the room didn’t cast enough light. Not being able to do anything about it, we decided to just live with it. At 10:30 the guests started arriving. The Romanian press, blogs, TV channels, distribution networks, retailers, whoever mattered was there. What a relief! Journalists showed a real interest for the presentation. Then it was time for the buffet serving delicacies from Epirus and time for some B2B. The hall was rearranged with 20 big round tables where products from all over Epirus were placed. Next to them, our hoteliers. The match proved priceless for bookings.
We finished at 6:30 in the evening. Got back to our room exhausted, refreshed ourselves with an aperitivo and squeezed outside the window pane in order to enjoy a cigarette. Beggars can’t be choosers! At around 8:30 we were famished. A taxi took us to Vacamuuu, best meat market and steak house in the whole of Bucharest. It’s a unique restaurant with Angus beef, modern décor and outstanding service. Two people shared a 1000 gr steak! Dinner ended nicely with a cigar in the restaurant’s courtyard.
We visited the Art Collection Museum, in Calea Victoriei. Outstanding collections from the 16th to the 20th century but poorly lit and in outdated settings.
From there, straight to Gambrinus for Ursus beers and then to bed. Tired but happy. As we were walking through Calea Victoriei, we stumbled upon the oldest church in town. Kretzulescu stands there since the 1720s with its frescos almost intact.
This was the conclusion of our Bucharest trip. We left Henri Coanda airport taking with us the best impressions from the beautiful and historical city that is Bucharest.
Nothing compares to a good dinner after a successful day!