Three Simple Observations from Vienna, Mongolia, and Romania

First, from Romania: savor a perfect experience.  if it’s truly perfect, like my first trip to the “Bla” (Swedish for blue) Lounge in the Bucharest Radisson, there’s no way the second trip can meet the same standard. It may be good, even really good, but probably not perfect. You may encounter a particularly young waiter who doesn’t understand that it’s bad form to deliver the bill before the food and drink have been presented.

Second, also from Romania but more from Mongolia: a city is far more welcoming once you walk the streets and find a cafe where you manage, despite having no local language skills, to order a soul-refreshing bowl of soup. (Ok, I had to confess to Oana, so the cafe turned out in this case to be the bistro at the Hilton. I didn’t know that when I went in!) 

Third, from Vienna: a city where you know virtually no one may seem foreign and somewhat unwelcoming before you get a chance to walk the streets. But there is nothing more lonely than knowing that somewhere, within a few foreign blocks, your friends and colleagues are enjoying a lovely meal – waiting for you – and you are unable to find them, call them, or walk another step.

Reflections at the Bar

More from the Radisson SAS in Bucharest, Romania. This is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite hotels. And bar!

View Reflections at the bar

The picture on the left is looking up through the atrium past the mobile light sculpture. On the right is looking down past the snowball candle holder to see the same view reflected in the glass on the table.

“Dinner” was a sweet, simple, perfect indulgence. It started with a cocktail (“Bla 44”) I will have to describe later. Suffice to say for now, it was delicious and I had to think twice about ordering a third – I didn’t! I ordered chicken and pork satay that was served with peanut sauce in a martini glass. It was a perfect small dish for an evening that didn’t want or need a big meal. I finished off with “pralines” which had nothing to do with pecans and was simply a plate of chocolates, and a plate of chocolate coated, freshly made marshmallows. Oh my goodness!

Radisson SAS Bucharest, Romania: Beautiful Hotel

What a lovely surprise when you wake up in a hotel after checking in late the day before to discover you are surrounded by beautiful architecture and interesting art and sculpture. Here are a few pix. One is looking up through the atrium where there is a hanging sculpture. One is looking down the atrium from the sixth floor to the lounge; another looks across the atrium to the floors below – I liked the pattern. The last one shows use of lights in the panels on each  floor.

View Radisson SAS Hotel Bucharest Romania

What I don’t have pictures of (yet!) are the steaming outdoor pools (the temperature here is about freezing give or take a few degrees) or the floor in the bar which has jets of water shooting out across under the surface, with the bar constructed of material that makes it look like it’s made of ice.  Really, it was quite a lovely surprise to come down for breakfast and see some of these details that I  had not taken in when I first arrived.

Rooms with a View – Bucharest, Romania

100_2036Here I am in Romania for a week of meetings. The city looked interesting from what I could tell on the drive in from the airport – bright lights and holiday decorations among the stately and historic buildings. I got a short guided tour from my kind logistics person, Oana. Oana had accompanied a class to the US for training; it’s nice to have continuity of friendship from the delegations who come to the US that we meet again when we travel into the countries where we’ll be working. So, kind Oana arranged for me to stay at the Radisson downtown. I haven’t seen much of it from the outside, but as before, here is the view from the room. Sweet church across the street, and you can look past older buildings to see the sunrise reflected off a shiny new building and construction cranes waiting for work to begin. I just saw someone walking into the church, pulling his winter hat off as he crossed under the arched doorway. Nice thought that this is where a person would start their day.