The Journey: Day 2
The classic retreat for diplomats and expats looking for a quiet afternoon for almost a century, The Diplomatic Club offers countryside peace and a well maintained golf course right in the middle of Bucharest.
The first, wooden, triumphal arch was built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence (1878), so that the victorious troops could march under it. Another temporary arch was built on the same site, in 1922, after World War I, which was demolished in 1935 to make way for the current triumphal arch, which was inaugurated in September 1936.
The proximity to Bucharest meant Snagov was always an attraction for the elites. Built in the '30s as a Royal retreat, the palace was briefly used by virtually everyone that ruled Romania: the Royal Family, Marshal Ion Antonescu or the Communist dictators. Ceausescu stopped over in December 1989, when running from the crowd that had overthrown him.
Another main historical point of the monastery is the burial place of Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, better know as Dracula.
A very prestigious Bucharest restaurant, "El Capitan" takes pride in the perfect location - right on the Snagov lake shore, as well as in the contemporary menu, created by a well known three-starred chef.
For those of you fascinated by chance, we have prepared a legendary Hold'em tournament, in which you shall face Daniel Negreanu, considered as one of the best poker players in history, Toni Judet, Romania's current best and pro player, Gina Pistol, playmate and Alin Caraman, winner of PokerStars Romania Tour. The prize is a nice $5000.
The first in a series of traditional evenings, it serves as an introduction to those to come. From traditional Romanian food (where weirdness is sometimes a staple) to finest wines, we have prepared them all. You only need to step into the Palace Ballroom and be amazed by the sights, sounds and tastes!
We're just starting our journey: after a good rest and a nice breakfast, we head towards a luxury landmark: the Snagov Palace Domain. Before we head out, you have a choice of a morning golf round at Clubul Diplomatic, visits at the museums or even a special view on top of the Triumph Arc, very similar to the one in Paris, which will be open just for you.
A symbol of the Communist era, the Snagov Palace Domain, spanning over 1 million sqm, was Ceausescu's favourite pastime retreat – and not only pastime. It is well known as a place for surprise party or government meeting place, the Palace sporting a huge conference room.
After champagne and fine cheese platter served on Ceausescu's favourite boat, we shall be heading towards the Vlad Tepes Monastery, built in 1408 and largely inaccesible to the public. In this oasis of silence and serenity one of the world's most controversial figures found his final resting place: Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, much better known as Dracula.
After the encounter with the prince himself, we're heading back to the centerpiece of the domain – the Snagov Palace. Built by prince Nicolae in 1930, it has been revamped and refurbished by Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife. In spite of his simple, working-class image, he managed to steer the architects and designers into building the most opulent residence in the whole Communist world.
Lunch will be served at the restaurant by the lake, featuring a fusion menu presented by a three-starred French Chef.
The day is not yet over, and the evening is full of surprises.
We're hosting a special Texas Hold'em night, where those of you fond of poker will be playing against a all-stars lineup: Daniel Negreanu and Toni Judet, the best Romanian-born poker players, Gina Pistol, dubbed Romania's Marilyn Monroe and Alin Caraman, the Poker Stars Romania tourney winner! The prize is as real as it gets: 5000 dollars. Those of you not into poker can attend the Palace Ballroom Dinner, an exquisite wine tasting, live music with the most popular local artists and fireworks to close on a busy day.