When I wrote about my 2015 travel plans earlier this year, I briefly mentioned the possibility of a sneaky weekend away with my pals – I even made it sound as if we were still undecided about a destination.
I was, in fact, telling a little lie… But it was all for a good cause.
As a birthday surprise for our friend, the wheels were set in motion before Christmas as to where to take her on a city break. Those of us in on the secret, spent a good while ruminating about where to go. We had several considerations: cost, weather, and somewhere that none of us has ever ventured before.
On paper, that doesn’t sound too much like a tall order. However, there are seven of us to please – and we soon realised that nowhere in February is going to be particularly hot, well… not within a 2-3 hour flight time. We also make up quite a well-travelled bunch, so numerous suggestions were instantly vetoed.
A quick peek at flight comparison site Sky Scanner on the dates we required threw up some interesting options – several of them from Romania – and its capital, Bucharest, became the front runner. After further investigation, it soon transpired Romania has been included in the Lonely Planet’s Best Value Destinations for 2015. We were also influenced by other enticing factors:
• You can get an alcoholic beverage for less that £1. Yes… really.
• Eating out is also a steal. We’ve been told you can get a decent meal for less than a fiver. Does that mean, we can eat double the portions?
• There are splendid 17th- and 18th-century Orthodox churches and art nouveau villas to check out.
• Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament is the second largest building in the whole world, after the Pentagon in the USA.
• There’s a vibrant café/bar culture and nightclubs galore. I better get my dancing shoes on.
• There is a plethora of museums, as well as squares and plazas.
Added to the cheap cost of our return flight – although we do have to leave Stanstead at stupid ‘o clock – Bucharest was a no brainer and the decision was unanimous. And I’m pleased to say, the birthday girl in question is very happy with our choice.
What I love about travelling to new destinations is the anticipation of stepping off the plane and not knowing what to expect. For the seven of us who are departing today – we are all sharing that same sentiment. None of us has brought a guide book and we’re going to see where the mood takes us.
Bucharest here we come…