I had an email from Wizzair the other day saying that, due to congestion at Cluj airport, they advised us to arrive more than two hours ahead of our flight. Our flight is scheduled for 18.30 this evening, meaning that we were planning to be at the airport by 16.30 anyway, so we decided that given this extra warning, we didn't want to stray too far from Cluj today. When we checked into our apartment here on Friday, the host had explained that Cluj had a botanical garden, so we decided to spend the morning exploring that.
We checked out of the apartment after breakfast and walked to the train station, where Tim had researched that there was a place where we could leave our bags. Sure enough, there was a man with a baggage room and we only had to pay about £2 each to deposit our bags there. With that done, we were free to walk to the botanical gardens, which were a mile or so on the opposite side of town.
It didn't look very far on the map at all and we soon reached a sign in the city centre which announced that we only had 850m to go. What I hadn't realised, however, was that the botanical gardens are located on a hill and the last part of the journey would therefore be rather steep!
We made it up the hill in the end and it only cost us another £2 each to get in. As soon as we entered the gates, we were greeted with a beautiful display of flowers.
The botanical garden was opened here in 1872 and is linked to the local university.
Apparently it is home to over 10 000 plants and covers 14 hectares.
I'd hoped that once we got into the gardens themselves they might be flat, but no, the whole garden is on a hill and so there was more uphill to go
Once we'd passed through the part with the flowers, we soon found ourselves in a different part of the garden which was more like a woodland.
Some of the paths where were a bit more challenging than I had expected from a botanical garden!
There was a stream running through the middle of the gardens.
We crossed over it on a bridge.
Once on the far side of the bridge, we caught sight of some beautiful purple flowers.
They looked a bit like crocuses, although they can't have been!
By this stage we'd completed a loop and were back in the flower gardens that we recognised
We now just had time to walk back into the city centre and get some lunch, before finding the bus to the airport. We found a different restaurant in the old town to last night and sat outside in the sunshine. I had a diavola pizza and Tim had chicken quesadillas.
We had time for pudding too; a lava cake for Tim (this one was supposed to be white) and Nutella pancakes for me
The final remaining challenge was to locate the airport bus, which we believed departed from somewhere near the station. We retrieved our bags and found the bus stop without any difficulties, but struggled to figure out how to find a ticket. In the end Tim went into a shop to ask someone and we managed to figure out the machine. It only cost 5 lei for two trolleybus tickets - less than 47p each
As I said yesterday, it's been a really great holiday and we've had a lot of fun exploring two new countries. It's also been an incredibly cheap holiday; both Romania and Bulgaria have been really affordable and the accommodation in particular has been a real bargain We've also had incredible weather; not a single drop of rain in the entire two weeks. I don't think we could have hoped for better