Sunday, September 25, 2011

return from Romania (m)

While it wasn't on my bucket list, Romania was better than expected.  Lots of natural beauty.  We had little free time all week, but the drive to the Olympic rink took about 30 minutes each day, down a mountain.  On the way, we passed beautiful fields and lots of animals. My favorite was the herd of sheep, led by one dog.   It almost felt like medieval times.

The competition was excellent.  21 men representing 16 different countries.  Harrison skated his best and was thrilled.  My stomach turned like the spin cycle of a washing machine watching him go into every jump.  I was ecstatic when it was over.

The food was interesting.  Because of the large group of athletes, everything was buffet-style.

Breakfasts offered lots of meats, cheeses, breads, eggs, and salads (tomatoes, cucumbers, cole slaw, eggplant).  Two types of juices, coffee, tea, water.  One fruit option per day.  I tried the eggplant one day to break up the routine of the boiled egg and cucumbers.  It was excellent, but more appropriate for lunch.

Lunches were lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, a few protein dishes (veal, chicken) and some pastas.  No eggplant.  Once, I asked for "eggplant" (which, by the way, is what the sign English).  The server shook her head saying she didn't understand and summoned her manager.  The woman, who did speak English, smiled, nodded and said, "How many?"  How many?  It looks like hummus.  How does one describe how many?  Spoonfuls?  Cups?  I just said, "One," meaning serving.  Well, I didn't get eggplant that day.  I got a soft-boiled egg in one of those little cups.  They must have scratched their heads trying to figure out what I wanted and decided to "plant" one egg in a cup.  Voila.  Egg. Plant.

Dinners were indistinguishable from the lunches except there was a beer keg and pitchers of wine.  I had some wine to settle my nerves on the nights before his competitions.

On the last day, Harrison's coach and his mother and Harrison and I went to tour the old city.  Shabby chic is how I'd describe it.  Grand buildings that had fallen into disrepair.  A church that suffered a fire and never was restored (hence its name, The Black Church).  A marketplace where old and young promenaded with no sense of urgency.  It was like a throwback in time.   Here is a picture of "the girls" --a group of older women just sitting on a bench.  It captured the feeling of the old city.

On the last night, we went to dinner in a traditional Romanian restaurant.  It was the first time all week that we ate a full meal (nerves curb your appetite better than anything else).  I had beef with rice and three glasses of white wine and a salad.

I had my fill of Romania and was ready to go home.

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