What a dream it was visiting the Unitarian Church in Felsorakos, Romania (Transylvania). Nothing like the hardships Julie & Jerry Jose had to put up with. It was like an art house European film EXCEPT for the part that was strictly American slapstick. Dennis decided he should locate our train car BEFORE Leigh & I climbed on. These trains don’t wait long and while we were following him the train started to roll. Leigh & I were trying to hop on as the train began to roll and somehow there were people & luggage stuck in the door with Leigh nearly being left behind or falling under the wheel (very scary!). I think someone stopped the train and we were able to get on board safely.
We took an overnight train from Budapest to Brasov,Romania with a 3 bunk sleeper. I was stuck on top but there was a sort of safety belt to hold me up there. We arrived at about 11:30am and the Jozsef took us directly to Felsorakos where his wife Reka was preparing our lunch which always starts with a shot of palinka (clear brandy). We next went to the annual fair in Barot where we saw the sights & had a beer. While sitting in the pub we watched a long line of teenage boys arm wrestle a sport organized by the current mayor one of the four mayoral candidates running for election this Sunday.
One highlight of the festival was meeting the high school principal who gave us a school tour and celebrated our arrival by having a palinka toast and awarding us three of us honorary hall passes. Dennis noted this is the first time he had ever been invited in for a drink in the principals office. He was really fun guy but we couldn’t figure out why he was in the school on a Saturday wearing a 3 piece suit. We drove home and eat a light supper again and of course start our meal with another palinka toast. (None of us refused.)
Sunday was also incredible. We began with church at 11am which was a special service celebrating the 60 year olds of the village. Of course the service was all in Hungarian but I can tell you Jozsef is a fantastic speaker & there wasn’t a dry eye amongst the elders and even the younger men started to tear-up. We noted that some of the parishioners attending were newbies or at least novices because they didn’t have any more idea than we did regarding the protocol. At 2pm we attended a sumptuous 60 & over luncheon. They danced, they sang & you could really get a sense of the different personalities without knowing a word of the language. We cut out after a couple of hours & met a family & their 5 year-old twins for a barbecue in the most beautiful verdant setting you’ve ever seen. Just when they got their tee-pee style fire really going & we were wondering how we could eat barbacue as we had just finished our lunch not more than 2 hours before it clouded over & the rain began to really pour.
We packed up but the night wasn’t over yet. When the rain stopped we went back to Barot. The town days were ending with a Hungarian singer who Leigh aptly called “the Cher of the Hungarian people.” She is a well known singer who is over sixty but still putting on a fantastic show. Since arm wrestling is a young man’s game the current mayor gave a speech reminding everyone he was responsible for bringing the celebrity & don’t forget to vote next Sunday. I’m just guessing here but I think someone told me that was a lose translation. There were fantastic fireworks that were really more remarkable than anything I’ve seen in Riverfront park. The custom seems to be shoot them all off in about 15 minutes instead of spacing the rockets out for an hour which really makes a much better show. I’m exhausted from my trip back to Budapest. Monday morning we took a hike around town and in the hills above. We took lots of pictures of the gypsy kids and new construction in the village. Jozsef delivered us back to Brasov in the middle of the day. I’m afraid we may have made him late for his afternoon high school classes. I hope we left enough money to cover all that gas.
Brasov was really a beautiful city but that will have to be another entry.