Calling all Bucureşteni and Istanbullus
March 10, 2009 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning on "work-traveling" through Europe and Asia, and am looking for advice on where to live in Bucharest and Istanbul.

I love my life in Minneapolis, but I'm decided to put my freelance career on the road and "work travel" for a bit. Last year I worked from Puerto Rico for two months and I would like to do this, in a broader fashion, in Europe and Asia, maintaining my freelance career while living in apartments with reliable internet connections.

My plan for the moment is to stay with a friend in Warsaw for a month, then spend a month in Bucharest, a month in Istanbul, four months in St. Petersburg and a final month with a friend in New Delhi (making it home just in time for Christmas).

I've got a good sense of Warsaw, St. Petersburg, and New Delhi, but I'm afraid I don't know anyone in Bucharest or Istanbul. So I'm turning to the Metafilter community.

Anybody have any recommendations on interesting neighborhoods in those two cities? I'm looking for a location close to great cafes, beautiful scenery (maybe near a river? the Golden Horn?) - possibly, as well, a good student neighborhood close to a university. Ideally I would not be in a touristy part of town.

If you happen to know a good online resource for finding accommodation, it would be appreciated. I don't speak Romanian or Turkish.

I'm hoping to pay under $700 a month, which I realize may not be very realistic, especially since I require a stable high-speed internet connection. Other than that, I don't need anything fancy.

Additionally, are there any legal / visa issues I need to be concerned about, particular w/r/t to me working (for my clients in the U.S.) while in the country?

posted by mammary16 to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I might be able to recommend places in Bucharest. My friend lives in Drumul Taberei and for a month I think you'd get on fine - right by a tramway, though it's a bit far from the Metro, and it's better planned than the rest of the city, though it's all concrete.

Just watch out for the stray dogs and pickpockets and you'll be fine.
posted by kldickson at 10:48 AM on March 10, 2009

Drumul Taberei is also not far from the Universitatea Politehnica din Bucuresti. The studenty neighborhood there, though, is Regie/Grozavesti, which is north of the Politehnica.
posted by kldickson at 10:50 AM on March 10, 2009

Also, be prepared to possibly have to pay at least one bribe. Corruption in Romania is rife, from what I've gleaned from my friend and Transparency International.
posted by kldickson at 10:52 AM on March 10, 2009

I'd go for Cluj or Brasov or Sibiu over Bucharest in a heartbeat - Bucharest's more expensive and dirtier, noisier and not as nice. But that's just me. For $700, you could just about manage in Bucharest, but that money would go a lot farther in the aforementioned Transylvanian cities. Corruption is worse in the south, but I've spent about a year's worth of time in Romania and have never come close to paying or bring solicited for a bribe, for what it's worth.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:26 PM on March 10, 2009

Sofia is half-way between those two, mammary16. If you are passing through, give me a call and I'll buy you a beer.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:19 PM on March 10, 2009

Best answer: For Bucharest I recommend this guide. It's very good, and I'm telling you that as a life-time resident of Bucharest. [PDF version]

Regarding rents, they are way below 700$ now, with the real estate prices crashing, but for just one month it's better for you to read this section.

Ignore those saying to choose Cluj/Braşov/Sibiu over Bucharest. They're not nearly as interesting or lively, and expenses are about the same (public transport is more expensive in Cluj and not nearly as extensive). A month pass for the metro in Bucharest is 23 lei (around 5€) for example, which I wouldn't think of as expensive.

As for specific neighborhoods, I'd recommend anything with easy access to Metro - the traffic can come to a standstill around 6 PM, when people try to come home from work (everybody in their own car).

For any more specific questions, feel free to email me. :)
posted by Masi at 2:54 AM on March 11, 2009

BTW, resources you should use for Bucharest:

best map:
best explainer of places:
best satellite pictures:
best aerial pictures:
best pictures Streetview-like:
best public-transport-planificator:

I suggest you use to see how an area looks like before going there to rent.

And again, for any question, email me.
posted by Masi at 7:24 AM on March 11, 2009

« Older Granular volume data from MP3 files?   |   Why can't we connect wirelessly? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.