Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016. Free day in Cluj-Napoca

Ate breakfast in our room. Bread and butter, fruit and juice. We ordered a cab and rode to the Iulius Mall on the east side of town. It is a large typical mall. High end stores, a food court and a Cinema, as well as a LARGE Walmart type store at the very back. It was like most Walmarts on a Saturday anywhere in the USA--lots and lots of people and long lines. We found some new reading glasses for Mike, as his good ones he brought got smashed when the back of the bench in our room crashed down on them. It did take us a while to find them in the store, and to find the correct magnification level. Nothing was in the right box. They cost a couple of dollars less than in US.

We had a nice big lunch in the mall at the food court. It was fun to see all the variety of buffet-type choices. We were a little unsure about how to order there. The price is sometimes by weight...people were rushing up, we couldn't tell if they paid before or after. There was also a Pizza Hut  near the main entrance of the mall, and the food court's busiest food counters? KFC and McDonalds. Lots of people eating fried chicken and french fries. We settled on the shaved meats--a plate for Mike and a gyro for me. Very tasty. And very filling. But we still had some cheesecake and an eclaire for dessert from the dessert/bakery place in the food court. We took a taxi back to our room and while Mike napped, I checked on our Rome information...had our boarding passes printed at the front desk (took a while to do that!), got bus/train/Metro info to get from Ciampino airport to hotel in Rome, etc.

At 5:00 pm we attended the organ recital at the Cathedral of St. Michael in the town square. It lasted 30 minutes. Following that, we had lemonade, visited with some ladies from California and Seattle who had been Peace Corps volunteers 10 years ago, and were here for a reunion of sorts with the students they'd taught, etc.  Then I went on a personalized walking tour of the downtown area with Andrea from the Information center of Cluj. It was personalized because I was the only one on the tour! It was informative, but I don't recall many of the dates or names. Suffice it to say they are very proud of any and all the people who did anything great from their town. The churches are cool. Very old, and have many restorations over the years. My tour lasted 1 1/2 hours. Walked back to our hotel, showered and started organizing and packing our suitcases. I have a LOT of heavy papers and brochures that I collected from BBU, plus that big coffee table book of the Botanical Garden. (BBU owns and manages that Botanical Garden.)

the washers, dryers and fridges at the mall seemed to be kind of small.

the central altar in St. Michael's Church

A plaque on the house where King Mathias was born

King Mathias' birthplace

My tour guide had a story about the crown and the crooked cross on the top. It's that way because of when it was damaged at one particular take-over. When the crown and their country was 'returned' the cross was damaged and left that way so they would always remember.

A favorite queen, Carolina. Her monument is pictured above.

Andrea and me outside of St. Michael's. Interesting story about how the entry and doors were "used" or repurposed from another building.  It didn't quite fit, so the coat of arms is just cut down and incomplete--because it didn't fit, after all!

Street of mirrors. The buildings on either side of street are twins/mirror image of each other. All owned by the Catholic church at this time (and right across the street from St. Michael's)

Nice view of the square, the church, the statue, the twin buildings AND film festival stuff scattered around the square.  The center of their town square has a glass-covered archeological dig of Roman ruins that they have left intact.  Cluj has been occupied for a long, long time!

A fortress. I walked to the top of this on my "lost" day, as it was on the way home.  The interior has been repurposed to be an art gallery.

This is Siago Pension, our home for the week we were in Cluj-Napoca.

Now we are packed and ready to leave. It was a trek.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Looks like a great trip!