Are you an explorer at heart?

questoYou’re either an explorer, or you’re not, there isn’t any middle way. If your all time favorite thing is to enjoy the thrill of taking random detours and wandering around, if you’re constantly and inexplicably struck with a heavy sense of wanderlust and if you think that it really is about the journey, not the destination, you’re definitely the coolest explorer and you’re in the right place. Now follow me, I’ll reveal how to explore cities, find local experiences & unique stories in the most creative way.

Let me introduce your new friend, his name is Questo. Questo is a free city tour exploration app which genuinely connects you with places you’re visiting and stories you’re discovering. A quest is a walking tour that guides you on a different path where you have to solve clues for finding the most charming and hidden local places and stories. Exploring the city is no longer a simple walk, it becomes an interactive challenge to discover the secrets of the destination, secrets that you are unlikely to find in any touristic guide because they’re based on hints from locals.

All you have to do is to download the app in Google Play or App Store, choose the city you want to explore, browse through the available quests and select the one you like. After that you decide if you want to hunt or to discover, the hunter mode is for those who’re super competitive and alert, you have a time counter and you’ll get a better position in the leader board if you’ll solve the clues fast; the discover mode is for those who want to wonder around without any time pressure. Then you just press start and let the adventure begin. Go with the flow, only good things are about to happen 🙂

You can currently enjoy free city tours in Romania: Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Sighisoara and also in The Netherlands (Rotterdam) & Hungary (Budapest). Poland and Bulgaria are on the list of the next destinations.

Last, but not least, I’m also sooo proud of Questo, the app was developed by a Romanian team and I’m pretty sure these guys won’t stop until they’ll have a quest on the Moon.

Follow your friend Questo on Facebook & Instagram and enjoy exploring cities with him!

Love & hugs,

Irina

The story

Joy.

Bucur is related to the Romanian word bucurie, which means joy! We can’t find a better word to describe our story. And today we’re celebrating exactly 3 years since our very first guest.

The story.

As a tribute to our traveling passion, one day we decided to bring all the travelers to Bucharest to one amazing place where they will feel like home and that’s how we started to dream excel sheets, budgets and 3D simulations. Bucur is not only the joy, but also the name of the founder of Bucharest and this was the winning match, we got the name for Bucur’s Shelter Hostel in no time. The great surprise came while searching the perfect location, we found it on Bucur Street, at no. 21. Name it karma, the Universe or a propitious alignment of planets. Since that moment, it’s been a hell of a wonderful journey we’d start any moment from the very beginning just to meet all that amazing people who became our friends.

The journey.

3 years ago, somewhere at the beginning of April we were ready and went online with the listing of our place. We even can’t describe that feelings: excitement, fear, sweet anticipation, craziness, perhaps all in one, but certainly the only thought at that moment was that we did it! What happened after it’s history 🙂 We got our 1st booking next day. The check in date was in 3 days. And then it happened. Our very first guest arrived. We still remember her, a lovely girl Maria. We’re lovingly remembering that times and we still can’t believe it’s been 3 years since then.

Today, officially we’re a hostel, but our friends from all over the world who came and stayed with us keep saying we are like a nice and friendly home and family away from their home. We’ve met more than 26.000 amazing people and we can’t count all the great stories and wonderful feelings everyone shared with us. One of the best things at Bucur’s Shelter? The warm & welcoming smile of our super-amazing-awesome-friendly staff you will see first thing you enter the door. Aaand first thing in the morning! 🙂 It makes you feel sure that you are just in the right place with the right people around. You’re already our friend. Yes, you! What else? Our huge bean bag in the living room. You need to come and try it to understand what we are talking about. We had guests who found their soulmate in our living room!

The angels’ team.

What’s a place without its people? As far as one knows only some walls. Sooo we present you our glorious family:

Ioana: “For one year and few months now, I’ve been dealing with some intense human interactions here at Bucur’s Shelter. I was busy saying “Hi!” and “Goodbye!” to so many wonderful people while understanding the importance of the present moment. Through trial-and-error, I learned about the subtle needs of people looking to connect and being seen, and that all this has nothing to do with the country or culture they come from.

I am grateful to be able to practice acceptance and patience both with the rest of the hostel staff and with these colorful travelers. The time I spent here as a receptionist brought me hundreds of tears and smiles. After all I am left with a feeling of ease and awe because I recognize pieces of myself in all those eyes I’ve seen. I am happy to be a Bucur’s Angel and wish for more humans to embrace travelling and hosting each other as friends. Thank you all!”

Andrada: “Happy birthday, Bucur’s Shelter! You are like a bubble of joy, a parallel universe, a wonderland where magic happens and magical, wonderful people gather and unbelievable friendships happen. Thank you for being amazing and for being my true home and family for so long! I love you!”

Dan the Bear: “After 10 years in the music industry, alienated and a lone wolf, I found Bucur’s Shelter when I was mumbling for a new life. I am a former transylvanian medieval acoustic punk, now a street musician, an off-grid enthusiast and a very happy off-track tour guide. I found a real family here and no sitcom was ever funnier or more interesting than our lives in this magical place. I owe a lot to this tangle of energies and I keep coming back whatever changes in my life. Pffff, and the ladies, man…”

To sum up.

Our days are never the same but that’s magic and everyone of you make them special so we’ll keep being amazing for you.

Love ya all,

Irina, Filip, Cătălina,

Bucur’s Chief Angels

4 Castles in One Day Medieval Tour with “The Bear”

The tour is hosted by Ursu (The Bear) – a Transylvanian medieval acoustic punk artist – as a means of supporting his off-grid and street art projects. It comes as a conclusion to 10 years of medieval festivals and includes visits to 4 very different Transylvanian Castles:

  • Peleş Castle, Dracula’s Castle, Râşnov Citadel and multiple stops at Medieval Citadel Town of Braşov (Vantage Point, The White Tower, Old Citadel Center);
  • Pick-up around 07:00 from hostel and drop-off around 21:00 at hostel (450 km, 15 hours) in a personal, comfortable car (possibility of drop off at the airport);
  • Lunch break at traditional Romanian restaurant in Brașov;
  • Price covers standard tour entry fees and transportation. Price does not cover any food or drinks;
  • 86 EUR Full price; 81 EUR Students (only with valid student ID & under 25 y.o.);
  • Limited availability: 8 seats every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Sunday;
  • Extra: a shot of the Bear’s personal spicy blend of Pălinca (homemade traditional Romanian drink). Bear stories about Romanian traditions, food and mysticism, stage-life, street music and off-grid living included. FREE WiFi.

Don’t miss the chance to pick a local’s brain and hear real life “medieval punk” stories from all the places you’ll visit through the old mountain passes of Historical Transylvania.

Book your seat now at smile@bucurs.ro.

visit bucharest

To Bucharest Or Not To Bucharest, This Is The Question

So, we’ve heard that you are coming to visit Bucharest! That’s just amazing! Good choice! There are many reasons to come here. Just like there are many reasons to visit us, at Bucur’s Shelter Hostel! Who are we? Well, they call us a hostel, but our friends from all over the world who came and stayed with us keep saying we are like a nice and friendly home away from home. We decided to put together some of the nice things the travelers keep telling us, so here are some awesome reasons why to stay at Bucur’s Shelter:
THE WARM AND WELCOMING SMILE of our super-amazing-awesome-friendly staff you will see first thing you enter the door. Aaand first thing in the morning! 🙂 It makes you feel sure that you are just in the right place with the right people around. You’re already our friend. Yes, you! 🙂

– All the TIPS & TRICKS about the coolest alternative places and events in Bucharest. And also about the important sights to visit and how to get there.
– The COMFY ALREADY MADE BEDS and FLUFFY duvets. Such a sweet sleep!
THE HUGE BEAN BAG in the living room. You need to come and try it to understand what we are talking about. We had guests who found their soul mate in our living room!
JOY. Bucur is related to the Romanian word bucurie, which means JOY!
ȚUICA – the welcome shot you get to drink after an exhausting trip.
– The warm HUG you will receive when it’s time to say goodbye. We don’t promise it will be only one hug 🙂
SPONTANEOUS gatherings and movies/beer/wine/pizza/cooking parties.
– The GOOD MUSIC from the living room. It makes you wanna just stay and listen to more. Plus, you are always welcome to share with us your favorite music. Or to play your instruments. We simply loooove music!
– The late night TALKS. About the universe, life, magic… well… It always gets to the point when you roll on the floor laughing about silly memories from drunken times.
– The nice FREE BREAKFAST which will be there, waiting for you every morning!

Now you only have to follow the stars, find the green building in the city center, ring the bell and let the magic happen!

beard brothers cazare bucuresti

Journal of a hostel receptionist – episode #1

The bright story of our receptionist Ioana Ciocănel

Starting with the autumn of 2015, I got myself immersed in the hostel life, and begin to be fascinated by the world unfolding in front of the reception desk with each check-in I did.

Beyond keeping the business going and growing, I found myself dealing with a rainbow of people, each color so unique and yet sharing a subtle essence. These new encounters that come across are offering me a chance to admire beauty and acknowledge the interdependent needs shared by us all. The various human connections made possible by the hostel environment, highlights the importance of quality interactions, observing without evaluating as good or bad, and being curious about life.

Thanks to all these conversations, came forth the idea of writing about the people I meet and the universal themes they helped me grasp. My intention is to articulate what I see and feel while bringing homage to these souls.

________________________________________________________________________

Episode #1:
Today I will tell you about The Beard Brothers, “probably the most unconventional NGO in Romania” as they call themselves. Present in Bucharest to sustain their 10th fund raising campaign that aims in gathering 30.000 Euro for the medical equipment of the burn unit, part of the Emergency Hospital in Cluj.

This initiative was born after the tragedy that happened during a metal rock concert on the 30th of October 2015, in Colectiv Club (just around the corner from Bucur’s Shelter Hostel), when so many people died and many are still suffering since. Thousands of people gathered to commemorate the victims and then to protest, asking for the resignation of the governmental officials in charge at that time. Moreover, the shock of it, brought to light the existing conditions in Romanian hospitals and party/concert clubs. Some actions were taken by the authorities, and people seemed more eager to come together for helping one another.

beard brothers hostel bucharest

So, these men and women, members of The Beard Brothers took action for helping others as well, and because they were accommodated at our hostel recently, I got the chance to meet them and talk a little. When they entered the reception room, laughter and a comfortable vibe accompanied them. Soon jokes started to take shape and I felt happy doing “my job”. I didn’t know about their activity even if it is a fast growing one. They started in 2013 with 7 people involved, and now in 2017 they reached 590 members and helpers that continue to extend on a national level. Their intention is to change mentalities and take responsibility, by cooperating with different other groups, in order to find and implement solutions for old and new challenges in our communities.

They took up the projects forgotten or rejected by public administration such as fund raising for the medical care of different people, a blood donation campaign, renovating a village school around Cluj, purchasing and donating a bus for the kids with special needs that attend a kinder garden in the same city, and also the acquisition of two cars that now offer free rides to disabled people or various social cases (“The Beard Mobile”). “It’s up to you” an ongoing campaign that talks about volunteering and social involvement in schools and high schools also caught my eye, because they make it look cool to take charge of what needs to be done, while empowering the new generation. The list is bigger and growing, and more info can be found on their website.

In the beginning of their activity they encountered difficulties in collaborating with other people without offering money. Explaining that what they want to get done is for the sake of all, and not for a selfish interest sounded like alien talk. It took strong determination, commitment and numerous tiring negotiations and to make things flow with compassion. I think their joyful way of seeing the world also helps so they don’t give up or go mad.

Meeting them, triggered admiration in my heart, and made me meditate again on the influence of money vs people. They see money as a tool, not as an add-on value of humans. Our society, today, still appreciates and promotes material comfort, and dwells on getting more for oneself ignoring the real needs of all. I see this money oriented behavior as a substitute for authentic human connection, and as a pillar sustaining a dysfunctional society. By not assuming the responsibility for what grows in our garden we easily offer the decision making of our wellbeing to some power or excuse outside of us. When we cannot see the forest for the trees, we fail to see the universal human needs of acceptance, appreciation, empathy, trust, harmony. These have more chances of being addressed by acknowledging the interdependence of all around (humans and nature). The more we practice self-worthiness, and authentic decision-making, in order to address the real needs of the tree/forest, the more substantial our contribution to the enrichment of life becomes.

I feel grateful for meeting these Beard Brothers, and inspired to exercise my own power more by giving that which chips in for the co creation of a peaceful, joyful and functional world.

Jah Bless!

Ioana Ciocănel,
Bucur’s Angel storyteller

hostel life in bucharest

Habemus blog – hostel life in Bucharest

Dear all, boyz & girlz, best friends and simple acquaintances, people who know us well or ones who’ll get to know us soon, today is a big day for us, we decided to emerge our ideas & bring them to life through this online journal. You’ll find here our deepest thoughts, amazing travel stories, tips & tricks about what to do in Bucharest, where to go, hidden gems, hostel life in Bucharest and whatever fairy dust will bring our daily life in the hostel. Our dream, holy grail, mantra, the reason for jumping off the bed every day, call it anyhow, is to make the world a better place, to spread love & to share joy.

Come and let the magic happen!

With love,
Irina Botnari
Chief Bucur’s Angel