Monday, 22 November 2010

A day to explore Cluj

Saturday’s blog

Throughout the night I could hear the rain falling and it seemed to never ending, was this going to be in for all of Saturday? The mist was with us again when we woke around 8am but this soon dissipated and the sun began to shine again.

We had arranged that we would go into Cluj with Ioana and the children at 10am. She was going to take us up to a hill outside the city so we could look down and get a panoramic view of the whole of Cluj, but the mist was about in the valley so this was not possible. Instead we headed into the centre of town and parked up and went for a walk. Ioana took us into the main squares where we saw a bit of the history of Romania and Cluj, but we also got a feeling of where we were too as the city is quite cosmopolitan. Being a university city, there are 12 in all, it is reflected in the architecture and the way of life, it has an open feel to it with wide streets and several large squares with statues and churches. There is an ornate theatre in centre opposite the statue of Avram Iancu, a Romanian leader who did much to bring the different factions in the country together, and next to the theatre are the law courts that also houses the prison where went to on Friday.

After a time looking around we then went to the ‘shopping mall’ the Iilnus Centre. This is an ultra modern building and could be anywhere in Britain. Maud had brought her disabled badge and this came in very useful when parking in the underground car park as we were able to park in the disabled bay, just like back home. As we entered the mall you were immediately struck by the globalisation as many of the shops I recognised from back home, and reflected too, that once again the effect of the shopping mall was to cause the decline of the city centre. We went around the mall but were heading for the Auchan or supermarket. Ioana needed to get some provisions and as we walked in it was just like being in Asda or any of the big four. What a contrast. Go just a couple of miles and you will come upon people who are in desperate poverty and live on meagre rations, yet here we were with an abundance of food, white goods, toys and household items – and oh yes, a whole isle of chocolate. Now there was the usual chocolate from Mars and Nestle etc, but also there was a lot of home grown stuff to be looked at. I must admit that I am partial to white choccy and so had to get a bar to test for quality control purposes, and the bar I got was silky white Primola which is produced in the capital Bucharest. As we looked around, at the end of just about every isle there was the opportunity to sample various foods – in an English supermarket there may be only one or two samples but here they were numerous and so I was able to have my starter, main and desert. English supermarkets have a lot to learn from the Romanians.

This evening we are all having a barbie and waiting for pastor Rufus to return from Odessa in the Ukraine. In the morning we shall be away early with Rufus to the first of our church services and which will be our last day in the country.

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