Our trip to Miercurea Ciuc, aka Csíkszereda

On Friday, 15/12/2023, early in the morning, our volunteer team bravely set off where no direct bus or train line from Cristur dare go – to Miercurea Ciuc, aka Csíkszereda (aka Chick Wendesday? Tschickmittwoch? Mercredi-Chique? 🙂 ).

The reason for our trip was solving certain bureaucratic issues at the Harghita immigration office – thankfully, the immigration office personnel were very kind and friendly, so we managed to solve the bureaucracy without having it turn into bureaucrazy, and in the afternoon, our weekend adventure could begin.

After having lunch in a restaurant in the city – which was actually pretty good –  we went to the centre, where our accommodation was located. Our hosts were the NGO Care2Travel, which also hosts ESC volunteers. Having left our stuff and met our hosts, we went to have a coffee, after which we took a walk around the city centre, visited the Christmas market  (after all, you can`t spell adventure without advent), and tried the kürtőskalács (known in English as the chimney cake, and in Romanian as cozonac), a traditional Székely cake. As it was pretty big, we split it among us, and, I can say, really enjoyed it!

In  the evening, we joined some of the Ciuc volunteers in their activity – playing board games in a local café. We played with Dixit cards, which required of us to use our imagination – each round, one of the players had to choose a topic, and all of us had to choose a card we thought represented the topic best; at the end of each round, we voted for the cards we thought represented the topic the best.

Following the game night, we took a quick snack at a fast food nearby, and went to a bar, where we had a few drinks, played table football and even met some locals. After this bar closed, some of us went on to visit some nightclubs, where we had the opportunity to enjoy listening to some manele hits and mingle with the locals a bit more.

The long night was followed by a short, yet surprisingly effective sleep, and I went to visit the city museum, located in the Míko castle. The museum hosts several expositions. Some of them are temporary, such as the exposition on beer-brewing culture in Hungary and Transylvania, or the sabretache plate exposition, which was opened just on the day when I visited the museum. However, the most important exposition in the museum is probably the permanent one, which documents the history of the city, from prehistorical times all the way up to the fall of communism.

Saturday afternoon, some of us went to the cinema and watched Wonka, a film showing the origin story of the famous character Willy Wonka, originally from Roald Dahl`s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We found the film really enjoyable, especially considering that in Cristur, we do not have so many opportunities to go to the cinema and see movies in their full, cinemagical glory.

After this, we headed off to the Lajos Vákár sports hall, where some tried iceskating, while others, like me, felt too clumsy that day, and were satisfied with observing the iceskaters from a safe distance.

At the venue, we also befriended Dávid, a young local man working on the food and drinks stand at the hall entrance. He gave us some insight into the life of local youth, and, after finishing the work at the stand, joined us at dinner in a local restaurant. Following the dinner, he invited us to take an inside look into a recently opened club that he is running. We entered the club in an unusual and adventurous way, sneaking into it through a window. As a big party was held in the club the night before, a cleaning was still in progress when we arrived. We hung out with the club employees and our host a bit, and then went on to play some more table football.

Sunday was the final day of our Csíkszereda trip. We went to have a brunch in a restaurant together with the Csíkszereda volunteers, and, in the afternoon, took a bus to Odorhei, where we managed to find an affordable taxi that took us back home – and we arrived just in time for the Christmas market in Cristur, where we took a look at the products exhibited at stands, and, most importantly, enjoyed some more kürtőskalács. All in all, it was a pretty great weekend!