[For Romanian version click here]
Because I had enough of the sadness and the feeling of a dead city that Constanta city offers outside of the summer season I decided to pack up and try life Cluj Napoca – the capital of Transylvania . I visited the city before but only for the weekend period and I liked what I saw , and when I had an opportunity I went to the car , filled the tank and hit the road. Unfortunately my living experience in Cluj Napoca was a bit short , I would have stayed there for about another two months but duty calls. I had good living conditions , we stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment with a colleague , in Mănăştur , the rent was 200 euros , and utilities somewhere around 400 RON per month ( not bad at all especially since it was cold outside ) splitted in 2 was not bad at all.
Let’s take it from the beginning , Cluj is very different from the rest of Romania country , especially from the Balkan – gypsy atmosphere found south of the Carpathians. And I do not mean just the beautiful architecture of the city, but the people are friendly and civilized ( not much but still ) from the rest of the country . The city is full of students, somewhere around 60,000 registered students , so in relation to the city’s population comes around – 1 out of 5 people are young students , if you put the rest of the young people who came to the city attracted by well-paying jobs in IT , medicine and telecommunications the youth report will be probably even bigger. Everywhere you look there are young men and women , there is a very high traffic both pedestrian and auto . Car traffic in the downtown area often remembered me of the one in Bucharest . All these young people working in the industries listed above engages an incredible services and entertainment industry , the number of cafes , bars , pubs , clubs are great for a city the size of Cluj, offering a large variety and good fun for almost every evening and night of the week . In general the city is active , as in Bucharest , you always find a concert, an art exhibition , a flash mob or outdoors events.
Public transport has good points , although a ticket costs 4 RON for 2 trips , there were made serious investments in trams , trolleys , buses , mostly new and good quality ( not cheap MAZ models ) , although there are still some old communist models running , but still , RATUC ensure efficient transport and you rarely wait more than 10 minutes for the bus to come and some lines keep services running up to 1 am …. and surprise – there none of the famous Maxi Taxi vans with sardines here ! Also cycling is encouraged and there are special tracks , and a new system of park and ride your bike will soon be implemented , whose stations are already built throughout the city by authorities . Taxi is expensive unfortunately , the prices were recently raised to 2.25 lei per km by day and 2.5 at night, but fortunately due to the geography of the city the clock rarely reaches more than 10 lei to the center. Another attractive point for the multinational companies and travellers is Cluj International Airport , which is just outside the city ( you can reach it by bus) , the airport is serviced by daily flights , big airlines such as Lufthansa and the lowcosts companies such as Wizzair , providing direct connections to many destinations .
As I said earlier, the city is clean, green spaces are maintained , central park deserves applause for landscaping and renovation, it is a pleasure to walk in it. And it’s really easy to throw a paper in the trash bin when you have bins on every second pole …. and those bins are not broken or melted and are not full. Another impressive aspect that we will probably never see in our region is the cleaning routine of the city ,each evening there are people sweeping the streets in large teams supervised by a boss , especially on sidewalks and many pedestrian areas and on the streets after passing a first car that sweep the roadway comes back a second tanker car behind which is a man with a hose in hand that spray jets cold water on both street and sidewalks.
Also tourism in town is not bad , the well preserved historic center is quite large, although there is much room for improvement. In the of old city blocks are full with cobblestone streets and old buildings, where they buried cables o , and the Austrian model of city planning is very good, usually consisting of a continuous line of buildings to the street, with passages that give way to the beautifully landscaped interior courtyards and the buildings have usually undergrounds with arched ceiling , which usually feature underground pubs and clubs . In the perimeter of the old fortress there are numerous cathedrals , churches, monuments , museums, including the gorgeous church of St. Michael in Union Square – the largest Gothic building in the country, the city hall , numerous palaces ( Szeky liked by me ) , bastion , and the city is situated on the hills that offers some great views especially at night or at sunset on the hill of Cetatuia or on the shores of Somes Mic river that crosses the city . Cluj county and surroundings have much to offer , a few miles away where there is Feleac ski slope ; the mountains , lakes , dams and great roads around Tarnita ; a superb ethnographic park with various wooden buildings of the region ; Salina Turda salt mine – MUST SEE ! ! ; just 100 kilometers is the beautifully renovated city of Alba Iulia and a little further you can see the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara and many other smaller castles and fortresses which unfortunately I did not get to see them . Sports fans will not be disappointed , there are plenty of great places for canoeing, climbing, hiking , mountain cycling tours . Football fans will be delighted, as two great teams play in the city, with two impressive stadiums as well. Cluj Arena stadium is the best and most modern but CFR stadium offers through its location and design a beautiful view above the city.
So …. , from a drivers perspective i must complain about the city, I understand that the city hall chose to invest in other areas , but city boulevards and streets in general are in bad condition , bent and deformed , and therefore you kind of break you car there. There is a serious need for new asphalt in the city, from this point of view is better in Constanta . Another thing that I noticed : it’s quite a complicated city , as in Brasov there are many one-way streets and avenues with many lanes, and if you don’t choose in time the lane for the desired direction you have to make some huge loops to return to initial area …. but after you get to know the city it kind of makes sense . Another serious problem of the city is the parking lots , where again I can say that is better in Constanta . You just don’t have any place to legally park your car , the only parking spaces are rented by the city hall subscription based , and if you park your car on the sidewalk the local police will come and fine you. In Constanta if you park your car on the sidewalk but leave 1 meter free for pedestrians in accordance with the law you are ok , but in Cluj the city forbids it and will fine you very quick , even if the sidewalk has 5 meters wide. A big plus however for the many multi-level parkings built by the city hall , big buildings of 6-7 levels,great for the locals but instead for visitors cost somewhere around 18 RON per day , well who the hell will pay that much money for 10 days …..what about 40 days? ? ? And in the central area all the parkings lots have fees, i guess Romania is still active here.
Let’s get to people, so first of all I wish to thank everyone who made my life and evenings beautiful there , I really had a nice time and I will never forget many moments and hope to see you soon. People are generally nice , I met and made friends both Romanian and Hungarian , Bulgarian , Moldavian , Americans , Germans etc etc , the city is full of foreigners that came to study at college or to work in multi -national companies , and citizens of different origins from the region. They are much more friendly and talkative ( I’ve never heard all my life so many good day and good appetite cheers ), so guys if you come to Bucharest and Constanta – do not think that we have something against you if we talk little and only the minimum necesary with a stranger , it’s just the way we are) . I met also some bad people , especially that of the local police fagots . I have not seen instead to many gypsies , stray dogs or local street corner cigarettes sellers , I really need to complain against some Romanians there , who works on the taxi and some rags that you intentionally drop you beer in the club … and …… I really need make a big fucking complaint against the Romanian Orthodox Church , and the idiots from the city hall who let them do what they want , so just like in Constanta and the rest of Romania , these people actually butcher parks and green spaces of the city to build some really ugly megalomaniac things called cathedrals, to impose orthodox religion in the city. And in a city like Cluj Napoca , where one third of the population or more is of another religion (usually Catholic or Protestant ) is just simply insulting to put out on the streets big speakers on a Sunday morning to force everyone to listen to the service of your religion . And when I say ugly megalomaniac Well no kidding , the best example in my opinion is the Cathedral “St. Peter and Paul ” from Mănăştur , which was built abusively in the park, which presides over the surrounding towers of 9 floors ! , Made especially to be taller than the old and gorgeous Calvary Catholic Church – located on top of the nearby hill , and which is for more than 20 years under construction , swallowing millions from state budgets (meaning out taxes ) and which from an architectural perspective is simply tacky and ugly … so it’s really bullshit. A beautiful city where I hope to return , I know that there are other nice places but I can say it’s safe in top 3 favourite living destinations if I had to choose where to live ( in Romania ) .
ps : I can confirm – Shawarma is still the best of all in Constanta 😀
Vezi alte calatorii / other trips : Hunedoara Castle ; Singapore 2013 , Brasov 02.2014 , Istanbul 01.2014 , Cluj Napoca 08.2013 , Sibiu 07.2013 , San Pedro , Bucharest 2013 , Varna 2012 , Los Angeles 2012 , Budapest & Viena , Salerno , Cluj Napoca 2012 , Firenze , Brasov 02.2012 , Amsterdam , Antofagasta , Valencia , Lima , Bremen , Istanbul 2009 , Valletta , San Juan , Barcelona , Singapore 2010 , Los Angeles 2010 , Transilvania road trip , La Spezia , Bosphor by ship , Sydney , Melborune , Auckland , San Francisco , Tauranga