It’s cloudy and rainy when we walk into the piercing shop in Brasov, Romania. One of those bone-chilling days where the right idea is to stay inside and do nothing. But, with a new city outside my hostel door, sitting inside is the last thing I want to do. So, with a new friend atContinue reading “How Piercing My Nose Changed Me”
I stood outside at 22h 40 (I know, very European of me), backpack strapped tight to me, messenger bag slung across my front and purse on my arm. Whew. It was time to depart Cluj and head to Krakow. Via bus. Back to Budapest. When Arpad first told me I had to take a busContinue reading “Romanian sunsets, Hungarian mornings and Polish afternoons”
“GLEE” was one of my favorite shows in America before I left to travel. Since I had began my journey in March, I had not watched a bit of American television.
But, in that kitchen, watching Sue Sylvester bash Will Schuster’s curls, it took me back to such a happy spot … sitting on my butter yellow couch in Atlanta, cats curled up at my side, nice glass of red to sip on.
Ginny and I sat, heads planted on the kitchen table, watching the episode, trying to drown out the chatter coming from the reception room, and allowing ourselves to be taken back to America.
Ginny sat, blonde hair pulled back, on a bed in the adjacent room, examining her belongings.
“Hello,” I said, exercising my voice for the first time pretty much the entire day.
And, that was it. Ginny, a former Peace Corps volunteer, and I were instant friends. Originally from South Carolina, Ginny was in Transylvania doing research. She’s a historian studying at Oxford, so for the few days she was in Cluj, she spent some of her time meeting other historians and researching in the library.
The rest of the time, we spent together, exploring Cluj, eating and drinking.
The day following our little Romanian Road Trip, it was time to head out. Tommy and Benjamin had left the previous night, Chris was leaving at the crack of dawn for Istanbul (and an Anzac Day event), and I was boarding a train northeast to Cluj for some more time in Romania.
The trip from Brasov to Romania was beautiful. The clouds hung low in the sky, gray against bright green rolling hills and the odd trees poking out of the ground, boasting the first blooms of spring.
And then, there it was in the distance, spreading up one of those rolling hills in red and yellow and all sorts of pretty, Cluj-Napoca.
Remember, 10 and 2, D. 10 and 2. And, go slowly. Very, very slowly.
Car packed with the three Aussies, I pulled out into Brasov’s traffic.
Oh. My. God. I hope we don’t die. I hope I don’t kill anyone. I hope I don’t hurt this car because I really, really cannot afford to lose the 400 Euro deposit.
My shoulders were tight and nearly touching my ears. My arms were locked straight out. And my hands kept tight on the steering wheel as nearly six weeks of not driving paralyzed me.
How did I get roped into being the driver?
I was laying in bed Saturday morning when I met Chris, a shaggy brown-haired, adorably cute Aussie.
I was exhausted — the night before Benjamin, Tomym and I headed out with Scott and Heidi (my friends from Budapest), along with a group of four who had rented a car for the night to get out of Bucharest. We enjoyed traditional Romania fair at Sergianna (delicious) and then headed back to Crew Bar, where we were treated to complimentary drinks and a game involving dice ensued.
Actually, it was a nasty little game that revolved around rolling one die and stating before the roll if a specific number was rolled, then something would be done.
For example, Benjamin said if he rolled a four, he would drink a double shot of whiskey. And Scott said the number he rolled would be the number of shots he would drink. And Ryan, a new member to our group, said if he rolled a two, he would buy a bottle of wine.
The die won those rounds and more, and after we left Crew Bar, we ended up in Kismet’s basement, playing cards and drinking more beer.
After attempting to stay awake with Benjamin to watch “Beer Fest,” I slowly crawled back up Kismet’s spiral staircase to Ageeth’s Room to my bed.
And, that’s where Chris comes in.
I knew as soon as I boarded the train for Brasov, Romania from Budapest, I was going to get out of my funk.
I arrived way too early in the morning for anyone to be awake at Kismet Dao. The overnight train dropped me in Brasov at 7:30 a.m.
I exited the station and was greeted with more rain, but I didn’t mind. I had a good feeling. Even when the cab drivers tried to swindle me (“I will take you to the hostel for 15 euros, it’s a good deal”; “I will take you for 10, it’s a better deal”; “The meter is more expensive”), I didn’t let it get to me.
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