“This world is full of the most outrageous nonsense. Sometimes things happen which you would hardly think possible.”
The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
I sent a Happy New Year message to a friend today.
iPhone auto-correct did it’s magic again …
“Complications of the Season to you!” I sent him.
I think you could say that Complications of the Season is what Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu experienced on Christmas day in 1989 when they were summarily executed by firing squad.
3rd January 2020 – Bucharest, Romania:
We returned to Bucharest as we had left it, by train. Not a sleeper this time, but a 4 hour ‘all stops’ train from Galați on the south western border of Romania and Moldova.
On the train we decided to pay the 25 Romanian Lei to upgrade to a 1st class cabin. Our conductor first suggested that we could just pay him 20 Lei to avoid the paperwork. When we insisted doing it by the book, it transpired that the ‘paperwork’ did in fact take an inordinate amount of time 😉 . #notimplyinganything
We were picked up at the Gara de Nord station and headed to the outdoor cultural museum that Hubby really wanted me to see.
It was closed. During school holidays. Makes sense right?
Instead we got a tour of the city.
While perusing the ‘Capital Cities’ area, we found something even our Bucharest-resident-host had never seen – Nicolae Ceaușescu’s palatial home on Bulevardul Primăverii.
For those who didn’t concentrate in school history lessons, Ceaușescu was the last Communist leader of Romania. He was the head of the Romanian Communist party from 1965 – 1989. And he wasn’t a very nice fella!
To quote from Wikkers: “His secret police, the Securitate, was responsible for mass surveillance as well as severe repression and human rights abuses within the country and he suppressed and controlled the media and press, implementing methods that were among the harshest, most restrictive and brutal in the world.”
With that in mind, and considering the fear, poverty and ‘sacrifices’ (our tour guide told us that the Communist party assured the people they were ‘sacrificing‘, not ‘suffering‘, for the greater good) made by every ordinary Ioan and Ioana as they sacrificed at the time, I give you the ‘humble’ home of the Ceaușescu family:
I’m sure the Ceaușescus were ‘sacrificing’ too, right? I mean, Elena’s 3,000 outfits and fur coats were the bare minimum needed for the iron-fisted lady, chandeliers in the children’s bathroom suites are a must, a wave pool, a 20-seater tea room, a games room, hot tub, sauna, jacuzzi, private hair dresser, a winter garden and millions of mosaic-ed wall art cannot be done without!
I’ll leave you with that.
P.s. We crossed over into Romania at the border post on the Port of Giurgiulești. It is on the Danube and the Prut Rivers. It is the only port on Moldova’s token 400m coastline. Apparently, if you have Ukrainian men as high level party members when the Soviet Union is being broken up, what you get is more coastline for Ukraine and less for Moldova.
P.p.s. I’m sorry to say that apart from seeing an old friend of Hubby’s, which was lovely, Galați the city left us cold. An innocent question to a sever at our Hotel breakfast, “My cappuccino is cold. Could I get a hot one?” resulted in such a tirade of histrionics, feet stamping, rudeness and muttering in Romanian (which Hubby somewhat understood) that we wondered if the Ceaușescus perhaps weren’t really dead, but in fact eking out life in ‘sacrificial’ service in rather less palatial surrounds.
P.p.p.s. A quick peruse of Googleen revealed that other patrons had also found their breakfasts less than palatable.