TIMISOARA, ROMANIA – SEPT. 13
Today was our first bus ride to get from Budapest into Romania. The drive itself wasn’t too long, but we were waiting for around an hour at the boarder inspection, but at least I got another stamp in my passport!
A BIT OF HISTORY
Okay, so mostly this next section is for me so that I can remember all of the fun and interesting things that I learned on this trip, but if you just want to skip to the pictures I completely understand 😜 Sadly when we got to Timisoara (the s is pronounced like an sh) it was raining; but that didn’t stop us from doing a quick walking tour.
One of the first things we saw while on our walking tour of Timisoara was the Memorial of the Unknown soldier. Interestingly this statue was initially meant to honor the unknown Romanian soldiers who died during WWI, but when Romania was occupied by Russia it was controversially changed to honor the unknown Russian soldiers lost during WWII.
Honestly, learning about everything that happened in Romania during and after the Russian occupation was surprising. Obviously I knew it wasn’t exactly a happy history, but seeing it was eye-opening. I think that so much of our education of this period of time is focused on Russia’s involvement with Germany that you sort of take for granted how much it effected other countries. For example I knew that the wall in Berlin came down in 1991, but I never thought too much about how Romania had a revolution in 1989. This revolution actually started in Timisoara before spreading into Bucharest and beyond.
Our next stop in the walking tour was the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxa Mitropolitana) in Victory Square. During the walking tour we were only able to see the outside of this church, but I ended up getting to see the inside of the church during our free time with our tour guide Piotr.
Speaking of Piotr, after we were done with our walking tour he asked if anyone else would like to join him to walk around the Jewish Ghetto. It seemed there were a few takers, and I was definitely interested, so I joined him. As we started to walk towards the synagogue we noticed that the entire rest of the group disappeared! Everyone else decided that they didn’t feel like walking in the rain I guess, so it was just me and Piotr. Unfortunately at this point it was raining too much for me to take a photo of the synagogue, and ultimately we just had to book it to the nearest restaurant that would accept credit cards.
By the time we were done with our lunch/dinner (it was pretty late for just lunch by the time we got in to Timisoara) the rain had finally stopped, so Piotr and I made our way over to the Union Square. Here we saw the Nicolas Lenau College and the Roman Catholic Cathedral. From here we made our way over to Freedom Square.
So I’m not totally sure what the activity going on in Freedom Square was, but it seemed to be a fair of sorts for the emergency services available in Timisoara. I wasn’t able to get a good photo of it, but one of the really neat attractions was a zip line for kids. Basically they had a line attached from a tree to the back of the forest rescue car and once they attached the kid to the rope at the end with the car, a man holding one of the lines started to run back creating a pulley system that brought the kid to the top of the tree. From here the guy essentially just dropped the rope so that the kid would then be able to zip down the line. It was really interesting to watch.
When we were done checking this out, Piotr and I waited at a cool little café for the rest of our group to join us. Here we decided to try and emulate Sex and the City and ordered Cosmos. All in all this was a really great day. It was too bad that it was raining–and don’t even get me started on the wet bath in the hotel that flooded–but I loved getting to learn about the history of Timisoara.