At the end of April I spent a week in Iași (pronounced "yash"), Romania, where we have an office and a great dev team.
I was of course there to work, but managed to spend a lot of mornings and evenings getting good walks in and seeing part of the town.
A week is hardly enough time to develop anything like an informed opinion about a neighborhood, let alone a city or a country, so keep that context around my random comments in this post.
Iasi reminded me a lot of Tianjin in the early 80s, with the mix of older European buildings and a wide collection of crumbling, Communist-era buildings with wildly experimental shapes.
One thing that struck me was that most of the trees in the city couldn't have been more than 30 years old or so, which would mean they were planted just after Ceaușescu was executed.
There was one bank of crumbling towers that I became completely obsessed with.
But there were plenty of other buildings that held my attention.
Overall: A lot of architecture to look at.
Outside my hotel window was the Palace of Culture, with its (well-used) public spaces, and beyond those the Palas Mall. The mall was... well, it was a mall like any mall I've seen in the US. Same brands, most of the same stores.
Inside the Palace are four separate museums. We visited the Ethnographic museum, which was a few rooms filled with traditional clothing and some farm equipment. The inside of the building, though, was the real star to me.
And of course the coffee
Here are the guys at Status coffee, which I had read a recommendation for, but couldn't find until I re-read the address and realized that what I thought was a spurious hyphen actually meant that they were one floor below ground level, under the giant Auchan grocery store. Anyway. Definitely worth tracking them down if you're in Iasi.
There's definitely a lot left to explore in Iasi. There will be more photos that trickle out in the normal flow of this blog, but in the meantime, here are a few extra to help give you the flavor of the city.