This posting by a Global Volunteers team member describes an optional weekend activity during our standard service program. For a description of our service program work projects, please refer to previous posts available through the "older posts" link.
Hello! I have so much to write since I last blogged!
Saturday morning Erin (my roommate) and I hurredly got ready (because we both overslept for the first time since being here.) We met our driver and tour guide at 8:30 in the parking lot of the hotel and departed for our weekend. It was a VERY long trip to the painted monasteries, however watching the beautiful countryside of Romania was enjoyable along the way. There are hills here that are beautiful! It seemed as though we traveled through a valley most of the way, so there were hills all around us. The road was very windy and bumpy (2 lanes the entire way). I can't remember the names of the painted monasteries, but we arrived at one and got to look around at the little stands outside. The monasteries were incredible! Painted on the inside and outside of the monasteries where pictures that told biblical stories. Also, on the inside of one of the chambers were 365 pictures (each representing a day of the year). I could go on and on about the things we learned about these monasteries, but it is too much to type.
Next we had lunch at a Romanian home. We started out with a "shot" of plum brandy. Whew! That warmed my insides! We also had homemade wine that was good. The food was also good, but much like what we have had everywhere else. Then we shopped at their little stand. They have beautiful shirts that they sew. I saw one that I thought was cute (looked like a baby's dress). Apparently, it was a shirt. My team members urged my to try it on, and I did and then they talked me into buying it. It was 60 leu (translates into 20 bucks). I guess it will be my Romanian souvenir for myself. Next we went to the black pottery workshop. Again, many beautiful items for very good prices. Our last stop was at another painted monastery. It was a short stop because it was raining fairly hard. I think we were gonna stop at another monastery, but we opted not too because of the time. We went to Iasi ("yash") and spent the night. Most of the group stayed at a 2 star hotel, which according to American standards would probably be a 3 star hotel. Our tour guide, Radu, is my same age (24) and was kind enough to accompany the girls out to a local pub. He also brought his roommate with him and we all had a great time. I'm pretty sure that without their help, we would not have been able to order anything from the menu or find our way home! It was obvious that we were Americans, because when songs in English came on, we were the only ones going crazy on the dance floor! We got home pretty late, but Radu let us sleep in since we were on "vacation". We met Radu and the other women (who stayed in different, 4 star hotel) at 10 on Sunday and began our tour of "Iasi". It is a very beautiful city and there is much to do and see there . We saw many different places of worship including a Catholic church. We were not able to go inside though. We ate lunch at a nice place and souvenir shopped for a few minutes in the mall there. We arrived back in Tutova around 6:30 and had a relaxing evening.