I’m now chilling at my hostel in Bucharest but since my room isn’t ready yet, it’s the perfect time for me to bash out this post!
On Saturday (yes, I’m including the weekend before Monday because otherwise nothing interesting happened), we took a little day trip to Suior Cota 1000, which is a cable car fairly near Baia Mare.
The views were stunning, although the cable car itself had rather questionable safety precautions. I guess being from the land of health and safety (the UK), being on a cable car, where the only thing preventing you from plunging to certain death is a lap bar you pull down yourself, seemed a little suss. We also stalled on the way up, which kinda freaked out Adwoa…
Once we got to the top, everything was so pretty. The buildings had an Austrian vibe to them, with wooden beams and hanging flower baskets everywhere, and the lake had a fountain in the middle, which was just so damn adorable.
We grabbed a drink and relaxed in the sun for a while before we took the cable car back down and had dinner at a restaurant nearby.
On Sunday, my fam took me on a road trip so we visited Cimitirul Vesel (the Merry Cemetery), the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance in Sighet, and Bârsana Monastery.
I actually loved Cimitrul Vesel because it was so cool to see a cemetery that upends the traditional idea of death as a sombre occasion. Each tombstone, instead of being grey with simple names and dates, has colourful paintings and funny epitaphs that depict stories from the deceased person’s life, so instead of getting a picture of their death, you get wonderful snapshots of the joy they experienced while living.
We then went to the Memorial in Sighet, but I only went with Tudor since Oana and her parents had been before and they found it too depressing. I have to admit, I was kind of enjoying myself at the beginning since everything was in Romanian and Tudor was translating it all into English for me, which meant I was getting the SparkNotes version of communism and the resistance. However, I then realised each room actually had a printout that I could pick up and read (even though they were mostly French and German instead of English), which resulted in the visit becoming really upsetting for me too. The stories there are just grim, man.
After that, we went and grabbed some food at Casa Lurca, a traditional Romanian restaurant, before we went to the monastery. I ordered ribs with ‘country potatoes’ and it was honestly probably one of the most unbalanced meals I’ve ever had. Like, you can see this:
We then went to the monastery, where I was unfortunately carrying a food baby so there will be no pictures of me in this section… The whole area was actually so pretty and there was thE CUTEST dog that approached Oana and me, so bonus points on TripAdvisor for that!
After that, we just went home and chilled on the sofa whilst I tried to plan my lessons for the next week (turns out all the planning would be for nought).
My week of teaching was actually pretty horrendous for a plethora of reasons. Schedule changes, my class acting up, and complaints from parents that I was teaching ‘sensitive topics’ all really fucked up my lessons but by the end of the week, everything was smoothed out and it was really fun.
It also helped that I spent a day doing retail therapy with Ads, Oana and Mihai (who really was only there to carry our bags).
The last day of camp, there was ‘Show Time’, where the classes had to present something they’d prepared that week to the rest of the school. Since Adwoa and I are kind of shits, we decided to make the kids sing and dance to ‘Shake It Off’ with moves that we choreographed and I’m not going to lie, the performance was actually glorious. I think it was a hit with the rest of the school too…
After that came the uncomfortable goodbyes. Besides saying bye to Adwoa (who at least I know I’ll be able to see soon in Scotland), I had to say bye to the volunteers, the kids, and my host family, which high-key broke my heart. I’m still upset now : (
I’ve actually decided that I’ll come back next Summer to visit everyone and see some more of Romania- I’ll potentially also come back in January.
Anyways, I’m chilling in Bucharest now, so that’ll be my next travel post.
See you all soon!