November 3, 2010

Romania

Last week Thursday, Jozsef and Csilla took me to Romania for the day. Debrecen is only one hour away from the Hungarian/Romanian border, and we went just past the border to a city called Oradea.

There was no sightseeing to be had there, because as you can see from the photos I snapped below from the car, Oradea is an ugly, industrial, post-communist-style city.

Therefore the purpose of our excursion was shopping. We first went to a Sam's Club-style members-only store and then we went to a brand new shopping mall in Oradea.

As we were sitting eating lunch in the food court, Jozsef, Csilla, and I noticed a young gypsy boy sitting not far from us. He was very dirty and was wearing shoes with no socks. We watched him as he waited for people to finish their food and once they had left, he'd grab the leftover food or drinks. It was quite heartbreaking.

We gave the boy some of our food and Jozsef gave him the only Romanian bills he had in his wallet. The boy seemed grateful, but it still made my heart so sad.

The shopping was wonderful and of course, just spending the day with Jozsef and Csilla was lovely.

Romania mass produces high quality leather goods, and we were able to get items at great prices. I was so happy with my new shoes and purse!

I really hope to travel back to Romania during my time here, into the Transylvanian part. It's a much further drive, but it is supposed to be breathtaking, so I hope I get the chance to see the mountains, forests, and little villages there. But for now, I'm delighted to have experienced a tiny part of Romania.

Snapshots of Oradea from the car.

The cathedrals provided an especially lovely sight after seeing
rows and rows of communist-era condos...

...like this.

Nearer to the border, there were many shacks that serve as homes
to the very poor.

Oh gosh, it seems so indulgent and materialistic to show you what I bought
after talking about shacks and poor gypsies.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn't thrilled with these souvenirs
of Romanian leather goods. I hope they will last for a long time!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Did you happen to see any of the gypsy houses that are huge, ornate and have all this metal on the outside - decorative metal? I have family in Transylvania and we went through that entrance to Romania the city is so ugly - all the factories that are abandoned and have people living in them - its a shock compared to Hungary. It's a shame you can't go further into Transylvania it has some of the most beautiful places! I love reading about your adventures!

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