First time in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Marie Damman
Marie Damman

Taking a plane in an European country is easy. Low cost companies take you anywhere for a good price. Of course, don’t expect to have free food or to have a steward talking your language.

I took WizzAir with its comparative price of €45. Stewardess didn’t speak French or Dutch. A steward spoke English, but spoke so fast that he was hard to understand with his accent. Chairs didn’t lay down, food was only to purchase, even if I agree, prices were okay, according to the price in Charleroi Airport. A lunch was €6,90 inside the airport, around €3,40 the small bottle of water, and around €5,70 for the sandwich.  In the airbus it was €2 for the same bottle, and the sandwich was around €4. For around €7 the company would make you a lunch deal with a snack and a pop (no water).

Customers spoke either French or Romanian. Once at the Cluj Airport, everything is only in Romanian. No one can speak to you in English or in French.

My first impression when I got off of the plane? I could already see how poor is Romania, even more on my way to my dorm. Buildings are dark, used and old. There are Romanian flags at any street corners and people drive crazy. I could feel the communism Romanian still try to get rid off.

To find your way, you can take a bus, but it seems like Taxi is the easiest, plus, it is really cheap in Romania. I paid €5,50 (25 lei) to go from the Airport to the University Campus, Hasdeu.

The Erasmus coordinator of the University of Babes Bolyai adviced to take Diesel Taxi, Terra Fun, Nova, Atla, Pro Rapid or Pritax. Any others brand are increasing their prices, especially the Student Taxi, famous for its name, wouldn’t hesitate to ask more that it should. Prices should be written on the door, I didn’t see it but I didn’t look for it either. It should be around 1,79 lei/km, + 2 ley for departure.

A driver of the Student taxi came to me to ask me to go with him. I walked away to get into a Nova. The driver didn’t speak a word of English. I showed the address and he drove me there. He stopped at the upper corner of the Campus and told me which direction I had to go next.

I had my first experience of Romanians. They don’t let you doing anything. The driver took my suitcase to put into his car back, and to get it out. When I got into the campus, I took a wrong entrance. I asked my way to the security, who also took my suitcase and let me into his small room to stay dry with the rainy weather we had.

They are all really helpful. Even if you don’t speak the same language, it is quiet easy to make yourself understandable. When the security man came back to me after trying to figure out what I needed, he showed me the way I needed to take with wide gestures.

On my way, I asked again, student didn’t speak really well English. I was supposed to take a road on my left, but I couldn’t see any. Actually, the road of the campus is not done. It is an unfinished road, with nobody to work on it.

Once I found it, my next mission was to find the key. I was following the instruction I had by email. Someone found me, and took my suitcase to make me understand he was there to open the door. I met the doorman.  He refused any help to carry my huge suitcase.

He took my 21-kg bag to the second floor to find a student who spoke English and Romanian to help us figure out where I had to go. Again, the translator was really helpful.

Finally, I found my room; it was on the first floor, with a flamate from Kazakhstan who speaks basic English. Communication is sometimes complicated but as always in Romania so far, we always find a way.

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