Archive for the ‘Cluj’ Category

Blocking

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

One morning I was trying to park my car when I was going to work. As I approached the first corner, to the back of the parking lot, I found a nice surprise blocking the entrance by a guy working at the local TV studio:
NCN Parking
I wrote a lot of nice things about the country I live in, it was time to show some of the annoying things which tells a lot about the people who live here…

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A View from the Top

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Last week the Hungarian days were held here in Cluj-Napoca and with this occasion, people were allowed to visit in organized groups the tower of St. Michael’s church. I have been living in Cluj for 8 years now and have never been up there. This was an opportunity that I could not miss, so as we were going shopping we payed a quick visit to the tower (hence the low quality of the photos: they were taken again using my phone).
St. MIchael's Church
The entrance to the tower is from the north-eastern side of it. After entering on must climb a set of stone steps until reaching the base and then a long walk awaits on a set of separate staircases. These staircases are made of wood and they seem to be quite old: I can now understand why they do not let people up generally to visit the tower. Even in these circumstances we were told, that as we are climbing we must make sure, that no more than 3 persons are climbing in one stair-section at a time.

As we were climbing up we could admire a lot of old artifacts just laying in the dust. I made some photos of them, but because of the quality of the picture, they do not seem that spectacular 🙁 . The staircases lead up right to the bells, where we had to go through all the metallic structures to reach the door leading to the small terrace at around the middle of the tower (we could not go any higher). That height, however, was quite enough. The view from the tower is breathtaking. One can see a lot from the city there and of course it provides a wonderful opportunity to make some nice pictures (If only my camera had been there…)

After satisfying my lust of taking pictures (well what I could make actually with my phone…) we were told we need to go down and do not get scared if they bells start ringing… This last part was interesting: between the terrace and the staircase leading down the bells were hanging a few centimeters above my head… they’d better NOT start ringing at the same moment I am below them… In the end I quickly rushed to the staircase and headed down. I was lucky the bells started ringing just a few seconds later… I made it 🙂 . Anyway, I was told they ring for a short period of time every 10 minutes: basically if you are up, it is hard to miss one episode…

To end my post: here are the pictures I have taken. Enjoy!

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A New Approach

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Ursus is the brand name of the beer that used to be produced here, in Cluj-Napoca. It used to be, because SABMiller, the parent company, decided to move the entire production to a different city (I don’t even care where…). The old brewery was closed… But not for long: this month the brewery has reopened its gates with a special treat. A museum/mini-brewery/pub has opened up in its place. It is a unique concept in Romania and it is the only such brewery of SABMiller. The place is now also special for me, because we organized one of our first a beer-nights with our team there last week 😛 …
Ursus Beer Factory
A bit late, but I decided to post some information about the place, because most of the reviews I have found so far were in Romanian. So, here goes one out for all the people of the word, who speak English: a short review of the new Ursus Beer Factory.

A big iron gate with the iron bear logo is what separates the Motilor street from the outside terrace. The terrace is huge with big tables for 4-8 people all covered with umbrellas to protect from rain or the summer heat. Nothing fancy, just enough (although the security cameras were a new thing…) . Inside it offers a factory feeling, with a lot of iron bars and rustic/iron furniture and decoration. The distillery is also visible through a plexy-glass window and it too offers a unique atmosphere for the pub. Take special note of the chandeliers inside, they are made out of a special material 🙂 .

The prices are OK, for a place like this: a 0.4l Ursus Premium Draft costs 4.5RON (~€1.00), while the unique non-filtered Ursus, which is produced only at this small brewery, costs 5.0RON (~€1.15). The only problem with this special beer, is that it is very limited: it is served only from 7:00PM and the stocks get depleted in about an hour (we were told it is a company policy, to make sure there is non-filtered beer at 7:00PM when most of the guests arrive…).
There is also food being served, the prices though are bit higher than an ordinary restaurant in Cluj. One can always eat some sandwiches at lower prices, but there is a time limit for those too: only until 1:00PM (we were not told why… I guess it is another stupid company policy…). It is better, though, to leave the food alone… after all, people go to a “Beer Factory” to drink beer, not to eat… 🙂 …

Another important thing is the empty places: there are practically none 🙂 . We went there at around 6:00PM and we could barely find a place to sit (although we were 8, so we were kind of pushing for the impossible). The best thing is to book ahead, but I could not find a usable phone number to make a reservation for us. Once there, however, I have made an important “acquisition”: a usable phone number. No, I will not publish it on the internet, but I can provide it to anyone who requests it personally 😉 .

We did not visit the museum, although there is a special tour also for that (or so I was told). We were interested in the pub part and I must say it was not that bad. The waiters were a bit slow, but I guess that was due to the large number of guests they were trying to serve that night… I think the place is understaffed a bit… So the verdict from my point of view: a special theme-pub which is a must see in Cluj!.

I cannot share any pictures about the place on my Picasa account, because my stupid phone was low on battery. The usual link then, is missing from the end of this post 🙁 .

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Fine Dining

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

I bet the first thing you have seen on this post is the big photo with the delicious looking meals on it. I bet you are also wondering where the VIA restaurant is. I bet you already clicked on the link and already know where it is. I guess you are already planning a visit 😉 . Well, let me first share my opinion about it…
Via Restaurant
When booking a place, there are two options: outside on the terrace or inside. My friend, who recommended the place, says it is more cozy in the inside. Since it was a hot summer day, I booked on the terrace and my opinion is, that it is quite cozy there also. I think it is a question of mood… This is a bit more sophisticated restaurant compared to the rest of the gang here in Cluj. Expect something different, something new. Do not prepare for a viking-style dinner. Prepare for a bit of fine dining. Expect some nicely arranged plates with exciting tastes that you do not taste on a daily basis.

You might prepare yourself for a Babylonian language-mix, because a lot of foreign people visit the place. When we were there, there was a table of Dutch people, one with French people, one with English tourists, a table Romanian people and us, speaking in Hungarian. The noise was not unbearable (the advantage of sitting outside) and what i liked: there was no STUPID background music (in fact there was no music at all), just peace and relaxation. Oh, yes, expect a bit higher price range: affordable, but well suited for what you get.

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Tranquility in the Valley

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Last weekend was full of events. Both Saturday and Sunday we did trips visiting interesting places nearby (max. 1.5 hours with a car). In this post I would like to describe the first trip, the short one, which we made Saturday. The actual goal of the trip was a little bit work related: we needed to check two inns suitable for organizing trainings for a small group of people. One of the two inns is situated close to the gorge of Ramet, so after checking out the inn, we decided to go a few kilometers up in the mountains to check out an interesting site: the Monastery of Ramet.
Ramet Monastery
Accessing the monastery is really easy: from Cluj just follow the E81 road towards Alba Iulia until reaching the small town of Teius. In Teius one must take a left turn following the indicators towards Stremt commune. From this point it is really simple: follow the road passing 1-2 villages until you see the monastery. One thing I want to stress out is the fact that the road is really narrow. I cannot imagine two buses passing next to each-other, so careful: the roads are of good quality (zero potholes), but there are barely two lanes…

The monastery itself can be visited freely, there are no entry fees at any point. Just go in, stay quiet and take your pictures… that is, where you are allowed to take pictures: in the church itself it is forbidden to take photos. In any other place, we did not have problems, even while photographing the nuns, working at the bee-hives or just arranging the small gardens which provide their daily food.

It is not a big thing, but if one just wants to get away for an hour from the big city life, this is a great place to go to: it brings a little bit of peace in peoples’ hearts 🙂 . Photos can be seen here.

The rest of the trips? Well, I will write about them later 🙂 …

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