As we mentioned last week, a new issue of Brasov In Your Pocket is in the works. In fact, it is done and dusted and probably rolling off a printing press as we type.
The cover, should anyone be interested, is this autumnal scene of the canal (yes, it is a canal) which runs alongside Aleea Dupa Ziduri:
The Foreword, for those of you who will not get to see the print version, kicks off as follows:
Usually, we at In Your Pocket have to take a fair bit of criticism from people (usually locals) who think that we are a bit too harsh on the cities we cover. It is an occupational hazard. Last month, however, we faced a new situation, a real first: we had to take a fair bit of stick from a reader who was angry that we were too kind about Brasov.
Oh yes. The fact that we said it was the best town in Romania to visit was a bit too much for this reader to take, who insisted that Brasov is in fact just as ugly a city as Bucharest.
At the same time, however, we have changed a little the introduction on the Bucharest homepage at the In Your Pocket website.
Partially reproducing an old post from these pages, we now direct our anger (and angst!) at travellers who are disappointed by the fact that Bucharest is not as awful as they had hoped. It now reads:
Bucharest is a vibrant, modern city which – while it has its problems – is increasingly like any other European capital. The young (and the not so young) enjoy going out in its cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants, clubs, discos and live music venues, much as their counterparts do in almost every other city in the developed world.
So it is disconcerting when journalists from liberal newspapers in Western Europe describe Bucharest’s rejuvenated Old Town – the buzzing entertainment area increasingly serving as the heart of Romania’s capital – as ‘all a bit homogenous and uninteresting.’
The presence of designer stores is seen as further evidence of Bucharest’s soullessness.
We have always been stunned by how some travellers (not just to Romania) can be genuinely disappointed to find that people in traditionally poorer countries actually have the same aspirations (and a desire to enjoy the same kind of nightlife) as they do.
For they are missing the point.
The fact that Bucharest is increasingly affluent, increasingly modern and increasingly just like every other European capital is something to be celebrated. Compare Bucharest now with the Bucharest of 20 years ago. Then ask locals – and only locals, for nobody else’s opinion (including ours) is of any relevance – what they prefer: the austerity of then or the abundance of now? The nights when the lights went off at 8pm or the 24-hour city we have today?
We are fairly confident we know the answer.