Romania - Two hours in a Taxi


My visit to Romania in 2013 was short, but the taxi ride there was the longest I've ever taken.   And it wasn't because of traffic.

I was wrapping up a vacation in Ruse, Bulgaria with my friend Chad Chernet and his wife Vayana.   Vayana grew up in Ruse and her parents still live there.   Chad and Vayana were staying longer and I was planning to travel to Turkey before heading home.

Chad and Vayana suggested I hire a taxi and take it to the airport in Bucharest, Romania.  I was skeptical.   How would it make sense to spend two hours in a taxi?   I researched other options but they were right.  The fastest and cheapest way, was to spend two hours in a taxi and then fly to Istanbul. 

The morning of my departure, Vayana called the taxi for me.   The driver spoke no English, but she negotiated the price and told the driver exactly what I was going to pay.    

Ruse is on the Danube River which also serves as the border between Bulgaria and Romania.   It is not an open border and as soon as we crossed the river, we had to stop.   The border guards motioned for the taxi driver to get out of the car and motioned for me to remain seated.   He then "disappeared. "  I still don't know why.   He was probably only gone for five minutes, but it seemed much longer.   Finally, he came back, the guards searched the trunk and then asked for my passport.   I showed it and we were off through the Romanian countryside.

It was a quiet ride.   Neither the driver or I tried to communicate since he knew no English and I certainly didn't know any Bulgarian.   

As we entered Bucharest, I was amazed at the architecture.  I snapped this photo from the taxi.

The driver and I still weren't speaking, but a few minutes later, he pulled over on the side of a busy road.  He motioned for me to get out of the car.  I didn't understand and wasn't about to get out of the car on the side of the road.   Perhaps he sensed my confusion.   So, he got out and waved for me to get out.   I was still a little anxious, especially since I'm always a little suspicious of taxi drivers.  But I got out.  Then I understood why.   He was showing me a nice view of Bucharest.   I didn't take a photo, but then he stopped again and he showed me another building.  I don't know what it was, but it was nice.  I took a picture.   This continued on the way to the airport.  When he thought I might want to see something, he would slow down or pull over and point.   I don't know if he took the most direct way or the scenic way, but either way, it was nice to see a little of the city.  

We finally arrived at the airport, I thanked the driver and headed inside to wait for my Romanian Airlines flight.   The visit to Romania was too short.  Bucharest looked like a place where you want to spend more time.   I made a note to add it to my list of places to visit in the future.  Until then, I just have a long taxi ride to remember.  

Dates of Travel

  • August, 2013

Places Visited

  • Bucharest



This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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