Back in 2018, I met a guy from Timisoara, and I always promised him I would visit his hometown. By booking my flight from the city I was able to not only keep my promise but also explore a brand new city and ensure I left the country on a positive note.
I arrived into Timisoara quite late on the Friday, having spent nearly ten hours on the bus, I didn’t mind this journey though as it went through some beautiful cities like Alba Iulia. But after spending so long on the bus, I was glad to put my feet on solid ground when we arrived. I collected my backpack and headed to my hostel. Immediately upon arriving at Freeborn Hostel, I was greeted incredibly warmly and got a very good feeling about the next few days. I joined my hostel mates for a couple of drinks before heading out quickly to get some food before hitting the hay.
The next day I got up early and went on the search for some food, I found a little bakery and then sat in one of Timisoara’s three main squares before exploring properly. The biggest and most extravagant square was Piața Unirii, which featured a massive fountain in the middle, along with a couple of churches on either side; the architecture in this square was absolutely gorgeous and looked like it should be featured in a Shakespearean novel. Just down the street from that square, is Piața Libertății, and this one is not as pretty, just due to the abandoned buildings circling the Piața. It did feature some unusual art installations though, a child with blocks missing, a speakerphone with feet, and an aerial view of the city. Wandering through a little side street, with umbrellas hoisted above, would bring you to the site of the revolution, which I will discuss later on, Piața Victoriei. This was the nearest square to my hostel, so probably the most visited for me, just due its proximity.
Having strolled around for a bit, I headed back to my hostel and chatted with the other residents, and after a couple of hours chatting, we all agreed to go sightseeing, with one of the others and I heading to the Communist Muzeum as recommended to me before I arrived. This was a great place to visit; it was in the basement of a local bar, and was littered in old souvenirs, old toys and a lot of old brands that I actually recognised from their modern logos. As this wasn’t the major income for the property, they offered either donations for the upkeep or for you to sweep the floor to keep the place tidy, guess how I paid, I swept the floor. A couple of drinks at the bar, and my companion and I headed back to the hostel to collect the others, we then went out for dinner at a pizzeria.
As I said earlier, I came to Timisoara, to meet a friend of mine, and after a bit of back and forth, we were able to meet up on the Saturday night, and so I collected all my hostel buddies and my friend and we all went to a local rock bar – Lemmy’s. We sat outside for a while chatting, until the heavens opened and the street turned into a river. The group then headed inside and we continued drinking and chatting with the locals, if you do ever go to Timisoara, I highly recommend this bar, it’s absolutely fantastic!
The next day I got up pretty late but as the museums were all closed, I took a wander around the city, down to the riverbank and through some parks before heading back to the hostel to chat with my hostel buddies. One thing that really did strike me during my time in this city, was the amount of graffiti, and not just bog-standard tags, but there were some incredible and extravagant pieces on the walls, the ones below, were probably my favourite:
With only two more days left in this amazing country, I wanted to find out what happened in 1989, so I went to the Revolution Museum on the Monday to learn all about the communist upheaval. This museum was incredibly educational; it started with a video clip with all the information from why the revolution started, to the fight between the state and the civilians, and through to the terrorists and even Ceaușescu’s execution. I was then allowed to wander the halls and I could see how the revolution started from Timisoara and how it developed across the country until it finally reached the capital and the communist regime fell. There was a lot more to the revolution than I had known from my time here and I left building moved and appalled at how the state acted towards its own people. In order to clear my head, I walked around the city again before heading back to my hostel to play some video games as the rain came down again soon enough.
With a few new guests checking into the hostel, the receptionist actually took a load of us out to another bar for a couple of drinks and it felt just like a very similar bar I’d visited in Cluj-Napoca, which really warmed me, didn’t dry my wet clothes unfortunately though.
On Tuesday, I discovered the only thing I don’t like about the city; the public transport system. I asked the receptionist on how to get to the airport and apparently I had to get a bus from a small bus stop, easy enough to find, so I strolled over there just to ensure I knew where I was going. Apparently there’s nowhere to buy a ticket there though, I had to go back into the city centre, back to Piața Victoriei, to buy a ticket from a small corner shop. If I hadn’t asked the receptionist, I would’ve been stranded in the city as there’s no information anywhere on how to buy a single ticket.
After wandering around one final time, and having a celebratory doughnut as my final meal, I headed to the airport, boarded my flight and sat down; homeward bound.