Local artisan: Painted icons and woodcarvings
Not far from the tower clock we accidentally stepped on this nice young artisan, selling small painted icons (made by his girlfriend) and woodcarvings mainly with Maramures motif. His woodcarving work was exceptional though prices were a bit high. I bought 5 small painted icons for 50euros and I was intending to buy an excellent decorative wooden spoon for 60euros which I thought I could get in Maramures for cheaper (but alas no such fine work found there). If he is still there take a closer look at his work.
Locals selling seasonal fruit and veg as well as sweet and savoury preserves set up on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the town's market. There are usually a few people around on other days too (though not so many during the winter).
Nb. I know this is not 'PC' but be careful when buying from gypsies as some will try to rip you off.
What to buy: In autumn and winter, try a jar of 'zacusca'. This is a paste made out of roasted and pulped veg, and usually contains sweet peppers and aubergines, among other things. Nice spread on toast or served with pasta.
Jars or bottles of tomato juice (which is cooked for an extended period before being poured into sterile bottles and will keep for a long time unopened) called 'bulion' make a good base for pasta sauces.
Preserved cherries, peaches and other fruit are often on sale also at the same time of year. If you can't see any jars of fruit about, ask for 'compot' and someone will point you to a seller who has some.
What to pay: The price per kilo for produce is often displayed on a piece of card. To ask for a kilo of something is simple - 'un kilogram' or 'un kil'; half a kilo is 'o jumate kil', 2 kilos is 'doua kilograme'. To ask how much something is say: 'cit costa asta?' or 'la ce pretz este...' and point at the thing you want. Most guide books will have phrases like this and numbers listed so you can understand the reply too!
Open air market/souvenir shops: Souvenir hunting
In the main square there were a couple of rows of souvenir stalls selling Dracula themed souvenirs, tshirts, toys and the usual tourist junk. My favorite was the wooden toy soldier that I thought looked like a cute gift for my nephews until I slid his head up and up popped his other head. Should have bought one for me ;-)
Lining the square were other shops selling the same kind of stuff and at least one antique store.
Piata Cetatii: Romanian folk arts and crafts
In Piata Cetatii there is plenty of stalls where locals sell all sort of crafts.
What to buy: Buy colorful hand embroidered tablecloths and napkings for the equivalent of aprox 30 GBP
What to pay: As much or little as you want!
- Beds for all Budgets!
- Hostelworld.com Sleep Easy on your travels Read 1 million+ ratings & reviews
- Save money, Book now!
- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates