Yesterday I had a chance to see the final installment of the “flying market” in Cluj’s central Piata Unirii (Unification Square). As you can see above, originally this market was supposed to be operated in the same location every Saturday but due to a huge political spat, yesterday was the last time such a market will be held at that location.
The good news (for me) is that next Saturday there will be one of these “flying” markets at Sapte Strazi (7 Streets) here in Gruia Cartierul Minunilor, where I live.
Unfortunately, I got to Piata Unirii a little bit too late to get any good pictures but below you can see what you “missed” and what will never take place again. I had several people tell me “on good authority” that this particular market was super special and awesome and full of unicorn dust because the food was “local and authentic” and from the original producers themselves and at “great prices”.
My conclusion – aside from the enormous tank of live trout (pastrav viu), nothing for sale was any different than what’s at the non-“flying”, permanent food markets in Cluj. I have purchased local tomatoes from local sellers right in the main market for exactly the same price (and quality) as those being sold in the “flying” market.
Yes it’s true that some food in the permanent markets is being sold by commercial wholesalers, and some of it is imported from other countries. Obviously there aren’t many bananas being grown in Romania (LOL). But I nearly always take the time to talk to the people who sell food in the markets and trust me, unless there’s a conspiracy amongst old ladies wearing kerchiefs to be fronts for evil wholesaling corporations, there’s a lot of local food being sold directly from the producers.
And last but not least, none of the prices at the “flying” markets seemed to be any better than the normal markets. I even heard one Romanian utter in evident disgust that they were expecting better prices as well. I don’t blame them because all the locals have been hyping this flying market as the greatest thing in the world when really it’s just a useful and necessary way to allow even more people to sell their vegetables, fish and honey.
Oh and truly my last word on the subject – while not photographed (by me), the longest lines I saw at the flying market were in front of the Hungarians selling processed and cured meats, the endless slanina and sausages that Romanians all love. Therefore all the racial elements involved in this are, as usual with politics in this country, utter crap.
Enjoy the pictures!