16 September 2014

"These are the nuts of my Communist youth"

Yesterday, on our day off, E and I took a drive with A, our excellent guitarist, into the mountains of Transylvania.  Cluj is situated in the Transylvanian foothills, so it's not much of a drive to get out of town and into the countryside. A has been super generous with her time, and she offered to take us on a drive. We started in Cluj and headed west, towards a hillside town called Belis.

We made a few wrong turns, but soon we were on the right path, a narrow two-lane road into the mountains. We passed by a few lakes that were connected by a series of dams.  The mountains are old and smooth, like the Appalachians.  The houses were either Germanic or Communistically brutal. The weather was beautiful.

We tried to find a spot where E could go swimming, but most of the roads were high on the mountainside and the paths down to the shore were all private property. We found one public sunbathing area, and E was tempted to go in, but while debating the cold water, the tunnel on the other shore started spitting out water, creating an eddy in the cove that none of us wanted to deal with.

We drove further up into the mountains, through a mountain town called Marisel that had lots of livestock and hay bales.

When we finally got to Belis, it was a bit of a disappointment. The town was virtually nothing, and we didn't even stop.  The journey was much more interesting, so we stayed in the car. The sun hitting the mist in the woods was beautiful, and the mountains in the distance looked like the Blue Ridge Mountains back home.  But with lakes.

Once we passed through Belis we continued north, heading back to the main road.

Between Belis and Huedin, A pulled us over to show us how to pick green nuts off of a roadside tree. She said that she did this all the time when she was younger. We stopped to pick some nuts, and then in Huedin, we stopped for a coffee. While we were at the coffeeshop, A went across the street to get a knife to cut the nuts open with. She came back with other things to eat, and we had a good time munching on nuts, Romania chocolates, and a Communist-era version of Fruit Loops, which seem to be made out of barley and food dye. As we ate, A told us about her childhood in Communist Romania. 

We got back into Cluj as the sun was setting, and we settled in for the night.  Just one week until the show opens!

And, as a bonus, here's a photo of Cicicu, one of the actors in the company, wearing a terrific terrible English shirt.  It just reminded me how much I'm looking forward to getting back to S and Los Ageles.

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