I found Oradea to be a little strange. This was due entirely to the fact that it was virtually empty. It felt bizarre to be walking through almost empty streets. The photo above contains close to everyone I saw in Oradea, and about ten minutes later no one was around.
Just about everything was closed as I was there on the weekend. Even on the Saturday only a few shops were open – a kebab shop, a pretzel shop, a few restaurants and two fashion stores that I saw, along with the ABC shops which are basically milk bars or corner stores selling a little bit of everything.
Despite feeling like it had been evacuated, the city itself – in particular Strada Republicii, a long pedestrian street, was quite lovely. Str. Republicii is lined with beautiful old Secessionist buildings, most converted at least at ground level into shops or restaurants, It’s wonderfully colourful even when nothing’s open, and if there’s one thing I love it’s colour. Every time I walk down a street lined with brightly painted buildings in delicious peaches or pastel blues with contrasting lintels and windowsills, I feel a little sad for my hometown of Melbourne. Everything there is in varying shades of grey – nothing like the rainbow cities of Europe. [I must admit that if one day I manage to own my own home, I plan to paint it a vivid turquoise. If nothing else, it’s guaranteed to annoy the neighbours!]
The hotel I was staying in was situated on the other side of the river to Str. Republicii, and it was about a ten minute walk to get there. Before the bridge there’s a big square, with a church in the centre that was so dull that I didn’t even take a photograph of it. However, there are plenty of other buildings surrounding the square, such as the Black Eagle, that were marvellous, so I’ll forgive Oradea for the plain white block of a church taking up prime location there.
I didn’t spend much time in Oradea, and I skipped the few museums there in favour of just wandering around. Below are some pictures of the city.