Day 12. Route

Sergio had taken a look at our proposed route out of Romania (which was intended to take in Transylvania) and warned us that where the road on the map went dotted it meant that it didn't exist anymore in any sense that us lily-livered westerners would associate with a thoroughfare. He also pointed out that we would have trouble finding anywhere to stay, Romania is not well equipped with hotels or campsites. His alternative plan for us involved staying at another pension up north near to Arad. It meant a fairly short day, but he suggested that we might like to visit an old church, the oldest on the left bank of the Danube. 4th century it turned out. It seemed like a good plan, so he made the required phonecalls and booked us in. Liam and Kevin were on a tighter schedule than us and set off back to Hungary the fast way.
We set off back out of Rusca (after Jeremy had given the pension kids a ride each on the back of the Tigger), and once again the village kids were lined up waving and offering palms to slap. I have no idea what route we took as I had no map of Romania, but we got to the church without a hitch. At first we were disappointed to find it completely covered in scaffolding (wooden, rather nicely put together). An archaeological dig was taking place in the cemetery, and there were lots of ditches with skellingtons in the bottom. After a time a woman who was talking to a hole digging type wandered over and let us in, it turned out she was the curator.
Inside the church was tiny. In the middle of the floor were four pillars in a square, and one of these had an inscription mentioning the name Valen, which Mike assured me was the name of a Roman emperor chappie. We then found out from the builders that they didn't mind us going up the scaffolding, which was very interesting. The church had a tower, with 2 rooms with windows in. Up on the scaffolding it could be seen that there was not, and never had been, a way in to those rooms. How odd. We then set off for the night's stop, and after overshooting and being chased down by the proprietor in his van we got to the pension. It really was very nice, 17th century we were told, and it still seemed to have a lot of the original doors, fittings, shutters, windows etc. It also had a vineyard. And a distillery for the local brandy-type stuff. Oh, and several _real_ toilets. Our host was a large effusive gourmand of a chap, and brought us an excellent meal. Many of us overindulged on the starter and had little room for the main course, but I had no such problems, a lifetime of assiduous gluttony stood me in good stead. We then settled down to a long evening of chatting and drinking the local wine (and brandy). In fact, the landlord ended up going to bed after bringing us a couple of jugs of wine 'just in case'. Crispin borrowed Marvin's phone to ring a female friend of his who was in the later stages of the transition to girlfriend. He was not best pleased when marvin got his phone back and pressed last number redial and proceeded to chat with her for an hour.

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