(Taken from my journal entries made during my travels this summer in Europe)
July 24, 2016
Penninsula Excelsior Hotel
Baia Mare, Romania!!!
I woke up – had difficulty sleeping again last night – but it’s getting better! I was groggy as a result, but got moving quickly because of last night’s shower. I encountered the hotel owner downstairs, who directed me to an ATM near the basilica, about 1/2 mile or mile walk, which he pantomimed animatedly while repeatedly saying “Basilica!” I knew, based on this limited conversation, that I would know the basilica when I saw it. And I did. Just a couple of blocks down the road, take a left, cross the river, and go a couple more blocks.
Everyone was on the sidewalks, dressed in their finery! The church bells were ringing, calling everyone to service. An amputee sat outside the basilica begging, I had nothing to give him, though in retrospect I could have given him US dollars.
The town is so beautiful! A canal, the churches, cobblestone streets, a beautiful town square with buildings being revitalized, hills in the distance. Lovely cafes in the square and people so dressed up, drinking espresso, coffee, and even beer, first thing in the morning.
I am so spellbound by this place and so excited! I feel like a little kid.
The ATM outside the basilica didn’t work, “problem technica” or some iteration of that, but I found another that did after wandering around the square for some time.
I am so wishing I’d gotten the name and number of last night’s driver, as I would have hired him for today or tomorrow to show me around Baia Mare.
The heat is crazy! It seems to bother no one but me. I’m perpetually covered in sweat.
Prior to departing the US, I’d found that my body decided I should no longer eat dairy. (Surprise! Welcome to middle age!) As a safety measure, I’d brought some lactose pills in my 20 lbs of gear. I say this, because when ordering food in other countries, it can be hard to predict what you get. At this particular hotel, breakfast can be purchased with your room, and the owner and his wife prepare it. (Since they don’t speak English, and I don’t speak Romanian, a lot remained unsaid, even with the help of Google Translate.)
It is a fine breakfast, delicious, and they are so proud to serve it: omelet, fruit, vegetables, sautéed mushrooms, cheese and bread. To not eat what someone serves to you in another country can seem rude, as if you are dismissing their traditions, discarding local offerings that they are so proud to serve. These days I am always mindful of this. So, I popped a couple of lactose pills, having no real idea whether they would work or not, and dove in. Butter, cream, milk and cheese, come what may.
I hope this works!
(to be continued)
Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations.
Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.