Kiwis unite

Another run in the morning up the hill into the woods. I wasn’t eaten by a bear. Later, we met four couch surfing Kiwis at the couch surfer meeting point, i.e. the fountain in the square. Mark, Sylvia, and I had been scheming practical jokes to play on the unsuspecting Kiwis but we refrained. Ben and his three friends headed off to find a hostel. Mark and Sylvia stole away to get a thank you card for Raluca and her and I walked towards the festival that was taking place in Brasov. The festival was named “Oktoberfest”. Hmmmm, suspicious. I think I’ve heard of something like this before.

Mark and Cris doing the birdy dance (Brasov, Romania) resize Raluca sitting on the grass (Brasov, Romania) resize

Above: Mark and Cris do the birdy dance at the “Oktoberfest” festival while Raluca watches wearing her best hat.

Below left: Sylvia did not listen to the warning about bears in Brasov and gives this one a big hug, barely noticing the danger she is in. Perhaps she had drunk too many beers to understand her peril. Below right: Sylvia, Cris, and Mark work the camera at “Oktoberfest”.

Sylvia has a bear-hug (Brasov, Romania) resize Work the camera (Brasov, Romania) resize

The others returned and we spent the afternoon consuming doughy tubes and wandering around with the Kiwis. We visited the two towers on the hill beside the town and then walked all the way up to the Brasov sign.

Kiwis unite 1 (Brasov, Romania) resize Brasov lettering 2 (Brasov) resize

Above left: Kiwis unite in Brasov. Above right: Close up of the Brasov sign.

Kiwi Ben has an interesting job. He proof reads scientific papers and travels in his remaining time. It sounds like a good existence. The Kiwi couple in the group live in Czech Republic currently and I think they’ve spent time WWOOFing about the place. The remaining guy works in Milano in Italy which was handy as I’m flying there tomorrow. I haven’t mentioned anyone’s name besides Ben’s in case I get them wrong.

We looked out over Brasov and snapped many photos. By the time we had returned to the town it was dark. Poor Raluca had been feeling ill all day and Mark and Sylvia needed to catch the bus back to Codlea so we abandoned our plan to eat out. Instead we were enticed by the devil and ate at Mc Donald’s purely because it was quick and they accept payment by card. I stayed in Raluca’s dorm in preparation for a speedy departure to Italy in the morning. We chatted, swapped photos, and drank tea.

Raluca had been so generous over the last few days. A better host you will not find. Thank you.

People at the top (Brasov) resize

Above: Us milling around at the top of the hill. Below: Walking back in the dark towards town.

Walking back (Brasov) resize

Love in the Time of Cholera

Mark and Syvlia headed to the castle Brun in the morning. I was feeling in an un-touristy mood and went for a run instead and hung around in Codlea. In the afternoon I headed into Brasov and met Raluca. Her goal for the day was to buy an ice-cream so we set about trying to complete this arduous task. Unfortunately, we were interrupted by Mark and Sylvia who had arrived back in Codlea. They were sitting outside the apartment without the key and of course, being Romania, without the door handle. The interesting locals were entertaining them. We ate our ice creams and headed out to Codlea on a rescue mission.

Mark and Sylvia seemed to have enjoyed the experience. A drunk old man had talked to them almost constantly in Romanian. Mark had a parallel but potentially entirely different conversation with him in English. They were the stars of the show with a crowd around them, I’m told.

Later, Mark and Sylvia cooked a yummy meal and we watched a DVD (post title). Well, the Kiwis did. Raluca fell asleep shortly after it began, waking at the end. We chatted until the not-so-wee hours.

Raluca and Mark on the couch 2 (Codlea, Romania) resize

Above left: Spot the door handle in this picture. We had to take this with us whenever we left the apartment so that we could get back in. It wasn’t enough to leave it attached to the door. Is this a Romanian tradition?

Below left: Sylvia likes to wear the pants and has sent Mark to the sin-bin. Below right: Yum, yum, yum, it’s dinner time.

Mark is sent to the sin bin 2 (Codlea, Romania) resize Another dinner in Codlea (Codlea, Romania) resize

Lazy

We had a day of domestic activities in Codlea with washing and what-not. Sylvia has been recovering from an attack of bed bugs sustained during the last night we spent at the hostel. Also, Mark has been back to his old tricks and has been elbowing her in the face during the night. Tough love, I suppose. Anyway, we spent a lazy day around the apartment until the afternoon when Mark and I headed to Brasov to seek information regarding trains/buses. We both failed to find out what we were after and met each other again later in the square. A couple of hours were spent geeking at the Mc Donald’s hot-spot in the centre of Brasov.

We met Raluca after she had finished being shouted at by her driving instructor and abused by Romanian drivers. We ate out at a restaurant. Our cunning plan had been to shout Raluca dinner as she has been very generous over the last few days but unfortunately she only wanted a lemonade. We’ll have to come up with another devious thank-you-saying plan.

Brasov in big lights 2 (Brasov) resize Raluca and Mark (Brasov) resize

Above left: The Brasov sign glowing in the night. Above right: Raluca and Mark walking through Brasov.

Couch surfing must be reasonably big in Brasov as we were approached by a guy in the square looking for couch surfers and later on at the restaurant I was asked whether I was couch surfing. Maybe we are walking around with big signs saying tourists above our heads. Who knows?

Mark at the fountain (Brasov) resize

Above: Mark at the fountain in the square.

Codlea

We went for a bit of a walk into town again today. I fluffed around geeking as usual. In the evening we met Raluca at the fountain in the square. We caught the bus with her out to a town about 20 minutes drive from Brasov named Codlea. Raluca’s good friend has an apartment here that Raluca can use. It’s in the middle of a large communist-looking block of apartments. After attaching the door handle that she was carrying in her bag to the door and fighting with the locks we entered the small apartment.

Raluca was quite the host and cooked tea for us, a traditional meal of polenta with different types of cheese. We chatted in the evening before she caught her bus back to Brasov for the night.

Dinner time 2 (Codlea, Romania) resize Grapes in Codlea (Codlea, Romania) resize

Above left: Sylvia, Cris, and our host Raluca about to eat a traditional meal. Above right: Sylvia and Mark relax in the apartment in Codlea and eat grapes.

Below: Raluca cooking polenta on the gas stove.

Raluca cooking (Codlea, Romania) resize

Walking out

A leisurely start to the day; we started walking out around 11 am. The walk down the river was nice and we amused ourselves by discussing the ‘big’ problems in the world and possible solutions. Very deep. From the end of the tramping track we slogged along a road for a couple of hours towards Victoria. It was much warmer at the lower altitude. We tried to hitch but for some reason the traffic was only coming towards us. A few kilometres before Victoria we managed to get a lift in the back of a random guy’s pick-up truck. We weren’t sure whether we should have been eagerly jumping into the back of his closed deck behind the cab. He closed the doors on us and we clung to whatever looked solid as we zoomed along the bumpy road.

Mark in the pick-up (Fagaras Mountains) resize

Above: Mark in the pick-up truck.

From Victoria we took a bus and then a very slow but very cheap (2 Euros) train back to Brasov. Trusty bus number 51 took us back to our hostel.

Below: View of Brasov from the hostel by night. The majority of the city is to the right outside of the frame.

View from hostel (Brasov, Romania) resize