Tag Archives: piatra neamț

Piatra Neamț and the Flori de Munte Festival

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I went to Piatra Neamț to visit a fellow volunteer, Berta, and participate in the English Club she started at the local library. When I got in Sunday night, we just went back to Berta’s, made some dinner and relaxed. Monday morning after a very delicious breakfast prepared by the best host I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, we headed out to explore the city a bit. Berta’s city is fairly sizable since it is the county seat. It lays at the beginning of some mountain foothills and is known for its winter sports due to the many gently sloping hills. Her city even has a tele-gondola(cable car) which we rode to the top of one of the hills where the view was nothing short of gorgeous.

After our mini trip, we headed to another volunteer’s (Ellie) site about half an hour away from the city. After quite the interesting maxi taxi ride, we arrived in Bicaz which is the city closest to Ellie’s village. We met Ellie at the local supermarket and headed on a micro bus into her village about 10 minutes away. The day we were visiting, the town was celebrating it’s 400th birthday and put on a festival called “Flori de Munte” (flowers of the mountain). I should start out by saying that the backdrop to Ellie’s village is beautiful rolling hills covered in Alpines with one big blemish which is the German concrete factory that sustains most of the village.

The festival was held at the bottom of one of these hills next to a nearly dried out river bed, a car tire graveyard, and the factory in the background. It seemed as though the entire town attended the festival. There were some cheap carnival rides, vendors selling random crap, mici (grilled sausages) cooking in every corner and an army of bunici(elderly people) sitting in the front rows by the stage, waiting for the show to start. We walked around a little bit and when the mayor started talking via a very amplified speaker system, we headed towards the front. After what seemed like half an hour of him talking and awarding flowers to the elderly couples in the community that were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, he started talking about English and how they all need it in their lives and how the village is honored to have a courageous 77 year old volunteer come from the united states just to teach the village some English. Ellie was called up on stage to say a few words and then the mayor officially started the entertainment which was filled with dancing and singing (videos and pictures coming when I get back to site).

After Ellie stepped back down, we were invited by the school’s director to have lunch with him and his colleagues. As little as all of us like mici, we couldn’t refuse. When we got to the tables, we shortly realized we were in the VIP area which included table cloth on the tables, actual plates and silverwear, tents, and the collegues the director was referring to were the likes of the county prefect, some priests, the mayor’s family, and now us. After our lunch we said our thanks to our hospitable hosts and headed back into Bicaz to catch our bus to Piatra Neamț.

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Back in Piatra, we had a nice dinner at a local restaurant then headed back to Berta’s for a very fun night of scrabble and Melissa’s attempts at making up words like hamin and twip. The following day we headed to Kaufland to do some grocery shopping and then headed to the Foreign section of the city library for the English club. There were about 8 people that joined us for the club and the discussion was very advanced and intense. The club ended at 6pm and Melissa and I set off for the bus station. We left for Pascan, Sarah and Theron’s site around 6:30.

We got into Pascan about 8pm where we were greated by our next set of hosts. I was really happy to see the Labounty’s because they are a lot of fun to hang out with and I really wanted to see their place. We had dinner that night, drank some very tasty vișinata (home made cherry liquor), and had a good time catching up and hearing each others stories of attempted integration and random Romanian language mishaps. We stayed the night with Sarah and Theron and then headed to the gara(train station) to head to Melissa’s site in Suceava while the two of them headed to Bucharest for a couple of days before our conference. The one thing I must mention is the elevator in Sarah and Theron’s apartment. It not only smells like pure butt, it is the scariest looking piece of machinery I have seen in country so far. After getting in on the 9th floor and riding it for a good 5 minutes, we ended up on the 8th floor. It had gone all the way down but when we manually opened the two sets of doors, all we saw was cinderblock wall and assumed that we had not reached the bottom. When we felt it stop again, we opened the door only to be informed by a resident that we were on the 8th floor. I couldn’t stand the smell in the elevator anymore and was practically vomiting in my mouth so I decided to run as fast as I could down the stairs.

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Sarah

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Theron

Those are all the updates I currently have for you. I’m in Suceava right now and will update you all on the shenanigans that Melissa and I get into once we get to Sinaia.

Until next time, va pup!

Traveling

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In the past few days I have spanned close to 600km. I set out on my journey to Piatra Neamț at 9:30am Sunday morning where I hopped on my first train of 4 for the day that would take me 8km south to the station in Ilva Mica that acts as a hub. I was on the train with another elderly couple. The old man got to talking to me and in typical Romanian fashion, started asking me personal questions right off the bat. He was very nice and told me that if I am ever at the seaside, to give him and his wife a call and I could stay at their house. He wrote down all of his info including name,address,home phone, and cell and handed me the paper while his wife just looked on like he was crazy. After buying my ridiculously expensive train ticket to Piatra, I waited in the station for about an hour and a half. My train pulled up and I found a free spot in a compartment that already had two younger men in it. I sit down and before I even got situated, the 30something looking man that was sleeping when I walked in immediately sprung to life and I entered the four most annoying hours in Romania that I have experienced so far. The man had a really thick Moldovan accent and he sounded like he was speaking half Romanian half Russian at the time. After some basic conversation I kept on telling him I didn’t understand what he was talking about but that didn’t seem to bother him. He asked me how to say things like you are beautiful and I love you and told me he has never seen an american before. About an hour in, he left to go smoke and I took the opportunity to not just put my earphones in to show that I didn’t want to talk to him anymore, but also pulled up a book on my phone and started reading. In a normal world, a person would not usually disturb someone when they are reading let alone when that person does not actually know the individual. Well… Not in Romania! He started talking to me and I turned the other way and pretended like I didn’t hear him. He then tried playing with my fingertips and poking my hand, I gave him a nasty look and continued reading. He did it again and I gave him another look and said (in english) stop already! He didn’t… I had nowhere to move since the train was full and I knew I was in it till the end. About 2.5 hours into the 4 hour ride, an old man carrying his only piece of luggage which was a two foot long salami came into the compartment and this man’s presence occupied annoying man for the time being. During their conversation, I noticed annoying man was telling salami man about me. He tapped me on the foot and said to me “tell me you love me in English.” I responded with a no and then he asked “de ce?” which means why and my response was “nu vreu” which means i don’t want to and went back to listening to my music while salami man was now laughing at annoying man. Salami man left shortly after and annoying man asked me when I’m going to tell him I love him and I responded with “niciodata” (never) and that was the end of the conversation. He didn’t talk to me much the rest of the time he decided he was going to lay down and just stare at me as I read which was fine by me as long as he didn’t talk anymore. Below you will find a picture of annoying man as he was staring at me.

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When I got off in Suceava, I only had a half hour wait at the station for my next train so luckily nothing too interesting happened. My ride from Suceava to Bacau took about two hours and it was on a very nice intercity train with a/c and all! I got off in Bacau and had about an hour wait until I was to board my last and final train that would take me to Berta’s site. While i was waiting in the station I struck up a conversation with a girl who looked like she was American. And she was! She was a PCV from Ukraine on vacation and was on her way to Brașov by the most ridiculous way possible. She had about 5 hours to kill do I got in touch with a PCV from group 27 who came out and I’m assuming met up with her since I had to leave shortly after meeting her.

On my train to Piatra, I had my last and final meeting of the trip. I was on the phone with a PCV when I noticed the two little children in front of me kept on looking back at me and giggling. Later on in the ride, their grandma came over to me with them and started telling me how they live in the states and know english. The little girl whom the grandma told me was 5 years old didn’t want to speak English so I asked her in Romanian why she didn’t want to speak English with me and she got so shy and scarred, ran behind grandmas leg and shook her head while saying “nu”. The boy, who was 6.5 did speak with me and I found out they are from New Jersey and are returning back to the states in a week. The rest of the ride was spent with the little girl peaking over her seat to look at me and giggling.

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That’s all the stories I have for you now. I’ll post a separate post about my adventures in Piatra Neamț.

Va Pup!