Another comp in Romania. The waiting times aspire to a Guinness record. We really had the time of our lives (ba dum tss).
Before you even reach the hall and the changing rooms, you have to absolve an obligatory warm up getting over a parkour like tribune. The stairs are of different heights (like... extremely) and mastering them without breaking your limbs seems to be the first level in order to be allowed to take part in the comp. On the second day, the organizers had apparently learned from their mistakes and placed an additional wooden stool under the last stair (if a one meter high cliff can be called a stair).
There is an hour long time slot for all the couples to check in. Surprisingly, there is no queue building up. The beginning of the actual comp depends on which time table you look at because the organizers apparently included an exciting game for the couples - during the comp, various time tables are displayed on various, random places in the hall. The waiting times get longer and longer with every newly displayed time table, the old ones are not taken down. Our class begins with a delay that's only two hours long. The couples have to wait for their heats behind a curtain and then they go over a small stage and descend three stairs (oh the stairs again!) which lead to the floor. This actually looks pretty cool and presents the couples well. Years pass again until the second round begins. Minutes before the couples are supposed to go to the floor, a new timetable appears that postpones the round by another hour. I suppose I don't have to tell you what the dancers who dressed up 10 minutes ago feel like at that moment. The organizers might play another game with us - those strong enough mentally not to give up and go may stay and dance in the final. After having spent 7 hours at the competition, we are finally allowed to enter the floor for the second time.
The oxygen content in the hall is not perfect for getting ready for a top performance. It's hot, too, if you ever danced in a sauna, you might have a pretty good idea what it feels like here. After the last dance in each round, all the dancers run for the only door leading outside to get a breath of fresh air. Well, fresh might not be the right word since all the smokers gather there as well.
On the other hand, you can sweeten up the eternal waiting times with freshly squeezed juices and smoothies which are sold in the entrance area, really top refreshment. The dancers kill time going for a walk around the hall and taking short naps in the changing rooms. There is enough oxygen there and they are also quite large. If you are afraid to leave your belongings lying around, you can lock them in small lockers in the rear changing rooms. It's also the first comp in a long time where you can actually find toilet paper at the toilet and even lock the door there, a very nice surprice.
In spite of the extreme delay, the dances are still played two minutes long. The master of ceremonies tries to let the couples breathe between the dances and speaks extra slowly which causes a vicious circle making the delay longer and longer. The heats are shown on a screen in a hall behind the floor. For a long time, I wonder why only some of the classes are shown there until I find out that there is another screen with the rest of them - well hidden behind a corner.
Timisoara is a small town which is worth a little walk. The contrast between old buildings and beautiful flower lawns is wierdly appealing. There are large squares with churches, statues and fountains in the town. I would recommend you to stay for another day before or after the comp and spend it in the town.
The Romanian currency is Leu. The plural is Lei or RON.
The current exchange rate is:
1 EUR = 4,4803 RON
It's quite worth it to live in luxurios hotels in Romania because the prices for a good room are really low. We were accommodated in Hotel Continental, a 4* hotel. As a guest, you can use the wellness, swimming and fitness areas there for free. Breakfast is very good with a great selection. A night in a double room with breakfast will cost you about 75 Euro.
How To Get There
It's a 6 hours' drive from Vienna so it's not a completely bad idea to have more than one driver with you.
Note: our GPS (2 years old) made us exit the highway before the Ungarian-Romanian border. There is, however, a highway that leads all the way to Timisoara. Update your GPS before the journey and have a look at it before you go.
Hotel: approx. 75€ / night in a DR with Breakfast
Fuel: for approx. 550 km
Starting fee: 35€ / one comp