A November 1996 trip
to Brussels by melissa_bel
Quote: A 2-week road trip from Brussels to Bucharest, followed by a grand circle of Transylvania. Some of my classmates and I got involved in an exchange programme with the University of Bucharest (our Romanian friends then visited us the following spring).
Attraction | "Mathias Church, Budapest"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 22, 2004
Matthias Church (Matyas Templon)
Szentharomsag Ter 2 Castle Hill, District I
Budapest, Hungary 1014
36 1 355 5657
Attraction | "The Bath"
First, we had to get undressed and the employee gave us those pieces of cloth that really don't hide anything. After the first moment of embarrassment, we got rid of them. Being embarrassed was... well... embarrassing. The dark main room topped with a dome had a hot mineral bath and cold pool. Next to it, the steam room (which was in fact a little room with the heater set at maximum temperatures). The locals, instead of sitting quietly like I did, have little instruments to scrape their dead skin. That grossed out some of my friends. I thought it kinda made sense. Anyway, after several dips in the hot pool then in the cold, I felt all my body in a state of relaxation hard to describe. I wished we had had more time there because the massages were very cheap. But we only had a few hours in Budapest and we had to make them count.
Kelenhegyi ut, 4-6
Budapest, Hungary 1118
+36 1 466 6616
The Hungarians never forgot and as a sign of remembrance, never repaired some buildings.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 22, 2004
The Great Synagogue
Dohány u. 2-8
Attraction | "Merry Cemetery. Romania"
The epitaph lies under the native medallion representing the dead in his daily activity (often his/her job, or something he/she liked to do, sometimes how he/she died). The epitaph is written in dialect and in poetical form. They give advice to the living (from a tax collector: "My dear fellow citizen, don't forget to pay your taxes"), sometimes funny ("He liked horses a lot but drinking at the cafe in the arms of someone else's wife even better"), sometimes consoling ("My dear parents, please don't cry for me") and sometimes angry, especially after an untimely death ("Damn taxicab from Sibiu, why did you have to run in front of my house and kill me?"). It's always moving, touching, charming and profoundly human and spiritual. And of course, colourful. The success of these crosses has extended, first in the village, which had to expand the cemetery, then abroad as Mr. Pop carves crosses for people all over world now.
The nearby Church of the Ascension is also worth a visit.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 23, 2004
Attraction | "Visit Timisoara"
Timisoara was one of the first to go head on toward the Western way of life and you'll notice it just by walking down the street. It has many gardens and has a vibrant cultural life. On Victory Square (Piata Victoriei), you will notice crosses with the name of the people who died during the Revolution and the showpiece of this long square is the Metropolitan Cathedral, an Orthodox cathedral built between 1936 and 1946 following the design of architect Ioan Traianescu. It mixes the Byzantine style often seen in Orthodox churches with the more typically Romanian Moldavian style.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 29, 2004
Timisoara Sights & Attractions
Attraction | "Arad and its wineries"
Romania is not really known for its wine, but grapes and wine have always been a big part of people's lives here. In the countryside, wherever the climate is suitable, you'll find that almost every house has its own grapes and makes its own wine.
This part of Romania, known as the Banat, is quite hilly and suitable to grow grapes. A short ride out of town is the Arad vineyard. A very French-looking Manor welcomes us, and the Maitre-de-chaix and his wife will do the honor of the wine-tasting.
White, red, "cooked wine" (a specialty of the area, a very sweet wine suited for aperitif or after dessert)... it was all a pleasure. The Cabernet Sauvignon and merlot were quite good, especially the merlot, which was exceptionally velvety.
I decided to bring back a bottle for my dad, who is a wine-lover. Needless to say, we were quite merry on our way back (except for our designated driver, that is).
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 29, 2005
Outskirts of Arad
Bucharest: At Radu and his mom's apartment. Radu is one of the students who take part to the student exchange programme, and Anne and I, who are the smallest of them all, end up staying with Radu, who is the tallest of them all (2,07 meters, yikes). Radu lives in those grey projects buildings that are so common in Bucharest. He lives on the 10th floor with his mom, who is divorced (and according to Radu, one of the first couples to divorce after the fall of Ceaucescu). We'll be sleeping in Radu's bedroom but advise us that, because the water pressure is so bad, we'll have to take a bucket of water from the tub that he previously filled from the neighbours to wash. We'll figure out that water is sometimes a problem in Romania.
Timisoara: In rebellious Timisoara, we get to stay at the former Communist Youth Center. It's kind of like a hostel but nicer. Classes are held on different floors for karate, judo, typing... There is even a small restaurant and a bar. We'll be sharing rooms which means not everybody will have a bed... As long as I have a cover and a pillow!
Arad: Our arrival was announced and we're taken care of by friends of another students who live in the area. It will turn out to be a night on the floor of some stranger's apartment for me.
Village in the mountains near Arad: After our meeting with Partenie and the invitation to stay at the farm, we have to split in two groups. Three will sleep in the guest rooms of the farm (I'm amongst them, still sick from the pizza I ate in Arad) while the others will sleep in their sleeping bags in the barn... which I really wanted to do. At 9 o'clock, in a rustic bed with duck down comforter and pillow, I fall asleep and spend one of the best night's sleep I ever had.
At Estera's house, in Simleu Silvaniei: Estera's house is big and has room for all seven of us. We sleep in one of the bedroom, sharing the bed with two of the girls, but the bed is so hard I can hardly sleep!
Monastery: Late at night, somewhere between Oradea and Sighet, we stop. I'm half asleep... the place is like a blur, but here we are in a monastery. A large dormitory with comfortable big beds and colorful blankets awaits travelers. Diana tells me there's a pilgrimage going on and we might have other visitors.
Tirgu Mures: One of the strangest places we've stayed at. Tirgu Mures is a sizeable city and we stayed in a boarding school. In an abandoned floor of the boarding school, may we say. It was cold and dusty and eerie. We never even heard or see the students (but I guess that was the goal).
Sibiu was probably my favourite accomodation (and my favourite city). In the woods outside of town is Sibiu's Folk Civilization Museum and you can stay in the area. We had a chalet all of our own with a tub and hot water (yay!!!) and toilet paper (you'd be amazed by the shortage of toilet paper). It was our last night together before our Romanian friends had to go back to Bucharest while we were going to wait for the rest of the group in Timisoara. We partied 'til we dropped (actually, I blacked out courtesy of homemade palinca, a 60% alcohol devil) and in the morning, we had a huge table outside our chalet to enjoy breakfast in the woods.