Leaving Bucharest – Getting on the Road Again

by | October 2, 2018 |

Today I’m leaving Bucharest. The title image is the International Departures board today at the Henri Coandă (Otopeni) Airport in Bucharest. I’m waiting for my Check-in counter to be posted.

leaving Bucharest

Whizzing past the Arrivals to get to Departures on a grey, drippy day – a sad one for leaving Bucharest

Leaving Bucharest First stop: London where I’ll spend the night and the next day. I bought my business class ticket with American Airline points (plus $99 in taxes), so the available routes were not the most direct and convenient.

Next stop: New York City, where once again I’ll spend the night before heading back to Durham, North Carolina.

Yesterday, a friend asked me the most common question for a person about to embark on international travel, “Have you already packed?”

I said, “Well, you see, I don’t have a suitcase, and even if I did, I don’t have anything to put in it.”

We had a laugh, because of course she then remembered my luggage had been stolen at the Luanda airport in Angola back in June.

Another friend quipped, “At least this time around you don’t have to worry about your luggage getting lost or stolen again.”

leaving Bucharest

Getting ready to go: in the entry to my condo are one smallish carry-on and an overstuffed handbag

Although I can’t say I’m glad my luggage was stolen, I can say that, as a result, I now know it’s no big deal. You simply figure out what’s important (top of the list: tooth brush and underwear) and move on.

I arrived at my condo in Bucharest in June knowing I had a few things in my closet, and when my friends here heard my story, they helpfully gave me a few articles of clothing to tide me over for the next three months.

I began to replace things little by little. Only a couple of weeks ago did I finally buy a comb. (!) Most of the stuff I haven’t even bothered replacing and may never do so.

It’s amazing to learn how little you really need.

The only question to remain: how suspicious will I look at various airline check-in counters with no checked luggage? Isn’t that a warning sign of something, the whole no luggage thing?

I get my answer when I check in: Absolutely no one cared.

Then it was on into the maze of glass, steel girders, escalators and the like:

leaving Bucharest

Leaving Bucharest and Arriving in London: The flight was uneventful.

Heathrow was surprisingly uncrowded, making the arrival at 9:00 pm a breeze. I exited Terminal 5 to see this:

leaving Bucharest

For some reason I was surprised to see a stand of trees

And to cross to the taxi stand I came instantly upon what I’ve always loved about London – helpful signs for all the international travelers not to get hit by a car coming from the direction opposite of what they’re anticipating!

leaving Bucharest

Heathrow Airport is crazy big. For my hotel I chose the Moxy Sleeper in Hounslow, Heathrow, which I thought would be close, but ended up being a good 20-minute drive if not more:

leaving Bucharest

It has an aggressively industrial vibe, with thumping techno music throughout. You’ll notice the check-in/bar area has a green Cooper Mini (on the left). What is it doing there?

leaving Bucharest

And what is the camper doing outside?leaving Bucharest

I have no answers, but on the way to my room I happened upon this space which is labeled Ironing Room:

leaving Bucharest

A buff, tattooed guy in shorts ironing? Okay, that’s one question. My question is: Which of the shirts on the wall he would wear?

I went to my room, turned on TV and was gobsmacked (gotta use that word here) to see an episode (presumably the most recent?) of the Great British Bake-Off!!

leaving Bucharest

OMG, on the left  there’s Paul Hollywood, everyone’s master baker heartthrob!!!

The three judges are considering an entry for their biscuit chandelier challenge. Yes, biscuit chandelier – which even one of the contestants called absurd.

In case you are wondering what such a thing might look like, one is hanging in the center of the photo.

It’s great to be in a place where biscuit chandeliers can be conceived of.

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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