Last Day In Romania, Meeting The Locals

Since there was so much hiking the day before, I fancied a day that was a little easier.  So staying in the city of Brasov, I went for a walk to the park, where there were stalls selling things from gingerbread to furniture.  There was a section full of seats and chess boards with all these men crowded round playing each other, it seemed a really  nice way to spend a sunny afternoon.  I spotted a building that was mentioned on the map as still having bullet holes preserved from when 1989 protests were being broken up.

Later, in the town square, I was drawing people enjoying the day.  A man and woman joined me on the bench, she leaned over to ask what I was doing (I presume that is what she asked, she spoke in Romanian) and once we’d established I was English we eventually got into a conversation about our different cultures.  I was interested to see their views of living in Romania, not the shiny lovely bits proffered to tourists.  They didn’t seem that optimistic about life in Romania, in fact most people from Romania that I spoke to said they wanted to leave and work in England.  The people that I was talking to said that, yes we may have had a revolution, goodbye communism and all that but it’s still the same mindset, it’s still the same people running the show.  I asked about the future, the next generation will change things surely?  They didn’t think they’d see any changes in their lifetime.  We also spoke about religion- they gasped in horror when I said I was an atheist…  It seemed so odd to be odd in that respect.  And relationships – it seemed a machismo culture.  We went for a walk around the base of Mount Tampas, very green and refreshing just outside of the city.  I very much enjoyed being in the city next to a wall of trees.

Would You Believe, Surprise Festival #5

The show I saw in Sibiu was a dance piece by a group from Hungary; I thought it was fantastic, so full of energy and seemed to confront some interesting ideas on relationships.  Also staying at the hostel was a guy who was volunteering for the festival.  I asked him some details about how he got involved and I will admit, I’m tempted to come back next year and volunteer…  I really love what they’ve got going on here.  And I absolutely love the hostel.  The owners are wonderful people who made me feel right at home.

I was a little sad to leave Sibiu, but Brasov beckons.  I took a free walking tour here, saw some points of interest – some city towers, the smallest road in Europe (or something like that), the black church and the huge mock-hollywood ‘BRASOV’ sign.  Today I went to see Bran castle and Rasnov citadel with an Aussie couple from my hostel.  I’m kinda glad I had someone to go with because the buses got us a little confused and lost at one point but we made it!  I was expecting more from Bran castle, I paid for an audio guide which mostly told us what was on the signs around the castle.  It was also all nicely whitewashed and sparsely decorated so lacked some atmosphere…

The utterly exhausting hike up to Rasnov citadel was well worth it for beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

So festival #5 happens to be an urban art festival.  That runs only during the 3 days that I am here.  How is that for timing eh?  There are skateboarders, graffiti artists working on big wooden boards in the town square and there is music and theatre too.  Brilliant!

Brasov - People in the main square and black church

Brasov - People in the main square