London - St Goer - Budapest - Cluj-Napoca (Romania) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Sunday, 23 September 2007 00:00
Article Index
London - St Goer
St Goer - Prague
Prague - Vienne
Vienne - Budapest
Budapest - Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
Cluj-Napoca - Brasov (via Bucharest)
Bucharest to Kazanak, Bulgaria
All Pages


Day 6: Friday 28th September 2007 - Budapest to Cluj-Napoca (Romania)


Not seen the sun since the second day, our first in Prague. Today no different, awoke at about 7.00am to the rain on the tent and mud on the ground for the first time. Thankfully, not too bad but perhaps a little taster of things to come.

This weather is seriously testing my lack of organisation. Need to plan everything well in advance or be exposed by the elements. I spent the night in Prague freezing because of the sudden weather change. Usually find that whatever I want for the day is in my rucksack somewhere in the luggage sections. My camera battery is still flat, the only consolation is the weather is reducing the scenery to a wet cold English type scene.

We left late at 9.00am because of the incident the night before. Took an hour and half to get out of the city because of the rain and traffic and slowly made our way to the Romanian border and the unknown. Arrived at the border at 2.20pm, It was still raining. Heading for Cluj-Napoca and a hotel bed, a beer festival and the furthest point east we have ever ventured. My first impression is one of poverty and large open expanses of farmland waiting to be utilised.

Arrived at the Hotel Cluj-Napoca also the name of the town about 9.00pm. The last kilometre was spent following a paid taxi. This section seriously tested the resolve of the group. Passed through the Romanian border with little fuss, in pouring rain, and headed for Cluj just 127 k down the road, so not one of the long sections. Just down the road came to a small junction with a diversion sign and a petrol tanker blocking our progression. After a toot on the horn we followed him to the right. Our first real mistake, over two hours later we came back to the main road with 97 k still left to do. We had taken a long winding road through an impressive Mountain range rising to 1790 metres. We didn't see much of the scenery because of the weather. The driving rain was the significant feature of the whole section. It was great to see the wooden, horse-drawn carts plodding along roads but there was so many, returning from the field, that they seriously slowed us down. Although the journey dragged on it was made easier by playing games and listening to some good music: Snow Patrol, Bob Marley, Neil Diamond, Clash, Bob Dylan and finally the Beatles. We entered Cluj to Lucy in The sky With Diamonds.

After being allocated room 414 along with Noreen from Ireland we were given 15 minutes to clean up and get back down for dinner. No one complained, we were all very hungry. We devoured a goulash soup exactly like the one in Budapest but unfortunately out of a packet. This was followed by cabbage and tomato salad in a very nice sweet dressing. Main course consisted of boiled potatoes served cubed and a pork and chicken winleshinzel.

We arranged to meet later in the lounge before going to look at the town. I met Scooby on the stairs as he was going for the lift. He told me the hotel wouldn't exchange his dollars for Lei (the currency) and so I loaned him 50 euros. He immediately set off to the bar to buy beer. Later saw him and the rest of the party gang with crates of beer. Told me they had another crate in the cooler for later and they'd been given 30 euros change.

Set off in the torrential rain to see the main town square with Maz who was, once again, guide and leader. The September Beer Fest lay in soggy ruins in the square with St Mathias  and his party gang (fine statue) looking down sympathetically. Talking to Maz I learnt she actually worked for a month in Cluj on a teaching exchange. Conversation came about after she'd stopped two young women and asked directions in Romanian. Then made our way into a bar called Deizel. Very pretentious establishment which sold very expensive canned beer, for Romania, which we washed down with canned music that played for over an hour without changing tempo, melody or rhythm. By far the worse bar so far.

When we returned to the hotel we found the lads partying in style. They were down to the second crate which they were sharing with anyone. I stayed with them until just gone 3.00am. This was the best part of the whole day even though their Language was constantly loud and very frequently foul but they were fun to be with.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 18:13