Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Weekend Tour

The last post was written at 4 AM Cluj time because a stupid telemarketer from Quebec phoned at 2:15 and I couldn't get back to sleep. I ate breakfast at 7, emailed the group and said "Let me sleep unless you go touring." The I slept. Two of the guys woke me at 10:30 saying "We're setting up a tour to the Salt Mines - want in?" I said "Yep!" Then I showered and fell asleep again. At 1:30 it was time to go. (The guys asked the front desk if they knew of any tours, and they said "Sure, we'll hook you up." We didn't plan anything. It was awesome.)

The tour guide picked us up and it was great. He told us all about the land, history, past politics, and so on. He even went down into the salt mines which as unexpected - we thought he was just going to drop us off.

The salt mine was amazing. It was started in the 1700s and was actively mined until the 1920s. It is amazing to see how much salt was extracted by hand and horse. I was also amazed to see the colors in the salt, and that it is stable without reinforcement of any kind (Clint, we will need to talk). Yes, there is an amusement park in the mine. Yes, there is a Ferris wheel. Here's the link to the album.

We then went to the Turda Gorge. It was a grueling climb for the first 45 minutes, but it was worth it. The scenery was really nice. Clint, again we must talk about the formation of said gorge. I learned that highland cows are different from lowland cows in that they can't live in the territory they weren't raised in. Random. Here's the album.

On the way back we saw two people pitching hay onto a horse-drawn wagon with pitchforks, and two more were making a haystack - with pitchforks. There are still some very old practices and traditions here.

On Sunday we just wandered around and took pictures. We went to a museum and it was interesting to see that their tools from the late 1800/early 1900s are very similar to those that were used in Canada at that time.

The rest of the week was pretty much breakfast at 8, work at 9 or 9:15 ish, lunch around 2 or 3, work until 6:30 or 7, then go for supper at 8 or 9. Restaurant meals are a bit different too - the servers don't bring the bill until you ask for it, and they'll pretty much let you stay as long as you want. Tonight, for example, was a simple supper of pasta and ice cream for dessert, and it took 2 hours.

Only 6 more sleeps until we fly out. Romania is nice, but it's not home. Can't wait to be back and see everyone (especially my crew)!


  1. Dang, it sounds very interesting and great, but I couldn't get to the pictures. computer said it could not find that page Help!!

  2. Try it now - I didn't have it shared publicly.

  3. It works now. Thanks. Awesome pictures. The salt mine makes me think of something I might have in a dream!!!
    Bet you never thought you would be rock/mountain climbing on a trip like this ;)

  4. I thought there would be some sight-seeing, but not extreme sight-seeing!