Trippin: Europes’ hidden gems

Planning to go to Romania? Planning to visit a new country? Maybe you have a bucket list to visit all the countries in Europe. We are starting small. I never had the idea to count the countries I’ve been to, but once I randomly read a guy saying that he always wanted to have more countries than years, and then I counted the visited ones. I had more countries than years on my birth certificate. And then seeing that bigger percent of Europe was “done” I got the wish to visit all countries on the old continent. Well Wizzair helped me to get there. A flight to Cluj-Napoca was only 9euros, and I couldn’t say no to that as much as my sustainable soul was saying no. But I compensate on all other fronts.

Cluj Napoca from the top


cluj napoca city center

Thursday to Sunday sounded like a plan. One day of workation, and the rest of them totally out of agenda, as this whole year was. The airport in Cluj is very very small, so once you are out the option is taxi for around 8-10euros or public transport for 60cents. We opted for the later one. What surprised me the most, was that you could pay by card in the bus, without having contact to the driver. Yes this is pretty normal in Scandinavian countries, but living in Germany it is a no no, and it is one of the points I always get so excited about. Since we are on the topic, you could pay by card on every Christmas Market stand, no matter if your purchase was euro or less. Bravo Romania.

On the second very positive side, we had the nicest studio. And it was the first time in these traveling workation days that the internet was flawless. For the design itself I want even speak, as for me it was the first time not going with th e most budget friendly option, instead booked this amazing flat, and didn’t regret it. It has everything you need, and above that it is the most central.

Well, speaking of the rest, what to do in Cluj? Well we just walked, ate, checked out streets, hills, and repeated everything of the mentioned.

We started the trip with dinner at Cimbru, a bit off the path in the city, very nice and cozy place, perfect food, and the outside sitting area was in a wintery-chrismassy mode. The steaks here are the best, we also tried bone marrow, not my favorite, but whoever is a fan there you have it, and my choice of the day was beetroot risotto.

cluj napoca dinner spot cimbru

Cluj is a student city and they have many coffee shops, and what surprised me so many specialty coffee shops, and Romanian roasteries. We went to Meron, Olivo and Narc. My personal favourite was Olivo Coffee Culture in the old town, they had everything, and especially took design seriously. The most beautiful cups and interior.

That was coffee wise, what Cluj has are brunch spots, so so many of them. The biggest line was in front of Egg Cetera, but staying in the city for 3 days and waiting in line is not an option for us, so we were very happy with Brunch at Bujole and satisfied with the one in Garlic, but they had higher prices for the same stuff. Our snacks were at the Christmas Market and dinner at a very old fashioned restaurant Varzarie, meaning Cabbage. We ordered not everything but too much and that was not the best idea. But it felt like home. Beans, cabbage rolls – sarmale and a cabbage dish having the name of the restaurant typical for Cluj.

Speaking of bakeries, they are more in the old school style, but there was a hidden place in an unpopular street in the old town a place producing sourdough bread and pastries, and right next to it, we found the most beautiful store for us. Italian food heaven, and decided to spend our last dinner here. Everything was finger licking good. I had Carbonara and the companion had slow cooked meat in red wine. Delish. Delish. Delish.

On our last day we skipped lunch because of wanting to try everything on the Christmas Market, having high end pastries at Iris Delice, but luckily we lost some calories going towards the hilly EC Garden. We had wrong timing, went in the afternoon and according to Google this place was getting full in the evenings.

This trip looks as if it was only about food, well it is not far from the truth, if we add coffee and wine. The rose was great everywhere. The initial plan was to go to the Turda Salt Mine, but not having direct connections also changed my mind. It would have been nice, but hassle free 3 days trips are nicer. Not going there made us more time to put our nose in every book store, street and supermarket. What can I say it was short and sweet and if you are thinking about going you probably should. Well maybe not in November, but if there is an offer you can’t resist definitively go for it.

cluj napoca city square

No papanasi was mentioned before, maybe because they didn’t impressed me and many other thing were better than it. Sorry bros 🙂

cluj napoca old town
cluj napoca city

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