They got a Cluj

Another Brit with a footballing passion (is this a pleonasm?) and enjoyable writing has shared impressions from Romania. Nick Ames typically writes for Arsenal Football Club, but this correspondence was written for the “European Football Weekends” website. With no further due,

The waitress in balmy Piata Muzeului bears a striking resemblance to Jelena Dokic – and without the unnervingly obsessive father, you’d assume. My chances of finding out for sure are nipped in the bud fairly decisively. “You go dancing this evening?” she enquires in thick-frosted English. “Perhaps,” I reply evenly, “but I’m going to watch CFR first, so we’ll see.”

“You have come to Cluj to watch football….?” She tails off, says nothing more, regards me with the concerned disgust you might usually reserve for someone who leaves a copy of ‘A Journey’ open at May 12, 1994. She places my bottle of Ursus in front of me, frowning slightly. Twenty minutes later, her male colleague ventures forth to collect my six lei.

Perhaps I’d sold myself short. In a day and a half I’d already thoroughly combed Cluj-Napoca’s pleasant mixture of pretty churches, side streets and museums, all accompanied with the requisite sprinkling of dreadful Communist ephemera. I’d been down a salt mine and hiked 15km towards, up and back from a mountain gorge near the town of Turda, subsequently feeling pretty akin to the name. A chance meeting with some Americans had resulted in generous Ursus consumption, just five minutes from this very square, the evening before. So what could be done when there was just one thing missing?”

What could be done? One could read the whole article, here.

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