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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 45.76, 21.23
Timisoara is known for being one of Romania's most beautiful larger cities, full of pedestrian zones and green spaces. It isn't always high on the list of destinations for tourists to Romania, but became a stop out of convenience for us - reasonable trains and buses to Romanian from Belgrade can be a bit tricky, and since GEA Tours also offered a Belgrade-Timisoara shuttle, it made perfect sense for us to stop a night here.
Luckily for us today, our driver wasn't as insane as the one that brought us from Sarajevo, but perhaps because of that, our journey took far longer than the expected three hours, though we suspect that GEA purposely underestimates the duration, in order to attract customers. We also didn't get the full door-to-door convenience of the shuttle, as our driver didn't know Timisoara's streets all that well, and couldn't get us directly to the hotel when we arrived to some massive road construction. As a result, we needed to hoof it about three or four blocks to the hotel, basically over dirt roads.
We were shocked at the level of construction taking place in Timisoara - it wasn't just a few streets that were torn up,
but block after block of roads and sidewalks completely ripped up, in some cases with massive open trenches. Even more surprising was that two of the city's main plazas, Piata Unirii and Libertatii were nothing more than major construction sites. It was a jarring visual, especially when our first experience with a Timisoara plaza was Piata Victoriei, a long and beautiful pedestrian zone packed with outdoor terraces, fountains, and greenery. It's one of the prettiest pedestrian zones you'll find anywhere in Europe, and is prime people-watching territory.
Seeing the number of gorgeous buildings around Piata Unirii and Libertatii, we could only imagine how amazing these two squares would have been, had they not been full of piles of gravel, dirt, and construction materials. it seems that the city must be undergoing some massive improvement plan, and it was rather unfortunate timing for us to have visited during this time. But like with all things bad, it's important to focus on the more positive side. Given that we only had part of the afternoon and an evening here, we could not have fully enjoyed and appreciated all three plazas, anyway.
So with a snack, a gelato, and a coffee on Piata Victoriei, and
a dinner in a quieter part of Timisoara, we still fully enjoyed our time in this city, in the briefest of introductions to Romania. However, in such a short amount of time, we were still able to ascertain one thing about Romania, despite our visit to a construction zone - this is going to be a pretty awesome next leg of the trip ...
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