I Taste Spring

I miss traveling. I miss the rush of the airport, the excitement of getting my passport stamped, of exploring new places and reacquainting myself with old haunts.

Most of all, I miss the beautiful, wonderful people in those countries. I miss them a lot.

When I came across this writerly musing of mine, I decided to share it. Because even though I wrote it while standing on the cusp of autumn, and even though it’s about one specific country I longed to see again (Croatia), it was inspired by my heart to travel during a time, a season, when I simply couldn’t. Just like now.

I taste spring.

Weird, isn’t it? Being that fall is right around the corner? Maybe it’s the humidity, kissing my skin as a cool breeze rustles my hair. Maybe it’s this milky-looking sky with its soft gray clouds that whisper promises of rain to come.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just want it to be spring so badly that my imagination has overloaded my senses and tricked me into believing I’m in a different season. Because that’s what I want more than anything: for it to be May, for my bag to be packed, and for my heart to be pounding to the roar of a jet engine.

My tongue is thick with the sweet tang of travel. I long for the anticipation of departure…and arrival. I crave the rush I’ll get when I behold the Adriatic Sea with my own eyes, rather than through a computer screen. I ache to experience – to feel – the buzz of Diocletian’s Palace while I dance to the melody of Slavic voices around me.

I taste spring. I’m hungry for it, and it’s not coming fast enough.

Review of Albert Bistro

I’ve been reminiscing over my photos from Romania. I miss it so much, and I decided I would get around to posting a few reviews. This may or may not have been a good idea, lol. I am now very hungry and longing to see those beautiful Carpathian Mountains.

Okay. Deep breath. Here we go.

There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of good food in Romania, especially Brasov. If ever we ventured into Centrul Vechi (the medieval part of the city), all we had to do was google places to eat near me. The search results always produced a plethora of highly rated restaurants.

Brasov. The Paris of Transylvania?

Maybe. If Paris were known for incredible Bavarian food, palinca (strong fruit liquor), and six-lei ($1.50 USD) glasses of rosé wine.

For real, though. Brasov is one of my favorite places in the world. I love it almost as much as Bucharest, if you can believe that (I love Bucharest a lot), and one big draw to Brasov (at least for me) is the wonderful food and drink.

Our tour guide, Diana Lupa, suggested we eat at a place called Albert Bistro. They have a lovely outdoor patio area, and the restaurant is down in a cellar. We stopped in during what appeared to be a slow lunchtime and made dinner reservations. They didn’t have availability for later that evening, so we made it for the following evening.

The following evening, we arrived and were very excited and hungry. To our chagrin, however, they didn’t have us listed for a reservation. Thankfully, they accepted us anyway. Good, I thought. Because this place is probably going to be-

I would have finished that sentence with “packed,” except that when we arrived there weren’t any other guests. At all. We were told there were only two reservation slots available for dinner that evening, but…where was everyone?

We were early. That’s what I told myself. But as the evening unfolded, only one other guest arrived. This was very confusing for me. It was like they were severely limiting their reservations.

That was okay by me, because the food was INCREDIBLE. They had decent prices on drinks, too. We had the Romanian red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), and Chris had a beer. The music was good – hard rock and heavy metal songs covered acoustically and sung by a female vocalist in a jazzy style. This plus the avant-garde artwork/decor made for a chill but also unique atmosphere, which I loved.

I had the beef filet (perfect with the red wine). Our friend Jacque had a curry chicken dish. Chris had pasta. All-in-all with aperifs, dinner, wines, and digestifs, Chris and I spent about fifty USD for both of us (that’s including tip). It’s more than we normally pay when we travel (you know me – give me mici and a bere, and I’m good!), but we got a lot for what we paid. And the food truly was delicious.

By the way, no other guests showed up. It seemed that our table and the table across the restaurant were the two reservations I mentioned.

FYI for anyone on a budget: the pasta dishes fell in the 20-something lei range, but the main dishes were significantly more (35-50 lei). I believe the food is worth it (a real treat after a long day). But if you aren’t able to make reservations or if you need something for a shoestring budget, you’ll want to check out some of the other places around Strada Republicii.

Kay’s Score

number of Backpacks is based on a scale of 1 to 5

Food: 4 Backpacks – delicious

Atmosphere: 4 Backpacks – would’ve been a 5, but the lacking crowd diminished the atmosphere for me

Service: 3 Backpacks – was a slow considering there wasn’t really anyone else there, and the waitstaff rarely checked on us (this is pretty common in Romania, though)

Price: 3 Backpacks – was a little more than I expected, but it would’ve been more back home

Overall Experience: 4 Backpacks

dancing bucharest
Overall, worth dancing a little jig.

When Kay’s not writing, you might find her cruising around the streets of Bucharest in Ubers that may or may not be legal. She loves eating mici, dancing with elderly Romanian chaps, and…did she mention the mici? She’s a Texas gal whose heart never left Romania after that very first visit.

The Trip

Last week I posted a life update about finishing the rewrite on the book I wrote back in 2009. That book is set in Romania (mostly Bucharest and Brasov). Chris and I have been saving miles for a while, and we were able to book a trip to Romania using those miles! This trip will be accomplishing a few things.

From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Communist Era Tower Block – Bucharest, Romania

First, I have been making ministry contacts in Romania so that we can get connected with Christians in that amazing country. And now that I’m a Christian, I am so curious about what Christian life was like under communism, before the revolution (I’ve heard stories of Christians who went out in the woods to pray and hold services, others where Christians were under threat of death by the Securitate – Ceaucescu’s secret police).

From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Cross outside Bran Castle (Village Bran, Romania)

I’m also excited to attend Holy Liturgy (aka Sunday service) at an Eastern Orthodox church, as well as visit places like the Black Church in Brasov. I have been to Romania before, but not as a Spirit-filled Christian, and I am excited to go there now with fresh, Spirit-filled eyes! I also look forward to praying for and blessing people along the way, worshiping with my guitar out on the streets and at the public parks, and declaring “Isus” (Jesus) over a country that is near and dear to my heart.

From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Eastern Orthodox Church – Bucharest, Romania

The next thing I hope to accomplish involves the book. The manuscript is practically finished (I’ve just been doing a little trimming here and there, some editing), and Chris and I are planning to go to all the places my main character goes in the book. I’ve already been to a lot of those places, but there are a few I haven’t, and he hasn’t been to any of them (obviously, since he’s never been to Romania), so this will be a fun experience for both of us.

From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Council Square – Brasov, Romania

In the story, my protagonist goes on a scavenger hunt through her dad’s homeland to fulfill his last wishes but then finds herself on a high-stakes quest (and an unexpected journey to faith) along the way. It will be neat to check out each site of the scavenger hunt in person, walking the footsteps my protagonist walks in the story! It will also give me an opportunity to put any finishing touches on scenes while being IN those places.

From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Street sign in Brasov, Romania

Finally, I am excited to visit with dear friends whom I’ve missed greatly. The professor who hosted me last time will be hanging out with us, and I can’t wait to see him and his family! We will get to visit some of my old haunts from the last trip (Caru cu Bere, the People’s Palace, Revolution Square, Bran Castle, Rasnov, and so much more!).

From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Eating at Caru cu Bere with the professor’s family – Bucharest, Romania
From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
The best professor in the world! Professor Nicolae Dragulanescu – Bucharest, Romania
From kayemevans.theworldrace.org
Hanging out with Romanian author Dr. Anca Sirghie and the late Florin Cioaba (aka “King of the Gypsies”) before he passed the following year – Sibiu, Romania

Prayers for the trip would be so wonderful and appreciated. I really want to bring Kingdom wherever I step and to go wherever the Lord leads! Life Update #3 coming up next week!

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustav Flaubert.