Friday, 24 May 2013

Storm of storms

At Saschiz we found ourselves in a much bigger community. Mark and I were given a room in the Hanul Cetatii Inn, which is on a main road, the first one we had encountered since approaching Viscri. Luckily, we were round the back, off a balcony with a good view of the fortress that overlooks the village. (It has a fortress as well as the fortified church with an immense separate tower.)

Supper was at the other end of the village, a distance away. Onka, our hostess, ran a restaurant at the back of her house with her French partner. A large gaggle of young American students were at a table parallel to ours.The food was better than the wine, but there was beer as an alternative. The best bit of all was the ice cream Mark and I shared back at our Inn afterwards.

Yesterday morning, we were guided round the church by the formidable Dorothea, before starting out on our walk. Leaving the village, we saw hay piled up as in a Monet painting. We were passed by a cart drawn by two horses, with a foal trotting along 50 yards behind. The cart had "POLITIA" and the Romanian flag on the back - it was the village policeman.

It looked a bit too bright for fine weather to last, and sure enough black clouds gathered and then the mother of all storms broke upon us, lasting what must have been a good half hour. Luckily, we were near a forest, so took refuge amongst the trees, not that they provided any protection against stair rods of rain. Robin, his attention diverted from his cryptic crossword, cheered us up with a fair rendition of Act 3, Scene II of King Lear.

A very wet party eventually reemerged into the open, and slithered the last mile or so down into the next valley: in doing so, we almost lost Jean in a sea of mud as we neared Daia, "the most depressing village we visited", as she said, "and not because of the rain." (We saw a gypsy woman using an old fridge as her basin for washing clothes right beside the closed-up church.)

From Daia (photographed, above), our driver Gabriel, dubbed the Archangel, ferried us to our pension in Saes: because of our wet state, we opted out of walking via two further villages en route, and were glad to find some heaters to dry our clothes. All seemed to agree that the great tempest made it was our most memorable day yet.

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