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.
Krka Falls – Krka National Park, Croatia
Enjoying some onion soup – Paris, France
King’s Cross – London, UK
Dining on Strada Republicii – Brasov, Romania
On the Salt Flats – Uyuni, Bolivia
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.
Traveling at sunset
Beach sunset – Tambo de Mora, Peru
Sunset over Limon, Costa Rica
Sunset over the Adriatic
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.
A flower blooms
To the moon
Like a bird
Who sings her song
For too long Too long for
She’s out of breath A kiss held on
‘Til her love’s spent She is me And me is I And my eye sees me
Left behind A heart not found
In fiction’s fact Encased in glass
-Written July 3, 2012
as my life began to transition
from one season to the next
Traveling at sunset
The sun must go down and the night prevail (for a time) before a new day dawns.
If you’re hungry, you might want to turn back. Seriously, the food pics below might just make your mouth water.
Craiova is a little city west of Bucharest. They have botanical gardens, a water park, and a huge green park designed by French architect Edouard Redont. There’s a jogging trail, a lake, a suspended bridge, a hippodrome, and a lot of great scenery for picture-taking. If you’re into shopping, Craiova has a modern mall, an open-air market, and plazas with shopping and restaurants. We even found an eclair shop!
Leaving the Craiova rail station
Nicolae Romanescu Park
Water Park Craiova
We went to Craiova to visit friends and to serve with a ministry (I delivered toys and food to families in need, and we ended up visiting some Roma churches). It was a great experience, but there are some things you’ll need to know before you plan a trip there.
Driving from train station
Hanging out with friends
Delivering toys to a family
On our way to a Roma church
First, you’ll need to plan accordingly. We traveled to Craiova from Brasov (Transylvania) and realized there was no direct route by train. We had to pass through Bucharest, which was fine by us. They have Left Luggage at Gara de Nord, and the rail station is nearby to my Unchiul’s house. We were able to stop in and have an early dinner with him at Beijing Garden (BEST Chinese food I’ve ever had in my life) before our late afternoon train departed.
My Unchiul with a bottle of rose
Beijing Garden – best Chinese food EVER
Train to Craiova
Overall, it was a very long day of traveling: 3 hours from Brasov to Bucharest, our 2-hour layover in Bucharest, then 4 more hours to Craiova.
TIP:Be sure to book a First Class ticket on the train, especially during the summer. The price doesn’t go up a whole lot, and the extra lei is worth it. The train to Craoiva is slow, can get very packed with commuters, and it can be very hot and stuffy. You’ll want that extra space to breathe, as well as for your belongings. And if you’re lucky, the air conditioning will work in the First Class cabin, but no guarantees. We’ve ridden First Class when the A/C works well, and other times where it works poorly – but it’s always worth a shot.
A lot happened in Craiova, and there will be some reviews coming shortly that — well, aren’t my usual, glowing reviews (sneak preview of those below). Even so, our experience was awesome and we love our friends there, so we will definitely go back.
One of the highlights of this trip was a restaurant called Craft. The food was phenomenal, the drinks were very unique, and the atmosphere was magnifique.
Slow time (early lunch, mid-week)
Most everyone was eating on the patio
I ordered the pork steak with mashed potatoes and a side of butter pickles. This dish was fantastic! The cream sauce was buttery and offset the pork perfectly.
Chris ordered the seafood pasta, which I was a little bit leery of because Craiova is nowhere near the sea. But I have to say, it tasted very fresh. His portion size was also substantial (not uncommon in Romania!), and his Romanian wine complemented the dish very well.
I was impressed by their presentation, the trendy feel of the menu, and the modern atmosphere. The waitstaff was excellent, too. We are accustomed to waiting a long time for our food when we’re in Romania (it’s not uncommon for staff to forget about us or mix up our order). HOWEVER, the waitstaff at Craft was incredible and the service was fast. We were in and out in about one hour.
Their presentation was superb
Great menu with great prices
Decent drink prices (the exchange rate is about 4 lei to 1 USD)
“Damm” Beer 🙂
number of Backpacks is based on a scale of 1 to 5
Food: 5 Backpacks – absolutely incredible; couldn’t have asked for better quality or flavor
Atmosphere: 4 Backpacks – would’ve been a 5, but I love bustling spaces for meals out (reader, keep in mind: we were there at an odd hour in the middle of the week)
Service: 5 Backpacks – fantastic service; very attentive waitstaff
Price: 4 Backpacks – the drinks were about average, but the food was lower than I was expecting (especially for what we got)
Overall Experience: 5 Backpacks – this was my overall experience, and I cannot wait to go back!
Here’s a sneak preview of some upcoming reviews I’ll be posting….
Stay tuned for what should be some interesting reviews…
I love all things travel, esp when it involves Paris. This book CROWDSOURCING PARIS follows a cautious writer as he accomplishes 12 adventures his followers have chosen for him to do while in the City of Light. I love the way the author JH Bunting weaves a little French history into his storytelling, & there are gems throughout that make me laugh out loud, along with moments that cause me to marvel at his vulnerability.
“Paris ruins you, makes you vain, makes you drink expensive bits of coffee in tiny cups, makes you talk about yourself. Hypothesis: Perhaps I was vain before Paris. I just didn’t have as much to brag about.” Wow! Haven’t we all been there? These places bring out another side of us sometimes, for better or worse.
I love checking out crowdsourced projects. I love seeing what’s being offered for our investment, and I adore that we have this means of making people’s dreams come true. This is how the author got to Paris, and the adventures he accomplishes (akin to bold dares in some instances) are hilarious and even cringe-worthy (in a good way!). It’s neat to see the author overcome fear, hesitation, & ultimately himself. I’ve had profound revelations as I’ve read through this, one in particular about overcoming fear and how the fear may never fully leave but that you have to choose to step past it.
Crowdsourcing Paris is a quick read, & it’s so good, a must-have for anyone who’s been to Paris or who wants to go. Visit this linkand see for yourself. Or click the CROWDSOURCING PARIS book below:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.