Still in Călimănești, the next day began with a trip to some Roman ruins. It turns out they were a fair bit more difficult reach than expected, so being distracted by puppies and menaced by angry dogs yesterday to send us home worked out in our favour.
So this ruin used to be a fort. There’s not a ton to see there, but it was originally built about 900 years ago so what do you want from it? Honestly I thought it looked pretty good for its age.
Considering some places call a few stones in the ground a ‘ruin’, this is a home run.
The fort was apparently built by some Syrian soldiers during the time of Emperor Hadrian and was part of a defensive line against barbarian hordes. There’s probably something topical to say about how useful these immigrants were to the superpower nation. Also in this area: so many crickets! The sounds of nature are often pleasant to the ear, but these buggers were everywhere and far too enthusiastic. Perhaps it’s mating season for them, I don’t know, I’m not a bug scientist.
This one looks pretty beefy. I don’t want no trouble!
The crickets are coming! Perhaps ‘holding the door’ would be appropriate.
I also spotted a bunch of thistles in the area, and I felt a sudden bond with them, like when you see someone on the street with a matching obscure hobby t-shirt to yours.
If it wasn’t for the 36C weather, I could have been back home.
Next up, further down the river was a monastery, quite isolated from the main roads and towns, and even more hidden in the mountains than everywhere else. It was pretty, lots of flowers in bloom, great views (obviously), no litter unlike most touristic areas. But then you would expect them to keep it nice, not much else for a bunch of monks to do that far away from civilisation other than to keep things ship-shape. The minute they get some fiber optic cables up there though, maybe the whole place will fall to pieces.
It’ll end up looking like a Fallout town after they all get on Imgur.
Anyway, they had a couple of little caves for when being a hermit on a mountainside wasn’t enough, and you had to get away from even those people too.
This same house in London would cost £950,000
All the monks walked around rocking excellent near-ZZ Top beards. “Barba e buna” (the beard is good) was learned, just in case any of them tried to talk to me for some reason.
There was also a very old church. It’s small, but that just made it easier for these guys to decorate every inch of the thing. Note: I had to take my hat off before entering. Apparently it’s very impolite to enter someone’s house with a hat on (as a male) in Romania, and especially ‘God’s House’.
You can tell it’s old and not just pale due to the Greek alphabet, not modern Latin alphabet.
I also have to draw attention to the fact that the monks had some well-kept felines. I particularly liked this cat door. I would totally get one of these if I lived in a house this size.
It’s like those houses with ceiling walkways and stuff for cats to play on. I might end up a crazy cat person one day, it’s true.
Final part of the day involved going to an aqua park. Seemed like more or less your basic water park, it had outdoor pools and some indoor pools. But! This is no ordinary location, the water is provided by the warm springs mentioned last time. And naturally, due to sulphur water, stinky blasts were common. “The stinkier, the better”, the old ladies say.
Not pictured: my incoming sunburn.
I think you become acclimatised to the scent of sulphur water over time, but people being packed so densely together make this the finest spot for bad-smell comedy. Once in a while from one side of the pools you would hear the youngsters start yelling ‘gwaaaugh’ and see them splashing and laughing and all that, and watch the chaos spread all over the place. Far more emphasised than when it happened in the street.
Naturally we went on the slides when possible (they had them closed for a surprisingly large amount of the time) and honestly they were a bit disappointing. You really had to try and throw yourself down them since they were so horizontal, everyone seemed to slide down them slower than expected.
But hey, all around it was fine. The water was warm, it wasn’t outrageously busy, and there were surprisingly few bugs that I find tend to be a blight on outdoor pools.
That was it for day 2. Tune in soon for the final part!
If you’re into that sort of thing. Bye bye for now.