After a semi-concious train ride from Budapest I arrived in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a town I had only just learned existed a few days ago from a guy at my Budapest hostel. He was heading there on the recommendation of a great hostel there and from his description of the city I decided on a whim to send out a few couch requests there. And after being accepted by Mia, who I desperately hoped had seen my message I had sent right before getting on the train and was waiting for me at the station, here I was, pulling into the city. Thankfully Mia picked me out as soon as I stepped off and after the initial slightly awkward introductions that always happen when your meeting basically a stranger in an unknown city, she showed me back to her small but cozy apartment. On the way back she mentioned a party she was planning on going to that evening and asked if I could come with her. Not wanting to disappoint the girl who was letting me stay at her place for free yet still a bit bleary-eyed from my previous nights escapade I asked if I could take a quick nap when we got to her place to regain some energy for the night ahead. I woke up energetic and rested... 14 hours later.
Apologizing for my extreme tardiness Mia told me to not feel bad and that she was glad she got some rest as well. Over breakfast she told me the basic plan for the day of showing me around the city and shortly afterward we were walking around the main square of the town, complete with their own Man on Horse statue that from my experiences almost seems a required component of any Eastern European city. Cluj's is as impressive as any. At a coffee shop later that afternoon I realized that my friend from Budapest who had told me about Cluj was most likely still in the city and I shot him off a message. Two minutes later he replied, telling us he was lounging in a teahouse nearby. Mia knew the place and we made our way over there. Upon opening the door we entered into a different world. Gentle music wafted through the air as we took our shoes off and made our way over to Brett's spot, descending onto the cushions and pillows scattered about the low table. We shared a pot of Cup of Good Hope (brilliant title) and pondered evening plans, finally deciding on going to Mia's favorite bar, Flying Circus. The night was a fun but calm one I was grateful for and for the second night in a row I got to bed early and slept like a rock.
The next day I decided I had to head out and start moving west to Croatia. "My trains scheduled to leave at 3" I told Mia, "Perfect!" she replied, "You can leave right after the Harlem Shake!" I had seen the posters all over town but I need Mia to explain what the actual event was. If anyone reading this doesn't know of the Harlem Shake phenomenon, its a viral trend where groups of people get on the wildest costumes they can find, play this song called Harlem Shake, and basically go nuts. The one I was about to be a part of was supposedly attempting to be the biggest one one yet. Needing some soothing activity before the antics I would soon be a part of I took the time to visit the Cluj Botanical gardens where I fell in love with their Japanese garden and suspended disbelief for a few hours to believe I really was in a forest surrounded by more forest and not buildings and traffic. Losing track of time I rushed back to the main square where the event was already in full swing. Morphsuits, masks of all shapes and sizes and people in outrageous get-ups all excitedly milled around the two towers of speakers that would soon blast out the song. I could describe it to you but its better if you just watch this video of it, Mia and I were pretty much smack dab in the middle of the crowd. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-ZxJ7eg6t0
Still grinning on what I had just been a part of I thanked and said goodbye to Mia, hopped in the nearest cab, and headed to the train station, getting on the train about 5 minutes before my departure.
Next stop, Zagreb, Croatia.