Chapter 7: A Poke in a Pig

A traditional Romanian tile furnace in the penzion
Monday morning, we were served breakfast outdoors, coffee, cheese, fruit, and milk freshly-squeezed from the cow, whom I nonetheless cast a baleful glare at for her noise the night before.

The church near Moieciu

Then we set off to the ruins of Risnov, a 14th-century castle built to defend against Tarar and Turkish invasions. It remained in use until about 1850, when it was finally abandoned, and is now mostly in ruins.

Next, it was on to Brasov, a city that showcases both the old and new of Romania. It was founded in the 13th century, and is today one of the most visited cities in Romania.

One variation of the Pied Piper of Hamelin legend says that after the children disappeared underground in Germany, they re-emerged in Brasov, near the Piasa Sfatului, or Council Square. Thankfully, the day we visited, the square was noticeably bereft of hordes of German children.

At one end of the square lies the famous Black Church, which took some 92 years to build, starting in 1385. The name comes from the exterior walls, which were stained black by soot in a fire started by invading Austrians in 1689.

Council Square, looking towards Black Church

An old-style merchant's house.
In the background is the cable car up to Mount Tampa.

The former Council House, now a history museum

The "trumpeter's tower" on the Council House, formerly the residence of someone called "the keeper of the fairs."

Further down the road, we visited the Church of St. Nicholas, which was the first Orthodox church in Transylvania, built in 1493. There was a man at the church who we met who seemed absolutely thrilled to have foreign visitors. We never found out if he was actually the caretaker of the place, or even if he had any official connection with the place at all, but once he'd latched onto us, he was grimly determined to show us everything. At first, this was interesting. He took us into the back rooms of the church to see some of the artwork and such not on public view. But then it started to become a bit embarrassing. We thanked him profusely and said we had to press on, and he kept insisting "no, no, just 10 more meters..." Finally, we managed to bolt.

Church of St. Nicholas

The main altar

Back in Council Square, we found an internet cafe, and sent a few e-postcards to the folks back home, and then headed back to the penzion for the night.

Piggy-Pig: before...
There was a reunion of sorts at dinner that night. When we had arrived at the penzion the day before, a pig was being delivered to the farm. D&K and Pam, apparently never having seen livestock before, were thrilled with this event, and went over to take pictures of the porcine arrival. They even named it: "Piggy-Pig." Descriptive, if not terribly imaginative. We were told that the pig was being brought in as a future Christmas dinner. But the next time we saw Piggy-Pig, he was on a plate...with fries. Many a tear was shed between bites of the hapless porker, but we somehow got past our grief and finished off every bite.

...and after

"*sob* Poooor old Piggy-Pig. Pass me another slice, please...
It's so boy, that's tasty... *sniff*"
From left: Lucy, Didina, Dave, Radu, Kathy, Dave L
Photos (3) by Pam Bloxham

That night, the cow did her part for insomnia again. The next morning, bleary-eyed, I stumbled out into the yard, and said to it, "hey cow, seen the pig lately?


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