After eating breakfast and checking out of the hotel the group is free to do whatever until lunch at 1400. All of us walk the streets of Brasov to shop, look around more landmarks, and see the sights. I purchase Romanian traditional pottery bowls, and a pair of earrings. I also buy Adellina and Ana a hairclip, both different to fit their personality. For Adellina, I choose a purple rose hairclip, as she reminds me of a Spanish flamenco dancer. For Ana, I dawdle between a teal-color bow clip, and a purple one. We eventually settle that the purple one matches her style, a gift so she can remember me by. We sit to refresh with drinks after awhile, and on my way towards this restaurant, a poor ill-dressed and dirty child walks by and starts speaking to me in Romanian. To make him go away, I keep telling him “Nu inteleg!” He continues to try to tell a sob story to get money. Eventually he goes away in defeat. Eugen tells me I sounded expressively upset when I told the child I didn’t understand Romanian, and that it’s best to ignore the child beggars. I reply that I was upset because the boy interrupted my conversation with him, and that he chose the wrong person to plead to. Furthermore, as we keep walking the streets, a middle-aged woman points at me, then makes gestures of dancing, and yells in excitement “Yesterday, you dance!” Oh my, I cannot go anywhere in this country without being easily recognized.
Once we make it to another late lunch, I find out that it is most common to eat lunch in Romania at 1400. We are at Sergiana this time. They first serve us a meat and cheese plate, followed by sărmăluţe cu mămăligă. Sarmalute represents the meat encased in cabbage, and mamaliga is Romania’s version of polenta. I do not remember what the dessert is called, but it tasted what was reminiscent of an apple pie (plăcintă cu mere perhaps?).
After the meal we make our way to the Rasnov Citadel. Most of us are tired still from the night before, and with the use of energy in the morning and early afternoon, we are already spent. However, we truck our way to the entrance and look around anyways. Near the entrance I find an old man playing the violin. I have Ramona ask him if I can borrow it to play as I miss mine at home. He allows me to play a few tunes on it, telling me to speed up the tempo. Eventually we go in, only to find that it is what it is; ruins. Broken rubble, dangerous walking areas, and beautiful views from atop are all around us. Although the views are breathtaking, we witnessed many mountain-top views yesterday. This particular trip lacks a tour guide to explain historical milestones and safe areas to walk around. There are a few vendors open, a wishing well, and even an archery station. Professor Hickman is the first to try it, and other students like Ramona and Horia give it a try as well. As there is only so many times I can watch this, a few of us get a head start towards the exit. During the wait, I get a bottle of water to drink, and the musician hands me his violin again to play. When a new bus of tourists return, he takes it back as he has to make his daily earnings. Before jumping onto the bus, professor Hickman purchases a dessert to share, Kürtőskalács. Its Hungarian name indicates a chimney cake; the yeasted bread is funneled atop of a rolling pin-like mechanism, and set on top of charcoal to bake while rotating on a spit. It is then covered in cinnamon sugar and ready for eating. It is delicious! It reminds me of a large churro.
As we drive back to RAU, I give arm and hand massages to relax and calm my classmates. They fall asleep immediately. For those who are still awake, we play a word game called Turkey. The first player starts off with a word, and then the next person has to use the last two characters of the word to be the beginning letters of the first word. For example, if the first person chooses “perch” then the next person can choose a word like “chair.” If the word ends in “ng”, the next person gets a strike, and takes the first letter “t” of turkey. The next strike is a “u,” and this continues until this person is struck-out. All I can say is, I was not the first person struck out, nor the last to be crowned winner.
Perhaps we come back later than anticipated; we did not stop for any restroom breaks nor dinner during our drive back. When we return, all of the UAH students are starving. A few of us decide that we want to order pizza so we do not have to go anywhere, and let the food come to us. Finding the right pizza place is difficult, and then finding someone who can relay what we want creates even more problems. A student that orders for us misunderstood. We attempt to order two large pizzas with pepperoni, and one with cheese. What we receive is two large pizzas with peppers and pepperoni, and one with cheese. I do not care what toppings they are, but this has a few of our classmates discouraged and upset. At this point, I am ready to eat whatever pizza comes my way.