WELCOME!

img_0698a1Welcome to my blog!

I am a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

My most recent posts include my October trip to China, including Shanghai, Wenzhou and Guilin.  Before that, a link to my latest published stories from last year’s trip to Krakow, Poland, and my posts from my June trip to Yosemite National Park, the High Sierras and Mammoth Lakes, California.  Also, my late April and early May trip to Romania where I still have some relatives from my mother’s side.  Before that are my posts from my early April trip to Venice, my favorite city in the world!

Watch out for my next posts from Germany as I follow the footsteps of Martin Luther in preparation for next year’s  grand events celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Richard in rainy Yu Gardens, Shanghai and near Guilin's twin pagodas.

Richard in rainy Yu Gardens, Shanghai and near Guilin’s twin pagodas, below.

 

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(Header image is my photo from St. Barth, view from the Colombier Lookout.)

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My novel of international intrigue, Warming Up to Murder, is available as an ebook, and in Kindle and Nook formats.  It’s about a TV reporter who finds himself chasing the “big story” spanning two continents.  See the links below.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/richard-varr

http://www.amazon.com/Warming-Up-Murder-Richard-Varr/dp/141344976X

Shanghai: Dueling Skylines along The Bund

Pudong, Shanghai. Photo by Richard Varr

Pudong, Shanghai. Photo by Richard Varr

Walking along the Bund. Photo by Richard Varr

Walking along the Bund. Photo by Richard Varr

By Richard Varr

The sun peeks through a hazy sky, reflecting off the curving glass of the twisting Shanghai Tower, its narrowing apex still flirting with wispy cloud cover.  I’m strolling the Bund, the broad pedestrian walkway along the Huangpu River, with great views of the 21st century downtown Pudong District.  It had been raining for two days, so a bit of clearing and some blue sky made my first visit here all the more special.

Customs House with clock tower and historic bank building along the Bund. Photo by Richard Varr

Customs House with clock tower and historic bank building along the Bund. Photo by Richard Varr

Before coming to Shanghai, the Bund was foremost in my mind as the place to visit – even if you only have an hour in the city.  It’s perhaps Shanghai’s signature landmark reminding me of, for example, what La Ramblas is to Barcelona, Broadway to New York or the Champs Élysées to Paris.

21st century skyline. Photo by Richard Varr

21st century skyline. Photo by Richard Varr

The Bund’s riverside promenade juxtaposes two skylines a century apart.  On one side, there’s the early 20th century business district with its stately brick bank towers and the Customs House with the city’s signature clock tower.  “It’s a typical British-style building,” explains Shanghai tour guide Qiao Yong Gang, whose English name is Charlie.  “Let’s wait a few minutes and we’ll hear the tower’s bells sound off with a melody,” he adds.  While there, I hear the bells ring every quarter hour.

Pudong from across the river. Photo by Richard Varr

Pudong from across the river. Photo by Richard Varr

VIDEO: A quick clip of my walk along the Bund.

Cross the river via ferry or the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel and behold the exact opposite – Shanghai’s futuristic glass and steel towers of the Pudong district including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower offering stunning views, the pagoda-topped 88-floor Jinmao Tower and the spiraling Shanghai Tower with the world’s fastest elevators.

The neon glitz of Nanging Road at night. Photo by Richard Varr

The neon glitz of Nanjing Road at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Another pedestrian thoroughfare just a 10 minute walk from the Bund is Nanjing Road, one of the city’s foremost shopping streets with a stream of shoppers and sightseers seemingly day and night.  I pass storefronts which pulse at night with neon lights, and where sales people standing in doorways chant their pitches into portable loudspeakers.

Saleswoman on Nanging Road. Photo by Richard Varr

Saleswoman on Nanging Road. Photo by Richard Varr

Centuries old ceramic figurine in the Shanghai Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Nanjing Road stretches from the Bund to People’s Park with its green lawns accented with manicured patches of flower beds.  One edge of the park is home to the Shanghai Museum, displaying some of China’s best relics spanning 5,000 years.  I was particularly impressed with some of the 1500-year-old, hand-painted ceramic figurines looking like they just came out of a specialty shop.

Yu Gardens in the rain. Photo by Richard Varr

Yu Gardens in the rain. Photo by Richard Varr

Yu Gardens. Photo by Richard Varr

Yu Gardens. Photo by Richard Varr

Another must-see is Yu Gardens and Bazaar, a complex of buildings with Chinese-style architecture laced around small ponds that are crisscrossed with foot bridges over rocky shorelines.  To one side is a bazaar where bold salespeople will approach you on the alleyways and try to sell you jewelry and watches – a good way to sharpen your bargaining skills.  The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum tells the story of how Shanghai became a safe haven for 18,000 Jews fleeing the Holocaust, and how they lived peacefully with Chinese residents.  After World War II, most had survived and returned to their homelands.  The museum includes the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, the primary temple used by the refugees.  Exhibition halls include items from that period and highlight some of the survivors’ stories.

Yu Gardens. Photo by Richard Varr

Yu Gardens. Photo by Richard Varr

As a westerner, I also appreciated my visit to the so-called French Concession, a once separate district with narrow alleyways and old brick architecture.  Upscale shops and cafes are now situated in those buildings.  The complex is a great place to enjoy coffee or beer on outdoor tables along pedestrian packed courtyards.

French Concession. Photo by Richard Varr

French Concession. Photo by Richard Varr

Charlie with Richard at the Shanghai airport.

Charlie with Richard at the Shanghai airport.

TOUR GUIDE “Charlie” Qiao Yong Gang

Shanghai independent tour guide Qiao Yong Gang, whose English name is Charlie, led our writers’ group during our visit.  He’s an excellent guide and I will look him up when I return.  I recommend him as a private or group guide!

Email: Chinese_charlie@hotmail.com

Wenzhou and China’s Spectacular Yandang Mountain World Geological Park

 

Pagoda on Jiangxin Islet, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

Pagoda on Jiangxin Islet, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

A boat ride across the Oujiang River brings us to Jiangxin Islet, the historic heart of Wenzhou, a coastal city about an hour’s plane ride south of Shanghai in the Zhejiang Provence.  Flanked by two pagoda towers on either end of this elongated island, Jiangxin is the so-called “Island of Poetry,” where poets have for successive dynasties written about the island’s tranquil riverside and lakeside gardens now dotted with camphor and maple trees and tiny potted pine trees.

Jiangxin Islet. Photo by Richard Varr

Jiangxin Islet. Photo by Richard Varr

“The poets liked to come here to enjoy the scenery and write poems, so all together there have been more than 800 poems written by renowned poets from all over the country,” says Hu Nianwang with the Wenzhou Tourism Administration Bureau.  Also on the island sits Jiangxin Temple, rebuilt in 1789 with a Buddha, and other pavilions.   The two towers are called East Pagoda and West Pagoda, dating back to 869 and 969 respectively.  “When there was no light at night, the fishermen would look for the two pagodas to steer their boats,” says Hu.

The "Five Horses" shopping street, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

The “Five Horses” shopping street, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

In the afternoon, I visit Wuma Street or “Five Horses” Street, the city’s main pedestrian shopping thoroughfare.  To one side is a statue of five charging horse leading a chariot of sorts, highlighting how the street got its name when a magistrate first rode through in a carriage.  Today, salespeople lure shoppers into brightly lit stores selling jewelry, clothing, shoes and more.  “Wenzhou is regarded as a shoe capital in China,” says Hu, as we pass both Adidas and Skechers shoe outlets.

Nantang River at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Nantang River at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Artist in the Wenzhou Cultural Heritage Hall. Photo by Richard Varr

Artist in the Wenzhou Cultural Heritage Hall. Photo by Richard Varr

In the evening, I take a boat ride on the Nantang River flanking yet another pedestrian area along adjacent Nantang Street.  It’s a popular spot for locals with restaurants, cafes and stores.  Arched pedestrian bridges cross the waterways, with strings of lights along storefronts reflecting off the water.  The Wenzhou Cultural Heritage Hall showcases the area’s art forms including traditional puppets, stretch drums, marble carvings and bamboo filament lanterns, to name only a few.

I visited Wenzhou in October for the Society of American Travel Writers’ (SATW) 2016 Annual Convention where our hosts, the city’s municipal and tourism staff, had arranged sightseeing tours and impressive cultural presentations and performances during our evening dinner events.

Yandang Mountain World Geological Park

Artist capturing the hazy image of the Two Bamboo Peak rock formations. Photo by Richard Varr

Artist capturing the hazy image of the Two Bamboo Peak rock formations. Photo by Richard Varr

Wenzhou is a great base to explore the imposing peaks, deep valley views and spouting waterfalls of the Yandang Mountain World Geological Park.  Jagged, steep mountains dusted with green vegetation feature huge cracks in their faces, looking like the giant mastiffs could seemingly break apart with a seismic jolt.

Buddist Temple in Lingfeng Mountain. Photo by Richard Varr

Buddist Temple in Lingfeng Mountain. Photo by Richard Varr

Our group hiked up more than 400 steps to reach Guanyin Temple, a Buddist shrine dating back to 265 AD within a hillside cave in Lingfeng Peak.  Inside, a central golden Buddha is flanked by smaller such figurines placed on rocky ledges.

Big Dragon Waterfall. Photo by Richard Varr

Big Dragon Waterfall pool. Photo by Richard Varr

Big Dragon Waterfall. Photo by Richard Varr

Big Dragon Waterfall. Photo by Richard Varr

We make another stop to see the so-called Big Dragon Waterfall, with water spewing down 197 meters into a pool at the base of a mountain.  “The view looks like a dragon drinking from the valley,” reads an informational tablet, noting that the waterfall is one of the four most famous such natural wonders in China.

The Two Bamboo Peak rock formations reflect off a peaceful stream in the valley, where I see artists trying to capture the two slabs against a backdrop of morning haze.  In the afternoon, we stop to see the so-called “Flying Man” acrobat suspended from a cable traipse down the mountainside.

Lingfeng Peak, Yandang Mountain World Geological Park. Photo by Richard Varr

Lingfeng Peak, Yandang Mountain World Geological Park. Photo by Richard Varr

 

Guilin’s Dramatic Karst Landscape and Cruising the Li River

 

On the Li River. Photo by Richard Varr

On the Li River. Photo by Richard Varr

We behold more of Asia’s dramatic scenery both above and below ground in Southwest China.  It’s where karst mountains – steep, weathered limestone formations – shoot straight up from the ground like crooked teeth, some with pointed peaks and others at 90 degree angles with flat mountaintops.  My trip to Guangxi Province included stops in Guilin, a bustling tourist destination along the Li River, surrounded with the beauty of these karst formations.

Guilin's twin pagodas. Photo by Richard Varr

Guilin’s twin pagodas. Photo by Richard Varr

Cormorants were once used for fishing. In front of Elephant Trunk Hill. Photo by Richard Varr

Cormorants were once used for fishing. In front of Elephant Trunk Hill. Photo by Richard Varr

The town’s signature twin pagoda’s along the Rong and Shan Lakes help frame Guilin’s scenic urban setting, especially at night as the waterside towers and trees are bathed in bright orange and brilliant green hues from powerful spotlights.  But the real draw is the area’s natural beauty.  Sights to see include the city’s most famous rock formation, the 100-meter-high Elephant Trunk Hill with a cavernous hole along one end resembling, with a bit of imagination, an elephant’s trunk dipping into the Li River.

Reed Flute Cave. Photo by Richard Varr

Reed Flute Cave. Photo by Richard Varr

Reed Flute Cave. Photo by Richard Varr

Reed Flute Cave. Photo by Richard Varr

Karst mountains formed when the softer layers of the limestone plains were eroded by rainwater over the millennia, leaving harder limestone formations intact.  Erosion also carved sinkholes and caves, including Guilin’s Reed Flute Cave, one of the most spectacular and spacious subterranean vistas I’ve ever seen.  It’s where 30-foot-high passageways snake within Guangming Hill.  Illuminated with colored lights, I walk along dramatic underground panoramas of dangling stalactites melding with stalagmites, spurring on a spelunker’s imagination with shapes resembling rock gardens, rock palaces, contorted faces, creatures and more.

On the Li River. Photo by Richard Varr

On the Li River. Photo by Richard Varr

Yangshuo waterfront. Photo by Richard Varr

Yangshuo waterfront. Photo by Richard Varr

The next day, we hop on a riverboat for an afternoon cruise along the Li River, from Guilin to Yangshuo, another scenic waterside town.  We pass karst formations along the way including so-called Bat Hill, a formation resembling bat wings; the Painted Hills of Nine Horses, and a rock formation resembling a woman carrying a baby – figures, no doubt, maybe discerned with a bit of imagination.  One rock looks like a dragon’s head, and we see a large opening in the base of one mountain.  “This cave is one of the biggest in Guilin, and we call it Crown Cave because on the top is a rock shaped like a crown which the emperor would wear in ancient times,” says tour guide Lisa Bai.

On the Li River. Photo by Richard Varr

On the Li River. Photo by Richard Varr

Our cruise is taking place in October, the time of year when the water level is waning and thus tranquil.  On this day, the sun at times peeks through hazy cloud cover.  While blue skies might set a clearer backdrop for photos, I learn the locals actually prefer seeing the mountains shrouded in haze.  “In China, people like legendary stories and with mist we think it’s so mysterious,” Lisa tells me.  “Like there are fairies and gods staying there reminding us of imaginary stories, and that’s why we prefer to look at the view with a misty background.”

VIDEO:  Short clip while on the cruise boat.

Longji Rice Terraces. Photo by Richard Varr

Longji Rice Terraces. Photo by Richard Varr

From Yangshuo, we drive north along the Mao Ming Highway for a couple of hours to the mountain village of Ping An and the surrounding Longji rice terraces.  They’re called terraces because the farm land is actually layered along sloping mountainsides where golden rice stalks sway in the wind before the fall harvest.  We hike more than 1,000 steps to the top of the mountain for the dramatic views below.

Mountain Town of Ping An. Photo by Richard Varr

Mountain Town of Ping An. Photo by Richard Varr

VIDEO:  Tour guide Lisa Bai explains why one hillside with rice terraces is called “Seven Stars with the Moon.” 

TOUR GUIDE LISA BAI

img_7759Lisa led our writers’ group.  She is an excellent tour guide and I would recommend hiring her when visiting the area.  You would be fortunate to have her assigned to your tour!  Email: 443891070@qq.com

Story published!

Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Photo by Richard Varr

Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Photo by Richard Varr

My story, Krakow from Above: Tower Views of the Medieval City, has been published on the travel website http://www.GoWorldTravel.com  Here’s the link to the story:  http://www.goworldtravel.com/travel-krakow-poland/

View of Market Square from the Cafe Szal. Photo by Richard Varr

View of Market Square from the Cafe Szal. Photo by Richard Varr

Yosemite National Park: Granite Peaks, Towering Waterfalls and Lazy Meadows

Half Dome as seen from the valley floor. Photo by Richard Varr

Dramatic Half Dome as seen from the valley floor. Photo by Richard Varr

Yosemite National Park was on my bucket list, and my June visit was even more thrilling than I could have imagined.  It’s where bold granite peaks pierce the sky, towering over the park’s famous and often tourist-packed Yosemite Valley; where alpine lakes reflect treed panoramas, and where gentle meadows extend far to the base of mountain ranges.

Bridalveil Fall. Photo by Richard Varr

Bridalveil Fall. Photo by Richard Varr

“What makes Yosemite so special is there are so many different features all in one place,” says John DeGrazio with YExplore Yosemite Adventures (www.yexplore.com), a tour operator specializing in hikes, backpacking trips and tours within the park.  “You have giant granite cliffs, rounded domes and 2,000 foot waterfalls all in Yosemite Valley.  There are 200-foot trees and different wildlife.  And when you explore the high country, you realize there’s so much more.”

View of Half Dome from Olmsted Point. Photo by Richard Varr

View of Half Dome from Olmsted Point. Photo by Richard Varr

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. Photo by Richard Varr

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. Photo by Richard Varr

The best time to view the waterfalls is in the spring, when melting snow swells streams, leading to the dramatic spectacle of the park’s several waterfalls spewing torrents of water down steep slopes.  I visited in mid June, just a day after drenching rains shrouded mountaintop views and added even more runoff to the already pulsing tributaries and rivers.  In Yosemite Valley, the most popular waterfalls are the Yosemite Falls with both the upper and lower falls – North America’s highest, with water spewing down more than 2,400 feet.  Others within the valley include Bridalveil Fall, also dropping from dramatic heights and reached by a short hike from the valley’s main thoroughfare.   On the other side of the road, the thin stream of appropriately named Ribbon Fall needles down a high peak adjacent to one of the park’s most popular towering granite monoliths, El Capitán.

Tunnel View. Photo by Richard Varr

Tunnel View. Photo by Richard Varr

El Capitan. Photo by Richard Varr

El Capitan. Photo by Richard Varr

Outside the valley, several spots throughout the park’s enormous and varied high-country terrain of 1,170 square miles offer splendid views – viewpoints from where you can see key features including the glacier-sheered granite Half Dome, the park’s most popular landmark.

Richard at Tunnel View.

Richard at Tunnel View.

Half Dome juts up a mile from the Valley floor, and can be seen from the popular Tunnel View lookout which also includes the 4,500-foot-high El Capitán, Bridalveil Fall and the so-called Cathedral Rocks.

Tenaya Lake. Photo by Richard Varr

Tenaya Lake. Photo by Richard Varr

Olmsted Point near alpine Tenaya Lake offers yet another view, while Glacier Point looks down upon these rock formations from the south.  “What makes Glacier Point unique is that you’re seeing many of the features of Yosemite Valley from 3,000 feet above the valley, and you really get a full appreciation of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall,” explains DeGrazio.  “And all the while you’re looking at all of Yosemite National Park like you’re looking at a map.”

View of rocky spire. Photo by Richard Varr

View of rocky spire. Photo by Richard Varr

These are just some of the highlights of Yosemite.  What I found particularly astounding – reflecting the sheer size of the park – is that much of it is only accessible to experienced hikers and backpackers.  There are short hikes of a mile or two, moderate half-day hikes, while reaching the top of Half Dome for example is a full-day hike – a 16-mile round trip taking up to 12 hours and ascending almost a mile high at the same time.

View of Half Dome from Olmsted Point. Photo by Richard Varr

View of Half Dome from Olmsted Point. Photo by Richard Varr

“It’s a combination of endurance and elevation gain not like many other hikes available.  A lot of marathoners do this hike and they sometimes say it’s harder than a marathon,” says DeGrazio.   “You have the chance of looking down from the highest peak in Yosemite Valley.  It gives people a feeling of being on top of the world, and for many many people, this is a bucket list accomplish.”

Tuolumne Meadows. Photo by Richard Varr

Tuolumne Meadows. Photo by Richard Varr

Mono Lake with tufas. Photo by Richard Varr

Mono Lake with tufas. Photo by Richard Varr

A drive through scenic Tuolumne Meadows at the park’s east end along winding Tioga Road leads to the steep turns of the nearly 10,000-foot-high Tioga Pass, which is closed in winter.  At the foot of the pass is the small town of Lee Vining skirting salty Mono Lake with its crusty and contorted tufa rock formations shooting up from the lakebed.  Another place of interest nearby is the mid to late 19th century gold-mining ghost town within Bodie State Historic Park, where many dilapidated old wooden houses, churches and saloons are in a state of preserved decay.

Building in a state of preserved decay. Photo by Richard Varr

Building in a state of preserved decay at Bodie. Photo by Richard Varr

Atop Mammoth Mountain. Photo by Richard Varr

Snowcat atop Mammoth Mountain. Photo by Richard Varr

Mammoth Lakes Mountain Village. Photo by Richard Varr

Mammoth Lakes ‘Village.’ Photo by Richard Varr

To the south along U.S. Route 395 is the quaint and upscale ski town of Mammoth Lakes with its trendy restaurants and many hotels – especially in and around Mammoth Lakes’ retail “Village” area – serving as a good choice for a home base for travel to Yosemite during summer months.  A gondola ride or mechanical Snowcat adventure up Mammoth Mountain offers truly great views of the surrounding snow-capped High Sierras.  It’s also a quick drive to nearby Devil’s Postpile National Monument, made up of basalt columns naturally strung together in the shapes of pentagons and hexagons.

ROMANIA: Eastern Europe’s Best Kept Secret

Brasov central square. Photo by Richard Varr

Brasov central square in Transylvania. Photo by Richard Varr

From the pulsing streets of Old Town Bucharest to the medieval towers and forested mountainsides of Transylvania, Romania has a rich history and its own cultural heritage stemming from rural traditions, including its Orthodox churches with painted icons hundreds of years old.  It was my first trip to Romania and I found it progressive, but juxtaposed alongside traditional values and with reminders of its Communist past – especially with that era’s architecture in Bucharest.  In addition to the capital, I visited the port city Constanţa on the Black Sea, and then on to Transylvania’s Braşov, medieval Sighișoara and Saxon-influenced Sibiu.   For tourism information: http://www.romaniatourism.com

Palace of the Parliament. Photo by Richard Varr

Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest. Photo by Richard Varr

BUCHAREST: The Pulsing Capital

Bucharest’s most visited attraction is the Palace of the Parliament, the colossal office building ordered built by the dictator Ceausescu in the 1980s.  Used today by the Romanian upper and lower houses, the block-like structure is the second largest administrative building in the world, smaller than only the Pentagon.  Inside are columned grand halls, expansive lobbies and meeting rooms.

Rebirth Memorial in front of the former Communist Party Headquarters. Photo by Richard Varr

Rebirth Memorial in front of the former Communist Party Headquarters. Photo by Richard Varr

Along  Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) sits the former Communist Party Headquarters from where Ceausescu gave his last address before being captured, and later tried and executed in 1989 on Christmas Day.  Outside, a marble needle sculpture known as the Rebirth Memorial stands as a tribute to the thousands killed during the revolution.  And across the street is the former Royal Palace that now houses the National Museum of Art.

NATIONAL VILLAGE MUSEUM, Bucharest

Homestead in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Homestead in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Away from the city center, I spent a Saturday afternoon exploring the must-visit National Village Museum within Herastrau Park and Lake.  Along the lakeshore are several dozen old wooden and grass-covered village homes, windmills, mills and churches, some dating back more than 200 years, relocated to the site from all over the country.  Vendors sell jellies, traditional peasant garb, musical instruments and more.

VIDEO:  Craftsman and musician Marin Predușel plays a traditional cimpoi at Bucharest’s National Village Museum.

Underground houses in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Underground houses in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Windmill in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Windmill in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

“The museum is very important because it’s about the roots of every Romanian,” explains spokeswoman Andreea Nanciu.  “The museum speaks less about our parents, but more about our grandparents because there was a time when our parents moved to the city and kind of forgot where they came from.  It’s about our grandparents and their lifestyles and living a very sustainable life in the countryside not very well known by youngsters today.”

Church in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Church in the National Village Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

OLD TOWN BUCHAREST

“The most important buildings in the villages were our churches.  It was not only a place where people went to mass but where people gathered,” says Nanciu.  “The houses were not very close to each other, so it was a good place where people would meet and socialize.”

Old Town. Photo by Richard Varr

Old Town. Photo by Richard Varr

Old Town Bucharest. Photo by Richard Varr

Old Town Bucharest. Photo by Richard Varr

To catch the pulse of Romanians at ease, a stroll along the cobbled streets of Old Town Bucharest is an exciting afternoon or night out.  Clusters of outdoor tables and lounge chairs line the narrow pedestrian walkways lined with cafes, restaurants and shops.  Street musicians strum guitars and serenade passersby, some of them seemingly very talented.

Stavropoleos Orthodox Church. Photo by Richard Varr

Stavropoleos Orthodox Church. Photo by Richard Varr

Old Princely Court Orthodox Church at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Old Princely Court Orthodox Church at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Princely Court Orthodox Church. Photo by Richard Varr

Princely Court Orthodox Church. Photo by Richard Varr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The historic Old Town is home to several old churches including the 18th century Stavropoleos Church with its Byzantine-style porch emblazoned with icons.  The Old Princely Court Church, with its layered architectural design and faded frescoes, dates back to the 16th century and is one of the city’s oldest.

 

 

 

Rembrandt Hotel

Rebrandt Hotel. Photo by Richard Varr

Rebrandt Hotel. Photo by Richard Varr

I was a guest for one night and enjoyed my stay at the stylish Rembrandt hotel, located in the heart of Bucharest’s Old Town.  It’s only a minute or two walk to the center of the district’s many restaurants and cafes, as well as some of the city’s iconic Orthodox Churches.  It’s also a short walk away from the sights along Calea Victoriei.  Small and cozy, the hotel has 16 spacious rooms with leather armchairs and an outdoor café along the pedestrian street.   www.rembrandt.ro

Spacious guest room in the Rembrandt Hotel. Photo by Richard Varr

Spacious guest room in the Rembrandt Hotel. Photo by Richard Varr