In the land of myths and legends … Romania

Sep 26 we rode into Romania after been stalled at the border for 1hr. They have not seen Malaysian passports holders before so alot of running and telephone calls were necessary to ensure we did not need visas to enter Romania. Well, that was the first minor hiccup we had at border crossings but Romanian hospitality and wines soon erased that from our minds … *grin*
(Romania … 26.9.04 to 7.10.04)

With our first family in Lipova, Romania. David’s house was the first we approached in the little village along the road. Though we did not have any common language, David agreed to let us stay for the night without hesitation. Through David, we were able to pick up our first Romanian words due to his knowledge of the Hungarian language.

In Dorina’s kitchen at Orastie, after a 150km ride (our longest in a day, so far). Dorina is a seamstress by profession, making woollen jackets and apparels in the diminishing romanian wool market. The wool industry esp for small business liked Dorina has been heavily contested by the growing cheaper appeal of the cheaper synthetic jackets from China. “Nowadays people do not want to pay more for handmade woollen jackets.” commented Dorina. Over at Dorina’s place, we were introduced to their traditional sauce – Zacusca and a feast of vegetarian food. Before we left, Dorina even baked a cheese cake for us! *slurps*

Maria sampling a piece of mooncake from us. It was Mid-Autumn Festival on that day when we were in Sibiu.

Enjoying our precious mooncake (courtesy of Mr.Lin from Budapest) in faraway land. After bite, every piece, every crumps … never have they tasted so delicious!

In the mountainous village of Avrig where we (initially) intended to do some hiking in the Fagaras Mountains. (Picture) Once off the main roads, horse carts are the more common forms of transport.

Instead of the mountain chalet where we already paid for our beds, we landed in Dan & Ioana’s summer cottage for the night. A chance meeting in the chalet brought us to 2 new friends and a 100% change to our plans thereafter!

No more hiking. Instead we lazed for another day in the cottage with Dan & Ioana, chatting and drinking romanian wine and picking apples from the garden.

Guess what? Familiar game? It is the romanian version of mahjong!

A short afternoon with Achim and his wife before we left Avrig. Notice the homemade cheese and a bottle on the table? That was Achim’s homemade cherry vodka!

With our hosts in Cartisoara. Almost every house we approached in the village wanted a sum of money in return for a night’s stay. Lucian approached us and brought us to his small but cosy house. His mum, Elema strongly reassured us that though they were poor, they would not trade hospitality with money unlike the ‘bigger and richer’ households in the village.

Sharing our last piece of mooncakes with the family. Our chinese mooncakes received alot of thumbs up from them! Bridging relationships through mooncakes! 8-)

The family all dressed up for another cold day in the potato field where they would dig potatoes for sale until the first snowfall. For the remaining 4 months of snow, they would be grounded at home, living on potatoes, some poutry and preserved vegetables.

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