Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 8-9

The last few days we have been traveling the countryside, and it was both amazing, beautiful and interesting. We set out early to a little church that housed many Romanian Byzantine Orthodox icons, and Lee was very instructive and thorough in telling us the very graphic and gruesome stories behind their rescue.  It was a very interesting time, and then from there, our group moved on to a nice lunch (Schnitzle for me, thank you!), and to an old but amazing castle in Hunedoara called "Corvin's Castle," being named after the last king occupant.  It was a sublime place, complete with fully restored dungeons and gallows (and full models and explanations accompanying each mode and method of death and destruction) as well as all the banquet halls, chapels and arms rooms still intact, and we so we thoroughly enjoyed painting and just frolicking in the this wonderfully preserved historical site, so much, we didn't want to leave, but eventually, Lee rounded up the wayward artists, and off we went.

From there, we drove to Alba Iulia, a city fortress built up above the neighboring towns, in the shape of a "star."  It was also a most interesting and beautiful site, with a very active city in the fortress now, so after having a lavish dinner in their premier restaurant, we moved on to other things (code=we wound up partying in a Romanian bar) and had a very jolly time until quite late.  This morning, we woke up early, remarkably hangover free (perhaps it was the good Romanian wine?) and started back into Alba Iulia, where we further explored the city, visiting numerous gorgeous churches and museums.

We really had a wonderful time, as a group we also had a ton of laughs as we are a very jovial group, and after a very quick lunch, headed back to our coach for our final stop--a salt mine deep underground---hundreds of feet, which was both eerie and amazing. There is NO way to adequately describe this place--picture an underground cavern literally hundreds of feet high, with balconies jutting off into nothing (quite terrifying) and staircases down and down that are so treacherous it's truly heartstopping (and a glass elevator that is equally horrifying due to the "heights and depths" you are descending, but mostly a HIVE of human party activity, with an underground river filled with boaters paddling this way and that, an amusement park including a ferris wheel, food and drink vendors, pool tables just out in the middle of the fray, a surreal open air bowling alley, all with hundreds of people running amok underground...it was literally like a bizarre acid trip.  The salt was so thick in the air, you could taste and smell it, and people playing and running about (there was even a wedding going on) like they are on a regular beach, because the floor of it is almost like sand. except slippery in some spots like ice.  A truly unique experience, and one I certainly won't forget!

So, now we are back in our "compound."  Some of the others have gone for food, but I am enjoying the quiet, and will look forward to a night's sleep, even though others are going out partying again tonight, I plan to R&R for the next few nights, because I just can't keep up with them haha....but that's OK.  Have a nice night!!!!


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