Palace of the Parliament

Tuesday, September 18th 2007

I only spent one night in Bucharest. I spent the final morning of my trip walking from my hostel to the Palace of the Parliament, which is claimed to be the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. I could hardly believe the size of it. I wanted to go to a contemporary art gallery in the grounds of the Palace, and this involved walking along two sides of it. This took about half an hour, along shadeless pavements in the morning heat. I was then extremely disappointed to find that the gallery was closed on Tuesdays. I walked back to the front of the Palace, thirsty and lacking in cultural experiences.

On all this trip in these far flung parts of Eastern Europe, I kept thinking back to what I remembered of 1989. I was 11 years old at the time and I wish I'd been a bit older, and been able to appreciate the history a bit more. When Romania revolted in December 1989, I was in Jordan, and I vividly remember seeing an English-language newspaper on Christmas Day, 1989, carrying the news that Ceau┼čescu and his wife had been shot. It had only taken nine days from the first major act of the revolution to his final downfall.

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