I arrived in Cluj on Sunday evening, after a very long journey starting on Saturday evening, continuing with a stop on Sunday morning somewhere on a mountain top between Vâlcea and Sibiu and ending with 150 miles of road on Sunday afternoon.
The reason of my coming here was refiling my batteries, as I am really really tired and I could stand no longer Bucharest.
You can get to Cluj Napoca by car, obviously, by train or by plane. Going by train is frustrating - it takes almost 10 hours to get to Cluj from Bucharest (and I must express my amazement that, on Saturday, it took me 7 hours to get to Sibiu, which is less than 300 kilometers north of Bucharest, by train. A ratio of 40 kmph. No comment.). By car, coming from Bucharest, it is frustrating again, because of the underdevelopment of the national roads. By plane would be better, especially if you come from abroad. The airport is quite nice and very close to the city.
Places to see? Yes, there are a few. Basically, the center, but also the Belvedere hill (with wonderful panoramas of the city) and the Botanical garden. I also enjoyed the bridges over the river Someş and the main park nearby. I went to the elegant National Theater and Opera House, and assisted to a good performance of Carmen by Georges Bizet (with the observation that the French spoken on stage could have been better). However, the singing and, from my point of view, especially the orchestra, were very good.
On an easier note, the choice of pubs can take into consideration, but do not limit itself to, places such as: Toulouse, Diesel, Janis Cafe, Janis la Stuf, Demmers (if you like good tea) and Vertigo. A decent club is After eight. As for restaurants, the one I would recommend - and I thank the person who let me know about the place - is La Piazzetta. But I admit that I generally enjoy Italian kitchen, so that choice can be subjective.
After five days, I don't know if living in Cluj is better than living in Bucharest. Usually, it takes me a little to evaluate the place I see and the people who take part to the picture. Comparing to Bucharest, there is obviously more common sense here and people seem more civilized, but not more educated. However, when getting to know them better, they function just like the kind of people you can meet in Bucharest, keeping in mind that there is a sum of cultural differences which, from my point of view, are clearly fading away.
So, as a sort of conclusion to this rather short post, I would say, to my surprise, that I did not notice important differences between Cluj and the south of the country. People are running for their material interest, which is good mainly, but they seem to put a big emphasis on that. Somehow it was frustrating to listen to people talking only about money, even the students in the university library. I have enough of that kind of chat at home.
The photo gallery:
1-2. Janis Cafe - the library
3-4. the center square, with the cathedral and the statue of Matthias Corvinus
5. flower-shop. It was called "Casa cu flori", if I recall correctly.
6. Eroilor str.
7. side street
8. the stadium
9. the river Somes
10-11. After Eight club
12. the opera (well, a part of it)
13-14. views of the city from the Belvedere hill
15. Janis la Stuf. I loved the candles lying on the piano
Kindle your mind,