Bucharest

Old Oct 5th 2010, 8:37 am
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Default Bucharest

hi
any expats or wives living in Bucharest ? ...we are about to relocate so would love to hear from anyone already out there - before the snow sets in !
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Old Oct 6th 2010, 5:06 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

Hello,

I've ben here for 6 years. Feel free to ask anything.
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Old Oct 6th 2010, 8:19 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

hi
great to have a reply, thanks .... as we are about to move to Bucharest can you advise :-
1. Cost of satellite dish - SKY & NILESAT
2. Cost of utilities.. i would expect winter heating to be quite expensive? internet connection? Do they have gas fires as alot of the apts seem to have air heating which i hate.
3. Are there any expat associations for wives/women or a general place they would `hang out` - hubby will be at work so on the look out for some female friends...
4. We have asked several people and the price for a weekly shop seems to change dramatically but i hav the feeling, like in other countries people are trying to impress as to how much they spend a week .. i have looked in the supermarket re chicken, milk, bread, veg, wine etc .and it looks like a weekly shop for 2 could be done under £100 a week - am i right? > i have been to Cora but hear there are more supermarkets about.
5. I have a CELTA and i see from previous posts there might be work out there but I want to settle in first and find my feet.
6. anything else you suggest we should be aware of ? - much apprecited
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Old Oct 6th 2010, 10:36 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

1. Cost of satellite dish - SKY & NILESAT

I don’t have Sky so I can’t comment personally. There are several cable TV providers in Bucharest and most flats are already connected (at least as far as the door) so getting it switched on is pretty quick and easy. The package I have at the moment is gives me a few HBO channels, a load of documentary/reality channels, a few other foreign channels (CCN, BBC world, DW, etc) plus all the local channels, which often show programs and films in English with subtitles. This costs about 16 Euro per month although less extensive packages are available.

These providers also do internet and telephone, and a 3-in-1 package can work out quite reasonable.

Regarding Sky, a quick search on the net brought up one company that will supply you with Sky (I’m sure there are others, so it’s good to shop around). They seems to charge 150 GBP per year, on top of which you have to pay the usual Sky charges. Here’s the site:

http://www.insatinternational.com/pr...?category_id=2

2. Cost of utilities.. i would expect winter heating to be quite expensive? internet connection? Do they have gas fires as alot of the apts seem to have air heating which i hate.

Utilities are quite reasonable, in my opinion. Obviously it all depends on how much you use them but as a guide, here are my average costs (two people, one-bedroomed flat):

Electricity: About 15 Euro/month (TV, fridge, lights, PC, AC in summer, washing machine, etc.)
Telephone: I usually pay about 25 Euro per month. That is the basically monthly subscription for the land line, plus a 4mbps unlimited ADSL internet line. It includes about 300 minutes of free local calls, which I rarely exceed, so on top of that there’s only the occasional international call to pay.
Block bills: Each month you pay the block management for your share of the other utilities. This typically includes hot and cold water, heating in winter, gas, electricity for communal areas, rubbish collection, general repairs, maintenance and cleaning of the stairs and lobby. Nowadays, most flats have water meters and also other metres on the radiators so that you only pay (as part of the block bill) your share based on your usage. Some flats might not have these fitted, in which case it is calculated based on the size of the flat, number of people and the number of radiators/taps.

As a guide, for August I paid 25 Euro, for last January (the coldest month) I paid 50 Euro. However, I don’t use the heating as much as the locals (who like it really hot at home!) so other people I know pay a lot more, maybe up to 100 Euro a month in winter.

The radiators in most flats operate on hot water supplied to each block from a local boiler station (usually supplying the hot water for heating and for the taps for about 3-4 blocks). You may find that some modern apartment buildings, or those in more isolated neighbourhoods, have either a boiler room dedicated to that block, or perhaps each flat will be responsible for its own heating (probably through the installation of a gas boiler).

Internet: As I mentioned before, you can get internet from one of the cable providers. UPC, for example, supply a 3mbps connection for about 4 Euro per month. They do a package (93 channels of cable TV, 15Mbps net connection, land line telephone) for about 13 Euro.

In addition to the regular cable providers and the ADSL line from RomTelecom, most neighbourhoods have an internet company which provides high-speed connections (100Mbps). They can sometimes be a little unreliable, but are great for downloading torrents. Apparently, most UK TV shows appear as torrents on the net within a few hours of broadcast, which I imagine is quite good as you can watch them whenever you want and have the adverts edited out. I would guess that they download in a matter of minutes with one of these high-speed connection – of course it’s illegal so I would never do it

3. Are there any expat associations for wives/women or a general place they would `hang out` - hubby will be at work so on the look out for some female friends...

I haven’t heard of any dedicated associations for wives/women, but I can’t say I’ve looked that hard (being neither a wife nor a woman!) but there are a couple of online groups called ‘meet-up’ groups if you search for them, for expats and locals. They organize some regular nights out, coffee mornings, day trips and other such things. They are a good way to meet other people with similar interests

4. We have asked several people and the price for a weekly shop seems to change dramatically but i have the feeling, like in other countries people are trying to impress as to how much they spend a week .. i have looked in the supermarket re chicken, milk, bread, veg, wine etc .and it looks like a weekly shop for 2 could be done under £100 a week - am i right? > i have been to Cora but hear there are more supermarkets about.

You’re right, prices vary a lot depending on your preferences, where you shop, and how you cook. There are a few local markets scattered around the town where you can buy basics for reasonable prices. The supermarkets are probably around the same price as in the UK, some items (less popular ones) perhaps being more expensive, others (for example locally produced fruit and veg) perhaps being a bit cheaper. I like to cook so tend to buy raw ingredients rather than prepared or packaged goods, so I would say that we eat pretty well on a lot less than 100 GBP (sorry, don’t have a pound sign on this PC!) per week. I have a decent supermarket on my doorstep (Mega Image) so I don’t do a big weekly shop but tend to pop in on my way home 3 or 4 times a week. I would guess I spend about 70 Euro a week on the basics for the two of us.

Other supermarkets in town aside from Cora are Carrefour, Mega Image (smaller but more numerous), Metro, Penny Market, Billa and so on. They do tend to me located on the outskirts though.

Some items are hard to get hold of, but if you look around you will find them, maybe at a premium. Other things you might just have to bring with you when you go back home on a visit. All essentials are readily available, though.

5. I have a CELTA and i see from previous posts there might be work out there but I want to settle in first and find my feet.

Teaching jobs do come up from time to time. There aren’t that many private language schools around, compared to other countries, and those that do don’t pay particularly well. If you wanted to teach English, your best options would be either the British Council or one of the international high schools. They pay quite well and I have seen openings appear from time to time. Being in the city at the time of application will be an advantage, as will having some more permanent status in the country (i.e., the fact that your husband is based here). They often have problems with people simply not turning up to start their contracts, or coming over and deciding after a couple of months that it’s not for them and doing a bunk.

If you wanted something more leisurely, you can probably pick up some private lessons (teaching professionals who need English for work, or preparing high school kids for exams such as TOEFL or FCE/CAE). Rates are reasonable (about 15-20 Euro/hour).

6. anything else you suggest we should be aware of ? - much apprecited

Despite what everyone says, I think the public transport system is pretty good. Most of the major bus lines use modern buses, many with AC. The metro is fast, if not particularly comprehensive in its coverage of the city, and trams and trolleybuses cover the rest of the city. They can be crowded during rush hour, but I use them all the time and find it less hassle then driving in the town (especially with the traffic and limited parking). A one-month travelcard for all the surface transport costs about 14 Euro, about 50% more if you want it to include the metro system. I think it’s great value. Taxis are also reasonably priced, so if you have a lot of shopping, or are travelling later in the evening, they are a good option – just use reputable companies though, as there are ‘pirate’ cabbies who’ll rip you off.

You hear a lot of horror stories about stray dogs and thieves. It’s true, there are a lot of dogs about, but in most of the urban areas they are pretty docile and timid. I’ve never had a problem with them. In some of the outlying neighbourhoods they can be a bit feral, but the majority just stand there barking at you. Wave your brolly at them and they scarper.

Pick pocketing and petty theft is a typical problem in any city around the world but these thieves are opportunistic, so if you keep your valuables well concealed, keep an eye on your bag on public transport, and just be aware of your surroundings whilst travelling around the city, you won’t have any problems. Violent crime occurs, but much less so than in other European cities.

Hope that helps!
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Old Oct 6th 2010, 11:05 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

extremely helpful! you are a star !
we are open minded and looking forward to the challenge.
thanks again
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Old Oct 13th 2010, 7:03 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

may i pick your brains again ?
post - is there a good postal service in Romania ? do they have post boxes or deliver to your house ?
trying to get thing organised before we leave uk ..
susie
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Old Oct 14th 2010, 9:16 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

Hi there,

Of course you may

The national postal service (Posta Romana) is ok. In recent years anything I've had sent to Romania from the UK has arrived, although it might take a week or two. As far as I know nothing has got lost in the post, although it's possible that something has - at least, any letters I was expecting got here eventually, and those I've sent to the UK arrived.

If you want to send a letter, you go to your local post office (a list of them can be found on the Posta Romana website) where it is weighed and then you buy the correct amount of postage stamps. There's usually a post box just outside the post office, or sometimes inside, where you can post it.

If you live in an apartment, you'll have a post box on the ground floor in the lobby for which you'll receive a key and where incoming letters are delivered.

If you have larger items sent to Romania from the UK they don't usually deliver them to the door or put them in your post box. You'll get a small slip of paper in your post box telling you that the parcel has arrived and it'll also have a number on it telling which post office is holding it (usually the one closest to your home). You take this slip to the post office with your ID card (or passport) and you can pick it up.

Usually you have a couple of days to collect it, after which they'll charge you a small 'holding fee'. Not sure how much as I've always collected them the same day, but I don't suppose it's much. I think they hold it for two weeks, after which they presumably send it back to the sender.

There are two types of parcel: 'scrisor mare' (large letter) and 'colet' (parcel). For example, I recently ordered some books from Amazon. One of them arrived on its own and was classed as a 'scrisor mare', so it was collected from inside the post office (same place as you go to send a letter or pay a bill). The remaining three books came together and were classed as a 'colet'. This had to be collected from the 'mesengerie', a separate parcel handling desk located around the back of the regular post office. When you collect a 'scrisor mare', you just show your ID, she notes down your ID number (or passport number in our case), you sign the book and take the parcel. When you collect a 'colet', you have to write a short note saying 'am primit un colet din extern' (I have received a parcel from abroad) and sign it.

Amazon usually use DHL and Posta Romana, so you have to collect it, but one time they sent some books with UPS, which was much quicker and they delivered them to the door.

I'm not sure how the system work with recorded delivery; whether they bring it to your door and go through the same process as above.

All the best!
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Old Oct 20th 2010, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Bucharest

may i pick your brains as you are so good with Bucharest info :-

your opinion on where to live our options are :-
1. Domnesti
2. Banesea

i dont want to be miles from anywhere, and at least some neighbours and the chance of a take away delivery?
thought you would know !
regards
susie
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Old Oct 21st 2010, 4:54 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

Hi there,

It's a little difficult to recommend neighbourhoods as they are so variable. There's been a lot of construction, new blocks, new residences and so on thrown up in the last few years so sometimes you get a nice new apartment block, with security on the gate, personal parking, all mod cons, slap bang in the middle of a dodgy neighbourhood. Conversely, otherwise good neighbourhoods generally have a couple of less salubrious steets.

On the whole, Baneasa is a good neighbourhood. It's on the main road leading out of town towards Transylvania so if you were going to the mountains at the weekend, you'd cut out a lot of the traffic. It's also close to the airports - Aurel Vlaicu Airport isn't known as 'Baneasa Airport' for nothing! Sometimes it can be a bit too close to airport! On one side of the neighbourhood you have a lot of small flats or villas and on the other side you have more blocks. There's a small number of shops there, a pizza place, a load of banks, etc. However, not far up the road there is a big shopping mall with food court, Ikea, hardware store etc. Take away delivery shouldn't be a problem - some places might apply a miinimum order or a small surcharge. You also have plenty of buses into town and Dorobanti (a main street in the north of the city) isn't far away by bus/car and has a few restaurants, upmarket shops and bars.

Domnesti, on the other hand, appears to be miles out of town. Is it the village about 5km west of Bucharest you are talking about? If so, then you'll be a lot more isolated out there. I suppose that you'll probably get a bigger house, maybe some garden, and it'll be a lot quieter than Baneasa (especially that far out and away from major roads/traffic) but you would have to drive everywhere. I've never been there so can't comment on what it's like, but most likely it'll have a couple of grocery shops, maybe a local bar and perhaps a pizza/kebab place.

It depends what you want really, but I think I'd probably prefer Baneasa. That way you can get into town easily without driving if you fancied a meal and something to drink, you've got better access to shops - both smaller markets and superstores, and you might have less distance to travel for work.

Do you know where you or your husband will be working? Bucharest traffic is a nightmare as that might be a factor too.

Last edited by Azarel; Oct 21st 2010 at 6:44 am.
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Old Sep 7th 2011, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Bucharest

Sorry, I know this isn't my thread but I just wondered if you could tell me anything about decent takeaways in Bucharest as I noticed you had mentioned about delivery in your reply. Do you have any recommendations and, as my Romanian is so far limited to 'hi, I'm english, do you speak english?', have you found any with online ordering?

Thank you!
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Old Sep 7th 2011, 2:31 pm
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Default Re: Bucharest

Hi melonlegs,

There are a few places which do online delivery.

One of them is Wu Xing which is (obviously) Chinese. They have a menu in English. You set up an account and put in your address, order online, and they delivery it (usually in about an hour). Food is ok-ish. They will call you to check that the order is genuine. When they call me they usually ask me in Romania (which I speak now) but a couple of times they've spoken to me in English, I presume because they saw my name wasn't Romanian. Their URL: http://www.wuxing.ro/en/

Another one which allows you to order through their website is Mezze, which does Lebanese food. I quite like their stuff although it's not very cheap. The English version of their sites seems to be down, but if you know Middle Eastern food you'll be ok with the Romanian version. I've never ordered from them online as I normally just call, but their URL is: http://www.mezze.ro/index.php

For pizza, you could try http://www.superpizza.ro/index.php which allows you to order online. I don't know if their pizzas are good or not as I have a good pizza place at the end of my street. Again, it's in Romanian, but you can probably work it out. I suppose you can guess what 'nume, adresa, telefon' mean Sometimes you see a box for 'reper', which just means 'landmark' - something near your home which will give them the general idea of where you are.
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Old Sep 7th 2011, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Bucharest

yet again Azarel has saved the day .. you should work for the tourist board !!!!
online ordering and delivery.. how exciting !!! do they deliver to all sectors ? would the lebanese takeaway speak arabic? - we are a multi lingual family... just our romanian is very basic yet


Bucharest is coming up in the world
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Old Sep 7th 2011, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Bucharest

I saw that the pizza place delivers to all the sectors.

Mezze has a different minimum order amount for different areas. I live on the border of two neighbourhoods so I also make sure I give the neighbourhood as being the one with the lower minimum order

Don't know if they speak Arabic. Maybe the chef or the owner does, but the phone operator is probably a Romanian. The names of the dishes are all in Arabic so even with minimal Romanian you should still be able to phone in an order - just give your address (read it out from a bill) and the names of the dishes. Chances are the operator will know a bit of English anyway, they probably hire students for that kind of thing.

Wu Xing is the same. Minimum order is 25 RON for central Bucharest, going up in steps as you move out of town.

yet again Azarel has saved the day .. you should work for the tourist board !!!!
Romania seems to be getting a lot of posts these days. Maybe we should have our own section too!
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Old Sep 11th 2011, 8:25 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

Saturday night delivery take-away sorted!
thanks to advice from Azarel....we ordered from Mezze and it took an hour, they spoke some english and we ordered it all online. easy! would recommend them.

I know we are living in a foreign country & `should adopt their ways bla bla bla`......but sometimes you just need a little bit of Englishness to keep you going!

this forum and ofcourse Azarel have given us the most info on living in Bucharest/Romania than any other website or so-call `expat` service -
thanks
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Old Sep 23rd 2011, 8:32 am
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Default Re: Bucharest

ive found another british expat ..
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