After much contemplation over a holiday destination, we decided on Romania. Mostly over Peter’s love of vampires and the idea of being in spooky surroundings, but also because of the beauty of the countryside. Managing to find cheap flights the dates were set for September and off we flew to Cluj.The flight with blue air was hilarious for the no nonsense attitude of the air hostess and the speed in which they did the safety presentation. I had done a lot of research beforehand and we thought the best way to have freedom and experience as much as possible in a week would rent a car.
Arriving at Cluj-Napoca 45 minutes before expected arrival time, the capital of Transylvania was minutes away. We hopped in a taxi and arrived at the car rental, after reading about driving in Romania it was with some trepidation that Peter set off in our new Ford Ka. Luckily our hotel was around the corner and we made it with zero incidents. I booked the Hotel Beyfin and when we entered our room we couldn’t have been happier. The view from our mini balcony was incredible.
(The Orthodox Cathedral)
There just so happened to be a rooftop terrace too, so we jumped in the lift and got to see a panoramic view of Cluj. It’s not a huge city so we could see over the old town and the opera house nearby. I loved the rolling hills surrounding the city. So far it was a very green country which was fab.
(View over old town)
We had our first holiday beer and left the hotel to explore. We walked down a large boulevard with chairs and tables running along the length of it towards the main square. The sun was shining at a balmy 27 degrees celsius as we came out onto the square which houses an impressive statue of former ruler Matthias Corvinus. The backdrop to this is the huge St Michael’s Church.
(Matthias Corvinus and St Michael’s)
After this we wandered through the beautiful old town, passing numerous small bars and restaurants with outside seating. After a few twists and turns we came out into the Parcul Central, and a monument against communist rule.
(Small square in old town)
Wandering round the park was lovely, lots of people were having picnics and hanging in hammocks. We came to a lake where lots of people were pedal boating on dragon and VW car boats.
After this we wandered back towards the hotel, stopping for the obligatory beer in the sun, had a quick wardrobe change and headed back out. Peter had noticed a restaurant in the lonely planet guide that mentioned great steaks so off we went.
We arrived at the (M)eating point restaurant and sat overlooling the river. The food was great for the price, my two course meal and whiskey sour was the equivalent of £16! It was pretty quiet so after discussing the various ways vampires could appear around us we left and went back to the winding streets of old town. Here we sat for a couple of beers, planning our journey to Corvin Castle and the birthplace of Vald the Impaler himself, Sighisoara. The old town really is great, sat outside in the winding streets with a definite buzz about the place. It helps when two beers cost less than 20Lei which is about £4!
(Che Guevara bar)
(St Michael’s by night)