Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania
Tatiana was quite sad to be leaving the loving Oprea home, though agreed that it was time to move on. We'd stayed for only four nights, but Alex had returned late last night and I didn't want us to be an imposition by occupying his bedroom. Besides, I think Tatiana is quite bored here (with nowhere to go or any place to properly shop for groceries).
I'm glad we stuck around and got a chance to meet the CouchSurfing host that offered up his home without even being there himself. He works for Eurolines (as a tour guide of sorts), shuttling busloads Romanians (mostly students, with teachers taking a free ride if they collect enough of 'em to pay for the trip) by land all the way up to London, stopping along for sightseeing at various European countries along the way (and back).
An excerpt from the CouchSurfing review that I'm going to leave for him:
Without a doubt the Opera family has some of the biggest hearts I've seen to date.
Our nearly nine-month-old son fell in love with Alex's sister, baby niece, mother, and father. Always open to interacting with Aidric (or lovingly taking him off our hands for a bit), their gentle smiles and sweet attention to him made our stay that much more memorable.
Hugs to all in the Opera household (including their collection of the most docile cats we've seen), and many thanks to Alex for having us in your small, peaceful village.
Sneaking a Peek at Sovata
No direct rail line was available for this morning's relocation, so I placed us on pair of shuttle buses that'd take us out of Periş and onward to our next hosts in Odorheiu Secuiesc. The weather was absolutely perfect for travel, and the wildly scenic trip through the backcountry hills (turning into the wonderful colors of fall) was quite pleasing.
I'd all but forgotten about the town of Sovata until our transport took a rest stop there. I'd made a note of in Hungary as a location that I'd wanted to visit, but somehow lost track of the desire.
Here's why, as explained by the guidebook:
Sovata has been a resort since the early 19th century. Five lovely lakes surround the town, all with reputed curative waters. The most popular is the saltwater Lacu Ursu (Bear Lake) for its supposed ability to cure infertility, and both Lacu Aluniş (Hazelnut Lake) and Lacu Negru (Black Lake) are known for their sapropelic mud. Bear Lake is impossible to sink in, with 150mg of salt per liter. A four inch-thick layer of fresh water covers its salty depth and maintains warm temperatures year-round.
The geological events in 1875 gave birth to the Bear Lake, which is unique in Europe, its water being helio-thermal and salty, with well-known therapeutic effects (for chronic gynecological symptoms, severe rheumatic pains, peripheral nervous system and post-accidental motor diseases). The therapeutic effects for chronic gynecological symptoms have earned Sovata a "let's get hopping and breeding" fame, which has become quite legendary.
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see the lakes (I'd really wanted to give floating in the warm, salty Bear Lake a shot if we'd come here on a day-trip), but I did snoop around the cute (albeit touristy) village and encountered this memorable Orthodox church made of blackened timber (wild!):