My Very Own Cluj

Yesterday I rested most of the day. In the evening, quite late, I ran into two Spanish girls at the hostel. The three of us stayed up until about 0100 throwing darts. For the first time in my life (as far as I can recall), I actually scored a bullseye. No lie. I was asleep by about 0200 that night.

The next morning I arose early – earlier than my alarm even. I cooked myself a big breakfast after showering, then departed the hostel close to 1000. I had to catch a bus to Poliesti before 1230, at which time my next ride share was picking me up. I got there a bit early, around 1130, and he was a little late, around 1300. But that’s when I made my next random friend on the journey.

George used to live in Cluj and was visiting his parents in Bucharest. We had to stop and pick up another rider about halfway into our drive. And let me tell you about this drive. Romanian roads are, as I have already learned, not well-kept. George drives a BMW that sits pretty low to the ground, so he had to swerve around every single pothole or bump in the road, of which there were a plethora. The first half of the trip wasn’t all that bad – it was mostly highway. After we picked up the girl (I can’t recall her name, but she was a pretty cool girl) they decided to take the scenic detour. Dear god those mountain roads are terrifying. It didn’t help that most of the drive was taken in a torrential downpour. We were able to stop a few places in the mountains for a few photo opportunities. A bit later on we stopped at a gas station for snacks and coffee. This is when George offered me home-made wine. Never one to turn down a drink, he gave me a bottle of 13-year-old wine. And by bottle I mean he popped the trunk of his car, took out a big plastic bottle and poured some into an ice tea bottle that was empty. The rest of the ride the girl and I were taking shots of this wine. I say “shots” because this is the strongest wine I’ve ever even smelled. She said if something happens and I can’t find a place to stay tonight, the bottle of wine will be my best friend by keeping me warm. Truer words were never spoken.

George dropped me off in front of the hostel, and we exchanged contact information so we can meet up for drinks tomorrow. Before I went to bed last night the two Spanish girls, Sara and Andrea, said they were headed to Cluj tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll meet up for a bit. The hostel I picked was chosen for specific reasons. It was cheap, had good reviews, is close to city center, and above all is called “The Spot Cosy Hostel.” Yes, I feel that I should get a discount staying here. When I arrived at 2300, one of their three rooms was full. So I get a room ALL TO MYSELF. What’s more, the host’s accent made it sound like he said “the green rum is full, so we’ll put you in the red rum.” To which I thought: Are you threatening me?! That shit won’t fly in MY hostel, buddy. All work and no play make Brian a dull boy.

I went for a short walk in the rain, and now I’m just sitting here, alone in an empty 8-bed dorm room in a hostel named after me, drinking old home-made wine, and hopefully meeting two cute Spanish girls tomorrow. I really wish I had more time in Romania, it really is a beautiful country and the people here are so courtious.

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