Before we leave, we visited a very narrow street. It is 43″ at its narrowest point. Only two people can pass.
It is called Strada Sforii which means Rope Street. This sign looked like a photo opp for me. I tell Rob to turn sideways, move a little forward… there, that is just the picture. The lady at the museum (you can see her on the left) was curious what we were doing and when I told her, she wanted a picture as well. Only Rob could be the model in this photo shoot!
This “rope” street linked two long large streets in order for firefighters to have quick access.
Rob often feels that he needs to attach a rope to keep track of me. This seems over the top!!
Legend says if you kiss in this street you will remain together for the rest of your life. We already did that at our wedding 34 years ago!
There is a specific place to write your name on the wall. That we did do. So if you ever walk through the narrowest street in Brașov, look for our names in the lower right corner.
We took an Uber to the train station and rode to our last stop in Europe: Bucharest.
We had an amazing guide tell us the story of Bucharest. We met Catalina at Unirii Square. We started as a group of 28 people, but after three hours only about a dozen were faithful to the end. She was very good and we were sad that it ended.
The iron curtain was more of a concrete curtain. Communism sought to destroy or hide the churches. However, faith is part of their culture. It is a place of comfort.
One civil engineer named Eugeniu Iordachescu who had the ear of Nicolae Ceaușescu asked him to save the churches. After repeated requests, Ceaușescu reluctantly said ok but move them out of the way.
While Iordachescu was brainstorming in a cafe, he saw a waitor carrying fragile glasses without spilling a drop. This gave him the idea.
They dug a ditch around the church, put a foundation under it and moved it. Eight churches were moved this way. He is hailed as a hero in Romania.
In 1847, a huge fire or conflagration destroyed one third of the city. The fact that the city and streets were all wood and close together made the fire spread rapidly. Here is a picture of wood cobblestones.
People went to St Demetrius Church to pray. Rain fell and the fire subsided. He is the patron saint of the city and is on the coat of arms which is displayed on manhole covers.
Here is a manhole cover cover!
Even though this was a tragedy, it opened the way to build houses out of stone and not wood.
The University of Bucharest is beside the Church of St. Nicholaus who is the saint of children and students. During exam week, students come here to pray…maybe they should study!!
The historic old town is just minutes away from the busy streets, but it is so quiet. At St. Anthony’s square the city expanded from here.
The Dachia lived here before the birth of Christ. They were fierce warriors. One reason is their beliefs about the soul. They cried when a baby was born because the soul was trapped. When one died, there was great celebration as the soul was released.
The Romans arrived in 100AD so Romanians claim to be descendants of Romans and Dachia.
Bucharest is their capital. In 1808 an Ottoman founded an inn here for trading caravans called a caravanserai. They are unique and have only one entrance.
Only two caravanserai remain in Europe, one here and one in Albania. Rob and I ate here and experienced culinary archeology. I had turkey soup and it came complete with a turkey knuckle.
Bucharest is 560 years old. Four hundred years were under Ottoman rule. Then they got a German king and their land flourished under this monarchy.
Vlad’s father was a knight from the Order of the Dragon. He wore a necklace with a picture of a dragon. People had never seen a dragon so they thought that it was the devil. So Vlad was called a son of the devil. Did he live up to his name or was he a smart warrior?
Irishman Bram Stoker wanted to write a Gothic novel which must be scary. He needed a name from the past that wasn’t well known. This use of Vlad’s name clouds the historic facts.
Vlad is a Romanian hero and is a symbol of justice. He was a fierce leader against Ottomans. It was little Wallachia against the great Ottoman Empire.
The Ottomans allowed differing faiths to continue, but the people were required to pay a tribute tax. This was economic domination.
When the Ottomans came to collect the tax, Vlad killed the two envoys. Then he attacked Ottoman territory massacring tens of thousands of Turks and Bulgarians. His foreign policy was to impale the enemy. It took the Ottomans 2½ months to arrive for battle.
Vlad used a scorched earth method. He burned the land so that there was no food or shade. He poisoned the water, and he and his army retreated to the mountains.
The castle doors were left open with no one inside. The street from Bucharest to the Danube was lined with 20,000 impaled Turkish warriors. When the Ottomans saw this, they turned back.
Vlad was ruler of Wallachia for six years. Vlad didn’t invent impaling, he just used it effectively.
Impaling: First you need a human and a sharp wooden stick about 12 feet long. It is greased and then pushed through the bottom and out through the mouth being careful to miss the vital organs for a slow death of 48 hours. Lift the stick and put into the ground and let gravity take over.
A letter recounting this was the birth certificate for their country. He was the Father of the Country. It only goes to show: You can’t choose your parents.
When the Ottomans were here, there was no beer in Romania. Romanians were so happy that the Ottomans left.
They would wait with a glass in hand for the wooden barrels on the beer wagon to arrive. The oldest restaurant in Bucharest is called Beer Wagon.
The decor shows a cat and rooster which means to stay out all night like a cat and come home when the rooster crows.
We walked down Victory Street named in 1878 after the War of Independence. The street is long, lined with beautiful buildings and palaces and ends in Victory Square.
Carol the First from Germany was invited to become the king of Romania. The post-Ottoman world was different from Germany. No one was ever on time. He installed clocks on buildings and gave watches to his friends.
His crown was unusual and made of steel showing endurance and strength. It was made from a Turkish cannon from the War of Independence. It became fashionable to make jewelry from weapons.
Rob has secured a private room in a hostel called Podstel Umbrella. He wanted a private bathroom but our shower is not bolted down and it rocks so stability is in question.
We sign up for the family meal which was a Lentil Hot Pot. It was hot and delicious. Everything that is prepared here is vegan.
We met Lawrence, an anesthesiologist from Chile and we had some interesting discussions:
Humans have an innate aversion to eating anything green. Proteins and grains are often brown and don’t cause harm whereas green things can be harmful and poisonous.
Organ donation and harvesting is quite a brutal process in which to watch and participate.
The Falon Gong are a detained religious group in China and they, as well as other political prisoners, have been used internationally for transplant organs. This issue was brought to light in a 2014 documentary. I did not know about it until this trip. There is apparently evidence that it is still taking place today. I share this to inform and educate. No wonder Hong Kong does not want to have its political prisoners taken to China.
Alsace is a piece of land that has the reputation of being passed back and forth between France and Germany over the years. It has been French 20 times and German 20 times!! Currently, it’s French.
The receptionist doubles as a fire show performer. After dinner, we all crowded into the corridor and watched her act.
We met eight men from Germany who are on a mancation. Every two years they get together for a trip and visit three countries in a week. I told Matt, one of the Germans, that we have triplets. He told me that he has a Yugoslavian friend who is triplet born during Tito’s time. He said that if you are born as a triplet, Tito was automatically the godfather! A fact about which his friend still brags!!