Thursday, April 24, 2014

Outing to Turda

As we are not ones to idle, extra time in Cluj had us scrambling for things to do.  For Easter Monday we put together a full program for ourselves.  First thing in the morning, we caught a bus 30km outside Cluj to Turda.  Lucky for us the bus was running on half schedule.

Our first destination was the Turda Salt Mine.  By no means is this an impressive salt mine.  What they did with it is peculiar; they built amusement and entertainment park down in the mine.  It sounded cheesy, but the photos looked intriguing.  It did turn out to be one of the more surreal places we have been.  By the time we left around 10:45 AM many people were coming in for their holiday outing.

From the mine we walked through the center of Turda to get catch the trail to our next destination, the Turda Gorge.  As we headed out of the center we first walked through a poor-ish neighborhood, then we had to skirt around a number of vicious dogs guarding piles of garbage and cows.  We didn't spot a single trail blaze though we had seen the track on two different maps.  The good thing was the gorge was easy to spot.  You pretty much just head straight to it.  It turned out to be a very nice walk.  The day was beautiful. A couple of MTBers headed towards us scared up a fox. Nonetheless we were surprised that when we finally arrived at the gorge after a 10km trek from the mine, there were hundreds of cars parked in the grassy lots at the entrance of the gorge.  Clearly this is what one does when the town is closed for Easter holiday.

John and I joined the throng of people through the gorge.  Some parts were not an easy stroll, yet people of all age and shape cheerfully plied the trail.  Their enthusiasm was most precious to see.  By the time we traversed the gorge back and forth, it was 4pm.  We decided to try our luck at hitching a ride, given the number of cars around, granted many came full.

In the end, we were picked up by Anamaria, a bright young woman fluent in English, among her other six or seven languages in a Dacia which she very proudly pointed out.  She also informed us that the local tradition for Easter Monday is for girls to stay at home expectant of boys (guys) showing up to splash perfume on them.  Anamaria did not have that kind of "patience for such silly tradition" -- my kind of girl.  Needless to say, we had a new friend by the time she delivered us to our hotel.


Into the Salina (Salt Mine) via a 500 meter tunnel. Neat!
Turda, Romania

Turda, Romania

13 stories down. Check out the Ferris wheel.
Turda, Romania

And pool hall?...That's the stairs and elevator in the back.
Turda, Romania

And farther down. Boating?
Turda, Romania

Walking along the "balcony" of the one pit was way cool.
Turda, Romania

Just follow the road and fence line for 5 kms to the Gorge.
Turda, Romania

Unknown to these MTBers, they scared up a fox as they passed us.
Turda, Romania

Getting closer.
Turda, Romania

Just some of the cars parked at the one end of the gorge.
Turda, Romania

And into the gorge.
Turda, Romania

Turda, Romania

Turda, Romania

There were some rock climbers at one section.
Turda, Romania

Photobombed by a young couple on one of the tighter sections.
Turda, Romania

And some bonus video of Easter Sunday at the Orthodox Cathedral in Cluj.

3 comments:

Crash Eddy said...

GM doesn't find the gorge. Have a geo-loc for the photo?

john said...

Ed, the name of Turda Gorge in Romanian is Cheile Turzii and it's @ (46.564612, 23.683265).

Crash Eddy said...

Thanks, John, that nails it. Very striking geology but GM has a fuzzy sat photo over it.