Seven sold out concerts in Bucharest, the capital of Romania,On June 5, 6, 7, and 11, 12, 13, 14.Open air concerts on Piata Constitutiei (Constitution Square), in front of the Parliaments Building, former Ceausescu palace.
Preparations by the fans: on this special occasion Alice Leung from Canada created party flags on the design of Vivienne Pratt (UK). “Romania loves André Rieu” and “Bucharest welcomes André Rieu” (and of course the Johann Strauss Orchestra). Thanks Alice and Vivienne! The Romanian fans will wave them in the concert!Rodica arranged a place for the fan gathering. A fan picnic in the Maastricht style, in the Izvor Park next to the Parliament Building. Click HERE to see the announcement.
Preparations by André: rehearsals in his studios in Maastricht, with world famous pan flute player Gheorghe Zamfir and a Romanian folklore group (André tries to play the pan flute).
Then: on May 30th 2015, Romanian fans sent us the first pictures: André’s team has started the building up of the stage!! The first concert will take place on June 5, 2015.
Ruud and Ineke flew to Bucharest, to attend the concerts on Fri. 12 and Sat. 13, and to attend the fan picnic on Sat. 13. Much to our regret we had to return home again on Sun. 14, 2015. Here is Ineke’s story.
Our story of three (actually it became two) days in Bucharest. June 11- 14, 2015.As soon as we heard of the seven announced open air concerts in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, Ruud and I decided to go. We have traveled to many countries on several continents, but we had never been to Romania before. Ruud is not quite retired yet, so he could only arrange for 3 days off, but we were happy to be able to go for the "special" of Bucharest, two concerts and a fan picnic! We booked with André Rieu TRAVEL for hotel and concert tickets.On Thursday June 11th we went to the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, for a 2.5 hour flight with Romanian Airlines Tarom. Due to mechanical problems, the plane could not depart and we spent the entire day in the Amsterdam airport, waiting for the next flight. With a delay of at least eight hours we finally arrived at Henri Coanda (Bucharest) Airport. Although the hour was late, we were still picked up by Mihai Trasca, Rodica's son and we arrived at the hotel (Novotel) at midnight. There our fan friends Rodica Trasca, Jack and Edna Welton (UK) were waiting for us, to have a welcome drink together with us in the hotel bar. That was very nice!! Rodica and Mihai had been very active in organizing sightseeing trips for the next days and told us about the program for the next days.
In front of the Novotel
On Friday, after breakfast, Rodica and Mihai took us for an English spoken tour through the Parliament Building, which is the former Ceausescu palace. For the people who don't know: Ceausescu was a Romanian Communist Politician, with the leadership style of a dictator. He lived from 1918 until he was executed by a firing squad during the Revolution of 1989. This man had built himself a huge and luxurious palace, which had now become kind of André's backdrop! Because it is a Parliament building now, we went through a passport- and safely check before joining the guided tour. Very interesting! We took pictures from the balcony with André's stage in the background. After lunch (which was a local specialty: I forgot the name but I liked it very much), we visited the Cotroceni Palace, again with an English spoken tour. This Palace was a monastery first (dated from the 17th century). In the 19th century it became a Royal Palace, since at that time Romania was a monarchy, with King Carol as the first king. In the 20th century Romania was reined by King Michael (Mihai), but he was forced to abdicate when the communists took over in 1947. In this palace we learned a lot about the former Romanian Royals. Michael the First is still alive (92), and resides in Romania. Since 1991 the palace has been the official residence of the Romanian President and that is why we again had a passport- and safely check here and the taking of pictures was not allowed. Part of the palace, church and garden are open to the public. Since 2014 President Klaus Iohannes resides here.We smelled the wonderful perfume of the lime tree blossoms all over Bucharest.
Lime tree blossom
Then it was time for a rest, a small meal in the hotel and then to prepare for the concert. In the hotel we met Joanne from André Rieu Travel for the first time. We had sent her a message about our delay and late arrival at the Novotel, so the reception desk knew that we would still be coming. Even though the rules for the event indicated no backpacks or banners with sticks, they did allow my small backpack and my Dutch flags on a stick! The weather was hot, hot, hot, even though there had been a short rain shower with thunder and lightning at 6 PM, so ponchos were in my backpack, just in case. You never know! But it remained dry and hot. The venue was a 20 minute walk from our hotel and it was nice to walk down the big Boulevard in the center of Bucharest. Impressive buildings and statues on the Boulevard, but cozy terraces in the side streets. We felt relaxed and safe in Bucharest. We thought the audience in the concert was a little shy in the beginning but later on they gave standing ovations, especially to Gheorghe Zamfir and were singing along the Romanian songs….. Hop sa sa! Hop sa sa!After the concert was finished we walked back to our hotel to cool down and we ended up with a drink in the hotel bar with Edna and Jack Welton. When we went to our room we found a label hanging on the door with André's message: ”I hope you enjoyed the concert. Sleep well!” That was a nice surprise! Thank you André and Joanne, that was much appreciated and we slept very well!!
Joanne, AR travel
Saturday, June 13th 2015.Mihai and Rodica had arranged for a professional tour guide to accompany us on a walking tour. So after breakfast, at 9.30 AM we met with Iaver Tudor and Mihai. Rodica would prepare the banner for the fan picnic place in Izvor Park at 12 AM. Highlight of the walking tour was the Athenée Music Hall. The Romanian Athenaeum Concert Hall is the home of the George Enescu (Romanian composer) annual international music festival. A portion of the construction funds were raised by the Romanian people and it is beautiful. We were allowed to go in and to listen to a rehearsing musical ensemble. Unfortunately that took more time than expected, so consequently we were late for the fan picnic, arriving there at 12.30 PM. So sorry, because we missed André Rieu Productions who were there at 12 PM sharp and had gone already.I think about 35 fans came to the fan gathering and they were cheerful company. Some of them were singing Romanian songs, and I think Nona may apply with André in order to join the choir. Patrecia Upton (a Bulgarian fan) got lost but finally she found us in the park, with the help of Mircea. Rodica had fixed a large blue Maastricht banner in between a pole and a tree. Benches were all around. But it was hot, hot, and hot. Patrecia wore a red "I can't keep calm..." Shirt (design of Jaya Tgal) with matching red JSO sunscreen. Very trendy! Gary Bennett was there in attendance. And Dragomir Nicolae, who is the administrator of the Romanian Facebook page with 11.000 members! It was really nice. And a first step to realize Romanian fan gatherings in the future.
For more pictures and a video, click HERE to go to page 2 of Bucharest concerts.