Salt mines and free roaming
Saturday morning we got up and planned the day. Seeing how my aunt and uncle had a wedding to attend in the afternoon we had to find a way to get by on our own. We managed to find a bus that would take us from the city we wanted to visit back to our hotel in a village at about 30km. Once that was settled, all four of us left for the Salt mines in Turda.
As we entered the mines we put our jackets on. The temperature was around 10-12°C, which quite frankly was a relief after the warm temperatures we’d been dealing with. The mine had a 300m long tunnel to access it but thankfully it was horizontal and not vertical.
It was pretty nice seeing the walls becoming whiter and whiter as we reached the mine. We passed an Echo room and the room where they used the horses to extract the salt.
And then, as we went down some very steep and slippery wood stairs we sighted the actual mine. They made a sort of resort out of it with a concert hall, pool tables, ping pong tables, a ferris wheel … there’s even a lake where you can go on a boat. It’s all lit by very white lights and looks simply incredible and out of this world. People go to the mine to inhale the salty air as it’s renowned to be very good for your lungs. We went down with the elevator but by the time we wanted to go up the queue was so long we took the stairs. We regretted it half way through but we made it in the end.
Once we dropped my aunt at her sister’s, my uncle drove us to Cluj, the biggest city around and left us to visit on our own. We went to the Union square and to the local information center to get a map and we spotted the main attractions. In the square was a huge catholic church as well massive statue. There was also a photo exposition.
We stopped for lunch in the square in a lovely bistro. What I love about Romania is that you can have a very good very large meal for two and pay under 20$ for it. It’s still the best chicken I’ve ever had! Always tender, always juicy.
When we were done, we headed to the botanical gardens situated on a hill. The heat was scorching so we enjoyed the trees very much. There were many flowers, a cacti garden, an oriental garden and 3 greenhouses, one of palm trees, one of Mediterranean species and one of aquatic species. There were also areas of subalpine, mountainside, and hills vegetation in their wild stated and a very sad looking dry garden that seemed to have suffered greatly from the heat. In that garden was a water tower which we climbed happily for a view of the city since there was a water fountain beside it and we could drink our heart’s out.
National Opera house and Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral
From the botanical garden we decided to go directly for the bus station since we were tired out and the sun was killing us. On our way we stopped by the national Opera house and a cathedral. On the side was the court house. All very old and beautiful buildings which make me question my love of modern architecture. I love simplicity but at the same time I feel we lost the knowledge to make beautiful intricate things out of rock, metal and other materials.
Evening at the hotel
At 4h45 we catched the bus back to Campia Turzii and the driver was nice enough to drop us at the hotel instead of the train station which was a good 3-4 kms away. We spent the evening catching up on the internet and eating at the hotel’s restaurant. An evening of rest well deserved!