09 June 2013

Met up with Bob & Jane
Drive to Sebes
Fortified church
Picknick lunch
Back to meet Stefan
Tour of town
Late night talking

This morning we were a little the worse for where.  We have a plan for today though.
The first thing we are doing is meeting up with a couple we met last night then spend the night ar Stefan’s (the guy that kept buying our drinks).  So we checked out of the pension.  Well tried to at least.  There was no one around, and we just left the key in the door.  However we couldn’t leave the bags.

S42postcityS37postbellThe restaurant was closed when we got down there, but they started opening up after a few minutes, so we ordered Coffee while we were waiting for Bob & Jane.  They turned up right then.  As far as we were concerned the plan was to just have a coffee, and a chat. Jane has had dealings with the Roma professionally, and we wanted to learn more about the situation.  We couldn’t speak that well  last night due to all the noise in the bar.
roma1roma2We have heard bits and pieces from a lot of people about the Roma, but not much first hand experience.  A lot of what we heard was stereotyping or right wing, and we were looking forward to a different perspective.  Things seem fairly similar to the issues that affect Aboriginals in Australia.  Many due to lack of education, racism and poverty, however there is also a lot of self imposed problems.  It was a very interesting chat.  Expecting that to be basically it, we were happy. However they offered to take us around the countryside, through a few villages.  How could we say no to that ?! We had a fantastic day with them, passing through a few towns, and to our first fortified church.

The Red Mountain!

The Red Mountain!

S41postsebesS38posttowerSebes is a smaller town  not far from Alba Iulia, that we had planned on visiting for the fortified church there. The guys thought they might show us around the area for a bit. Wonderful!
Sebes town turned out to be quite pretty, but not spectacular. After a short walk around we drove out to the Church. Good thing we did not do this on our own, because the church is nowhere near town..
This area was settled by Germans about 800 years ago to help protect the Hungarian Empire.  They have a distinct style of housing to the Romanians, with walled off plots and large archways for the entrances.  Some of the churches are surrounded by walls.  This was a protective feature for the town, so they could retreat and defend themselves.  S43postfortchurchS39postwallsS40postwineThe church that we went to, Calnic, used to belong to a nobleman.  He built the walls and tower.  Later he sold it to the village and they built the church inside.
There was a small museum that had traditional cloth and ceramics from around Romania along with other bits and pieces, and in the bottom of the tower a collection of some of the biggest wine barrels I have ever seen.
After a good look around this fantastic structure, we all got back into the car for a countryside drive. It is a beautiful day out and the hills look great! Through a few more Saxon towns and also a Roma village. Quite a difference between them .. not an easy live growing up as Roma in this part of the world.
S44postpotteryS21Bob and Jane then treated us to a fantastic lunch by a mountain stream. There is still a lot of  public land in Romania, where people are free to camp or picnic and built their campfire etc. This is exactly what we did and had some traditional shisca, Romanian sausage. To soon we had to head back to the bar to meet up with Stephan.  It was unfortunate that we had set that meeting so early in the afternoon, but we did not expect the day we had at all.

S46postoldtownBack at the bar, we found out that our host for tonight had stayed up partying a lot longer after we left, and was unable to put us up for the night.  Luckily for us, our new friends had a spare room at the moment and we would be able to stay there. Bob then took us out for a walk around the other part of the citadel in Alba Iulia that we hadn’t seen yet, and part of new town. A summer day and it seems all of town is outside. It’s great to see people enjoying their improving city.

S45postnewtownAt the apartment, we spend the night talking and eating and picking their brains to learn more about this country. It has had a very interesting time in the last few decades, and we feel privileged to have met some amazing people here.
So,even though we have not written much for today, we had one of the best days in Romania!

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