Where do I start? After the past few events, I’m definiely upgrading Romania to must-visit status. The night I left off I stayed in the hostel. I met Radu, a host, and Hannah, a German traveler, in the common room and we chatted for a few hours. The next morning Hanna (from Germany) and Sarah (from Ireland) and I climbed the many, many steps to Dealul Cetatuia, a hill overlooking the city of Cluj. My knee isn’t anywhere near perfect yet, so it was quite a painful exprience.
After that we crossed the Somesul Mic river and walked around the Climitirul Central Cemetary. It was raining quite a bit by this point, and we were all pretty drenched. We decided to dry off while eating lunch, and the nearest restaurant we found was called Eben Ezer. It was fairly fancy, yet still quite cheap. I had a chicken dish with gorgonzola sauce and asparagus. For dessert we shared a papanisi, which is best described as fresh donuts with blueberries and fruit sauce. It was quite delicious.
From there we headed to a museum, but got a bit sidetracked by all the people congregating in the city square. We decided to see what was attracting everyone. The rest is fairly confusing. On the stage were some fairly official-looking people, maybe city council or something, with a giant loaf of bread with a ribbon around it. The bread was round, and probably had a radius of 2 meters or so. They talked for a bit (in Romanian), then cut the bread into several slices. Shortly afterwards several girls dressed in Romanian garb cut the slices into smaller pieces and handed them out to everyone in the square. I asked around and googled quite a bit, but I still have no damn clue just why they were cutting bread for the public. And even the individual pieces were still quite large. Hanna and I each got a piece, then left for some sightseeing.
The first museum was the history museum. All but the top floor was closed for some reason, so there really wasn’t much to see. We gave it about half an hour, walking around with giant loaves of bread in our hands, before heading to the Pharmacy Museum. This one was more interesting. It gave a detailed (albeit mostly in Romanian) account of the history of pharmacists and alchemists, from herbs mixed for medicine to century-old dentistry techniques.
Leaving the museum we went to Insomnia, a pub near the city center on the second floor. The three of us had a few beers and were soon joined by two friends of Hannah that she met while traveling. Andrea and Alketa are from Italy, although Alketa was originally from Albania. We drank and talked for a few hours, then returned to the hostel so Hanna could pick up her backpack. Sarah stayed in town, so it was just the four of us. We returned to town in attempt to see a concert we thought was happening tonight, but couldn’t seem to find it. Andrea was hungry, so we made a quick stop at McDonalds before parting ways for the evening. I took a cheap Gypsy cab back to the hostel.
The next morning I realized at some point that I didn’t have my day-pack with me. This is the bag I carry with me almost everywhere and contains most of my important items. I quickly realized I probably left it in the cab last night while looking up direction for the driver. I had taken my wallet out, so that was good. Several items I left in there were my MP3 players, backup chargers, charger cables, travel journal, unsent postcards, and…my passport. Radu, the hostel host, was kind enough to call two of the five cab companies in town to see if anyone found it, but they said they wouldn’t know until 2000, when the night shift started. So basically I was screwed. Then, miraculously, about 1700, the cab driver showed up at the hostel with my bag. Catastophy averted! Seriously, ALWAYS TIP YOUR DRIVER, kids. Romanians are so considerate.
Aside from trying to track down my pack, I spent most of the day recovering in the hostel. The previous night was a bit crazier than I’ve desribed. Now I need to find my way out of Cluj. I think I may find a rideshare or train to Iasi (pronounced “Yashi”), then to Chisinau, Moldova. From there is probably the easiest way to get to Kiev, especially since I now have my passport back.
*Content edited for public censorship