Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Deva, like all cities around the world is split up into individual districts.
Districts such as Dacia, Progresul and Calugareni, and then there is the wonderfully named district of Micro 15. Why it is called Micro 15 I don't know.
It is a largely residential area that we have come to know and like over the last few months. It is a great place just to sit, at a pavement cafe, and watch the world go by.
It isn't as busy or as bustling as the main town centre, and maybe not quite as many people promenade through Micro 15 in the evening as promenade through the town centre and down it's pedestrianised streets.

(The coffee is cheaper than in the main town centre too, which also helps!)

The atmosphere in Micro 15 is somehow calmer, less frenetic.
It is a single street, a roundabaout marking one end, beyond which is the 'police' area, and a Romanian Orthodox cathedral at the other.

Now, the casual observer could look at some areas of the city of Deva, and that includes Micro 15, and assume that it is a relatively affluent city. Funding from the European Union has been used well on civic improvements around the city, from pedestrianisation of some streets to the wonderful new all singing, all dancing fountain in front of The Casa de Cultura.
Micro 15 is similar, although not so grand. A little money has been spent here, tidying the pavements and the grassed verges and providing a wonderful, safe, enclosed children's playground. All of the items of red, yellow, blue or green equipment in the playground add a welcome warmth of colour to an otherwise fairly drab area,still grey from the communist style blocks of flats either side of the street.
The number of cars parked down the side of the road could also fool a casual viewer into assuming affluence within the city's population. 
The apparent affluence though is a myth. 300 Euros a month is a good salary in Romania, with the cost of living constantly rising just as it is everywhere else. Petrol costs about the same now as it does in France, Germany and the UK, where salaries are much much higher. So generally both partners in a couple have to work relying on family to look after children, or worse, having to leave quite young children on their own. So kids in Romania tend to be much more independent, much more streetwise at an earlier age.

The advantages though are that prices at bars and restaurants have to be kept low, other wise people just wouldn't be able to go to them, so as a visitor form some of these more 'affluent' countries will find themselves being able to do a lot more with their money.

The pleasure of just being able to sit on a terrace and observe is intense and it is just like it is in a lot of cities across Europe . So much to see, from children and young families just promenading or playing, to Gypsy girls in their brightly coloured clothes, and almost always smiling!

Or the old men playing chess, backgammon, or another local game that I don't understand (yet). these guys congregate to play their games all year round, and even have a specially built shelters for when the weather gets colder or damp. The chess they play is incredible, played at speed and difficult to follow, Backgammon is even faster. 
It looks sometimes as if they are only there because their wives have kicked them out from their flats just to get them out from under their feet. when I watch these guys though, concentrating intently on their games. Occasionally they chat, occasionally one of them gets  up to fill the cut plastic bottle that acts as a watering hole for the birds and the dogs, but usually just concentrating on their games.

It is the most relaxing experience and pastime in the world, and one that I will never get tired of.


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Hi, let me know what you think, it's always good to get feedback