The entrance to our Romanian apartment is surrounded by sex shops.
Lipscani – the old city part of Bucharest – looks like Kings Cross would if it had some class and history. It’s crumbling facades and winding cobbled streets, pulsate with life – but only from the late afternoon onwards.
The mornings are recovery time!
Oblivious to this fact, Wednesday and I rise early to sit waiting at a local café for the cook to sober up. Australian coffee goers would be outraged at the delay, but this is Romania and no-one gives a toss about antipodean lifestyles.
Romania’s flirtation with communism has left a curious blend of concrete apartment blocks peppered with Eastern Orthodox churches and a hardened attitude. Victorian era homes are over-grown with weeds, transforming their grandeur into something strangely becoming.
The only photos I’ve taken so far are of lightning-filled skies and rain clouds rolling in from the Black Sea.
Sheltering from the wet outside a bar, Wednesday and I are witness to a Romanian TV series in progress. We chat with an auditioning actress while the film crew works around us and she shows us promotional images of herself on her mobile.
“Are you going to Moldavia”? She asks.
“Yes”, I answer. “I want to shoot the painted monasteries in Moldavia”.
“I come from there,” she says. “It’s beautiful – you’ll love it. Transylvania is amazing also”.
Without understanding, Wednesday and I are instantly convinced.
For all it’s lack of shiny Western surrounds and entertainment parks, Romania has taken hold of us already and the call of the Carpathian Mountains peals in the background like some Gothic lament – enticing us to follow.
I can’t photograph this country lightly – it’s not fucking Disneyland!