Bucharest revisited in order to seek and find the right background for a GR-RO Tourism Summit, so as to establish the launch and development of the tourist product for both countries.
We arrived at 9 pm, after a half an hour delay, with Romania’s national carrier, Tarom. We called a cab using the automatic system. The machine listed 4 different taxi services with different rates per km. We chose the 1.35 one and the cab arrived in 3 minutes, exactly as the paper suggested. Off to the hotel. This time we picked a place more convenient for work. Intercontinental Hotel, Bulevardul Nicolae Bălcescu 4 , 18th floor. The whole of Bucharest at our feet. The view from this height reminded us of how hungry we were!
With Google maps on our side, we were off to discover a restaurant, but we found the choices very limited. Finally, we picked Restaurant Excalibur, at Strada Academiei, about six hundred metres from the hotel. The entrance was hidden inside an arcade buried below ground level, inside a building of Stalinist architecture – the Eastern bloc type. In order to enter the restaurant we had to cross a yard and the arcade. We walked under fake cobwebs, shields, swords and medieval caricatures hanged from the ceiling until we came across the heavy wooden door leading inside the restaurant.
Waitresses in red velvet dresses, the Robin Hood’s wife type, took us to our big monastery table with carved chairs and after they asked us whether we had visited the place before, they informed us the restaurant is cutlery free! We had to use our fingers. We rinsed our hands with lemon water. The Greeks eating at the next table warned us about the size of the portions. We listened and ordered with caution. Nevertheless, two huge King Arthur Meal platters landed in front of us. We devoured them with our fingers. The whole concept proved very successful. Both their food and wine were really good. We finished our dinner at twelve. How can anyone sleep with bellies busting!
The plan for the next couple of days was to find the right conference halls to host the GR-RO Tourism Summit and meet the people capable of supporting it. In other words, the elite of tourism professionals who would be key players in the international markets, during the next years.
Our morning started with Raluca, the person in charge of conferences, a the Intercontinental. She gave us a guided tour of the halls and amenities. We felt very happy with what we saw and asked for their cost estimate. Next, we went to meet our partners to talk about the development of the Protagonists concept. The most suitable Romanian destinations for representing the country in the GR_RO Summit were selected.
After about two and a half hours, we returned to our hotel room with our stomachs growling. The solution went under the name of Gigi. It was a little place down the road with a big queue. Big queue big expectations. Indeed, it all came clear when we tasted its three different types of calzone and the most light and fluffy dough ever! If you find yourself in Bucharest, don’t miss out.
In the evening, we went out to dinner with our local partner, at the Coin Vert. It was a Lebanese joint with authentic cuisine. Tabbouleh, pitta breads, humus, fattoush salad and mixed grill with spices. We continued our morning conversation about the effects socio-economic changes could have on the Protagonists.
What better than a visit to Gigi to regain our strength and then… chop chop!
The next day was dedicated to researching the best hotels in town for good conference infrastructure: Radisson Blu, Hilton, Marriot και Novotel. They were all good; each one with their own character. Radisson Blu scored clearly the highest.
We continued our tour through a cold and grey Bucharest. The humidity penetrated our bones even if we were inside a car for most of the time. What better than a visit to Gigi to regain our strength and then… chop chop! Time to get back to work. It took us 6 hours to give a name to our new brand. We used all the methods we employ for our clients, with our client this time being Encore. No time for going out tonight in the windswept Bucharest.
Third and last day. We had some meetings here and there and then took a cab to the airport.