DAY 5 - Overnight train ride from Budapest, Hungary to Bucharest, Romania saw the AALP Alumni and Friends tour group arrive at noon in Romania. The overnight train ride was a first for a number of the travelers. It was interesting to note that two train cars (in line) with berths were from different originating countries and so had different passenger service levels. One group enjoyed cloth towels and breakfast served along with coffee. The other enjoyed very little - no service, no breakfast and no washing towels. In this latter car, when requested members of the group were given a paper towel and a disposable toothbrush to use!
Afternoon walking tour of Bucharest's city centre and a tour of the People's House, the seat of political and administrative power, a multi-purpose building containing both chambers of Romania's Parliament.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this building, built between 1984 and 1994, is the world's largest civilian administrative building, the most expensive administrative building, and the heaviest building. It is a HUGE building and was started by Ceausescu and meant to be "his place" to greet the world.
A welcome dinner at one of the city's most famous restaurants capped off a very interesting day.
DAY 6 - Bucharest - Afumati - Pantelimon - Bucherest. This morning the group had a presentation and toured the Romanian DuPont Pioneer Seed Plant where they produce corn, sunflower and soybean seed.
The afternoon saw the group visit a large Holstein dairy farm, started under the communist regime in 1973. Following the fall of communism, it was purchased privately by one of the former veterinarians on the farm. Now there are about 500 head, including approximately 250 milking cows producing more than 5000 liters per day. 70% of the milk produced is sold to a processing facility and 30% is sold through several milk dispensers (of unpasteurized milk) in Bucharest. One of these dispensers was located on the farm and provided an opportunity for the group to see it 'in action'.
In June 2009 the farm opened the first 'Farm Park' in Romania, close to the dairy farm, providing an opportunity for school children to learn and see first hand small animals, birds and parts of the farm 'in action'.
The group enjoyed a lunch prepared at the Farm Park before heading back to Bucharest for a free late afternoon and evening in the city. Tomorrow the group leaves the city of Bucharest for Sibiu.