Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I went to Romania a few weeks ago. Let me just say that no one knew what our trip entailed. No one. All I knew was that we were going to Lvov and Romania and that we were getting there by a train and a bus. First, we took a  sleeper train to Lvov, Ukraine. Doesn't it sound like a Harry Potter adventure?? I was sure excited since this was my first sleeper train. We got on at 11:30 pm and headed off to the beautiful city of Lvov. I loved being rocked to sleep on the tracks and hearing the train roll along.
Lvov is the most European city in Ukraine. The architecture is beautiful. We climbed MANY stairs to the top of a tower to look out over the beautiful city of 200,000 people. It is a quaint little city. I loved it. From the top of the tower we could see almost everything! Some of the roof tops were caving in. It looked like it could have been from bombs. The homes and buildings were so colorful!

After our day there, we got on a bus to drive to Romania. Our tour guide informed us that it would be about a 6 hour drive. Well, that's not too bad. We got on. 6 hours passed. We drove on. We continued to drive, and drive....and drive. Little did we know it would be a 17 hour drive. The rode we drove on for about 14 hours was a 2 way road that wound up and down the mountain. Don't worry. We got to Sinai, Romania. It was gorgeous. The mountains reminded me of home. Someone even compared it to being a Park City country. In some ways it was.

This would be the windy 14 hour long road I would be talking about.

1st EXCURSION---------Peles Castle

Isn't it just beautiful! It was built just a few hundred years ago. It has about 80 rooms and 30 bathrooms. Wouldn't that be a wonderful hotel to stay at?! The dining room was huge. There were about 40 seats for dinner guests. The decor was fancy and it was well preserved.


Yes, I said DRACULA. Okay people, Dracula was real. He was. His name was Vladimir. Maybe he wasn't a vampire, but who's to say he really wasn't? Anyway, he was a creepy man. His castle was built in the early 1300's. He wasn't the first one to live in the castle though. I'll give a very brief biography of Mr. Vladimir. He was in the royal family, but somehow he didn't get bequeathed and left everything he wanted. Instead, all of the good family fortune went to his brother. He became very upset and bitter. It changed his life...obviously for the worst. He became known for his torture techniques that he would perform on people that didn't agree to his commands. His castle was built up on a very high hill. He conveniently had a forest behind this castle of His. He found a use for it alright. He chopped down the trees and only left a few feet left of it. With the remaining tree, he carved out spears. He had his servants through off people form the top of his castle onto the sharpened spears. He also did a lot of other stuff that I don't really want to go too deep into. If you want to learn more, look it up! Now, I don't know how credible all of this information is, but I found it on the internet.


Me and a group of kids from my volunteer group signed up for a Romanian dinner. In the description it said we'd dance around a campfire and enjoy entertainment and then be fed real Romanian food. Fun right?
We drove another hour up the windy roads in the Romanian wilderness to a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. We were greeted by this.

Cheesy men dressed up in Dracula "costumes." Don't you just love the guy rockin' the bunny fingers? His hat even said Halloween on it. These was the first feel of how this dinner shin dig was goin down.
They had a bonfire alright. Me, and about 40 other people sat around this fire while 4 people came out dressed in traditional Romanian attire and started singing and dancing. There was also a random dragon thing that walked around the fire poking his faces in peoples' business and shaking his booty. Interesting..... They had a jug of Dracula's blood so of course we had to try that. It turned out to when you're gulping down supposed warm cider you wouldn't think there would be burning! That was my first taste of spirits! I took a drink and didn't want any more.
Then, they escorted us into the basement of the restaurant.
This is our little ILP group that braved this adventure.     

First they brought out this....
Looks fancy right?
I had never seen this before, as well as the others. We decided to poke it around first, just to test it. We gave it a good poke and it bounced back. What the heck? I was pretty sure it wasn't any meat I had ever eaten. I took a little snag and popped it in. Mush. Mush. Mush. The lady came out and informed us it was brain. It was cold! You could have taken the knife and spread it across the bread. I ate about 3/4 of it and had to call it off. I was not prepared to conquer it. No way. Welp, that was only the appetizer. They didn't even try to get us accustomed a smidge to what we would be eating. They just brought out the big guns!
The next plate

The only thing I felt comfortable eating was the red peppers. Before this picture was taken there was a dark brown deviled egg. I ate that too. The stuff in the tomato is some kind of cheese. It was STROONG. The round gelatin meat looking stuff was who knows what. I'm pretty sure it was a mixture of things. I heard it could have been tongue, ear, and liver. The sausage stuff on the left wasn't sausage. When I cut into it it was like meat spread. The taste was so foreign I couldn't get it down.

The Dinner Plate
This was grits and stewed liver. The orange things weren't carrots. It looks appetizing, I guess if you like liver. We had another dish with an assortment of pickled food. One was pickled watermelon. I didn't find much of a taste for it. For dessert we had a squirt of strawberry ice and wined prunes. Let me just say, I tried everything! When I left, 3 hours later, I was pretty dang hungry. It was a fun and a good experience, I would just rather eat good food!


We showed upand they gave us this big, cheesy torches. Our guide led out. We roamed Brasov till 1 am, looking like a bunch of ridiculous English people. When we passed a church the guide stopped us and talked about it. She had even brought pictures of the inside of the church because apparently it wasn't open at 12 am. Awesome huh? While we waled through the city sqaure, some men passed us. The tour was in Russian. They didn't ask if we were English or not, but blurted out. 'What...are you doing?.." Enough said.

All in all, it was a spontaneous night that took us to places that we ate and did things we never thought about doing! I'm not going to lie. After the midnight torch tour we stopped at McDonalds. No more brain for me please!

Monday, March 5, 2012


One nice thing about being in a foreign country is that you have an excuse not to know how to do things right. You also are put in little, yet OFTEN humbling situations.
Yesterday I got on the wrong bus, so I hopped off and got onto another one. I asked the driver if it went to the metro and he said yes. We hopped on. A few minutes later he yells, "Diavichki!"I had been on this bus before and knew for a fact that we had a good 15 minute ride ahead of us. Why was he telling us this was the metro stop? Well, I guess it was the hint to get off at the next stop. I ignored my better sense of judgement and got off.So...of course that's what we did. We all got off....and the bus sat there...then he yells the same thing at us and waves us in. He just wanted money for the trip. I knew it wasn't the metro....We flashed them our metro cards, and got back on the bus.

Take the 56 D!

Yesterday, I got on the wrong bus to ride back to my flat. 56 K. I have taken this bus the same route a few times before and have never landed in the right place. When I wait for a bus at this particular stop it usually takes 45 mins, so when a 56 bus micro bus came zooming along, I decided to hop on! We got a good 30 min ride out of it until I fully decided it was the wrong bus. After I hurridly hopped off, I dropped one of my reallly nice gloves. Now it is gone. And now I roam around Kiev with one bare hand. Classy.