Romania02.JPG (74998 bytes) My first stop in Romania was in the capital of Bucharest.   During my one full day in Bucharest I did a taxi tour around.  Here is the ridiculously lavish presidential palace of Ceausescu. Romania01.JPG (72086 bytes) Romania has great food.  My first night in Bucharest I had to go out and order Salamali.   It was not as good as I remembered, but maybe that was because it wasn’t Mama Georges salamali.
Romania05.JPG (72616 bytes) The sport of choice in Romania is definitely futbol, though they are definitely proud of their gymnastics squad.  Here I am at the major futbol field in Bucharest. Romania03.JPG (80067 bytes) The are many beautiful buildings in Romania.  There are just too many of them in the cities.  Here is the Teatrul National in Bucharest.
Romania04.JPG (64249 bytes) Hey, am I back in Paris?  No, but Bucharest does have their own Arc d’ Triomphe that they proudly display.  Wow, my time in Paris feels like a long time ago! Romania06.JPG (71132 bytes) I could not wait to get to Cluj.  After doing a tour of Bucharest, I jumped on the first train and headed north to Cluj.  It had been 12 years since I had been there to work in the orphanage.  I was excited!!!!
Romania09.JPG (90043 bytes) So much had changed in the last 12 years, but so much of it remained the same.  Just as I had 12 years ago, I loved walking through and sitting in this park and reflecting on life. Romania11.JPG (82747 bytes) Another thing that had not changed was the gift of hospitality these people had.  The first night I arrived very late and this gentleman invited me to stay with him.  (Story for another time)
Romania10.JPG (74700 bytes) The following morning I went out looking for some old friends.   I found the family I had stayed with before.   Mama Georges and her daughter in law welcomed me with open arms. Romania20.JPG (64990 bytes) When I had been in Cluj before I stayed with Cristi and his mother.  Now Cristi was married and so I stayed with he and his wife Manuela.  Here are Cristi & I in his apartment. 
Romania12.JPG (70711 bytes) Entertainment in Romania is so simple.  We were very content to relax and catch up.  Or else we went out and played tennis (3x) or futbol.  Here is the tennis group from the 1st night. Romania13.JPG (56343 bytes) After tennis the first night we went home and got some carbs in us before going out and playing futbol for 2 hours.  Wow, I am out of shape and not very good at futbol.
Romania16.JPG (76552 bytes) A few days later we got back out on the court again.  Clay is the court surface of choice in Romania.  I was pleasantly surprised what big tennis fans they have in Romania.  Romania19.JPG (85443 bytes) Here is the playground equipment that LCPC youth group came over and installed in the summer of 92 while I was here.  Apparently, it still gets a lot of use by the children.
Romania15.JPG (67523 bytes) Cluj has many beautiful buildings in its midst.  Here is the Cluj Theater which sits in the center of the city.   Unfortunately, I did not see anything there during my visit. Romania18.JPG (74945 bytes) The orthodox church has a strong presence in Romania.  Here is the outside of the main Orthodox Church in Cluj which is located right across from the Theater.
Romania17.JPG (62577 bytes) Like Turkey, the flag of the country is displayed prominently all over Romania.  Despite the past difficulty, the people of Romania take pride in their heritage as evidenced by the many flags. Romania14.JPG (63971 bytes) Here is the river that runs through the center of Cluj.  There are always people fishing out of the river, which is unsanitary at best.   
Romania22.JPG (81639 bytes) One of the significant changes in Cluj is the ability to communicate back to the states.  There are now pay phones scattered throughout the city.  A major step forward. Romania07.JPG (59763 bytes) World Vision continues to do great things in Cluj as they have their hands in many projects to help families.  I’ve wondered how I might be able to be of assistance in the future?
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On my final day in Cluj I stumbled upon a service in the Romanian Orthodox Church.  It was a fitting end to a great visit.  It was just way too short, like everywhere else!


Romania23.JPG (83003 bytes) Then it was back to the park and their colorful (Romanian Flag) benches to reflect on this visit, think about a future visit and pray for clarity on what the future might hold!  Off to Vienna!