|Paloma loves to shop, especially on her birthday!
Throughout the journey, we had resisted buying crafts, because our guides told us we would have an opportunity to get the best prices and selection near the end of our trip. We had a brief but enjoyable time exploring the shops here. It is located directly on the highway, where the normal rules apply (i.e., none), so extra care had to be taken.
I was intrigued by the vests in the shop in the photo below (right). The shopkeeper assumed I was German, so I finally got to use a language I know (somewhat)! I paid her in U.S. currency, and she was delighted to give me change in small U.S. bills. They are nearly impossible to cash in Romania, so when I presented her with a chance to get rid of them, she evidently ran home to get them!
|This sanctuary is especially beautiful and nicely
adorned, though simpler than most of the churches we saw of this size. We
did not hear the organ, but is was impressive just to see.
This particular church has several ornate collection boxes. I do not think they intend to collect more money this way; it may simply be that each box is quite nice to look at.
|Outside the church office we found this U.S.-style
sports car. It has a Pontiac Grand Am nameplate, but more closely resembles
a TransAm. After a week in Europe, such a large sports car seemed completely
out of place. Reika told us that the characters who tend to drive these
are a lot like mafiosos, but "at least mafiosos dress nicely."
We were fortunate to meet Reika's brother, who shares a birthday with Paloma (and with Bill Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Ogden Nash).
|Back on the street, Kristen took a little rest,
and did not even notice the doll that was eyeing her through the window!
|We knew enough about Hungarian hospitality that
we were able to assure Paloma that her birthday would be recognized. She
was in a somewhat crabby mood that morning and said, "Yeah, but they won't
have candles!" We did not answer that challenge, but were grateful and a
bit surprised that evening, when our hosts presented an extraordinary ice
cream cake (melon flavor - very refreshing), complete with the familiar
I thought that our host looked remarkably like former Baltimore Mayor William Donald Shaeffer.