Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend in Sibiu: Muzeul Civilizaţiei Populare Tradiţionale "ASTRA"

May 1st, Unu de Mai, is Labor Day (or Workers' Day) in much of the world, and very much so here in Romania. For me it meant no classes, and I stayed home and got into a blue funk. So I Skyped my counselor, Shirley, and after chatting for over an hour, I was myself again. I do not know how she does that, but she has always been a tonic for me. Thanks to Shirl, May 2nd and 3rd turned out really well.

Having shaken my blues, rather than stay home all weekend going stir crazy, I contacted Kathy O, who joined me for a pizza while I had Spaghetti Bolognesi, as I knew Shirl had enjoyed it, at Gente's. During dinner, Kathy described some Dacian ruins near a town called Haţeg, that her friend (now our friend) Simona B. had once taken her to see. So, I called Simona and Charles Harris, and hatched a plot to go to Sibiu on Saturday. As it happened, Simona had to go there anyway for an afternoon-evening conference, but said she would be happy to guide Charles and me to the ruins, which are near her family's home, on Sunday.

I mounted Klaus early, got a bit lost finding Simona's place in Cluj, and we hit the road at 7:45. The traffic was light, and we made excellent time, reaching Sibiu by 10:15. There we met up with Charles, and with Simona's colleague Marianne, who was to be at the conference with Simona, and her hostess for the night.

(See picture: Simona on my right, Marianne on my left. All pictures in this post are by Charles Harris.)

Simona and Marianne went off to their day's work, and I joined Charles in his apartment, where I heard the latest Fulbright scuttlebutt, which included the fact that our stipends for April wouldn't be available until May 5th, meaning many Fulbrighters were keeping their landlords waiting for May's rent. Then, Charles suggested we invite his new acquaintance Roxy Fera, a graduate of Keene State College (!), to join us for lunch, and a visit to one of Sibiu's most interesting museums. Never one to turn down a chance for pizza, let alone with a USNH alumna from (and in) Romania, I concurred, and we headed off to Pompadore's Pizza.

At Pompadore's, Charles called his buddy Sorin Ungariu, who also works at Lucian Blaga University, so we went to the museum as a foursome. Here are a few pictures taken there (that is Sorin on the left).

The museum visit turned out to be wonderful, featuring a building or farm machine or old industrial structure or machine (wool fullers, wheat threshers, steam tractors, etc.) from every judet (county) in Romania. The weather was bright and breezy, there was a wedding going on in the park, and we stopped at one point for ice cream by a lake. For about two hours I walked with the Sibiu native Roxy, who proves to be a well-traveled woman of 33, who not only had four years of college in New Hampshire, but also three years' teaching (of English) in Central China, and four years' living and teaching in Oman, on the Persian Gulf.

We four then gathered (adding Roxy's new puppy, whom she had gone home to take out for a walk) at Charles' place for a dinner of mici (cooked by Duncan once he figured out Charles' previously unused oven). We enjoyed a beer or un pahar cu vin rosu sec, and parted about 10:00.

On Sunday, footsore, Charles and I were only mildly disappointed when Simona called to excuse herself from the day's guiding. She was not feeling well. So, I headed home to Cluj early to save her having to ride sick on a bus. As we drove, Simona felt a bit better, so we took a lovely Carpathian route that neither of us had seen before. Maybe I'll take my four young visitors to Sibiu by that route next week.


SKM said...

Nice post. Good pics.

Duncan McDougall said...

SKM: Watch for a delivery on Friday.

George said...

I think young people nowdays must work on keeping their own culture by preserving national values.
This could be achieved by keeping these values in a museum.
The Politechnics University Museum site was realized by a few students beeing published temporarily here:
It's a science museum in where we can find varius hystorical technical models.
For improovments of the site wich is just a scale model you can write us a message on the
Contact Form.
Thanks for your support.