Bucharest hassles

While Bucharest is much safer than it used to be, there are a couple of hassles that it’s as well to be aware of during your stay If at some stage you’re approached by anyone (usually two or three men) demanding to see your passport, don’t be too alarmed Ignore their demands and don’t give them anything – simply saying that all your documents are at the hotel should be enough to put them off – and walk off confidently; these self-styled tourist police are nothing more than con men, and cowards at that If they persist, insist that they accompany you to your hotel or the nearest police station, which should be enough to discourage them

You should also be extremely vigilant where your belongings are concerned, in particular at the Gara de Nord, where bags can suddenly disappear, and on the buses, where a standard trick is to slit bags open, thus emptying some of the contents Keep your bag close to your chest and eyes peeled

Another fairly minor hassle is stray dogs During Ceauşescu’s systematization programme of the 1980s, many houses were bulldozed and owners had little choice but to kick their beloved canines out onto the street; this resulted in the little beasts multiplying like nobody’s business, roaming the streets scavenging for food, and generally making a nuisance of themselves If at any time you feel threatened, either walk on slowly and confidently or mime throwing a stone and they’ll back off; do not run While the chances of a nip on the ankles are slim, confrontations with these dogs can be unpleasant and intimidating

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