Cluj and its magic
Romania is a very especial country for me, so much that I’ve come back twice since the first time I visited. Especially to Cluj, the old capital of Transylvania, that student city full of life where I lived for a month and a half and left so many beautiful people behind.
I don’t usually come back to the places I’ve already visited, especially to those where I built or forged long-lasting friendships. Why? because memories stay afloat all over the city, in its cafés and bars and plazas with the slight difference that the people you shared those moments with are not there anymore. I find it nostalgic to wander around its alleys and to visit the same places over again. I prefer to leave them in my photographic memory, the safest place I can recall.
However, Cluj is an exception. In that city I’ve got a group of friends whom I had the chance to organise a youth leadership congress back in 2011. A conference where we shared laughter, hard moments in terms of organisation and logistics and overcame obstacles every single day. We created a beautiful event we all believed in and that really brings people together.
Around Cluj: nature tourism in Transylvania
In my last trip to Transylvania, we were able to visit the surroundings of Cluj calmly while enjoying the mild weather Romanian summer provides. It was a last minute trip, so it was, that I told my friend Laura that I’d be arriving in Cluj when I was already at Madrid Airport.
Sometimes the beautiful friendships you make along the way and destinations themselves play their part and create the perfect situation. While we were flying over Germany Laura was looking already looking for a place we could crash at. That place with a nice garden we’d have breakfast every morning. What’s more, she took us to see the surroundings of Cluj and made sure we’d fall in love with Romania (in my case again).
The Trascăului Citadel ruins
‘We are off to the mountains, put on some comfy clothes’, says Laura and there we go.
Rimetea is a lovely village of Hungarian heritage and the trek up the peak of the mountain where the ruins of Trascăului Castle remain are second to none.
It’s a bit hard to go up in the classic heat of July but we finally get to the top. Plus, stopping on the way, to take pictures of what I please, as my dad well taught me, makes my journey much more enjoyable.
The views from the top are wonderful and represent the right place to take a deep breath and disconnect and enjoy nature.
Piatra Secuiului is the big mountain that we see in the distance and what a mountain! It smiles as wanting to occupy all our horizon, pride of its figure.
Up there we talk about life, love and the need of being connected to nature. We take a big breath, smile and go downhill without rush.
Rural Transylvania: Rimetea
In Rimetea, as in many places of rural Transylvania, and in general all around Romania, we can buy any kind of homemade food like jam and honey. I find quite lovely the fact that in October they start preserving food in tins to keep them during winter and have them ready throughout the year.
It’s that traditional that buses get full of jam, zacusca (similar to ratatouille) and honey jars that students that live away from home receive anxiously from their parents.
I make the most of the time to sketch the uniqueness of the area, as a tractor number plate for instance or one of the typical houses that share a backyard for farming purposes.
After the trek we fill our stomachs with some Romanian-Hungarian food, as the Transylvanian area has a strong Hungarian influence, in the Conacul Secuiesc restaurant (Szekelyko Mansion).
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Este postre está taaan bueno que tenía que estar aquí 😊😊 Se llama #papanasi y es típico de #Rumanía. Una masa entre churro y donut con queso de cabra y mermelada de frutos rojos por encima. Nada puede ir mal con esos ingredientes 😍😍 This #dessert is soooo good that needed to be here 😊😊 Its name is papanasi and is typical from #Romania. Fried dough with goat cheese and raspberry jam on it. Nothing can go wrong with those ingredients! 😍😍 #eatromania #visitromania #andandodescalza #walkingbarefoot #instafood #instafoodie #travelgram #travelblogger
We wanted to bring something back to Spain so we stopped by a cheese factory (paradise!) and imported all kinds of cheese, Parmisan, soft, smoked… You know, just in case we’d forget their flavours.
More about Cluj –>>> Why is Cluj that special to me?
More about Transylvania: Gilău Lake
The last day when we thought the trip couldn’t get any better, Laura picks us up and tells us we are going out of Cluj again.
‘Let’s go and eat something’. And suddenly these views, without any warning whatsoever.
With the magic of being in the moment.
With the magic of love and true friendships that make us feel alive and authentic.
With the magic of an unexpected, unplanned and even unforeseen trip.
With that magic, built in my guts, resting inside of me, lying there so peacefully.
Transylvania Bonus: Electric Castle Festival (it’s all about castles)
Cluj becomes a national icon in summer in terms of music. Its city and surroundings get packed with concerts of all sorts, indie, techno and jazz, and welcome thousands of young people coming from all over Romania and Europe.
We went to Electric Castle Festival (EC), a festival that takes place around the ruins of an old castle called Banffy in the little village of Bontida, an hour far from Cluj. EC is an electro indie festival full of magic, colours, performances and surprises. Rain is not one of them so, prepare your raincoat and boots for the occasion!
Do you understand now why I love Cluj and Transylvania so much?