Monday, May 31, 2010

TIFF Fashion - Vintage Fair

Although I'm not a vintage hunter, I decided to visit the Vintage Fair organized at the Art Museum. The baroque courtyard of the museum, from the XVIIIth century, was a splendid choice!

For more than one hour I enjoyed the elegance of the past. Yes, vintage is old but is high quality. I even got myself a silver bracelet.

The stone(d) lady was proud of her green hat!

Traditional Art Market, Ice Cream Festival, TIFF and other events that took place this weekend in Cluj

As I was saying in a previous post, Busy weekend in Cluj Napoca, the weekend was full of events. Here are some pictures I took.

Handmade Market at Matthias Corvinus House

Preparing for TIFF - open air movies

The Mother Wolf, one of Cluj Napoca's landmarks

Traditional Romanian clothes

Traditional Romanian wood art

Traditional Romanian and Hungarian pottery

Live statue

Ice Cream festival

Morning grace

Morning has broken in Marasti neighborhood, somewhere in the north-east of the city. The buildings were designed by North Korean architects and built between 1970 - 1989.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Parking in Cluj-Napoca

The city welcomes all visitors by car, but to make the most of your trip, there are some factors to keep in mind.

The public parking places offered by the authorities of the city are the best place to park for visitors to Cluj-Napoca. These are in the city centre and in the districts of the city where it is easy to transfer to public transport - you can be in the centre of Cluj-Napoca within half an hour.

Official Parking Locations
Always park your car at official parking spots where there is a parking meter.
For on-street parking, look for the blue light box with the white letter P. In these situations, you must typically pre-pay for parking from the nearest parking meter. In total, there are around 3160 parking places available in the city centre.

Parking costs in the city centre
30 minutes in zone I / 1 hour in zone II = 1 RON
1 hour in zone I / 2 hours in zone II = 2 RON
3 hours in zone I / 4 hours in zone II = 3.5 RON
1 day - 9.5 RON

Monthly pass for city centre

25 RON for residents, 50 RON for the others.

Also, there are 3 parking garages in the city centre.

Parking Town Hall - Lucian Blaga Square, 382 parking places
0' - 30' = 1.50 RON
31' - 60' = 2.50 RON
1h - 1.30h = 3 RON
1.30h - 2h = 3.50 RON
2h - 2.30h = 4 RON
2.30h - 3h = 4.50 RON
3h - 3.30h = 5 RON
3.30h - 4h = 5.50 RON
4h - 4.30h = 6 RON
4.30h - 5h = 6.50 RON
5h - 5.30h = 7 RON
5.30h - 6h = 7.50 RON
6h - 7h = 8 RON
7h - 8h = 8.50 RON
8h - 24h = 12 RON
Monthly pass costs 210 RON.

Parking Garage Town Hall

Parking Marasti - Calea Dorobantilor 105, 250 parking places
Fee: 1 RON/hour
Monthly pass: 300 RON

Parking Garage Marasti

Parking Multiplex Leu - Mihai Viteazu Market, 425 parking places
Fee: 3 RON/hour
Monthly pass: 400 RON

Parking Garage Marasti

If you do not hold a valid parking permit, you must display your pre-paid parking receipt inside your front windscreen. If you do not, you run the risk of clamping or even being towed.

If the employees of community police cannot detect a valid parking ticket behind your windscreen, you will receive a fine on your car so as to ensure payment. Incorrectly parked cars that form an obstacle to other traffic are even towed.

Useful phone numbers:
0264-444571 (R.A.D.P. Cluj-Napoca)
112 (Police)
0264-598784 (Community Police)

Parking at the Airport

Parking for passengers or their attendants is possible in the airport's parking place.
0' - 9' = 1 RON
10' - 30' = 4 RON
30' - 60' = 6 RON
60' - 2h = 11RON
2h - 5h = 22 RON
5h - 24h = 40 RON
24h - 2 days = 85 RON
2 days - 7 days = 150 RON
7 days - 8 days = 190 RON
8 days - 15 days = 300 RON

A parking ticket allows only one car to park.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Seth on Fire 2010

During this week-end you are invited to attend the 3rd Edition of Seth on Fire annual motorcycle bikers' meeting at Eldorado Camping in Gilau.

There are some private bus companies to take you to Gilau during weekend. The ticket price is no more than 5 RON. The station is in front of the Hungarian Theatre.

Bus schedule
From Cluj to Gilau
Satuday: 7 am; 12am; 2.30pm ; 4:15 pm ; 7:15pm
Sunday: 7am ; 12am ; 4:15pm ; 7:15pm

From Gilau to Cluj
Saturday: 5:50am ; 8:15am ; 1pm ; 3:20pm ; 5:15pm ; 8pm
Sunday: 5:50am ; 8:15am ; 1pm ; 5:15pm ; 8pm.

You can also hitchhike from the exit to Oradea. It will take a 20 minutes ride. have the chance to kiss a Harley this week-end!

Of Ice Cream and...

Have you ever try molecular gastronomy? Playing with liquid nitrogen, some chemistry and physics in the kitchen, to prepare ice cream? Well, because we couldn't find any liquid nitrogen to prepare our own ice cream at work, on Friday, after having our lunch, we decided to visit "the place", The Ice Cream and Cakes Festival in Unirii Square.

Of course, some of us lost their control and started the journey with pistachio gelato in front of Matthias Corvinus House.

There are not so many companies at this first edition of the festival but we were happy to find there the local ice cream producer. Napolact, one of the biggest dairy suppliers from Romania, has a history which goes back one century. It all started in 1905, when in Cluj-Napoca it was certified a company producing and selling diary products, called "Vlad's workshop". At the beginning, it was all about butter and cow cheese but in 1936, the workshop started to produce yogurt and fermented cheese, too. In 1984 they changed the name into a socialist one which I cannot remember;-) and in 1990 it changed to Napolact. These days the company belongs to a Dutch concern.

We tried vanilla, banana and Macadamian nuts flavors. Some old, gold, globalized:-D (danish-swedish-italian) memories were coming back but we survived them!

When we were almost about to leave the square I saw the sign, actually, I saw some white and pink shapes. In front of Saint Michael Church, on a Friday afternoon, I saw the Marzipan:-D And that's how they lost me there!

Busy weekend in Cluj Napoca

It will be a busy weekend in Cluj Napoca. There are three crafts markets in the city center, one in front of the Orthodox Cathedral, one in front of Central and one in front of Casa Matei Corvin. You can see and buy pottery, traditional wood art objects, traditional costumes and many more. The Ice Cream Festival is held in Unirii Square, in front of Matei Corvin statue. In the evening there are open air movies from TIFF also in Unirii Square. At the Art Museum there is a vintage fair.
These are some of the places you can visit this weekend. Enjoy!

P.S: Do not forget about the Open Days at Fabrica de Pensule!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Strange but nice afternoon in Cluj-Napoca

Three nice, strange and funny things happened to me on my way back home from work.

First, while strolling through Musem Square I saw a street theatre performance. I watched the young people enjoying playing and I saw the others enjoying their performance.

Second, I met a samurai. At least I supposed he was or still is a samurai as he had written on his t-shirt that he survived harakiri. Next time, try a sharp wakizashi, dude! I'm waiting for the real ceremony to take some pictures, unless he's going to perform the ritual on the battlefield., well, I saw a showfiti in the city centre. Hm, crack tennies in that place, definitely not! End of school year, maybe?! Or it's just about a young guy announcing to his peers that he has lost his...

Pack your bags and come to Cluj

One might ask when is the best time to visit Cluj. My personal opinion is that the best time to visit Cluj is somewhere between late spring (May) to early autumn (September), because the weather is nice am warm, even hot sometimes and the events timetable is full. In winter it's damp and cold and there is not much to do, just drink a hot tea or a coffee in a nice place.
Here is a list of what to do during spring and summer in Cluj:
So, pack your bags and come to Cluj!

About Cluj

Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár in Hungarian or Klausenburg in German) is situated in the historical region of Transylvania and it's the fourth largest city in Romania with a population of approximately 400,000 (larger when university students live here, from October to June).
In Roman times, Napoca was a provincial capital of Dacia. Later, in the middle ages the city of Cluj was established (you can still see the medieval wall, church and tower). Since modern times Cluj-Napoca is a well known Romanian university and cultural center.

Cluj Napoca map

Three shifts and open days at Paintbrush Factory (Fabrica de Pensule) - 28 - 30 May 2010

This week-end, You are invited at the Three shifts at Fabrica de Pensule, the contemporary art space.

On Sunday, May, 30, there will be guided tours of Fabrica de Pensule - artist spaces, galleries, studios. You'll have the opportunity to meet members of the artistic community.
The tour will be organized each hour, starting from 12am to 6pm, in Romanian, Hungarian and English.

For the Theatre Marathon - one man shows there is no entry fee.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 8 pm, the artists open their doors to the visitors.

On Sunday, all galleries stay open for visitors. Guest will be able to see the current exhibitions and meet the people behind them.

See you there!

Fabrica de Pensule (III) - Paintbrush Factory (III)

At the level of the cultural, artistic programming, Fabrica de Pensule is a multidisciplinary area, where events from all the fields of contemporary at and culture take place.

Generally speaking, the programme of Fabrica de Pensule includes: art exhibitions (painting, installations, etc ) – with the 5 galleries which have rooms in here; performances (for instance: within the Festival Temps d`Images), contemporary dance and drama performances (shows of the organizations of Fabrica de Pensule or invited ones), happenings, concerts, workshops (contemporary dance, contact improvisation, capoeira, percution, drama and muppets workshops with children, colour painting workshops with children), film projections, debates, forums, etc.

The space from Fabrica de Pensule are workshop rooms (artists who work in the field of visual arts, music, photography, setting, etc, galleries ( there are 5 galleries all in all, out of which are artist - run spaces and one of the galleries is focused on the launching of fashion design exhibitions – Zmart Gallery), Sala Studio ( spaces for workshops with audience, projections, debates, performances), Sala Mica (the drama room), showroom (belonging to Smaranda Almasan) and also offices for the organizations too.

Here are some of the galleries open inside Fabrica de Pensule and that we enjoy:
Galleries Sabot
Gallery Laika
Gallery Zmart

Nice studios:
ArtLink Association
Ground Floor

Some artists' workshops:
Cristina Gagiu & Attila Gräff
Ciprian Mureşan

Fabrica de Pensule (II) - Paintbrush Factory (II)

The idea of such a space existed in the consciousness of those who proved interested in and receptive to the project; following the model of numerous similar spaces in other countries, each member of the functioning factory was waiting for the context in which such an initiative might be born in Romania, too. Perhaps, the idea of replacing it within an industrial space, which could bring a contemporary art from the city centre to a kind of semi-periphery, has already been a shared fantasy and it could be turned into practice through the enthusiasm and motivation of Fabrica de Pensule members.

Fabrica de Pensule members feel at the same time a sort of fascination coming from the audience towards industrial spaces, semi-periphery transformed into a centre of contemporary culture and art. The audience is more than trained for such a project and it seems to deeply show empathy for the philosophy of space and not to be afraid of a longer or less common route leading to Fabrica de Pensule rather than that it used to take towards the centre galleries.

The location of Fabrica de pensule, the apparition of the new space of contemporary art in the old workers` living space, from the periphery of the city and the presence of the artistic community, as a novelty in this area are only a few social aspects which influence the common program of Fabrica de Pensule. As an innovation for the most part of the members, the artistic production and cultural events include in this context events focused on a new audience, which has not interacted up to now with contemporary art and culture. This new orientation, without changing the general platform of the Fabrica de Pensule members is still strictly a new challenge, which the cultural operators from the Fabrica de Pensule look upon with interest.

Fabrica de Pensule, like the majority of the factories whose production was no longer successful came to be downgraded. If the inner side is completely furnished and renovated by its members, the other outer side has not been renovated, although there is an initiative in this aspect coming from the owner, who decided to take up isolation as well as renovation works.

To be continued
By Andy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Public transport

Traveling within Cluj-Napoca is straight-forward and convenient.
There is a transport network connecting city districts, and commuters can choose between trolleybus, bus and tram to reach their destination.

Cluj-Napoca operates a full trolleybus/bus network, which will take you almost anywhere you have to go.
Most trolleybus/bus journeys are paid using a paper ticket which can be used for two journeys. Tickets can be bought only from stations. There is no possibility to buy the ticket from the bus driver.

Trams are not so common in Cluj-Napoca. Their routes head out from the main train station to city centre and Manastur district. Also, the tram takes you to one of the industrial districts of the city. Like for trolleybus/bus, the paper ticket can be used to pay for your journey.

There is no metro running underneath the city, although the city had a major who tried to start a metro project.

Public transport information
RATUC is the public transport authority in Cluj-Napoca.
Up to date information on public transport can be found here: Transport in Cluj-Napoca.

Tickets for public transport are sold at every station in the city.
Some of the stations have Vending Machines.
Open: Monday to Friday 5:30am - 9pm and Saturday and Sunday, 6am - 9 pm. Some desks are closed during the weekend.

Ticket desk

Ticket price
A two journeys ticket costs 4.0 RON ( ~ 85 cents).
There is an all in one travel ticket, for all trolleybus/bus and tram lines inside the city, available only for the day you buy it, which costs 10 RON ( ~ 2.38 EUR).

Travel tips
There is no night bus transport in the city. The last ride is around 10:30PM.

Your bicycle is allowed only on board of bus 35 only in designated area. They are carried free of charge.

You cannot bring along your pets;-(

There are special buses to take you, free of charge, to Polus Mall and Cora shopping centre.

From May 1, 2010, you can travel from P-ta Mihai Viteazul to Faget Forest by bus 40.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fabrica de Pensule (I) - Paintbrush Factory (I)

Fabrica de Pensule is a space for creating contemporary art, which has been shaped as an independent cultural centre. The project was initiated by a group of cultural operators from Cluj-Napoca – artists, curators, cultural managers and producers – grouped and animated by the common idea that the cultural product creates a real impact upon the community in which they work.

The centre is situated in the former Painting Brush Factory, nr. 59-61, H. Barbusse Street and contains 29 contemporary art spaces: studios, galleries on a 2000 square meters area. The centre suggests to place on the local community map and also on the international artistic stage, an independent creative space and artistic audit.

Fabrica de Pensule has worked as a factory until the end of the 90s, when little by little the impact of the Chinese cheap market made its effect upon it. The production costs could no longer be justified and the factory entered the same cycle as most of Romania’s industrial spaces: after privatization, the decrease of the production followed and finally the factory has been closed. As compared to the other industrial spaces from Romania, Fabrica de Pensule entered a new level of metamorphosis -conversion- and at the present moment, the building is a working and organizing managing space, meant to organize events for more than 30 artists, gallery, active cultural organization in the field of the visual arts, contemporary dance and theatre.

The space belongs to the company which bought the space a few years ago and which has announced at the beginning of the last year that it wishes to rent or buy the building. At that moment, Sabot gallery had already decided to rent a space within the factory, spreading the news that the space is available. Several galleries, organizations and the artists were looking for available working spaces – the idea to contribute to the creation of a common space has come up quite quickly and spontaneously.

Little by little, other people joined the ideas, who, in spite of the fact that they have already had a studio, an office, a gallery, were receptive to creating common contemporary art spaces. The project expanded so quickly in a few months that the negotiations with the owner were meant for the entire available surface of the factory; at the moment, there is not an inch of unoccupied space left.

In time, the initial idea of finding a common workspace developed tremendously – the members of the Factory identified some common objectives, a general interest in working in a reactivated industrial space, as a community life centre, in contributing to the capitalization of an industrial patrimony area, in establishing coherence of an independent contemporary artistic and cultural segment. In order to turn into practice these common objectives and for a better organization, the members of Fabrica de Pensule made a new legal entity Fabrica de Pensule Federation, which represents its members within the foreign relationships. What is remarkable along its route is that the initiative of Fabrica de Pensule started and continues to be organic independent from top to bottom. All the activities and the investments within the artists` individual spaces, galleries or working spaces have been made by the individual effort of each member.

The factory is situated in the area between the industrial zone, Marasti workers` district and a semi-central zone Lupsa/Clujana district. Yet, it is semispherical, almost close to the city center, in a district typically belonging to the workers from Cluj-Napoca. Around Fabrica de Pensule area (Farmec, Clujana) the former Jewish district is outlined, with small tiny houses and gardens, as well as the blocks built during the industrialization age.

To be continued
By Andy

Korean Art Exibition in the Casa Matei Gallery

We just received an invitation.

Hello *,

Please drop by the Casa Matei Gallery one of these days.
The exhibition is great, and we still have two more interesting presentations for you.

21 May 3 PM "Story of Seoul" Presentation
26 May 6 PM "Hanbok" Presentation & Flower Arrangement & Cherry Blossom Lady from Korea Presentation

I hope to see you soon.

Best regards,
Youngsuk Park
Korean Cultural Centre

TIFF is back in town

Do you remember when we used to run from one cinema to another, seeing 4 to 5 movies per day, eating while walking, drinking a lot of coffee and not having time to share the impressions after the movies because the time was running out?

Once a year, Cluj-Napoca celebrates the film industry, by organizing TIFF Film Festival. This year the festival takes place from May 28 to June 6. The festival started nine years ago and has become a well-known brand in Romania.

The festival it's amazing not only due to the outstanding films screened every year, but also for the effective layout, sparkling atmosphere and density of events, from seminars, workshops and panels to fabulous concerts and crazy all night long parties.

Unfortunately this year there are only 60 TIFF cards, no abonnements, so...we’ll have to buy our tickets in advance (one day before the screening) or on the day of screening.

We'll have again debates about what movies to see, we’ll run from one cinema to another and we shall party! Prepare your movie sport shoes:-D!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arrival and departure

Cluj-Napoca can be reached in different ways. Flying, by train or your own transportation.

Arrival by plane
Cluj-Napoca International Airport is situated around 10 km from the city centre. Seven airlines fly to and from Cluj-Napoca Airport and have offices at the airport or in the city. You can reach the city from the airport in just half an hour by bus, taxi or hotel shuttle.

The number 8 bus from the local transport company takes only 20-30 minutes from the airport to the city centre (Piata Mihai Viteazul). There are 6 buses each hour. On weekdays the buses run from 5:30 to 22:30 and on weekends and holidays from 5:30 to 22:00. Unfortunately there is no ticket office located in the airport nor in the bus station from the airport. So ... either you book your bus ticket via Internet (joking:-D, there is no such thing) either try to sell a good joke to the bus driver who usually do not speak any foreign language. So, it will be a trilling experience!
A round-trip bus ticket costs 3.5 RON (~ 85 cents). You cannot pay with credit cards.

The taxi rank is located at the airport’s exit. Depending on traffic, a taxi can take you to the city centre in 15 minutes or half an hour. One ride will cost you approximately 10 EUR. It is strongly advised not to take rides from drivers soliciting within the airport. These are not officially approved taxi drivers. The taxi drivers do not accept EUR nor credit cards.

Hotel shuttles
A hotel shuttle service enables you to travel only to two hotels in Cluj-Napoca.

Arrival by train
If arriving in Cluj-Napoca by train, it's likely and desirable that your journey will terminate at Cluj-Napoca Main Station. From there it is simple to complete your journey on foot, with public transport or taxi.
Cluj-Napoca Main Station is 20 minutes walking distance from the city centre.

Arrival by car
When Cluj-Napoca's streets were built, they were obviously not created with the cars of residents, tourists and commuters in mind:-D In the popular central part, it's also common to experience crowds on the streets, making driving conditions difficult for those new to the city.

In order to maintain the livability and accessibility in Cluj-Napoca, the streets within the city centre are a paid parking area. The parking spaces in the city centre are the most expensive, since these spaces are scarce.

It is typically recommended to make use of the parking garages inside of the central area.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A visit to the Botanical Gardens

May 2nd was free entrance at the Botanical Gardens for young people (under 35), so I went for a visit. I like to visit the gardens in April or May because the magnolia tree is flowering and there are many beautiful tulips, and other spring flowers. I spent about 2 hours taking pictures, walking and enjoying spring.

Magnolia tree in the Japanese pavilion

The pond in the Japanese pavilion

Tulips at the main entrance

More tulips

Tulips at greenhouse entrance

The Botanical Garden in Cluj was founded in 1920 by professor Alexandru Borza and is the largest in South-Eastern Europe. The main attractions are the Japanese pavilion, the Botanical Museum, the exotic plants greenhouse and the tower. Sometimes, in the summer and autumn, you can see squirrels in the trees.

You should reserve at least 2 hours from your time to visit the gardens. You won't be sorry!

It's easy to find the Botanical Gardens, on Republicii Street no 42. From city center you will get there by foot in 15 minutes. Just follow Napoca Street and then Republicii Street.

Botanical Gardens Cluj map
The gardens are open for visits from 9am to 8pm in summer. The greenhouse can be visited from 9am to 6pm. The entrance fee is 4 RON (about 1 EURO) and you can take photos for 20 RON (about 5 EURO).

A trip to the forest

barbecue mici
I love the month of May! In Romania it starts with a national holiday: May 1st = Labour Day. In other words, people don't have to go to work.

It's a tradition for people who live in Cluj (aka Clujeni) to go to Faget forest on this day. Most of them barbecue and eat lots of "mici" (local meat specialty) and steaks and drink lots of beer. Others play football or go hiking in the forest. It's a good opportunity to meet friends, have a chat, relax, catch a tan and forget about daily "madness".

To catch a nice spot, you have to wake up early. It's better if you buy meat, bread and drinks a day or two earlier, because on May 1st most of the shops are closed or don't have anything more left for you to buy.

Faget forest

What to do besides eating, drinking, catching a tan and hiking:
  • drink water from St. John's spring, it's safe (some people drink it every day)

    St John's Spring

  • watch the nature and take some nice pictures

    Flowers in Faget forest
The easiest way to get to Faget forest is to follow Drumul St. Ioan (St. John's road) by foot, by bike or by car. If you don't have a car, to get to Drumul St. Ioan, take trolleybus number 6 from city center and get off at the end of the line.

Most of the forest is public, although there are some private areas surrounded by fences. You can stay or walk anywhere in the public area.

Faget forest Cluj map

Eveybody has to be from somewhere

I was born, grew up and I'm living in Cluj-Napoca. I've spent most of my life in this city. After traveling abroad for some years ... coming back to Cluj-Napoca - I have begun to feel more clearly what I have always loved about this place.

People I meet often ask me: "What is Cluj-Napoca really like? Is it beautiful?" or "What can I see and do there?" or "If I go - where can stay?". After a while I realized that all my "inside knowledge" might be valuable information not only for my friends who like to travel, but also to other people ... like you.

So I decided to participate to this "project" - Traveller's guide to Cluj.

Cluj-Napoca for me means..

• grandparents taking care of me
• parents taking me to the puppets show
• blissful kids playing in the backyard
• laughs with my friends
• voices echoing in my mind like a forgotten dream
• movie nights
• a visit to the Art Museum
• a rock concert in the old Music Pub (now Irish Pub)
• a brownie at Quo Vadis
• a walk along the water (Somes River)
• a wonderful freshly baked pastry
• strolling in the Central Park or Botanical Garden
• a cafe latte stop on the way, of course
• a trip to the lovely Faget forest
• taking a day trip to one of the lakes in the area
• having a sandwich and a tasty beer ... overlooking the city skyline from Cetatuie ... you‘ll love it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Welcome to our "Traveller's guide to Cluj"

When I plan to travel to a new place, I first search the Internet to get as much information as possible: how to get there, where to stay, what to see, what to it safe? Then, I ask my friends, if they have traveled to that place, what they liked, what they did not like. I always make "must see", "must do", "must eat" and "must buy" lists, but I'm also open to surprises (nice ones). And I always plan my trip according to a limited budget (to avoid bankruptcy :-)).
One sunny day me and my friend noticed that there was no all-in-one quality information for visitors about our hometown, Cluj-Napoca ... and we decided to do something about it.

Who we are
We are a small group of people dedicated to promote and improve the image and visibility of Cluj. Through our posts, we intend to give useful information to travelers about how to make the most of their visit to Cluj.
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