View from Clock Tower
So I made it to Bucharest just now. I will reserve judgment until after my first day tomorrow, but so far, and after being in Brasov, yikes! Good thing I got here during the day because the walk from the station was pretty sketchy, although when I tripped some guys said something thoughtful I'm sure. Anyway, it hasn't been very pretty so far. However, I decided not to skip over this place like many do because I've just really fallen in love with the Romanians.
First things first, I finally got up out of bed yesterday. I spent a lot of time on the internet with family and just riding an emotional roller coaster, but I told myself I had to "live in the now" and enjoy where I am at.
Vlad Tepes' birthplace
So I made it to Sighisoara
, Vlad Tepes' birthplace, yesterday. Unfortunately I picked the worst weather day to be there as it was rainy and unseasonably cold, but as it turned out, the train ride to and from was the most fun part anyway. It's about a two hour ride there, so I grabbed the ten o'clock train in the morning. My cabin was full of Romanian women having a very boisterous conversation. I longed to know what they were talking about but just sat in silence. When we hit Sighisoara, a family got up to leave and I wasn't sure we were there so inquired with the ladies, pronouncing the name as best I could (see gee shwah rah) and they motioned for me to get off.
A long way from the U.S.A.
They then asked me if I spoke German, which I indicated no, but the family heard I spoke English and got excited, asking their younger daughter to talk to me in English. It was so cute because she was shy to do so, but I could see her parents begging her to say something to me. They apologized for not talking to me during the ride because they would if they knew I spoke English, and then they bid be a good day.
The station was tiny and I inquired with info about the last train back and the gal told me the time. I, of course, asked for a map of the town, and she smiled and said no, town is small. I laughed at that and basically kept an eye upward to the Citadel where the clock tower and basically old town was located, finding my way up.
View from inside the clock
The town was very pretty, as most are in Transylvania. I found the clock tower, which is a museum inside as you climb up. Some things were in English at least. At the top is a great view of the old town and new town. They also had these great plaques afixed on each side, pointing to different cities and how many kilometers away. I took a picture of the NY sign as it was the only one from the States, but then realized I had been or was going to a lot of the cities, so I took pics of those as well, perhaps for a scrapbook page someday.
Vlad Tepes was born in a house in town, now a restaurant, right near the square of the old town. I stepped inside there briefly, but made may way to a cafe for a hot chocolate as the rain and cold was starting to get to the bone.
Clock Tower and Square
I found some Americans inside. It turns out the guy is from Denver and is in Romania to tend to his gold mine. Interesting indeed.
After about two and a half hours dodging rain, I decided to head back. The town is worth visiting to be sure but on a better day. I was still glad I got there. I got lost getting back to the station as I left the old town a different way, but the gal was right, it's a small town after all. I bought my ticket for the slow train as it was the next one back. Slow trains are ones that stop at each town, are cheaper, and so you have to deal a lot more with people begging and trying to sell you stuff. I was ready for dry clothes so agreed to that, and then this gal waiting for a train asked me if I was going to Brasov.
Overlook of city/church
It turned out she was from a small town outside of there and was taking the same train. We shared hot chocolate (second cup) before the time to leave. She is a teacher here although she spent two years in England as a nanny. She studied Religion and English, so she primarily teaches English. We chatted the whole way back toward Brasov. Even though she was born in Romania, she identifies as a Hungarian as Transylvania was a part of Hungary up until Romania became the country it is today in 1918, and her family's heritage is Hungarian. She said there are still tensions between the Hungarians/Romanians, some even refusing to marry outside of their cultures, but said that is not as much of a problem today as dealing with the Romanese who refuse to work (commonly referred to as gypsies, but that is a derogatory term so they should be referred to as Roma).
The country is trying to figure out how to deal with that situation mostly now. We also talked about the history of the area generally, United States politics, and on the lighter side, the weather. It was a very interesting and educational conversation to say the least. She also is about my age and dealing with pressure to get married. I told her that I've already told my family I'm going to be like my aunt Minnie, an old spinster, just to take the pressure off. She laughed at that.
We hit this tiny town of Ormenis, where there was a building and some houses, and she had to say goodbye. She advised me to move to another cabin with others, but I just kept in my seat thinking it's only another 30-40 minutes to Brasov. Well, the next stop my cabin filled with five Romanian men.
The North Pole!
I thought maybe I should move, but they seemed harmless enough. Again, lots of boisterous conversation, so I just stared out the window until all of a sudden complete silence. I looked at them and they were all staring at me, so I smiled. The one had his camera out and was playing music, so they motioned asking if I liked it. I said yes, and they went about their conversation. We got near Brasov and they were trying to talk to me again. Romanian sounds a bit like Spanish, and at least some words are similar, so I told them un poco Enspanol, but that didn't help the conversation, so they just smiled and bid me farewell at the station.
I have to say the whole time I've been in Romania I've found the people here so friendly, probably the friendliest on my trip.
Detail on building
Sure there are the Irish and Scottish, definitely a friendly lot, but the Romanians have been so great. My bus ride to the station this morning a woman saw me standing with my backpack on and so told me to sit down and then chatted with me about my trip. I don't know, maybe it's because of the contrast to Hungary where I found some of the people bothered when I spoke English, at times sighing and seemingly annoyed. In any event, I really just enjoy the people here, so much so I was willing to stop in Bucharest despite what I've heard. Again, I won't pass judgment until after tomorrow. I'm giving it a day at least.
I think this hospitality has shaken me loose from my recent despair and worry over Butter, and I've managed to resign myself to just believing Butter will return and I'll see him when I get home.
It's mostly denial, but it's easy to do when you are in a foreign country and just worrying about navigating about. I know my family is doing all that can be done at home, so I will just await good news from here.