So here I am, finally with a story from Romania. I was planning to visit Romania for so long time but in last weekend I finally did it. Me and 2 other friends just decided to take a car and go. Firstly, we planned to visit Satu Mare but later we changed it to Oradea and Cluj Napoca. As we found out later, it was an awesome change! But here is the story. At the end I share BOOKING discount link, so do not forget to use it!
It is Friday morning and we are waking up in Kosice. Me with a roommate Lukas and our friend Matej who is a driver for this trip, on the other side of Kosice. We decided to meet up in front of our dormitory at 8am. Just before this I have to walk to the nearest store to buy some food for a breakfast. Matej is here on time, it is 8am but he forgot some things at his home. So we go back to his place, to take his things. After some driving around Kosice, we finally hit the road to Encs – it is our first stop. In city Encs we buy some petrol so we can continue to Debrecen what is our official stop.
Roads are quiet with not so many cars as I expected but anyway, we decide to buy a label for high-speed road, so we can driver much faster to Debrecen. Later, Lukas find some shopping center not far from us. We decide to go there and park the car and discover Debrecen a little bit. Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary and back in time it was official capital of Hungary. The city center looks really nice and monumental yellow cathedral just fits there so good. We walk around a little bit, take some photos and I do a fast shopping in Rossmane store. It is time to get back to the car and drive to the border with Romania. I really cannot believe it, but just in an hour or so, I will be finally in Romania! My dream is happening right now!
After an hour we are arriving to the border. On this border, even Romania is in European Union, they do a check in. We just show our ID cards and we are allowed to continue. Everywhere are Romanian flags. As we found out, in Romania they celebrate 100 years of existence. That explains all the flags around I think, probably.
Oradea is the first city after the board. All around us are Romanian cars and we are just hopping that drivers here are nice and drive well. Roads are pretty good and some buildings looks good some bad. This is kinda what I expected in Romania. Because when I was in Ukraine many years ago, it looked the same, Combination of old and new architecture.
We are accommodated in Oradea, not far from city center. Prices for accommodation in Romania are pretty good. I also had some discount for booking so we as we used it, this accommodation cost us about 10€ per person for 1 night. And it was an apartment, just for us, fully equipped and complety new. I loved it. If you plan to visit Oradea, for sure check Rebel Studio (it is on booking and has a rate about 9,9 – you recognize it easily, as the facade of this hour is kind of orange combined with pink. Here is also a link for discount which you can use https://www.booking.com/s/35_6/9a484ff9 🙂 ) But lets move in our story.
So we arrived to the Oradea, found out apartment and got the key from it. After a short break we are ready to go to the city center. To walk there takes us about 15 minutes and on the way we stop in one of many churches, which are in this city. I have to say that Romanian churches are really nice. All the details on the walls, amazing paintings, I completely loved it. Just behind the church is the main square. Flags all around, some statues and a lot of colorful buildings. Where do we go next? Lets follow the flags and this “flags street” which is in front of us.
This street takes us to the park with a nice fontaine. This is the time when Romania surprises us. This is something, what will nobody tell you in Slovakia about Romania, super clean park, nicely made, with fountains where is clean water and so. We really like this place. We are in Oradea just for few hours now, but I can say we already felt in love with it. Behind this park is a big church. From outside it looks stunning but as we entry it, it looks very, lets say industrial. Walls are gray, some photos are hanged on them and that is it. Nothing more. Little disappointment for me I have to say.
So we move behind the church where is the citadel. Citadel is core fortified. This one in Oradea looks from outside like it will fall down soon. Some bricks are off the wall already. It is quite large so it takes us some time to walk around. Later we find the entry, so we go inside. Inside it is under construction, they are creating some new parts. I really like one thing, I am not sure how it is called in English, but this wooden thing which shows you how far is this city and this and this. Here it is quite special as the distances are written in kilometers but also in a days if you want by foot and in day on horse. Quite interesting, thumb up for this idea!
It is getting dark and it is time to walk up to train station to buy tickets for tomorrow trip to Cluj Napoca. Train station is few kilometers away. When we come there, we entry it and see many people there. Now we have to decide, to wait in a line and hope that the lady will speak in English or to try buy the ticket in one of these machines. Machines, it will be better, think we. So we go and with some knowledge of buying tickets in these kind of machines we buy ours. One recommendation for all of you who plan to take trains in Romania. Keep on mind that if you buy return ticket it will cost you more as when you buy ticket to the place where you wanna go and then the ticket back. Why is it like this, I have no idea but it works like that in Romania probably. But also if you travel as a group, there are group tickets from 2 to 5 people, so there is some discount too. It is up to you. More about trains in Romania you can see here : https://www.cfrcalatori.ro/en/
We are leaving train station and we have an idea to buy tickets for tram, which we might use tomorrow as we will return back later (around midnight). So we go to the lady, which sells tickets in front of train station. There are no ticket machines so this is the only option. I ask for 1 single ticket but as I find out, it is possible to buy just 1 tickets for 2 people. We are kinda lost, and we do not understand why is it like that. But does not matter, we buy these just in case. Btw, useful word – they say tramvai in Romania and this word means tram.
On the way back to our apartment, we walk during completely different city. It is covered with white and gold colors. Buildings on the main street look really awesome. To some people it might look like streets of Vienna. I take some pictures and we walk further, as we want to go to Auchan (shopping center) to buy something for dinner, some beer and so. To get o Auchan we have to walk through the city center and ZOO. It is really easy to recognize, when we go around the ZOO, the smell is really strong in this place. And just in front of Auchan, it is for a first time when we meet real gypsies. They are parked here with a big car and a lot of steel things. They are also dressed in colorful clothes. It is not very often to see gypsies dressed like this in Slovakia. I have to say that those have some kind of style! We buy some things here, and return back to our accommodation. It is late, so we just eat something, clean teeth and go to the bad. Next morning we have to wake up at 5am and walk to the train station.
It is 5 am and we are waking up. In next 15 minutes we are ready to walk to the train station. Weather is nice, it is not cold. Something had to happen because it is October but it is really warm outside. When we arrive to train station, we look up to train schedules board and see that our train is on platform 2. The train looks quite good from outside, but I read a lot about Romanian trains, so my expectations are really low. And really, as we get on the train, inside it looks quite old, in some parts smelly and also really warm. And the speed… I have to say that this train in Romania is really slow. It cost almost the same as in Slovakia, maybe little bit more, but it is much slower. About 150km takes 3 hours – and this is faster train, there is also slower which takes 4 hours. But does not matter, I love trains and I want to try as many kinds as is possible. So we are heading up to Cluj Napoca and hopefully we arrive there around 9am.
It is 9am and we are here. On time. Hard to believe, trains are slow but thanks got, they arrive on time. Train station in Cluj is bigger than in Oradea. We get some water and can start out journey around this town. We walk straight, then to the left and then we follow the long district which takes up through some bridges right to the city center. In city center is a big Church of St. Michael, which is unluckily closed. In front of it is statues of Matej Korvin. He was born in this city and we plan to visit his house later this day.
In city center of Cluj is some kind of exposition, but as we arrived soon, it is still closed. But tourists info center is opening it gates in few minutes, so we go there. I have to say that info centers here are quite poor. Just some maps, propagation materials and that’s it. No postcards, stamps, some souvenirs or something. Next stop for us is Cathedral of the Most Holy Mother of God. This cathedral looks really amazing from outside and from inside it is not a different story. I love it, super unique. The paintings, wooden frames, pictures on walls, lights – everything is amazing. In front of cathedral is some kind of market, where we buy some souveniers. People sell here Romanian ceramic, drinks, tradition clothes and many other things. I have to say I felt in love with ceramics in Romania. I already bought some in Oradea but here I can’t stop myself and I buy some more. I really love it also as you look at the label which is on these ceramics, it says made in Romania and not China. I have to say it is unique.
From cathedral we walk back to city center and the exposition is already opened. Inside, as we walk in, we find it is exhibition of some modern art. New kinds on couched etc. It is kind of interesting and I like it as a guy with creative spirit. We spend here some time and then we continue up to fortress which is over the city. It is not actually a fortress but just fortress hill. From this part is it the nicest view over the whole city.
To walk up here we have to climb many stairs. But the view worth it, from here we can see the church in city center, cathedral where we were and also the mountains which are around the city. To sit here and spend some time just with watching the city-scape is a must. On the way from the hill, we stop in city center to see Matej Korvin house. The place where he was born and lived some time. Right next to it we find nice restaurant and decide to eat some food. Of course we choose some traditional dishes for this location. I go for soup which is made from beans and smoked pork meat. Guys order some other dishes. The most popular food here, or most tradition is called Sarmala and Varza a la Cluj. If you do not live anywhere near Romania or easter Europe, definitely try this!
We still have few hours to spend in Cluj so we visit also Central Park, the football stadium and some other places. I have to say that Central park looks like perfect place to spend some warm summer day and night in. There are many trees, a lake and so.
Later in the evening, we take the train back to Oradea and we hope to catch the tram, as we bought tickets last evening. But unluckily, we find out, there are no more trams today. So we have to walk. Oh and one more thing I forgot to say. They have a special machines at train station. I have not seen this anywhere till now. The machines for books, like you put in 1 euro or more and you can buy a book. Most are in Romanian and you can find there for example also a German – Romanian dictionary, which cost 1€. But there is also SUDOKU and other things, which does not matter that are written in Romanian. But I used this machine to buy some Romanian book, as I collect books from every country which I visit. So, for sure check this when you are in Romania!
Next day we do some more shopping. we buy last presents for us and also for friends and family and we are ready to go back to Slovakia.
So what can I say now about this trip? I am sitting now in Slovakia and I fell a bit nostalgic. To be in Romania was such a great experience and to travel there by car and use trains there was like a heaven for me. I always wanted to travel to another country by car. And Romania, I can not say that it surprised me. I already have a friend from there so I knew that the stories about ruined cities, gypsies and thieves are not 100% true. Of course you can get to some locations there where some thieves will steal you something and so, but where it isnt like this? So, Romania, I have to say it is great experience, for not a lot of money, but do not compare it with Ukraine which is super cheap. But if you have a chance, definitely go to visit this country. There are locations also like Brasov, Bucharest and and .. but as I visited just Oradea and Cluj Napoca, I recommend these cities also!
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about Romania, do not hesitate to ask. Or about Slovakia or Slovenia or any other European countries. As I traveled quite a lot, I can help with anything! Or give me a tip about some locality, which to visit or about which you would like to read some blog!
—- BOOKING DISCOUNT : https://www.booking.com/s/35_6/9a484ff9 —————————-