Traveling on south to Bixad, and then eastward into the mountains again, we then visited the spa Baile Balvanyos.
Being mid-afternoon we entered the hotel/restaurant and opted to sit outside to eat. The weather was overcast, and it began to sprinkle
so we decided to move inside. As we approach the door in, an older man was coming out, greeted us in English and asked if he could join us for a chat,
to which we agreed. After finding seats in the dining room (very ornately decorated, even the dishware very colorful) he explained; he is a Scotsman,
currently living in Sweden, but just now traveling with a group of Hungarians from Budapest, by bus.
He had a long story of travels; had worked and
lived in Africa and met and married a Swedish lady there. Returned to Sweden but the marriage didnít last; work a long time in Budapest, speaks Hungarian
and has many Hungarian friends and returns each year to Budapest to take their bus trip with them. (Peter also speaks fluent Hunganian so the two
conversed in that language as well.) We had ordered dinner, I had trout and a tomato salad (with lots of slivers of onion); Peter recommended a
paprika salad which he ordered and I tasted; the paprikas were rather sweet, not at all tangy as I had expected; they had been cooked like tomatoes.
For dessert we ordered pie (crepes with blueberry filling) and I asked the waiter to add a dip of ice cream to it; this was new to him, but we got it.
Later, since our waiter then had disappeared, Peter went looking for him. A couple entered the dining room, approached me with a camera,
indicating if I would take a photo of them which I did. They thanked me in French (Merci) to which I responded Il níest pas de qoi (youíre welcome)
which surprised them and they asked if I spoke French. Unfortunately I only remember a few words and phrases from high school French so I had to say no.
After finally finding the waiter and paying the bill we left by the front door. On the step conversing were 2 men, 1 older and 1 younger.
It turned out they were Israelis, father and son, making their first trip back to Romania since 1969 so the father could show his son the town
he grew up in (the same hometown as Peter is from). Both father and son like to hike, and joined us as we walked up to see mineral water bathing pits.
There was one large open water pit surrounded by a boardwalk terrace. Further on an abandoned mofeta, which we entered with great caution,
the ceiling was falling in, made our way down into the pit, checked for gas level, and stood in the gas for a short period of time.
The father, 69, is a pediatrician; his son a physical therapist. Then on to a second mineral water pit, this one under roof, whitish water
that you dangle your legs in which they all 3 did. It began to rain, but let up some as we walked back to our cars. I talked politics with the son,
Peter hiking with the father. Peter and the father consulted hiking trail maps before we eventually parted for our drive back to Miercurea Ciuc
for the night.
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