My first trip to Romania was to Timisoara, in the far west of the country, to attend a conference at the time I was representing Rotaract in the United Kingdom.
Timisoara is an innovative city and is famous for:
● The first european city with electric street lighting
● Home of the Romanian National Opera
● Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral
● Start of the Romanian Revolution of 1989
● Timisoreana Beer
On my way I had managed to leave Munich, just before the snow closed in and I arrived at the small but functional airport on the outskirts of Timisoara. I was picked up by a friend who had very kindly offered me a lift and we travelled back to the city centre. On route we travelled along some back streets, got acquainted with our surroundings and arrived at the Hotel Timisoara. The view from this hotel was excellent. On one side is the Opera house and to the front is the main shopping square with the cathedral at the far end. With the roofs covered in snow this looked like a fairytale and similar to some respects to a Vienna which is only a few hundred km to the west. Whilst in Timisoara, I attended the conference of course, but there were opportunities to explore the city on a walking tour, visit the brewery, visit the museum of the revolution, visit a winery and of course visit the opera. In fact there were a few cultural elements to this trip, on one evening there was a recital of the 4 seasons at the Timisoara Banatul Philharmonic Hall, a chance to try some local foods and on the final evening the a gala dinner took place for the conference inside the opera house, one of the only times that the opera house had hosted such an event.
So what did I learn on this trip, the Romanian Revolution of 1989 was a touching story and the gap between the different “classes” was highlighted, and to some extent was still in evidence when walking, in particular, past the hospital. Romanians are very welcoming hosts and go out of their way to make sure that you are looked after.
Timisoara has interesting stories and the scenery in the immediate vicinity and within the city itself remind you that there is a world to explore.