Eager to discover more of Northwest Romania, we set our course to Cluj-Napoca. Initially, we planned a one weekend trip, but suddenly things changed and we stayed for more than a week. I ended up constantly rewashing my three shirts and three pairs of undies that I had packed for a weekend trip . Actually, I am more than happy to have experienced this kind of gypsie or simple traveller lifestyle. Materialistically I don’t need much at all. In a world dominated by consumerism, it takes time and effort to learn how to live with less but it is a great bonus for travellers. And in general, why do we need so much stuff anyway?
But enough about my personal development. Let me tell you a little about Cluj-Napoca and other lovely places we discovered.
In terms of population, Cluj is triple the size of Baia Mare, the city where I have been hanging out for a while. A little over 300 000 people live here. It is kind of built in a valley so the whole city is surrounded by hills. I finally learned to call them hills, not mountains, because having grown up in a flat land country anything that’s even hundreds of meters high looks like a mountain to me. The locals had to keep reminding me that they are only hills while I stare at the view with my jaw dropped open. If I will see a real mountain maybe I’ll faint. However, there is a wonderful view to the city from those hills.
The following pictures are actually made at the Cetatuia Park. You just need to climb some stairs and you can already enjoy the view on the city.
Cluj is a student city and seems to be pretty international too. There are so many choices of restaurant, bars and cafes. Like everywhere you can find Italian or Chinese cuisine, but there are some nice local Romanian eating places too. One humble place is Varzarie, where you can taste the local food. The place is nothing fancy but is very sweet and the food reminded me a little of my grandmothers cooking.
I liked the overall look of the city. People speak English and you’ll regularly stumble on some tourists too, but not too many. There are multiple museums and two big malls for those who love to shop.
Christmas is coming and traditionally there is a little market in the square. Hot wine and Hungarian Kürtoskalacs are my favourites while listening to Romanian music. Being a super meat country there are a couple of stalls also selling just meat and sausages.
We did not spend too much time in Sibiu because on that day the weather was freezing and we wanted to reach to the famous Transfagarasan highway before dark. However, the city was adorable. I loved the style of the houses there and the architecture. They looked very humble yet decorative and a little old fashioned.
We passed by the well-known liar’s bridge where we heard a mother ordering her kid not to lie. I read from another blog before that if you tell a lie on the bridge, it will collapse. So better stay truthful!
Finally, we decided to visit the Council Tower of Sibiu to glance at the whole city. It has seven floors and on some of them you can learn about the history or browse an exhibition. The tower was supposed to be the highest in the area but the top floors had crashed in 1585. After several constructions, they still failed to make it the tallest monument.
In the end, we did not manage to really see the infamous highway because it got very dark. So I guess I need to go back one day. We did pass by the summer residence of Samuel von Brukenthal, though. This is a historical place with its palace and garden, where numerous events are held, especially during the summer. Apparently, it is the only baroque residence left in Southern Transilvania. The place looked a little extravagant and I imagined how some very posh people used to live there and reflect on life in their huge garden.
There are so many beautiful places in Northwest Romania. For the moment this is it, but some real mountain stories and other cool attractions are coming up. Stay tuned for more!