You could argue about whether Bucharest is a city worth visiting. Well, from the financial poit of view it certainly is. And if you are one of those adrenaline freaks, just hop in a romanian taxi...
The 10 minutes' ride from the hotel to the hall costs peanuts. In Euro it is about 2€ which is really disgustingly cheap, especially taking into account the adventurous experience it offers as a bonus. Sitting in a car with a risk seeking Romanian taxi driver, you would probably like to fasten your seat belt. Well, forget it. Seat belts are a very rare commodity in Bucharest (at least in the taxis), they would probably lessen the adrenaline kick.
If you are lucky enough and survive the ride without any fatal injuries, you will immediately notice that the hall is not particularly new. This is, however, quite understandable. After all, Romania does not belong to the richest countries in the world. The waiting time at the check in is not long and we can soon head to the changing rooms which are not overly large but for the morning traffic sufficient. The air is a little thick. In the afternoon, with the growing number of couples coming in, the space in the changing rooms is becoming tighter and some of the couples flee to the corridor.
After everyone has checked in, a sheet with the time table is displayed in the darkest corner in the hall. Those not able to read it do not have to worry, though, because due to "a very serious technical problem" the first round of the first competition of the day has to be repeated and as a result, everything is delayed by an hour. Still, it's better than last year, the delay was two hours then. Due to a very early check in time slot for all the classes, we spent about four hours in the hall without even setting a foot on the floor. It was similar this year but the delay was shorter by half. With this kind of improvement there might even be no delay next year.
Ok, so the early check in is no great shakes. You will have enough time to finish a few of your chores at the comp, like tanning, finishing your make up, taking a nap... The trouble with repeating the first round is, however, the only one that day. A new time table is hung out (in the very same dark corner) and this time everything goes according to the plan.
Surprisingly, the air in the hall is much better than in the dressing rooms. The dancing floor is large and not slippery. The music is very nice as well and it is played very short in the first rounds due to the delay. The prayers of those couples who decided to dance more than one competition on one day were heard! The speakers are polite and congratulate the couples after every round, probably to the fact that they managed to survive another round. The heats are also displayed on a large screen which is great. If you have longer standing times between your heats, you should not forget to have a scarf with you because it's drafty as hell.
If you need to go to the john, don't go without a wingman who will guard the door for you. You can't lock the door. And I don't mean that you can't do that because of a broken lock. There simply isn't anything to lock, the cabins' doors are simple planks that do not even stay shut when you close them. The only possibility is to lean against them. But hey, who needs privacy at the toilet when you can have a glass of beer for like 50 cent?
Being in Bucharest for the first time a year ago it came to me how greatful I can be to live in the blooming city of Vienna. The majority of the buildings you can see in the city are blocks of flats, most of them in a seriously bad state. Everything makes the impression of having been bombed in the near past. The city centre is very small but quite handsome, different from the war atmosphere in the rest of the city. There are a few shops to be found there, as well as good and very cheap restaurants.
The people in Bucharest seem to be very friendly and ready to help. At the airport, a young man offered us to share a taxi with him. In the end we only payed 5€ for an hour's ride from the airport to the hotel. Last year, when we were desperately looking for our hotel, another young man came to us and showed us the way on his smartphone.
The Romanian currency is Leu, sometimes also called Lei or RON. If your head is spinning right now, don't worry, you are not the only one.
The current exchange rate is:
1 EUR = 4,469 RON
1 RON = 0,224 EUR
X Hostel Bucharest
30€ per night in a double room without breakfast. There is a small cafe just a few meters down the street where you can have breakfast.
Rin Grand Hotel
A night in a double room in this luxurious hotel will cost you about 60€, breakfast included.
Top Rooms Aparthotel
35€ per night in a double room without breakfast. The facility is situated in the same building as Rin Grand Hotel.
There is a mall with a supermarket (Carrefour) five minutes' walk from Rin Grand Hotel. I highly recommend to take a taxi from the hotel to the hall, the bus system is just too complicated for a foreigner and the taxi fees are realy unbelievably cheap.
Flight: 100-120€ per person for a return flight from Vienna. If you book the Romanian airline Tarom, you can look forward to a very satisfying menu.
Hotel: from 30€/night in a double room
Starting fee: 30€/couple and one competition. The second one was for free.
Taxi: You can see the price per kilometer on the taxi itself. The cheapest one is 1.39 RON/km.
You can use an app (for example Speed Taxi) to request a taxi to a specific location.