Monday, 22 November 2010

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal to Ploesti, Romania

I have just arrived in Romania this morning to visit friends.

A synopsis of my route is as follows:

I left Lagos on Sunday morning by catching the 06:14 train from Meia Praia, (06:10  from Lagos) to Faro,

We arrived in Faro on time at 07:50.

I had a coffee and caught the 08:10 EVA bus to Seville Plaza das Armas Bus Station.

Arrived Seville 15 minutes early.

Bought a ticket for the 15:00 Socibus bus to Madrid Barajas Airport via Madrid Estacion del Sur.  This arrived at Madrid Barajas airport Terminal 1 at 21:50, 20 minutes late, owing to bad weather. There was a 15 minute stop at a service area just north of Bailen.

I then caught the 02:25 Wizzair flight from Madrid Barajas to Bucharest Baneasu, Flight arrived at Baneasu at 06:45, 15 minutes early.

It was a grey misty morning. Baneasu is not the world's most welcoming airport. Airside bus seats were filthy and the terminal arrivals area is very very small. Got through formalities and got my bags with no problem. There is a small hole in the wall currency change on the right as you press through to the street. I changed a few Euros just to have some RON on me. Then outside straight onto the street. Ambushed immediately by touts. Dealt with those with firm but polite No's!

Luckily, my friends met me and off we went to Ploesti, a 40km drive.

What I already like about Romania is the Buzz! I also like being able to have chicken and chips with a beer ta 08:00 in the morning after a long flight.

Some notes:

* Wizzair were fine. They are like a Ryanair of Eastern Europe. Clean Airbus 320's all less than 3 years old. The seat pitch is small which could be a problem for larger people.

* Madrid Barajas - That late at night, all the shops were closed BUT there is a all night eatery in Terminal 1. Expensive but good.

* Bucharest Baneasu Airport - If this is to be developed into a serious hub for Low Cost Operators bringing in tourists, it needs to be cleaned up! I know Romania seeks to boost its tourist industry and I also know that with the IMF in situ and the economy in dire straights, it is difficult to promote new infrastructure projects but this should be a biggy! A short term interim project with some new airside buses, a simple single storey 30 sq. metre industrial warehouse type prefab extension to the airside to handle incoming passengers (saw this done with the departures terminal at Harare Airport in Zimbabwe in the early 80's )and a taxi rank for licensed taxis at arrivals would improve enormously without being ridiculously expensive.