Romania Trip Log, Day 5, June 14 - Leaving Miercurea Ciuc for Brasov today, so up early, packed my bags and down to breakfast, this time served by Imola,
again an omelet. Waited for Peter who had business to finish up before leaving for Brasov, I viewed the fitness center/pool on the grounds of the
Bella Vita (Peter works out here sometimes.), a very nice facility. Before leaving Miercurea Ciuc, we drove eastward to the edge of town,
to Sumuleu Ciuc, a place of pilgrimage annually at Pentecost Sunday.
The Catholic church had an interesting chancel; behind the altar circular
stairs from both sides of the alter, went up to a large painting of the Virgin Mary in front of which was a small prayer bench; quite unique.
Back behind the church, across a street, was a large hillside where the pilgrims congregate during the day. A few meters down the street was another spring,
this one roof covered, and people were there with jugs and bottles filling up with the water. It was not at all pleasant to my taste.
We then proceeded
south towards Brasov, thru the wide expanses of potato fields; past a hillside encampment of gypsies; a rather good road (somewhat an exception);
an occasional haywagon pulled by horses on the roadway; men and women in the hay fields raking up hay by hand; few if any machines in the fields.
Farmers live in small villages, not on their land, walk or take horse-draw carts or wagons to their fields where they work by hand.
Before heading to Brasov, we diverted to visit Lacul Sfanta Ana (St Ann’s lake) and the Mohos peat bogs, both quite interesting, both located in a
national park. We left the car before the park entrance, walked in about 1 km to the little group of buildings (a park attendant, an open BBQ,
and a restaurant). The Mohos peat bog is an old lake bed, which lost water over the years and turned into a peat bog. Usually only guided tours
are given, but Peter convinced the attendant that we would stay on the paths and not destroy the fragile landscape. We spent about an hours
walking thru the bog, on boardwalks or on board steps that lead a path thru the area, eventually ending at a road which took us back to the begining.
On the other side of the building, and down the hill about 2 kms was Lake Ana; it actually is an inactive volcano with a legend. A serpentine road
wound its way downhill, we elected to take the hiking trail which was more direct but rather steep in places. On the lake edge was a picnic area,
a sand beach where a group of guys were playing a sort of volley ball, but with a low net and kicking or heading a soccer ball instead of using hands.
Somewhat further on a small chapel at lakeside.
And the story of Lake Ana goes something like this: Two brothers with castles not too far from each other,
each on a hill, were always vying to see who was the best or the richest, etc. One day an visiting dignitary arrives at one castle in a golden coach
draw by 6 white horses. The brother manages to have the dignitary succumb to a "hunting accident". He takes the coach and horses to parade to his brother
in the neighboring castle. But the brother displays a golden coach with 10 white horses! The first brother is furious, goes home and rounds up 10
of the most beautiful maiden from the area, the fairest of which is Ana, takes them to his castle and hitches them up to the coach.
Since they cannot move the coach, he whips them in a frenzy, whereupon Ana places a curse on him. A horrible storm develops, and the mountain
on which the castle is perched sinks and becomes a lake; as the storm abates, 10 white swans appear on the surface of the lake.
When they swim to shore, they become maidens again. Nine return to their families but Ana stays to tend the lake, has a chapel built and
spends the remainder of her days there. Nice, huh?
We walk back to the car but up the road this time which is easier for old Ed.
We stop at the restaurant, Peter secures some Romanian "mici" hotdogs” for us and I have to have my Fanta soda (this one is cold).
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