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.
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.