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Everyone was exhausted. We were glad to be on the way home.
The next morning we loaded baggage, including the lost bags belonging
to the Joyces and Clestors that Mona had managed to
rescue from the Sibiu airport administration, and headed toward
Along the way
we stopped to see the fabled monastery, Simbata de Sus and to buy
20 pizzas to go at a restaurant in Fagaras.
Simbata de Sus
was beautifully located. The buildings and grounds were in excellent
condition and hundreds of Romanian tourists enjoyed a day in the
On we drove,
our goal Bran Castle, linked to the Dracula legend and beautifully
perched atop a steep hill among even taller mountains. Thats
a group of Lions to the left and Joe Marcheggiani posing to the
right. We walked the cobblestones up to the castle after paying
a modest entrance fee. Inside, the castle was spare. It was obvious
a medieval working fortress designed to stop assault,
rather than to entertain romantic nobility. The castle was decorated
with furniture from various periods over the last three hundred
years and is now preserved by the Romanian government.
Below the castle,
Draculaland, a relatively nice tourist trap with tee-shirts
dripping blood, straw-doll witches, and many nice Romanian folk
art pieces, provided a shopping opportunity.
We arrived in
Brasov late in the afternoon, checked into the Capitol Hotel. An
hour later we formed up in the lobby to walk toward the city center.
Jim Sack walked the group out of the lobby and promptly turned in
the wrong direction. After we straggling through a few alleys and
Jim lamely pointing out the historic dumpsters of Brasov
to the group, the group emerged onto the main pedestrian street
of Brasov and the gasps of delight were obvious.
The main commercial
street of Brasov stretches for a half-mile lined by delightful shops
and chic restaurants. Here John Clester contributes to the local
economy a bit. It opens into a spacious town square that is bordered
by the massive Black Church, a German Lutheran fortress church from
the 1600s. Behind that edifice climb the Carpathians which guard
Brasov and which offer spectacular views down on the red tiled roofs.
Our second day
in Brasov we took our bus up to Poiana Brasov, rode a cable car
to the top of a mountain and basked in the fresh breezes. Thats
Ron Joyce of Little Rock in the middle of the photo, another of
the kind and talented Lions. We delighted in the beautiful views
and sipped beer under umbrellas at an open-air restaurant. By consensus,
the toilet facilities at Poiana Brasov got five stars for cleanliness
and function. In fact, the hotel would compete with any four-star
facility in the west. Romania is making progress in tourism very
by the way, in the modular building and trailer business in Indiana
and just couldnt pass up searching for design innovations
on a Romanian cousin of his line of trailers. You might want to
see the work he does at www.whitleyman.com.
After a couple
of days of R&R in Brasov we reboarded the bus and turned south
Along the way
an incident occurred that spoke volumes about our friends, the Lions.
A car travelling in front of us had an accident. The car was loaded
with potatoes for market and part of the load had shifted and broken
shattered the front window of the old Dacia. Potatoes were all over
the road, the main road between Bucuresti and Brasov. Traffic was
snarled. What had started as an effort to make a few bucks at the
market had ended in economic disaster for the driver and his family.
It would take hundreds of dollars to fix the damage. Lions told
our driver to stop the bus and open the door so that we could help
collect and bag the potatoes.
on the Road
Betsy and Mia
at Castle Peles
On the way we
visited the Royal Castle, Peles, where Fort Wayne volunteers Mia
and Betsy Dragan enjoyed the view.
we drove about in search of the ill marked, but lovely, Hotel Ambasador.
After we finally found the hotel, debarked and checked in Simon
arranged dinner for all in the adjacent restaurant. Dinner was a
time for congratulatory speeches and more beautifully played folk
music. Prior to dinner Fort Wayne volunteer Ron Kersten had strode
the energetic streets of Bucuresti in search of some sort of commemorative
gift for Simon. He purchased a book of photos of all of Romania
and everyone in the group autographed it, in the manner of a high
school yearbook. Music played, eyes watered, and words of appreciation
were spoken by five or six of the good Lions. It was a nice end
to a lovely adventure and satisfying work.
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