Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation
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Day 28: Constanta, Romania
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Day 22: Athens, Greece
Day 23: Athens, Greece
Day 24: Cruise Begins
Day 25: Cruise at Sea
Day 26: Varna, Bulagaria
Day 27: Odessa, Ukraine
Day 28: Constanta, Romania




MS Rotterdam


Mostly sunny with a high of 23°C

Day 28: Monday, October 2, 2006     Constanta, Romania

Badly in Need of Repair

Currency:  Romanian new leu
Language:  Romanian (Limba romana, the nearest spoken language to Latin)

The city of Tomis, founded by the Greeks more than 2500 years ago, became Constanta in the 6th century–renamed by Roman Emperor Constantine in honor of his sister. Along with Roman civilization came a period of Byzantine art and architecture. Later, the Turks were to dominate this lovely maritime hub, but the last three centuries have seen exclusively Romanian rule and an era of flourishing trade and commerce.  Nicolae Ceausescu came to power in 1965. While following an independent policy in foreign relations, Ceausescu adhered ever more closely to the communist orthodoxy of centralized administration at home. His secret police maintained rigid controls over free speech and the media and tolerated no internal dissent or opposition. In an effort to pay off the large foreign debt that his government had accumulated through its mismanaged industrial ventures in the 1970s, Ceausescu in 1982 ordered the export of much of the country's agricultural and industrial production.  The resulting drastic shortages of food, fuel, energy, medicines, and other basic necessities drove Romania from a state of relative economic well-being to near starvation.  Ceausescu also instituted an extensive personality cult and appointed his wife, Elena, and many members of his extended family to high posts in the government and party. Among his grandiose and impractical schemes was a plan to bulldoze thousands of Romania's villages and move their residents into new apartment buildings.

Ceausescu's regime collapsed after he ordered his security forces to fire on antigovernment demonstrators in the city of Timisoara in 1989.  The effect of Ceausescu is very evident in Constanta.  Although we saw several modern buildings, there were way more run-down buildings in Constanta than in Varna.

We weren't sure how far it was to the city centre so we took a shuttle bus downtown.  We then headed down Tomis Boulevard back toward the port.  We came to a large park which had the remnants of an ancient Roman wall.  The park was a little run down; there was no water in the fountains and not many flowers or plants were growing.  There was a large statue of a she-wolf suckling two infants - Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.  There were a couple of dogs sleeping on the monument.  We saw lots of scrawny dogs in

We saw many run down buildings like this in Constanta

Constanta, sleeping in the shade. 

Further down Tomis Boulevard we came to Ovidiu Plaza and saw the impressive National History and Archaeological Museum.  In a small park next to the Museum were several headstones of ancient Romans.  We also walked by the Geamia Hunchiar Mosque and the Cathedral of Saints Paul and Peter.  We looked down from above at the ruins of the Tomis Roman Baths.  We arrived at the port gate at the southern edge of town.  It was such a nice day that we decided to take Carpati Boulevard, a beautiful boardwalk that follows the seawall to the east. The first thing we ran into was the Casino, built in the French baroque style with rococo elements in 1909. 

We continued along the boardwalk past the Aquarium and Genoese Lighthouse

Roman headstone by the Archaeological Museum

before heading back north to the Tomis Harbour. Wenoticed that the man-made breakwaters consisted of huge concrete objects that looked like giant jacks with four "arms".  We reached the end of the boardwalk at Tomis Harbour.  We circled the harbour and continued along a small beach.  We came to a set of steps that zigzagged back up the hill to the downtown area.  There was a total of 143 steps - we counted them - and we were sweating by the time we reached the top.  Our shuttle bus fare was a round-trip ticket so we got back on the bus and returned to the ship.  Ken had

Kathryn on Carpati Boulevard boardwalk

booked a late afternoon massage which was heavenly.  It was another formal night for dinner and we were again joined by Mark and Oksana.  Much to our delight, Mark again insisted on buying all the wine for dinner.  It had been a long day so we skipped the show in the Queen's Lounge; Kathryn played a little bit of slots in the Casino and Ken went to bed.

Click here for a slide show of Day 28 photos.

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