Herastrau Park, Romania

Bucharest is a big city.  Over a million and a half people, lots of cars, people, buildings, roads… and some really nice parks.  Easily my favorite was Herestrau Park.  The park is huge, wrapped around the largest lake in the city.  It was just such a nice calm oasis in the middle of the city. 

At the entrance to the park, you suddenly find yourself asking, wait… where am I? 

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But, in fact, we are still in Bucharest.  The replica Arc de Triomphe, complete with insane looking traffic circle, stands just outside the park.  It is a showcase of the French influence in Romanian architecture and life in general.  So much around Bucharest was designed in the French baroque style, but I love that there was an arc de triomphe as well. 

Just inside the park, was a skate park.  Skate park’s are usually one of my favorite places to visit.  This one was not very busy, and the people that were there were mostly kids on razor scooters.  Pretty fancy what the can do on a razor scooter though.  Kids these days….

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I did really like some of the street art around the skate park.  Especially on this big crane. (I don’t know why there was a crane there)

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The park is huge and split up into a ton of different areas.  The first one that I came to, was the swan pond. 

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Not only were there several beautiful swans, and lots of really cool looking ducks, there were also…. black swans! (Natalie Portman, eat your heart out)

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In addition to all the lovely swans that were very happy to be swans, there was also this swan standing off to the side… wishing he were a flamingo.

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(P.S.  the swan pond was in fact all fenced in, otherwise you KNOW I would not have gotten so close.  They are big, and though they’re pretty… they don’t seem especially nice.  In fact, most of the time, I just assume they are down right vicious.  And ever since the great seagull fiasco of 2012… I try to be cautious.)

After the swan pond, was the Rose Island.  A whole island devoted to showcasing the beauty of the rose.  My heart leapt!  FLOWER PICTURES!

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Wasn’t exactly what I was picturing when I heard about the rose gardens….  However, never one to let a wilted flower get me down, I soon found some other flowers that were beautiful.

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These flowers were part of a big canopy over the walkway around the edge of the island.  While it was a little to short for me to walk comfortably under it, I liked the jungle feeling it provided.

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From the Rose Island, I just walked around the lake for a bit.  It really is truly exceptional.  So pretty, and so so quiet.  When you’re in the park, you can’t hear any of the sounds from the city.  It’s like the city does’t even exist, and instead of being in Bucharest- you’re here:

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Heading back towards real life, and the big city, I came across the Japanese Garden, which was less spectacular than the Rose Island, so I’ll leave you without any of those details, but I did happen upon on of the many playgrounds spread throughout the park.  It was such a cute little playground, but I didn’t want to be that weirdo that hangs out at playgrounds taking pictures…  so I moved quick! 

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And then just as I was leaving the park I came across one of the more ironic things I saw in my whole time in Bucharest. 

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The designated space for dogs.  The dog park.  Now this is only ironic if you have ever experienced how many stray dogs there are all over the city.  Everywhere you go there are stray dogs wandering around looking for food.  This one even went on our walking tour with us.

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It seriously followed us around for the entire tour.  So I just thought it was funny that stray dogs kind of have the run of the city and the park.  But a dog with a family is relegated to a 20’X20′ fenced in patch of grass. 

So, that was my favorite part of Bucharest, though the old town was nice as well. The park was just the one place that I really fell in love with. 

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