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Steve and Emma's Travel Tales

First Impressions of Timisoara

ROMANIA | Sunday, 16 August 2020 | Views [26]

Piata Unirii, the most beautiful square in Timisoara.

Piata Unirii, the most beautiful square in Timisoara.

The journey to Timisoara started with an overnight stay in Luton. Yep, our trips often start badly. The only direct flights to Timisoara are from the optimistically named London Luton Airport. Either Lorraine Chase is not good at geography or the Airport authorities are being a bit liberal with geographical boundaries. Turns out Lorraine was correct and the airport is in Luton, so that is where we headed. We had to stay overnight as the flight to Timisoara on Whizz Air was very early the next morning. We booked a room at the Easy Jet hotel (cheap but not cheerful) and enjoyed an evening sampling the delights of Luton town centre, we had an early night. We were quite hopeful that things would look up when we arrived in Timisoara.

The flight only took 2 and a half hours and was perfectly fine with everyone adhering to covid regulations and the flight was quite empty. We touched down at the sort of airport we love, it is tiny. The walk from the plane to the building is about a minute, there is only 1 baggage carousel and your bags appear after 5 mins and you are outside and in a taxi 1 more minute later. Our friendly taxi driver suggested a fair price to drop us in Piata Unirii ( Union Square) and we were soon dragging our luggage across the square looking for the apartment we had booked for the first 4 nights.

We had booked ‘5 Comfortable Apartment near old Town’ and obviously the owners are more scrupulous at naming stuff then the people who own Luton Airport. It was number 5, it was a very comfortable apartment and it was right in the centre of the old town, so they actually under sold it (take note Airport authorities). The apartment turned out to be perfect, located in an old historic building right on the stunning Piata Unirii. We had a kitchen with all the stuff you need plus wifi, we would be very comfortable while we explored our new city for 4 days.

The fore mentioned square is surrounded by beautiful secession architecture and lots of café bars which is where we headed first surprisingly. We plumped for ‘In Thyme’ café and ordered 2 local speciality dishes which were pork based so ok for Emma, oh and 2 Timisoreana beers which were tasty, cold and cheap – happy days. The staff were very friendly and had enough English for us to get by. I think I need to sort of the tipping mind as the waitress skipped off when I waved away the change. Oh well, it was the first day and I was in a good mood.

We spent the 4 days exploring round the old town which is quite extensive and there are several other nice squares and plenty of small pedestrian lanes with even more cafes. A lot of the old buidlings are under going renovations as part of Timisoara being 'European Capital of Culture in 2021' So unfortunately at the moment a lot are covered up but when they are finished they will look wonderful. We found the Bega canal and it is a lovely place for a stroll along the banks and yes there are more cafes and bars to distract you from your promenade. There are many parks along the river and all over the city there are green spaces which make it a very pleasant spot. In fact Timisoara is often called 'The Flower City'. We also headed north of the town to find Emma’s new school and to look at possible areas to live in as we want to be close to the school even though the centre is great. The northern part of the city is not as nice but that it where the modern apartments are and also most of the big supermarkets.

So, first impressions, the town is beautiful, the people seem friendly, the food and beer is good and most things seem a reasonable price. The weather has also been fantstic so far, reallly hot with beautiful blue skies. Most people (ourselves included) imagine Romania to be a cold country but it is steaming in summer. We will have to adapt for the cold winter but locals have told us that it doesn't get too brass monkeys with it being located in the west of the country - hope so. We think we will be happy here and are looking forward to exploring more of the town, Romania and Eastern Europe.

Ps. Since we arrived, Timisoara is now 'European Capital of Culture ' for 2023 as thngs have been put back due to the golbal pandemic. At least it will give them more time to spruce up the buildings. We will have to make sure we are still here in 2023 to experience it.


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