Places of Contrasts

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One of the things I love the most about travelling is getting to know people that can answer my questions about other countries first hand. I spent my weekend in Bucharest and I stayed in a nice Hostel where they do a barbecue, and all the hosts are invited to eat and spend some time meeting the other people in the hostel as well. During the night I spent there with Marina, we got to meet a German and a French group of young people travelling. I liked to talk with a German guy (I didn’t even ask his name, shame on me) because he showed me a picture of Germany very different from the one I had.

I asked him if German people like Angela Merkel, and he told me: “I’m really sad to tell you that we are going to have elections next month and she will win.” Why? “Well, the candidate of the opposition was no strong character, no one likes him.” Up to this point there is no news, it was just to inform the readers of this blog that the Merkel Reign will continue. But then we start talking about what was still noticeable from the Second World War and the Cold War in the Nowadays-Germany. Unfortunately, the wars leave deep scars in a country and they still have a lot of people that defend Nazi ideals. Not so directly, but there are demonstrations every week in different cities of Germany where the goal is to stop the immigration, to don’t let immigrants have a job, to go back to Deutschmark … Most of them are Racist Demonstrations and they are very hard to stop because of the Freedom of Speech. So, the only way to stop them is to make an Anti-demonstration Demonstration next to them (groups of people screaming the opposite that they are screaming), so they will give up eventually. He told me that there are still a big difference between the east and the west part of Germany and it is hard to change people’s mentality about the “other part” even though they are now just one country.

Besides this very informative talk, I really liked my trip to Bucharest. It is a city of contrasts.  The city is very old and most of the buildings are from the Soviet Era, but then, in the city center, there were also streets with big malls, big advertising campaigns, French architecture style, a huge avenue that is even bigger (4 meters bigger)that the Champs Elysees in Paris. The whole city was restored by the Soviet Dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu: he wanted the biggest avenue, the biggest Palace/House of People (that has a huge bunker above), he didn’t want the churches to be visible, so he destroyed most of them and the ones that survived were moved to the middle of neighborhoods so they would not be visible from the main roads…  The city is a mix of Soviet Ideals and Capitalism taking is place. It couldn’t be more confusing! But the parks are nice, those are safe for now…

Two weeks to go in this crazy, but lovely, country!

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