Mike and Yvonne in Romania.
How did you find your exchange?
I contacted the other member in search of an exchange.
What attracted you to this exchange opportunity?
We were told that Cluj-Napoca was considered to be one of ‘The 12 Cities that Will Shake Up the Art World in the 21st Century’. It seemed like it was an effervescent place with a young international community. Flights connected to our local airport.
How was your arrival at the home?
We were really pleased to meet our hosts for a coffee. They were a lovely couple, friendly and helpful and they offered us all the information we could possibly have needed. we also discovered we had a lot of interests in common.
What did you see or do during your exchange?
Close by, we visited one of the oldest salt mines existing - Salina Turda. It must be one of the most curious places on the planet and certainly in Romania.
We then went to a large underground wonderland with a brightly lit modern art theme park - 120 meters below the surface. The space age scene that greeted us seemed like something out of Blade runner, with its amphitheater, underground lake with paddles and rowboats, Ferris wheel, bowling alley and sports field.
By contrast Sibiu was an interesting mix of old and new. Much of the city centre is pedestrianized which made it easy to see the whole place on foot. It was a joy to explore it's medieval towers and a town square with the only sound being the swish of a bile or chime of a church bell. Cobbled streets and towers gave the feeling of a medieval town frozen in time.
Nearby too Alba Iulia’s a star-shaped citadel was a magnificently preserved fortress, full of grand monuments and museums, churches, and archaeological treasures. Hardly visited apart from weekend we felt as if we had the city to ourselves.
What is your favorite memory from the exchange?
Cluj-Napoca itself was friendly and welcoming and we loved chatting to strangers.
Bohemian cafes and coffee shops are the heart and soul of Cluj-Napoca, so people watching and slowing down was a real highlight. Also our visit to the Opera at the magnificent Opera house. Something we would perhaps never experience (or afford) at home.
How would you describe home exchange to your family and friends?
A life changer and one of the best things we've ever done.