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Living in Bucharest.
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AndreaR



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:06 am    Post subject: Living in Bucharest. Reply with quote

Hi!

Anyone out there currently living in Bucharest with up-to-date info regarding cost of living? If so, it would be great to have an idea of what a decent apt. close to the centre would run along with utilities and such. Any and all info will be appreciated, thanks!
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Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

Rental prices are fairly fluid and a lot depends on the exact location of the apartment, whether it's been renovated or not, what facilities the block has, and how greedy the owner is. Also. it'd be helpful to know what you mean by 'close to the centre'. Bucharest is pretty small and I wouldn't say I live close to the centre (I'm 'semi-central') but I can easily walk to the centre in 30 mins from here, or 20 by bus, which is fine for me. If you have a job lined up here already, it could be useful to know the area they are based in to give you a better idea of what to expect. How many rooms would you want?

Here are a few prices which I've just got off the net to give you a rough idea. All are central zones, funished, and for one-bedroom places:

Unirii: 400 Euro-600 Euro
Universitate: 450-750 Euro
Romana: 450-750 Euro
Victoriei: 450-650 Euro

Of course, you can find plenty of places which cost a lot more than this, or are geared to expats and twice the price, but a lot of the central apartment blocks are quite old and most of the rich have moved to modern developments in the suburbs. and to areas like Pipera or Baneasa in the north.

Regarding utilities, again it depends a lot on what you want and the quality of the block, but I'll give you an idea of what I'm paying now to help you:

Heating: This can be metered (pay for what you use) or divided up between everyone in the block. In the winter months I would say about 30-60 Euro is about average, depending on how hot you like it.
Electricity: Running the usual appliances (fridge, washing machine, TV, PC, lighting, AC in summer) I pay about 30-40 Euro a month on average.
Block bills: If you live in a block you have to pay some money monthly to cover the lift, communal area cleaning and lighting, water, gas repairs, etc. It varies depending on the month, the block, the number of people, how much of a cheat the administrator is, but for me it averages out at about 40-50 Euro a month (not including the heating in winter).
Communications: Most apartment have a connection available which gives you cable TV, a land line and the internet, or any combination of the three. A decent pack with fast net, all the cable channels and a phone will be about 30 Euro or so. You can get a neighbourhood cable net connection for about 12 Euro.
Food: Food shopping probably costs about the same as in most countries in Europe.
Luxury Items: Generally a bit more expensive than western Europe.
Transport: A one-month travel card costs about 20 Euro and allows you unlimited use of the buses, trams, trolley buses and metro. Taxis cost about 0.35 Euro/Km.

Hope that helps,
Mike
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AndreaR



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike! That was MORE than helpful! My deal is that I am being "courted" by one of the International schools in Bucharest and they've asked me to come for a personal "look see" which I'm good with since I'm in Prague and want to see Bucharest anyway. If I get the job, it's a January start, so I would have time to do more research.

If you don't mind me asking, how long have you lived there and what's your opinion on life there. The more you tell me, the happier I'll be! Very Happy
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Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A job at an International School would be good. They pay pretty well and if you don't have expensive tastes then you'll live a decent life and save something too.

I've been here for a little over five years now. Bucharest is ok, nothing particularly special. I live here in Bucharest because it's pretty easy to find work here and it's not especially expensive for a European capital, and is slowly improving. The best part of living in Romania is everything outside of Bucharest though and that's why I like it. I love the Carpathians and Transylvania and it has a lot to offer.

Anyway, focusing on the city for the moment:

The nightlife is ok. There are quite a few clubs, ranging from the cheaper alternative studenty places to the pretentious expensive 'be seen' places. Quite a good range of restaurants with most cuisines represented to some extent, although service leaves a lot to be desired. They don't really have pubs, but there are a lot of bars, but typically people don't mingle as they do in UK pubs; here you tend to stick to your group, it seems. There are, naturally, the ubiquitous Irish Bars (about four now, I think).

Transport is adequate. Getting around Bucharest by car is a nightmare. Driving is reasonably safe in the city (rarely gets fast enough to be dangerous), but standards are low meaning intersections get blocked and in rush hour walking is considerably quicker. The public transport has good coverage and is very cheap, as are taxis, so a car isn't a must. Attitudes on the public transport can get to you at first as people here have little regard for personal space and tend to push, swear, sweat, smell, elbow jab you, and cram in like sardines on the more popular routes.

Shopping isn't fantastic (although I'm saying that from a guy's point of view). There are loads of malls, all selling the usual overpriced junk. Lots of things are a bit more expensive here than in the west of Europe. For example, Ikea came to Ro a while back and they sell a lot of things at a 50% mark-up over UK prices, sometimes more. There are cheaper street markets but they mostly sell Chinese junk but you can get some nice local fruit and veg from them if you go at the right times of the year. Lots of supermarkets around so generally you'll have one within easy walking distance.

You can get all the necessary facilities here; net, cable TV, phones and so on, and the prices are reasonable. Banks re fine, anyone can open an account, and the red tape isn't that bad either for Eastern Europe. From what I've read on some other boards there are worse countries in that regard. Plenty of gyms, although they are pricey, but not so many sports facilities.

Weather is pretty good, on the whole. Starts to get a bit cold in Nov. Jan and Feb are chilly, normally with snow. March is mixed but from about April till July it's really nice. August and September get a bit hot sometimes, perhaps in the 40s!

The people aren't what I would call friendly, although they will often consider themselves to be so (but which culture doesn't?). Without wanting to sound too negative, as the fashion seems to be to gush fanatically about the 'real people' and all that, I have generally found most Roms to be 'ok', but quite a lot of them are rude, ignorant, dishonest and in many cases quite snobby. It's a materialistic society, especially in Bucharest (typical for any capital, I suppose) and people obsess about what you wear, what your job title is, which car you drive and all that guff. At the end of the day, however, you only need to find a group of half a dozen people you like and life's fine, so it's not something that bothers me unduly.

There isn't quite the thriving expat community that there is in other countries, but the number of people moving here for work from abroad is steadily increasing and there are a few sites for expats where people regularly organise get-togethers and the like, so if you wanted to get involved in the expat community it's pretty easy.

The city itself is quite interesting. When people visit briefly they generally only see the main boulevards and thus the 80s communist concrete blocks, and then get the usual tale of how Ceausescu bulldozed the city. Actually there are plenty of old buildings still around and he didn't destroy as many as he is credited with. Most of them are hidden in the back streets and many more have been destroyed in more recent times to make way for profitable housing blocks. You can check my blog for a few pics of Buch and Rom:

http://romphoto.blogspot.com/

There is an old town which would have great potential but they started to renovate it but got in a mix up about who was supposed to be slipping back-handers to whom, and so the work stopped a year or so ago. Now some of it is ok, some is untouched, and the rest is dug up with suspended wooden planking between shop doors! It's quite an interesting area despite that.

There are also plenty of parks which are large, pleasant, and well-maintained. A couple of boating lakes, ice skating in the winter, football stadiums, a rugby and a cricket team, lots of cinemas, and the usual things you find in a capital.

The city also has an opera, a few theatres, and plenty of artists hold concerts here. Prices for cultural events are also reasonable. I'm off to the opera on Sunday to see Verdi's version of 'the Scottish play' and it's only about 6 or 7 euro for a ticket. There are also a few festivals throughout the year, B'estfest probably being the most popular.

I'd also say it's a pretty safe place for a European capital. There's plenty of petty crime, some pickpocketing, but a lot of this seems to have slowed down too since Romania joined the EU and the thieves left for more profitable shores. Very little violence; although the people are quite verbally aggressive, I've rarely seen it degenerate into fisticuffs!

Overall, I quite like it here. As I said, Bucharest doesn't exactly charm me and nor do the Bucuresteni, but it allows me to live quite well, doing a job I generally enjoy, without working too hard, allowing me to save and to enjoy some little luxuries. Anyway, it's easy enough (and maybe more enjoyable) to visit the more beautiful European capitals on holiday rather than paying through the nose to live in them!

All the best,
Mike
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AndreaR



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: A Wealth of Info! Reply with quote

Mike!

Can't tell you how grateful I am for all that timely and pertinent information! I am digesting it all slowly and will take into account your insights and advice to be sure! I owe you a round or two of your fave local beverage, so once I get over there, I'll drop you a line! As I said, I'll be coming on a spec venture within the next few days and if things go well, I'll be there on a permanent basis as of Jan. 2010. Have you considered a sideline consultant service for new arrivals?? Wink

Thanks again!!

AndreaR
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Bebsi



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 958

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read Mike's very comprehensive posting, as I don't come in here very much these days.

I just about agree with everything he says, about both the practicalities of living in Bucharest and the Bucuresteni.

For a while, Bucharest was starting to become more expensive, but with the recession, prices for many things have again dropped, such as the cost of eating out and taking taxis.

As Mike says, Romanians don't really understand the concept of good customer service, although it is improving but at a snail's pace. This factor is, among a few others, hindering the development of a serious tourist industry in Romania, which is a pity as it is a beautiful country with lots to offer. Most of these attractions (OK, almost all) lie well away from Bucharest, in Transylvania, the Delta, and in the northern Carpathians. The southern Carpathians, I would add, have been 'developed' for local tourism, i.e. people from Bucharest building cheap and often tacky holiday homes which have, not to put too fine a point on it, scarred the landscape. The now-ugly Prahova Valley, which a few years ago was beautiful, is a case in point.

Anyone considering the Black Sea coast? Forget it! It is kitsch, tacky, laughably expensive and has a much shorter season than the Med. Apart from beaches, it has no natural attractions, being flat and featureless, and neither has it got any historical attractions worth talking about.

For me, Transylvania is where it's at. With its pristine landscape, beautiful old towns and 'time-travel brochure' villages, it is one of Europe's best-kept secrets, and less than five hours by train or four hours' drive from Bucharest. The extreme south is also very rustic, and along the Danube there are many nice spots to be found, but you don't get the spactacular scenery of further north. You do get warmer weather there, tho!


Last edited by Bebsi on Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:10 am; edited 5 times in total
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AndreaR



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:28 pm    Post subject: Living in Bucharest. Reply with quote

I JUST got back from a quick visit to both Bucharest and Transylvania and have nothing but good things to say. The people were friendly and helpful, the food was tasty and cheap and the City is clearly undergoing some serious refurbishment. We took a train to Brasov and saw incredible scenery out the window along the way, visited the town, the Bran castle and had a delicious local meal washed down with a beer for a very low price. I am really excited to be returning in the near future and hope to have a chance to see much, much more! Multumesc, Romania!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9013
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HOpe you don't mind me asking, but which intl school is it? And do you have a PGDE or PGCE? I'd like to teach in Romania, but just have certs of eligibility.

I was offered a job by Cambridge, but after hearing about them, decided to nix it.
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AndreaR



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a BEd with an MA in Special Needs. I'm also TEFL certified and have about 16 years of International experience. I was just in Prague at a teachers' course and decided to send out a few CV's in Eastern Europe. That's about it. : )

Good Luck!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9013
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndreaR wrote:
I've got a BEd with an MA in Special Needs. I'm also TEFL certified and have about 16 years of International experience. I was just in Prague at a teachers' course and decided to send out a few CV's in Eastern Europe. That's about it. : )

Good Luck!


Wow, ok. That's great. I've just got a BA in Liberal Arts, MA in TEFL, another one in Applied LInguistics in the works, but only 7 years of exp. Guess with a bit more experience, I could make it to Ro.
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Bebsi



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 958

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as a matter of interest, where are you from, AndreaR?
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grig



Joined: 16 Mar 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will love this country if you work in IT. 100 Mbps ..wow!!
I work for a man named Sabin Piso who revolutionized the internet in Romania, who made possible this speedy connection for about 25 euros/month!
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posh



Joined: 22 Oct 2010
Posts: 430

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember a couple of strippers I met in Brasov. Now they were friendly!
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ReachingOut



Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coming to Bucharest in September to start a new teaching post. Some very useful info in this thread though it may be out of date now. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly and I adjust quickly to life in Bucharest Smile
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Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ReachingOut,

I've just re-read my posts and most of it is still true and the prices haven't changed too much.

As the property market has continued to stall, you might find you can get slighter better rental prices than those I mentioned, particularly if you don't mind being out of the 'posh' areas, or being a few metro stations out of the centre.

Some other services have got a bit cheaper as the reminaing companies fight for customers. Lots of net/cableTV/telephone companies offer free months or discounts on two-year contracts and stuff like that.

I also mentioned that the old town was being renovated. It's more or less finished now and all of the streets are packed with pubs, bars, and restaurant. It's become the new place for the locals to hang out all year round with most places having street seating. Prices are ok-ish, the food isn't that great, mostly 'pub grub' knocked up from stuff they get from the supermarket so nothing too interesting, but fine just to fill a gap whilst you're having a drink. Loads of Irish/English pubs, although they don't actually sell many (any) English/Irish beers except Guinness. I guess in that area there are about 50-60 bars. When I came here there were about 4.
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