Sunday, September 29, 2013

Locked out

When I made my hostel reservation, I let them know that I'd be coming in at 3am via the train, and that someone should be there for when I arrive.

Well, I arrived at 4 via the bus, and when I got here, it was locked and the lights were out. There was nowhere to go so I just hung out, hoping someone would go in or come out with a key.

And yes, someone did. Some Irish guy was coming back from partying, and he let me in. Noone was there at reception, but I made myself comfortable on the large and cushy sofa until 8am when the check in desk opens.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Words

I'm very proud to have said my first sentence very calmly and clearly:

¿Dónde está la estación de autobús?

And the lady proceeded to tell me in Spanish: Just go that way around the building to the right.

And I understood!

Well, not really. I guessed some and understood a little. But put together, I figured it out.

Yay for easy foreign languages!


It's exciting, it's new, it's Europe, is Spanish.

I love it.

Am a bit shy saying anything in Spanish, but I'll get more comfortable in a couple of days.

I found my way to Barcelona Station, and when I got there, it turned out I actually have a bus ticket, not a train ticket. I don't know why I remembered train.

So, I found my way to the bus station now, not too far from the train station actually. Just 2 subway stops away. I still have about 2 hours until my bus is scheduled to leave.

I wanted to buy a train ticket since I was there already, but everything was sold out for today.

Good that I bought something in advance.

Romania airpot

I just went through the Romanian Airport Blue Air gate. I've never seen such rudeness, disrespect and blatant money grabbing in my life.

Towards the end of the line to board the bus that will take the passengers to the airplane, there was one woman who started telling people (only the Romanian people) that they are allowed only one carry on bag, and to stuff their purses into their carry on suitcase. Then, after a few, she started picking people to fit their luggage into the narrow carry on measuring thing. Obviously many of the bags did not fit in, and a great circus erupted, about people not being able to take their luggage, unless they payed 55 Euro to give that luggage to be checked in.


And then she started rushing people that the gate will be closed in 10 minutes and they don't have much time.

A clear strategy to rip people off.

So dissapointed.

Waiting for Spain

I am a mere hour away from the flight that will take me to Spain, where I will start my Camino.

A walk to start my journey.

It is not just a walk, something to fill my time with, or just a break from whatever.

To me it means an end and a beginning.

The end of my previous life and the beginning of a new life.

It's a journey of growth and change (*and if ur growing ur changing*).

It's a journey of self reflection.

It's the right time and the right thing to do before choosing a direction in my life.

I can't wait to start walking and clear my head of all things that are negative or confusing or obstructive.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I was on the train from Suceava to Bucharest to pick up my dad from the airport.

I had started this book a couple of weeks ago and I finally finished it.

What an amazing book.

It deconstructs your idea of humanity and of the world and civilisation and our role on this earth in such a logical way, and then shows us the truth behind it all.


I teared up at the end.

I will definitely read it again.

On the road again

I've been with family for the last couple of weeks. It's been wonderful, relaxing and worry free, but I've felt the itch to move, to travel, to get going.

Today I missed the train, and as unfortunate as that was, I really enjoyed the change of pace, the unexpected, the need to figure out an alternative. I feel bad that my aunt and cousin had to worry. They worried for the three of us. I know that things usually work out, and even if they don't, I can make the best of the new situation.

I'm excited to be on the move again, to travel, to have just a rough plan and to figure the rest out as I go, to have unexpected encounters.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Pickling for the winter

I love this part of Romanian culture.

Storing food for the winter.

Yes, we can buy things in the store now, it's easy and relatively cheap. But why buy things from the store that might be of poor quality, when you can make better stuff at home???

I wish I were here over the winter to try these out!

Tourist in Moldova

After 2 days of work, we went out Sunday morning to see the other side of Moldova and to see a fortress in Soroca that used to protect this land from invaders from across the Nistru river.

On the other side of the river is Ukraine. Over there to the left is the customs building.

And this is the Soroca fortress. There were a few more fortresses all along this river. We were lucky that we came today. It was open. And it was the last day it would be open until next year. It was closing for renovations from the European Union. Moldova is not in the EU yet, but they are looking to join soon. A lot of things would change for these people once they do.

We got a guide to tell us a bit about the fortress. Unfortunately for me, he was talking really fast, with a lot of jokes and sayings, with references from people from old history and never history, and I had no idea what he was saying most of the time. 

All those holes used to have wood beams in them, which would support the floor that was built on it. It would have looked very very different back when it was a functioning defense station.

There are a lot of gypsies in this area, and they've all got GIANT MONSTROUS houses at various stages of building/disrepair/renovation.

And then, it was back to Romania. I slept most of the way. The roads had gotten much better once we crossed the border, so sleeping was a much easier task.

Thank you and good night!

Tomato Juice in Moldova

So, I had the opportunity to visit a long lost part of Romania... Moldova.

Now free from Russian rule, but not free of their influence, Moldova is trying to regain it's Romanian heritage.
People there speak Romanian, as well as Russian. It's much poorer than Romania, and more than 80% of the population are agrarian.

I went with my uncle and aunt to some of their friends, and we planned to make tomato juice for the winter.

First a tour of the area. I forgot to take pictures of the house... but oh well, we were outside most of the time anyways.

And now we're off to the field, picking a variety of tomatoes. Big ones, small ones, oval ones, red ones and orange ones.

My aunt.

My uncle.

My aunt and the lovely couple from Moldova.

They also had a bunch of nut trees, and naturally, like a squirrel, I filled up my pockets.

By the end, my hands were dirty and smelling like tomatoes. It was divine!!

That evening I helped milk the cow. She was not being very generous with me. I think she didn't feel too comfortable with me fiddling around her. 

In the morning, the lady made sour cream with cheese and polenta for breakfast. Very hardy!

Then we got to making the tomato juice.

First, sorting and washing the ripest tomatoes.

Then cutting away any damaged parts and also cutting them into smaller pieces.

 And then running them through a food processor that separated the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin. It was super efficient. 

Then off to get boiled, with some salt and pepper.

Toader checking if it's ready.

You let it boil until the froth at the top dissipates. 

In the meantime, my aunt was washing and prepping the bottles.

And in the juice went.

Then the bottles were set on a blanket, and covered, so they'd cool of slowly throughout the night.

I was free to flutter around and take pictures of everything and everyone. 
I saw this really old and cool wood stove.

Seed saving!!!
From the biggest and ripest tomatoes, we squeezed and cut out the seeds to save for next year. I got to take some seeds with me as well, and have them drying nicely next to the window. Next year when I'll go do that farming internship, I'm definitely going to try growing some of these tomatoes.

Wash, rinse, and let to dry.

They also had tons of grapes over the outside table. 

I got me some and ate them. I gave the chickens some as well.

For a late lunch we made this. I don't know what it is. But it's supposed to be really healthy, and full of good stuff. It tasted great too.

Here's soup, some chicken and sour cream sauce, and then the cereal stuff in the smaller pot.

Delicious sour soup, not complete without some liquor. It was so wonderful to share with this family the work, the conversations, the food and the alcohol.
I got a very nice buzz by the end of the day. I was feeling very happy and warm.

Everyone engrossed in the meal. It was perfect!

And then the main dish, not complete without a shot of liquor and some scrumptious NOT SWEET pickles. 
These must have been the best pickles I've ever eaten.

Washing up now. There was also a really cute tom cat meowing around this lady every time she had a dish in her hand. That cat was smart. He knew who had the food.

Both of the people from Moldova are teachers, and so, the lady took me to her school, grades 1-12, to see how it's like. It was so cute inside.

The gym. 

Romanian royals from the past.

And Romanian famous writers.

I was very impressed with those 2 displays in particular. It showed that the school valued the history and literature of these people, and displayed it in the busiest areas of the school.

Then, in the evening, I helped make some crepes with soft home made cheese and sour cream, and some with some awesome jam.

We also had some tomato soup made with the freshly finished tomato sauce, and with freshly home made noodles. Also not complete without the shot of liquor, and this time onion. The bread is missing from the picture.

It was a busy Friday and Saturday, and by the end, we were all tired and a bit tipsy. Lots of work, lots of food, plenty of drinks, good conversations and lots of radio shows about the Romanian language and the Russian occupation of Moldova. It was a great and productive 2 days.