We got to the park and walked for a bit, and then found a nice little coffee shop with some wicker seating outside under a nice roof. Therefore we all went in and sat down to enjoy some coffee and conversation. While we were sitting in here it began to rain a bit, so we stayed a bit longer and Stefani and I enjoyed listening to Volli and Yiorgo bicker back and forth at each other about various topics.
From the coffee shop we walked back to Volli & Stefani's apartment and did a few things before heading into town to tour a different part of the city. Volli drove us by a lot of cool sites. There was a communist ruler about 20 years ago that really did a lot of damage to the city. His name was Nicolae Ceauşescu and he basically used his power to get whatever he wanted.
If you want details, I encourage you to read the Wikipedia section. However, for me I was able to see first hand what he has done here and Volli told me a lot about how he tore down entire villages and made the people move to blocks so that he could build huge monuments in his honor while making the poor people pay for it all. In the Wikipedia article I read where he would send well fed cows and food to fill local markets so that when he would visit with TV camera's the city appeared to be thriving, when in reality it was completely the opposite. When people would try to write letters or speak up to have change, they were dealt with harshly by the secret security. He was overthrown in 1989 and killed 2 hours after he was captured. The city is still paying the price for what he did to this great city.
Anyway, we had a great time in the city and walked around looking at various buildings and streets. There is actually a bad stray dog problem here in Bucharest. It goes back to Ceauşescu because when he kicked people out of their houses and moved them into blocks, they were not allowed to take their pets with them. Therefore, the dogs and cats were moved out onto the streets to fend for themselves. It was not uncommon to see dogs walking around the city center with no owners. Pretty sad if you ask me...
We shopped at a little market where vendors were setup and they sold various pieces of work. I actually got to change in a 20 euro bill for about 85 ron (Romanian currency). They look very similar to euro in my opinion, but other might argue otherwise. The place was really neat and it was really cool to be in an authentic eastern Europe outdoor market. They were even playing music that sounded Indian and I'll remember how it felt to walk around and not be able to communicate with the locals. One guy told me the price of an item he was selling using his cell phone. :) Very cool!!
We wound up a nice little resaurant and ordered 4 different pizza's to choose from. As if you can't tell, Volli, Yiorgo, and myself can put some food away and I think Stefani will be a bit worried when we all decide to come back in the future. :) It was great to sit around and talk about Volli & Yiorgo's history back on Day Ave, and we all realized how so many things had to come together to form the friendships that we had today. Volli was transfered to the house across the street from my house from another house in Akron, Ohio when he came over from Biberach. Yiorgo was transferred to our house from a broken home in Pataskala. They became friends, and introduced me to my wife, and we're all still very close friends. It's amazing how things like this happen when you really sit back and try to replay the events of the past to see where you are today. Stefani learned a lot at the table today (both good and bad). :)
After dinner we headed back to the house and chilled out for a few hours. Volli and Stefani took a nap and Henry got to hang out with Uncle Luc and Uncle Yiorgo for about and hour and a half. We had a good time and it was great to just hang with ma brotha and our nephew. :) We ound out that Henry has a crush on Yiorgo's girlfriend, Vaso. Yiorgo was talking to Vaso on Skype and Henry would complain until we put him in front of the camera to see her. It was pretty funny. :)
We woke Volli up around 7:15 and we all got ready to go out for our last night on the town together... We headed to a very fancy restaurant called La Cataline. It was the perfect place to eat dinner. We met up with Charles (the crazy french guy) and Yurris, along with his 3 friends from Belgium. The beers were tall, the dishes were exquisite, and the portions were enourmous. We had a great time sitting around laughing and were preparing for a long night at a local Romanian night club.
It was a fun filled night with flaming drinks and crazy techno music. I met some very cool people this night and... well... we all got really drunk. :) Yes, I still love Romania!
A flaming drink for Volker
Yiorgo and I with a flaming shot, compliments of Volli. The women beat us over the head repeatedly until the shots were gone while everyone chanted. :)
Toward the end of the night. :S