Daily Wanderlust: Nighttime in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

After taking the photo of men playing chess at Budapest’s train station, and heading to Brasov, Romania, for five nights of friends and fun, it was time to venture to my next stop — Cluj-Napoca.

This college town was gorgeous. One of the main squares, by day, was incredibly beautiful. But, once the sun went down, I loved the little fountain feature where tiny bursts of bubbling water would jet out from the sidewalk, lit in a variety of colors.



“GLEE” in Cluj-Napoca

Ginny and I awoke the next morning and popped some headache medicine (one of the first times this trip I actually needed to take something). I donĀ“t know how she managed, but a few minutes later, Ginny was out and about, heading to meetings.

After she met with a professor, we packed our belongings, left them in the room and headed out for our last day in the city.

Armed with her guidebook, we navigated Cluj, taking in everything we could in an afternoon — the churches, the Hungarian cemetery, gelato.

By the evening, we were both beat so we decided we needed to unwind. We weren’t feeling social, so instead we took my little computer into a kitchen at Retro and tried our luck to stream “GLEE.” (Helpful hint for those who want to watch American TV abroad, go to www.watch-series.com)

And, it worked.

“GLEE” was one of my favorite shows in America before I left to travel. Since I had begun my journey in March, I had not watched a bit of American television.

But, in that kitchen, watching Sue Sylvester bash Will Schuster’s curls, it took me back to such a happy spot … sitting on my butter yellow couch in Atlanta, cats curled up at my side, nice glass of red to sip on.

Ginny and I sat, heads planted on the kitchen table, watching the episode, trying to drown out the chatter coming from the reception room, and allowing ourselves to be taken back to America.

It felt nice to be transported from a hostel to a Ohio high school for 45 minutes.

But, when it was over, it felt even nicer to be in Romania.

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An American in Cluj

Ginny sat, blonde hair pulled back, on a bed in the adjacent room, examining her belongings.

“Hello,” I said, exercising my voice for the first time pretty much the entire day.

And, that was it. Ginny, a former Peace Corps volunteer, and I were instant friends. Originally from South Carolina, Ginny was in Transylvania doing research. She’s a historian studying at Oxford, so for the few days she was in Cluj, she spent some of her time meeting other historians and researching in the library.

The rest of the time, we spent together, exploring Cluj, eating and drinking.

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Next stop: Cluj-Napoca

The day following our little Romanian Road Trip, it was time to head out. Tommy and Benjamin had left the previous night, Chris was leaving at the crack of dawn for Istanbul (and an Anzac Day event), and I was boarding a train northeast to Cluj-Napoca for some more time in Romania.

The trip from Brasov to Romania was beautiful. The clouds hung low in the sky, gray against bright green rolling hills and the odd trees poking out of the ground, boasting the first blooms of spring.

And then, after six hours and some harassing by gypsy children, there it was in the distance, spreading up one of those rolling hills in red and yellow and all sorts of pretty, Cluj-Napoca.

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