As I'm sure most of you know, my Mum is Romanian, and although my Grandma lives with us here and has done for the past few years now, we still have a lot of family friends in Bucharest so we like to go back when we can. We've gone every other summer for the last six years now and so, our last trip having been in 2014, we flew to Bucharest for five days last week.
Five days was incredibly short but it was all Mum could get off work so we took it, and had such a lovely time. As I've written before, holidays in Romania aren't like real holidays for me because it sort of feels like going home and Mum and I spend the majority of our time there going from place to place to see different people so it can often end up being a bit of a whirlwind.
To give us a bit of a break from that we like to get out of the city and see Romania's countryside when we visit - meaning we actually explore the country instead of just seeing cafes and people's houses (not to say that that isn't fun!). On this occasion we only had time to spend one night out of Bucharest but, as you can see from the photos, it was just *stunning*. We went to Sinaia which is just a ninety minute or so train journey outside of Bucharest but my oh my, it's such a contrast. The landscape outside of the city is just beautiful and, I know it's a cliche to say it, but the air in the mountains/countryside is so refreshing - you really can tell the difference compared with the city. I may have been complaining about my shins hurting for days after walking down a 1400 foot mountain, but it was so worth it to get to experience a different side of Romania.
The most special moment of the trip this time though had to be getting to see my cousin. Due to a bit of a family disagreement between my Grandma/Mum and Uncle (that is the understatement of the year but I don't want to get into family politics here) I hadn't seen my cousin Maria for fifteen years before this holiday. It makes me terribly sad to think of all the lost time we've had as I have the fondest memories of us playing together when we were young - Maria is one year younger than me - but I'm so grateful that I was able to see her now. Of course, reunions like this require patience and lots of baby steps but, as the disagreement was never between myself and her, I really do hope that we can develop some sort of relationship. I may not know how it's going to work out but I do know that getting to spend an hour chatting with her made me incredibly happy and grateful for my patchwork family. Life really is too short to waste it on petty arguments.
It was also, of course, lovely to catch up with one of my best friends, Tudor, and to see so many family friends. I'm always banging on about how quickly the time goes but, having a second family in a different country really does go to show me that that's very much the case. So all I can do is appreciate the times when we are able to be together. Romania this year was wonderful, as always, but the reunion with Maria means I know I'll look back on it for years as a very special trip.
(The last three photos are from my very talented friend, Tudor's, collection of the trip.)