Cristina and I left Bucharest in order to spend some down time in Valcea, the small town Cristina grew up. It's a comfortable three hour bus ride from the capital. Highlights today included a hike up a hill overlooking the city, a visit to a motel bar that has remained unchanged since communist times (except for the telenovele playing on the nice TV sitting on the bar), a walk through Cristina's old high school, and a tremendous multi-course lunch with beer that set us back only $20.
Cristina's apartment (actually her parents' apartment, but her parents live in America now) has some very nice communist-era touches, including a shelf full of old books. Among these is a fascinating 1970s encyclopedia of home-making for the stylish Romanian woman. This book is full of photographs of trendy furniture that real Romanians during that time period could not possibly have been able to afford (Cristina suspects that the book was a translation of a Western European book, and that the photos of apartments and fashionable models are from other countries).
I also like the old radio/record player on the porch, which includes pre-settings for Belgrade, Moscow, Ljubljana, and Vilnius radio stations.