Archive for the ‘Cluj’ Category

Details

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

The past two weekends have been spent by visiting places I have already been at. I was re-living some of the highlights from last year… from a different perspective. This weekend we have visited another great thing in the neighborhood: the salt mine from Turda. The last time I have been there, I was so amazed by what I saw, that I totally forgot about all the activities that can be done there. For this reason, this second time was dedicated to the details.
Salina Turda
I was really amazed about how different the place looked like at second glance. Immediately when we arrived in the first chamber, the “Echo Chamber”, I understood where its name comes from. Last time I was there I did not really hear echoes… well, I was doing it entirely wrong. Luckily for me, I did not have to struggle this time, a kid was there who was already having a good time shouting into the darkness and enjoying the echo… The kids sharp voice really got the thing going: the echo lasted for quite a few seconds and it was very, very clear. Cool chamber 😉

Afterwards, when we arrived to the main chamber, we decided to try out the Ferris Wheel: it costs 5 RON (€1.20) per person and it does a slow turn inside the big chamber giving a better view of the surroundings… totally worth it.

Another thing we did, was that we rented a boat, for 10 RON (€2.40). One boat can be rented at most by 3 persons, but I have seen some families with 4 persons (parents + children) also renting a boat. It has been a while since I last rowed in a boat so it took a while until I got the hang of it. There are some places where the water is quite shallow and the way is too tight, but it was not a big deal. Make sure you have some clothes which can be washed easily: the salty water falls in small drops from time to time from the ceiling above in quite random places.

All in all it was a quite interesting new perspective. This time there were not so many people as before, so the visit was much more enjoyable than before.

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Some Hope

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I haven’t been able to write anything lately on by blog. I guess I could say I was bit lazy, but hey, I did a lot of things and I promised myself I will write them down as soon as I get the time. Well, I now have some, but I am not going to write about anything new: this post will be kind of like a follow up for an earlier post and it will be short.
Banffy Castle
Because I was really curious how things have evolved around the castle ruins I visited last year, we made a visit to the Bánffy Castle last weekend. I was really hoping to write about all the great things that were changed on the castle, but unfortunately to my disappointment, there is not much advancement since last year. The castle looks exactly the same, no improvements have been done to the building itself.

I have noticed, however, other things that seem better: there is much bigger publicity now. A lot of posters proved the presence of conferences and special events that have been or are planned to be organized at the castle. The results of this were visible in the number of tourists at the castle: maybe I have caught a better day, but there were a lot of people at it, and more were coming as we were leaving. One thing is for sure: the castle now does not seem to be so abandoned as it did last year.

This little detail above, which seems insignificant at first sight, is, I think, very important for the castle. People are starting to notice it, people really seem to be interested in this old, but magnificent ruin. This gives hope: a hope that the seemingly abandoned walls will maybe be restored once in the future. So I hope this will not be my last post regarding the ruin, I hope next year I’ll be able to come back with brand new photos of a part that was fully restored… 🙂

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Speed Limit

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Speed Limit
Speed Limit
So, what’s next? Speed cameras for pedestrians? 😛

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Spices

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Yesterday evening we decided to go and eat out. Because we have received some fliers which offered a 10% discount in a fairly new Indian restaurant in Cluj, we decided to try it out. The restaurant is called Indigo and I have read several articles about it of how good it is. Well, this was I guess a good reason to go and check it out.
Indigo
The restaurant is located on one of the most well known streets of Cluj for students: the Piezisa street (I am not going to give further details, go check the website out). The first striking thing when you enter is the massive usage of purple (I guess I know where the name comes from). I think purple is a color perfectly matching India and the Indian culture (I have no idea why I think that, it just feels purple).

Indigo PlatterSo: after sitting down to a nice and clean table, we looked at the menu. No surprise there: spices, spices, spices and then some strange names about which we did not know what they were. Well, the obvious decision in such impossible cases is to go for the house specialty (or ask the waiter, we did not do that). In this case the house specialty is the Indigo Platter which is basically a platter of spicy meat with spicy meat for two persons. For me it had a bit too much pepper, I could not feel the rest of the spices. But then again, I am not really a pepper person: I like spicy stuff, except pepper 🙂 . The best thing however, and this was a huge surprise, is the prompt serving of the meal. I think we did not wait 10 minutes and it was ready.

Gulab JamunGetting our food out that fast meant that in approximately 30 minutes after sitting down, we have already finished with it. Well, I guess this is a good way to make people order desert: you just have to eat something else, otherwise it feels like fast food 😛 . So we ordered some Gulab Jamun, which again continuing the line of strong tastes was a very, very sweet dessert. Now that one I liked :).

Another thing which was cool in a way, was the hospitality that the entire personnel had. The waitresses managed to always have a genuine smile, and while we were leaving every waiter said goodbye smiling. This really boosted my already positive attitude towards the restaurant: I will definitely visit again.

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For The Kid In You

Friday, February 18th, 2011

One of the great passions of children these days are dinosaurs. Well, the eyes of the kid inside of me started to shine very, very brightly when I saw an ad that there is an expo of full-size dinosaur models here in Cluj. There was not much publicity about the event, I also stumbled upon it accidentally.
Expo Dinosaurs
The exhibit is open between the 20th of January and the 27th of February: so two more weekends for anyone interested. The ticket is not exactly a cheap one for the Romanian salaries
– 30 RON – Adults
– 15 RON – Children
– 25 RON – Students
– 70 RON – Family (Parents+children)
– Free photographing
Nonetheless we thought we’d have a look to see what is going on, so last Sunday we visited the exhibition.

I also checked their website and I can see that this was actually a portion of the entire collection. The website is in German so if you know a little, you can understand. All in all it seems that this Austrian company has invested in moving exhibitions which are both entertaining and educational.

I must say I was quite impressed: the models were realistic (of course you could tell they were plastic, but still), there was enough information next to them and they were arranged skillfully. The most interesting parts of the exhibit were of course the larger dinos: T-Rex, Albertasaurus or even a Diplodocus (30m) live sized model was present. Another great feature was the Velociraptor model, which is quite up-to-date to the latest discoveries: it was covered with feathers (big scary chicken 😛 ).

One of the added values was a free (well, actually included in the ticket price, I guess) cinema about dinosaurs. Although the movie was completely in English and there weren’t even any subtitles, there were a few children and parents watching it. Inside the improvised cinema, there was also a small sandbox for children to play the archeologists: they could play there ‘excavating’ bones of prehistoric creatures.

All in all a great few hours (for me I think it was less) to spend with your children. For them it is fun, for parents it is informative (although I could see the joy also in the eyes of some of the parents 🙂 ). Here are some pictures I have taken. Enjoy.

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