Now for a few notes about our travels so far:
Amanda and I spent a lovely hour-plus getting manicures and pedicures the morning of our departure - it was relaxing and probably genuinely beneficial in terms of preparing the bodies for the long sit on the plane. Amanda did melt down when Ralph (the dog) was crated, and taken from her to be put on the plane. I was very pleased with airline personnel, TSA folks, and flight attendants through the entire process of screening, boarding, and flight. They each took extra care to help Amanda feel more comfortable and assured about Ralph. The flight to Munich was uneventful and we were even able to nap for a bit. We deplaned in Munich at 8 am Munich time and 2 am NC time. We were able to find a minibus taxi to take the three of us and our 4 suitcases, carry-on bags, and dog crate - we really were quite a load! And excellent news!, the Holiday Inn allowed us to check in immediately and so we slept for a few hours prior to refreshing and exploring the city.
We happened on a dance performance in the mall that was below our hotel. Amanda commented that one would not see such skimpy costumes in a mall in North Carolina!
Amanda in front of the Deutsches Museum, where we spent a most enjoyable 6 hours. I believe I read that it is the largest science and technology museum in the world. It is especially interesting in its approach: each exhibit emphasizes the evolution over time of a particular kind of technology - like engines, transportation, film, textile-manufacture, etc.
Some initial general impressions and observations:
- There are actual street sweepers here - people who wield brooms along the streets and along park paths. I also saw park employees raking leaves by hand!
- There are wonderful parks both here in Bucharest and also in Munich - lots of folks cycling, walking, and rollerblading, etc. I have enjoyed taking Ralph out for his walks - good exercise and fresh air for both of us (Unfortunately Amanda is only now recovering from a significant cold that had her sleeping most of the time for our first week.)
- People don't seem as friendly as in North Carolina. It may certainly be a cultural more, but folks don't say "hey" (or the Romanian equivalent, "buna ziua") to passersby. I hasten to add that all the folks with whom I have had more direct contact have been very friendly and patient with my limited Romanian/English/sign language combination.
- On the street with the hotel in Bucharest, there is an interesting juxtaposition of older, attractive homes - it is a residential neighborhood - new construction and/or renovation, and crumbling old places.
- Taking care of the environment is more a way of life here than in the U.S. For example: most products have much less packaging than I find at home; cars are smaller; lights are lower in wattage.