Tineretului Park is the Best!

We always make a point of checking for a children’s park when we arrive in a new city. Before arriving in Bucharest, we spotted our Airbnb apartment on Google maps and saw that it was walking distance from Tineretului Park. Little did we know that this particular park is a super, mega, amazing children’s park!

Our second morning in Bucharest I went for a run and figured I’d take a look at the park as well.

Tineretului run
15 km and no backtracking!

I couldn’t believe it! Every turn I took brought me to a new section of park with a full kid’s play module! And not just tube slides and swingsets either; bouncy castles, carousels, water parks, a zipline, a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and more!

Bouncy castles!
One of the few things we had to pay for… $3 for both kids for 20 min.

There’s also a small lake in Tineretului Park with a paved walking/running path around it, and bridges across to small islands. Seriously, every time I went running I found a new thing; tennis courts, a pool, ornamental gardens, the list goes on and on.

Of course, we took the kids in there. Other than one trip to the Natural History Museum (very good), all we did for a week in Bucharest was go to the park.

Tineretului entrance
You can tell by the entrance that it’s awesome!

There was a vicious heat-wave across all of Europe at the time, so one of our favorite stops was the water jets. Even when the rest of the park was deserted there were always kids playing here. Mostly little ones like ours, with the occasional pre-teen trying to ride her bike through the jets.

Water jets
A very nice break from the heat!

We went to the park at least three afternoons without ever playing in the same area twice. The kids favorite was the super-high tubes with the slide I was tempted to call the sui-slide. They both went down it, no problem.

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Even the benches in this park are neat. Some had new friends on them, some were just made out of giant pencil crayons.

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And finally the lake, which at 6:30 AM has a surprising number of runners already out there, and at 3 PM a surprising number of people swimming in it.

Swimmers allowed
Ducks and the occasional rowboat and everything!

Truly our highlight of Bucharest. Especially since we barely saw anything else!

 

 

 

The Taj Mahal – What Can I Say?

The Taj Mahal is all the superlatives you’d expect. Exquisite, spectacular, beautiful, the teardrop on the face of Eternity, the vestibule to the Hallways of Always, the white chocolate on the pillow of the Hotel California.

I’ve heard people say “It’s smaller than you’d expect”. I disagree. It’s the biggest mausoleum I’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen quite a few now. Grand doesn’t begin to describe it. White marble, towers, onion domes… the few bits of scaffolding don’t even spoil the view. At every turn, there’s a beautiful picture to take, and forty people taking it.

Taj and kids
Majestic background, cute foreground.

It looks like a picture even when you’re really standing in front of it. A photoshopped picture. It makes you want to go up and squint at it to try and find a flaw in the pixels. I didn’t find any.

Details
Semi-precious stones, perfect pixels.

Sure it costs a lot (for India) at INR 1000 ($20 CAD) per person. Yes there are too dang many people there. It’s still worth it.

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You know that feeling when you lean your chair back a little too far and it’s about to tip over? I got that feeling a little in the pit of my stomach when I saw the place.

Super wide view
Can’t even get the whole view with a panoramic shot.

These days the front’s not even the best shot, because of the scaffolding. Go around the back, or take funky angle shots.

Taj from below
It’s all about the angles.

Visitors are allowed inside the Taj Mahal, but are not allowed to take pictures. Some people snap covert pictures when the guards are distracted by cute foreign children. We were too busy trying to control the cute foreign children.

Cute kids
This is actually back outside.

Once you get out the back door, the urgency wears off and people sit down in the shade. Lots of people. We experienced another “selfie-storm” like at the Mysore Palace.

Sit and stare
In their defense, the Fella was doing a pretty good little dance show.

We suffered through the photos for a while, until some woman picked up the Chica and tried to walk away with her. That did not go well for anyone.

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After a while things calmed down and friends were made, bonds were formed.

Making friends
He spent almost 1/2 an hour with this family.

The best view of all is from the back, on the other side of the river. There’s a park there called Mehtab Bagh.

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It costs about INR 400 ($8 CAD) round trip in a rickshaw from the front of the Taj. The park costs another INR 200 per person to get in (foreigner price). Be aware that you cannot bring food into the park, so don’t bother buying snacks at the kiosks on the way in.

More Family Photos

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India – Going to the Movies in Cochin

As one of our rest day tactics, we occasionally go to the cinema and watch a movie. In Cochin, India we were told that the mall there is the biggest mall in Asia, so we thought we’d go check it out.

The cinema experience in India has a few subtle differences from the Canadian version we are used to. For example, ticket prices depend on where you want to sit, like stadium seating. Also, you have to pass through a metal detector and bag check to get into the cinema.

The Theater

Inside the mall it’s pretty cool, and inside the theater it’s a downright cold 8 degrees. This seems even colder since it’s 42 degrees outside; please note that your glasses may fog up. Blankets are not issued with the 3D glasses. Some folks (Vero) may resort to putting their feet in a re-usable shopping bag and then a small backpack to keep their toes warm.

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The theater had some cushy seats which reclined quite a ways, a pleasant surprise I discovered 5/6 of the way through the movie. My bad.

The Movie

Like many cinematic presentations, there’s a seemingly endless string of advertisements. Just before the feature presentation, the national anthem plays and everyone stands at attention. Many people sing along.

The film is shown in HD, 3D, HSPDA, NDA, etc. but the glasses provided have flat, scratched lenses made of plastic wrap. This detracts from the image quality a little bit. The glasses are also unlikely to stay on your face without constant supervision.

Ready to watch
Fortunately the glasses don’t fog up, they’re already frozen.

Part way through the film you will be surprised by an intermission. A ten minute break to get up, stretch, go to the lobby for popcorn, sing the national anthem again if you like. Fortunately for us, the plot of Cars 3 in 3D is easy to follow even with a break in the middle. We haven’t even seen Cars 2.

Regardless of the quirks and differences, a movie is definitely a winner to get everyone sitting quietly for a couple of hours. Throw in some mall wandering and you’ve got yourself a nice quiet day.