Liam Ratcatcher! 1983
The Full Story The Dracula Tour 1983
Kustov drove us to our hotel in Bucharest where we arrived early evening, once more we were all booked into twin rooms, although Kustov was once more in with both Liam and myself, he set up a campbed. We were due to fly out the following evening from the International Airport on the outskirts of the city. We planned to, after settling into our rooms and showering and taking some relax time to meet for our last dinner together in the hotel’s restaurant at around 8pm that night.
The dinner was nothing special admittedly, but all seven of us had a good time all the same. The hotel had a karaoke machine and Liam and Kustov were in full swing together as a double act with dancing to boot. It was just so funny seeing the pair of them together as the most unlikliest duo ever. Kustov came into his own as a new Barry Manilow impersonator if you could take into account he sounded like a drunken cat being murdered then his take on the songs was really quite spectacular with Liam standing behind him shaking his whatevers for all they were worth!
By the time we all retired for the night, Liam and Kustov were exhausted and ironically both slept and not once did either of them actually snore, which was typically ironic, that on our last night that should occur!
Come 7am the next morning, we were all up and ready for our last day in Romania, and by 8.30, we were all showered and packed and were downstairs with our luggage in the lobby where it would be stored before we were to set off for our flight home later that day.
We all shared a table together with breakfast, and Kustov told us his plans for the day and the sights he planned to show us. A few tables over and we saw the other who had been on the original flight with us when we first arrived … John and his girlfriend Tina, Mitchell and his wife Gloria with their daughter Hannah. We asked how their holiday had been and they answered that it had gone horribly wrong after they had left the main group. We couldn’t help but smile and laugh a bit at that news …oh well shit happens, Liam piped up. Which didn’t really go down that well with the five of them!
By 9.30, the seven of us set off to view the sights of Romania’s central city – Bucharest.
In 1983, Bucharest was a very different city to l should imagine the 2018 version. As l have said l haven’t been back since all those years ago, and l would like to go again, it is something which sits on my bucket list of ‘must do’s’. I know Suze would love to go so perhaps we can retake the ‘Dracula Tour’ sometime in the future. However 32 years ago, the city seemed to be crawling with security forces with some very menacing weaponry that even Liam did not care to mingle with so that was something. he just admired from afar.
I didn’t really rate the city in truth, but l think my sightseeing was reflective upon the seriously bad weather of our final day. It felt like it was literally raining cats and dogs, the rain was that heavy, to boot there was a seriously aggressive wind accompanied with a chill factor whipping its way the the streets which also didn’t help liven up our spirits. I longed to be back in the rural areas of the countryside and not sitting in Kustov’s van for most of the day.
Palace of the Parliament – House of the People.
There was also a very strong security force presence in the city, and it was odd seeing all the guards wearing guns that looked like they could rip a person in half with a mentality that wouldn’t take any funny business whatsoever, so much so, that Liam normally quite friendly towards ‘hunks’ as he put it, not wishing to even remotely interact with any of them.
Arch of Triumph
But once more kudos to Kustov, he did his very best to show us the best sights, so we visited the Arch of Triumph and the huge Palace of Parliament which was as said absolutely massive! But also managed to take time to visit a museum and there we learned about rural life of the country, we all bought too many postcards as many of the places didn’t allow or wish for us to take photographs inside these buildings. Although l think the best part of our tour of the city despite the weather was the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum for despite the bad weather we could walk around the open grounds and take photographs and see the many styles of traditional Romanian village life.
Our day in all passed pretty quickly – we lunched out and it wasn’t long before we were heading back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and head out to the airport. Once there Kustov awarded us all with a bear sized man hug, and after the exchange of gifts from us to him, and seeing him looking very happy and sad at the same time and expressing how we were his best tour party yet, that we parted company and all six of us headed to the terminal for our flight home.
We didn’t have to wait long before we boarded for our flight back to Heathrow and by around 8pm UK time l was back and collecting a taxi to return to my home in Woking.
We all exchanged addresses as you do, and said we would keep in touch. The girls Dolly and Dana, Molly and Sally, l only heard from once and that was to receive the photographs. BUT, Liam and l remained friends for quite a few years afterwards, so much so that the last time l saw Liam was actually in 1989, and the last time l heard from him was 2006 when he rang to say he was going off to live in Australia, and that was the last time l heard from him. I never had a forwarding address or even an actual residential address, so who knows what happened to him. But l will always wish him well, he was one of those friends that when you started talking again, you never thought there had been a time when you had never talked, if you know what l mean.
But further Liam and l actually went on holiday together three times after 1983, and we became good friends, so in many ways it is sad that l haven’t heard from him for well over ten years.
It has taken me forever to finish this final chapter, with everything going on with my home life, my neck pain, my Dad and everything else, it has taught me that l will never have a story stretch out this long again – because once stress steps on board it buggers about with your writing style, and takes the gusto out of you to complete. However, l will write of Liam and myself and our travel times again in the future, but for now thanks for reading and your patience.
Ps: I have put all the chapters into one large post which l shall post out later today.