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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bucaresti and Iasi, Romania

We arrived on time in Bucharest Saturday afternoon (that would be 10/13, yeah, I know I've been a real tai-tai after this trip) Alex's parents, Ana and Constantine, were waiting for us beyond the cordon. I saw Ana right off and we walked as quickly as we could to greet each other. She and I met 2+ years ago after Catarina was born. I don't speak a bit of Romanian, but she knows a few words in English. I did remember "Bunica" which means "Grandmother".

Ana greeted us with kisses and gave me a beautiful rose, a lovely porcelain rose covered dish and a hand-beaded egg. So pretty! She and Constantin were our guides at the Bucharest airport. They took us to the ticket counter where we needed to buy our ticket for Iasi, but it was closed. Our innate GPS systems took us to the bar where Constantin and Ana proceeded to purchase many Peroni beers for us. We "chatted" for over 2 hours -- neither couple actually able to speak the other's language.

Ana had pen and paper that she used to give us some lessons in the Romanian language. The most difficult word in that lesson was "multsumesc" (thank you). That "t" has one of those squiggly "s's" under it which means that it sounds like a double "z" for us in American English or like the "tse" in tse-tse fly.

The flight from Bucharest to Iasi is just about an hour long on one of those puddle-jumpers. The WHH took a pic out of the window of the countryside.

Cristina's mother, Claudia, Cristina, and Alex were waiting for us at the Iasi airport. Somehow we managed to pile all of our luggage and ourselves into Claudia's car. Fortunately, it was only a short drive to our hotel... you're not going to believe this, but it's called "Little Texas"! Some Texan decided he loved Iasi so much that he built a hotel. It's a really nice place, with clean, sparkling rooms. We had a small terrace too. We were very happy with our accommodations. Oh, and we got a full breakfast every morning as part of the deal.

Our first day in Iasi, the weather was crisp and quite windy... autumn! I'm glad I took my old fleece jacket with the hood. Cold wind always gives me an earache! It was such a beautiful change from Singapore though.

As it turns out, we were visiting Iasi at a very special time. People come to Iasi from all around the country for the St. Parascheva Celebration. We went to the central market area to shop for handmade Romanian things. The streets were lined with tents selling all kinds of handmade items, barbequed foods (where I saw my first gypsies), but it was so crowded that it was difficult to even get close to some of the displays. I found a website, Romania Through OUR Eyes, that has more pictures of the festival.

We had lunch at Bolta Rece, a restaurant built in 1864 that has arched ceilings and lots of ambience. I had pork, sausage, polenta with a fried egg and cheese. I don't remember what everyone else had, but I know there was a lot of food, and it was delicious. We needed a nap after that because later that evening we were going to Cristina's grandparents' for dinner, and then back out to watch the fireworks.

Let me tell you, Cristina's Bunica (everyone calls her Mama), is a tiny little thing, but can she cook! She had a table set up that was so large that it completely filled their living room. I regret that I didn't take my camera to get pictures. Alex's parents had taken the train that day from Bucharest along with Alex's two older children, Alexandra and Stefan, and they were there for dinner too. Mama, Claudia, and Cristina brought out dish after dish laden with food! Then Gabriel, Cristina's dad, brought out the wine. In Iasi, the favored wines are white wines. I can't remember the name of this one, but it was light and not too sweet. It went very nicely with all of the foods that Mama had prepared. I'm not sure if Mama ever actually ate anything because she was up and down so much. It was a delightful evening.

I think this is a good place for me to stop for now, but I'll finish it later because I don't want to forget anything.

1 comment:

RW said...

What the hell?? Everybody's winding up in Romania or Bulgaria. i thought these places were, like, rock piles and stuff.