November 10, 2008

Thirty-One Nights with Saint Stephan
Piteşti, Romania

Saying goodbye was a sad one for all of us yesterday, but as I'm often known to say, "Not goodbye, to be continued…"

For a month we stayed with our gracious host—so long that we felt like roommates more than guests. And as such, we made sure that we helped out financially for our time with Stephan before leaving.

An excerpt of the CouchSurfing reference/review that I'm going to leave for our kind host:

Justly labeled 'Saint Stephan' by us after a few weeks, this Austrian twenty-year-old is unlike nothing either of us has ever encountered before. Without a doubt Stephan is one of the kindest, most selfless, giving, honest, and musically and linguistically inclined individuals we've met.

Relocation to Piteşti

From Sibiu to Pitesti

Chiseled, blasted and burrowed into the stone, the path to Piteşti from Sibiu was certainly one of man over nature. No direct train ran between the two primary cities, so we traveled the mountainous distance by bus. Cutting through the Transylvanian Alps, a multitude of hydroelectric dams and tunnels repeatedly passed as we moved south through the scenic range.

Our new host is an American Peace Corps volunteer by the name of Coulter, and though we're back in a depressing communist bloc apartment building (surrounded by other depressing bloc apartment buildings), the space was renovated a little over a year ago, resulting in one of the nicest places that I think we've stayed at. It's really amazing what these units can look like when they've been overhauled, and it's simply a wonderful thing to be in a place where Aidric can crawl around freely without worry.

Not far from this building is a market where Tatiana's sure to become a regular, for contained within it's large hall of butchers are folks serving up any most any type of meat at excellent prices. She returned home this afternoon with a big smile on her face, shopping bag filled with the first beef steaks we've had our hands on since leaving the U.S. Unlike pork, beef typically comes at a premium in these parts (as the cows are raised and valued for their milk, not their meat).

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