Time for some fun!

It’s been a busy summer -wedding, funeral, work…. and that Camino de Santiago trip that left me unable to walk for three weeks (literally) but was one of the best holidays ever- so time for a break before the onslaught of work in the winter.

Never one for the sun lounger we have opted to explore Transylvania – oh yes, and join a Sax course too.

In reverse order, let me introduce to those we have met so far. First off – Alexander (the Great, he tells me). Barman extraordinaire he bothers not with measures but ensures our two glasses of wine are equally full. With the attention to detail normally only found in intense sibling rivalry he squats and ensures the menisci in both glasses are absolutely equal. Furthermore,he effectively refuses to serve me a cup of tea as this would spoil the wine. The wine is Romanian. It’s red. It’s excellent. It’s served on ice.

Although Alexander initially seemed reluctant to have his photo taken, this is the third image. He wasn’t happy with the first two. He was however delighted to learn we were English. He worked at Manchester City stadium for five years. Why did he leave? He went to earn adequate money to afford a house and a car, and returned home when he had. (But remains a City fan).

Bucharest has a beautiful old town. Like many major European cities the old town attracts international restaurants with picture book menus and attractive young women to beguile us in the street. We resisted. We ended up in the ‘Brutal Pancake’, a street food shop run by a Russian.

And very good they were too. And cheap. And the water was served in a recyclable, returnable bottle.

We ‘ate in’, upstairs, in a place with ceilings so low even we got minor bumps on our heads.

Leaving our hotel earlier in the afternoon we ventured into a local park. Confused as to our whereabouts we (well, Keith as I knew his sense of direction would get us back eventually ) consulted a map. Immediately three smart young men joined and offered to help us. Two were American. The other they introduced as being ‘local’. ‘He was brought up here’. It’s all relative. He was brought up in Tunisia.

Turned out they are all members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Oh, I thought. One must prepare oneself for awkward questions. Along cane AQ number 1:

‘Which Premier League football team do you support?’ This is SO FAR from our comfort zone we had to ask them to repeat the question. K’s brilliant answer was….. I’m not interested in football but my wife follows it closely. Thank you Keith.

AQ Number 2: What makes for a long and happy marriage?

Our answer was : stunned silence. Then some mutterings and thoughts about the marriage practices of this group of people.

They have a branch in Bucharest:

The elders of the town instructed me on the use of the equipment of their outside gym in the park, a good workout which is necessary as I’ll miss my sessions next week. Great hips, tums, bums session …..

The town is a great mix of old and new in juxtaposition:

Cat our shuttle driver regaled us with great stories of Romanian Gipsies’ attitudes to the UK benefits system (there to be exploited), Belgian beer – and, more sombrely, life during the revolution. He frequently queued from 3 in the morning for ‘milk’ so thin it was indistinguishable from water. He showed buildings which were destroyed, sites of violent demonstrations and more.

And amazingly, despite using both hands to illustrate his point, in a city where driving is ‘enthusiastic’ to say the least, transported us safely to our hotel, the Zeus International.

(View from window)

Bucharest offers something for everyone: from high culture, to slightly worrying alternative culture: To…. er, this kind of culture:

Whoops. Lost the pic. Essentially one of adult entertainment.

But also, oh my, there’s a belief in the healing power of story telling.

A great day – and so to bed. It’s only 20.15 in the UK, but we’ve been up for hours, flown to a country so Far East it’s two hours time difference and discussed Brexit with all _ comers.

so it’s 22.30 here. Night!!!!

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