Part 6: Street children and churches

A gang of presumably homeless kids did hang out at piata 21 de decembrie, and often I looked up from my newspaper to watch them quarrel with each other, or beg food, cigarettes or money from people passing by, while every now and then taking deep breaths out of the dirty plastic bags with glue they carried with them. Because of that glue their eyes seemed to always have a distant expression, and their faces seemed scarred and old for children their age - they were maybe between 8 and 14 years old.

Sometimes they would in full or part of their clothing jump into the fountain, fight in the water, which was quite amusing to watch, until the police would come and chase them away. One day I watched a police officer get into a more serious argument with the oldest of them, and at some point I saw the boy lying on the ground and the police officer hitting him, but some seconds later the boy was gone already.

If it wasn't too hot I liked just walking around town. Bucharest is said to be an ugly city, and in some aspects this probably is true. The air is dirty because of traffic, and the ground is not really clean either, houses are often run down and the walls grey. Yet I kept finding corners I loved:

Sometimes the view into the gap between two houses, sometimes old villas that someone had taken a bit more care of, but just as well villas that were falling apart but gave the place a decadent charm of having once been great.

I also loved the small churches, especially the beautiful Stavropoleos church with its little courtyard in which ivy grows around stone crosses and grave stones. Romanian orthodox churches tend to be a lot smaller than catholic or protestant ones, and once someone had explained to me that this was caused by a different approach to how people should feel in the church. A catholic church, was said to me, is supposed to make you feel small, so you can feel how great God is, and how you as a human are nothing in comparison with him, while an orthodox church wants to make you feel enclosed and safe.

Part 7: Walks through Bucharest

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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