Saturday, November 12, 2011

GARA DE NORD



I've just returned from a visit to Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, and wish to share some of its sites and pictures with you. I'll start with a far- from glamorous spot - the good, old train station 'Gara de Nord' (a replica of Paris' Gare Du Nord).

Gara de Nord (Northern Railway Station ) is Bucharest's main railway station and the largest in Romania. It was built in 1872 (!), and it serves both domestic and international lines.

The station is connected to the city by several bus/ trolley lines and a Metro station; it is also connected to the airport by express bus 780 and by train.



main entrance to the station

Adjacent to the station building - a small plaza dominated by a statue in memory of railway heroes; across the main entrance, there's a tiny park where gypsies find refuge among their rags.


heroes' monument dominating the station plaza


green little park, gypsies and rags

Within the building, there are offices (police office, left luggage office, public relations office, ticket offices), ATMs, information desk, fast -food eateries (Mc Donald's, KFC, and others), mini-markets, booths selling newspapers/phone cards/tobacco.



long hall with offices

hall with eateries, selling booths, cafes

The station has 14 tracks and 8 platforms; some 200 trains per day leave / arrive here.

train platform area

'Gara de Nord' has a rather bad reputation which I think is exaggerated. The station is clean and appears to be quite safe. Like in any crowded place, one has to beware of pickpockets and dubious people. As simple as that. The same applies to its immediate surroundings.The taxi drivers are a bit of a problem, but if you ignore them they let go of you.

I couldn't resist the high rate offered by a money change office outside the station, and... it went ok. I got my money and nothing bad happened to me. Thank God.

29 comments:

English Rider said...

I like stations. They are the portal through which so many different lives pass, connecting or not.

Bica said...

Love this, Duta. I always love visiting places "vicariously" through your blogs and pictures. I think the main entrance to the station is really beautiful, and it's interesting to see the KFC signs. Thanks for sharing this glimpse of Bucharest.

Angelina said...

I love train stations, the bigger the better. Sometimes if there is a cafe, I like to sit and watch people come and go for hours. It can be quite an adventure. : )

Looks like you had an interesting time.

Lumi RO said...

I'm glad to read about Bucharest on your blog, but kind of sad ... memories running trough...

DUTA said...

English Rider,

Me, too. Railway stations fascinate me.

Bica,

The entrance with its colonnade is classic architecture .One cannot but like it.

Angelina,

Indeed so. Watching people come and go, can be quite an adventure.

Lumi Ro,

I understand. Memories from the past can sometimes bring sadness.

Janie B said...

Very interesting place. Busy, too.

JoLynne Lyon said...

I love those photos of the ceiling in the station. Eastern Europe has always fascinated me.

La Petite Gallery said...

The Paris RR Station sent my head reeling. I ate upstairs and it was soo-- elegante and gorgeous, used a roll of film there. This station looks clean and Bucharest sounds so fasinating.
Have fun Darling, and stay safe.

yvonne

Ola said...

I have been there so many years ago-as a kid during communism, I hope therefore to see a lot of changes on your pictures!

Jennifer D said...

Duta, Thank you for the tour. I love trains and stations. That one is beautiful and it looks so clean. I am wondering if the gypsies are accepted or do they get run off the park sometimes?

DUTA said...

Janie B,

It is indeed an interesting and busy place.

JoLynne Lyon,

In reality, the ceiling looks also quite impressive.

La Pettite Gallery,

Bucharest is a beautiful city with wide tree-lined boulevards.
Thanks for your advice; I'll certainly take it.

Ola,

As far as Gara de Nord is concerned they all say it has changed for better; it's cleaner and safer now.
Jennifer D,

I'm afraid the gypsies are considered a problem, a big nuissance. There's always a 'seek and hide' play between them and the people in charge of order.

Susannah said...

Fascinating pictures & such vivid details, Duta. Thank you! I've thought of you often lately; have missed you~ I'm looking forward to getting updated by reading your latest adventures!

magda said...

My dear friend Duta
Many thanks for so kind words!!!
Your photos of Bucharest station are great!!!
I think the stations in all parts of the world have the same risk.
Simply, should always be cautious.
I wish you are well and travel ...
many greetings

Nezzy said...

I'm so glad God was watchin' over ya when you were treadin' those places noted for not bein' safe.

I always adore readin' about your fascinating adventures and seein' a bit of your part of the world.

God bless you my beautiful friend and have a marvelous day!!! :o)

Alicia said...

How interesting DUTA. It seems so odd to think of KFC being in other places in the world. But myself not being a world traveler, in fact only having travelled in my own country to just a few states, it seems strange to think that you would find American fast food in other countries.

I remember a trip to Mexico when my daughter was only 6 years old. By the 3rd day there she was tired of Mexican food and she wanted pizza. We found an American Pizza Hut but the pizza was nothing like what she was used to in California. Needless to say she was glad to be home.

Can't wait to see what other places you visited.

DUTA said...

Susannah,

I'm very flattered by your kind words. Thank you.

magda,

I sure agree with your view that all train stations in the world carry with them some sort of safety risk.

Nezzy,

You may say this again. GOD was watching over me and protecting me.
Best wishes to you too!

Alicia,

I believe that KCF and McDonald's have brought a new and better atmosphere to this railway station.

Thanks for sharing your girl's pizza story.

Dimple said...

Without transportation civilization would never have become what it is. I like this old train station!

The circles are pipes: stop back by if you care to see a wider view!
Meditations of My Heart

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

I wondered what I was about to read as the exterior of the railway station looks a bit austere and something you can easily date to the former regime. As it's usually the first or second place that the traveller sees, it's always good to read posts like this as it can be a bit concerning on arrival about safety in European city railway stations. Roofs and art are my kind of thing in places like this so despite liking the second and third last photos, you will know that I absolutely love the final one.

DUTA said...

Dimple,

Right. Trains connect us to the world.
Thanks for letting me know about the circles image in your last post.

J_on_tour@jayspaze,

Indeed it looks austere from the outside; inside the station, a sort of warmth emanates from the crowd of travelers.
I think this east-european station is quite safe.

Susan Deborah said...

Train rides are always wonderful and one feels as if the landscape is moving along with us. And the entry to these trains are the stations. I so wish that I visit this place. I believe that there are more posts on this place to come. Gladly awaiting.

Joy always,
Susan

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Hi I am delighted to visit your blog. Such a nice blog on Bucharest.The Gara de Nord is a beautiful building.The offices seem very modern and platforms are sleek & clean.200 trains/day is an amazing number to manage.

DUTA said...

Susan Deborah,

I'm a fan of train rides, and like you I consider them wonderful. Stations are an integral part of the ride.

R.Ramakrishnan,

Welcome to my blog!
Thanks for your nice comment on Gara de Nord station.

Susan said...

Interesting..the world is awash with KFC and McDonalds..even in Bucharest! Sad really, when the host country, no matter which in the world, likely has much better, healthier street food that is just as quick as the Fast Food of Anywhere.

robert said...

First of all I see that you know more than me about Bucharest. I travelled many time in Bucharest and of course visited Gara de Nord.

I must say that is not one of my favourites places and I don't like train... in Romania.

I have nothing against gypsies or negro, but the one who act like one.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I like seeing the pics of the station in Bucharest...true danger is everywhere??

Cheryl said...

Very interesting post and photos. We have an Amtrak train located in our biggest city, about an hour from here. However, it only goes to Boston and back. We live on a peninsula and have no public transportation at all.

DUTA said...

These fast food places: McDonald's, KFC...are full of people.

I think it's not the food that attracts them, but rather the chance to sit in a cosy place with friends/family and have a chat over a coke and some french fries.

robert,

As a child I used to hear a lot about Gara de Nord, so now when in Bucharest I got curious and wanted to have a thorough look at it.
I believe it's rather clean and safe. I've been to worse places than this one.

Kim@Stuff could..

Indeed, danger could be everywhere; the train station in Bucharest doesn't give the impression of a dangerous place.

Cheryl,

Thank you.
How exciting, your living on a peninsula! However, no public transportation - that does pose some problems, I suppose.

Nel said...

What a busy looking place. That is alot of traffic coming to and fro, 200 a day - wow! Glad you had no problems with exchanging your money.

until next time... nel

DUTA said...

Nel,

It has been for years more than a busy traffic artery - it is a whole concept, and a big one.