“Timisoara is the example of the Revolution; the trend must go on”
Gabriel Aldea and Dan Ciulea, two bloggers from Cluj, working for CJx, a project supporting Cluj’s candidacy to the title of European Capital of Culture 2021, came over to Timisoara for three days. This interview will show you what they loved most about our city and why they are set on returning soon.
How did you find Timisoara?
Gabriel Aldea: Above expectations. Usually, when I don’t know many things about a place where I’m about to go to, I don’t do much research; I wait and see what I find. We’ve been here for two days, and the place is above expectations. We’ve discovered a very green city, which is what Cluj is not. You have lots of parks and green areas, so beautifully cared for. I haven’t seen this many flowers in my life.
Dan Ciulea: This is indeed very cool, the greenery. It is impressive. I don’t know what funds you’ve been raising in order to make this happen, but good for you.
Gabriel Aldea: Even at our hotel. We were in front of the hotel, there was a green area there, and we were saying “Look, this is the first place that I see grass that is not trimmed.” First thing in the morning, it was perfectly mowed. I realized that during these two days I saw a lot, but not enough, and there are so many things left on the list – we’ll have to push some of them till next time. And this is only within the city itself.
Dan Ciulea: We haven’t ticked off everything on our list, nor will we be able to. On our way to Cluj we’ll stop by the Recas Winery.
Gabriel Aldea: We loved the street art; I love murals, and I’ve seen many throughout the city. We don’t have that in Cluj. We’ve seen many cultural capitals doing well in this area, and the authorities encouraging it. For instance, in Thessaloniki. We went there last year, and everywhere there were buildings with beautiful graffiti… the city hall supports artists, pays them to paint murals. Doesn’t fine them.
Dan Ciulea: They organized competitions for each space, and whoever won it, was paid to implement their idea.
Gabriel Aldea: And the statues, the chairs displayed randomly. That’s very catchy. Especially for tourists. I understand you suffered for two years, while the works were in progress. We had the same thing last year; the entire city was a building site, and now people are saying: “This is great, everything is paved.”
What does Timisoara have and Cluj doesn’t, and what does Cluj have and Timisoara doesn’t?
Gabriel Aldea: What I’ve mentioned before. What we loved here and that we don’t have. What does Cluj have? More life, more activity. I felt like here things were quieter, even the traffic. Cluj is a bit busier, and you can feel that.
Dan Ciulea: Not just hustle and bustle, but life itself. You want to go to a club, the theater. The city is alive, much more alive. Cluj is more alive than Timisoara. Or at least this is how we perceive it.
Gabriel Aldea: And the places… we walked around, we saw lots of them, but they weren’t as full as they are in Cluj.
Today in Timisoara, tomorrow…
Gabriel Aldea: In Europe; we have our trajectory until the end of August. We’ll go through six cities and we’ll return to Timisoara in July, because we’re going to Novi Sad, at the EXIT festival. We haven’t been through this area of Romania; we’ll surely come back.
Dan Ciulea: We loved the way; we arrived fast.
What do you like most about Timisoara?
Gabriel Aldea: In addition to the green areas, you’ve settled the problem with cleaning Bega. Back home, nothing is done about Somes. Any city which is crossed by a river is ten times more beautiful than one which isn’t. Water, promenade, boats… I saw you’ve done things and planning on doing more. The spaces between buildings are wider, you can enjoy the architecture.
Dan Ciulea: The people were friendly. I wish we had more green areas, more street artists and murals, a more open attitude in this area. Architecturally speaking, Timisoara is much better than Cluj.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Timisoara?
Gabriel Aldea: The PLAI Festival.
Dan Ciulea: Hard to say; I think the Jazz Festival.
What message would you like to give Timisoara residents?
Dan Ciulea: To get involved in the development of their city. I’ve noticed that normal citizens assume they can’t do anything for their city. I’m a normal citizen and I’ve done a project for Cluj, a festival at its second edition. I’m sure Timisoara is full of people with an open mind, who want to do beautiful things. I’d like to see that in the entire country. If it happens in Timisoara, in Iasi, then it will also happen in Caras. One good thing that I’ve seen happen in Bucharest is the existence of a large number of associations; small activities are organized.
Gabriel Aldea: Timisoara is the example of the Revolution; the trend must go on. I think we must move past complaining and not doing anything about things. You don’t need someone coming to change your life; you change it yourself.