In 5 days around Europe-Our Danube trip

Our Danube trip

You may already have read Ziviles blogpost about our crazy trip around three European capitals. As we haven’t been to exactly the same places all of the time, here is my recalling of our journey. ūüôā

The evening before, you could practically¬†absorb the excitement in our flat. In our living room, we had a casting for ‘Baile Tusnads next topmodel’ and the jukebox (my laptop)¬†blasted Taylor Swift Songs. As if that wasn’t enough to channel our excitement, we also¬†felt the sudden urge to create silly compositions with my Ukulele. One of these works of art was about MuŇ°kas ‘excremental behaviour’ (‘Poop and pee’), while the other masterpiece consisted of exactly two words and was all about the glory of Palinka (‘Patinka Palinka’=’I like Palinka’ in Lithuanian). Finally, at 2 or 3 am we went to bed to sleep out our hangover (just kidding :D) and entered La La Land.

First day in Budapest

From my last blogpost, you probably know by now, that I don’t really like long train trips. So, 13 hours in the train didn’t sound very comfortable for me. Nevertheless, this time I had company¬†in the form of Zivile, so the train ride was quite ok. While she slept soundly during the whole trip though, I made acquaintainces with a girl from S√Ęnsimion. She was also travelling to Budapest to visit her brother and invited us to her village to explore more about the¬†Szekler culture.

Finally in Budapest, we changed currencies and went for a short shopping to buy something for our host. The confusion at first about the Hungarian Forint was real:

That looks so expensive, I am afraid to buy something.’

But soon, we got the hang out of the money and headed for our hosts place. After approximately one hour of walking through the city, tired and exhausted, we finally found our destination. Our host was an English teacher and travelled a lot. After talking a bit and sharing experiences, me and Zivile were too tired to keep our heads up and were taken by the Sandman into the land of dreams.

Second day in Budapest and Bratislava

After a well deserved sleep, we met with Lenka the next morning in the city centre, to go to a free walking tour through Budapest. The tour was very interesting and¬†we¬†saw a lot¬†of the city. Our¬†guide also told us a lot about the Hungarian people and even serenaded us with a¬†traditional song (‘Tavaszi sz√©l’).¬†I immediately fell in love with¬†the city¬†and wanted to explore more. After the tour we went to a vegan restaurant, which was my first time. Unfortunately, we had to leave in the evening, because me and Zivile were expected by some of her friends from Bratislava. So, we went to a recommended hitchhiking place¬†in the outskirts¬†of the city to start our second trip. After two hours of waiting by the road, we began discussing our current misfortune. Options¬†for that were:

‘Zivile, do you think I look like a gypsy?’

as well as

‘Maybe they can’t read…’ (Our sign)

Then, a car drove by, with the aim to go to Zagreb. The couple in the car spontaneously invited us to join them and for a moment we were even considering it, but we already had people waiting for us, so we couldn’t let them down. In the end, the couple took us to a supposedly better hitchhiking place, where we waited for¬†another two hours¬† without any luck. Our last hope was to call¬†Lenka (we’re still sorry for disturbing your evening), to search for buses to Bratislava. In the end we got a bus and at 3 am in the morning, we arrived there. Luckily Zivile had been in Bratislava before, so she navigated us to her friend’s home. We almost had to sleep outside, because he fell asleep and hadn’t heard us ringing. Fortunately he heard us in the end. He gave us a teeny tiny mattress to sleep on, which was actually for one person. We didn’t even have space to move and I almost threw Zivile off of it…. But in the end we more or less slept.

 Third day in Bratislava and Vienna

After a very very uncomfortable night and only three hours of sleep, we woke up at 6 am and headed for our hitchhiking place to Vienna. On the way we met another friend of Ziviles, who wanted to accompany us. We only needed 2 minutes to get a ride to Vienna. In Vienna we also had a free walking tour through the city. The guide made a lot of advertisements in the beginning, which was a bit annoying, but¬†the rest of the tour was actually very interesting and not too much packed with historical facts. Zivile and her friend left in the beginning, so I explored the city on my own for the rest of the day. In the afternoon I visited Castle Sch√∂nbrunn, the summer residence of the Habsburg family.¬†The castle itself was really nice¬†, but they removed almost all of¬†the furniture, which was a bit disappointing for me and the tour was quite boring and short. Still, I met some nice people on the tour; there was for example¬†an American couple from LA, who¬†was travelling through Europe.¬†Vienna is very very¬†beautiful, but I have the same opinion as Zivile: The whole city seems like one big museum, with a lot of people, but without any life. And although I was in a German speaking country again, I felt strangely disconnected. I didn’t even get to speak in German a lot, because of all the tourists. In the end, Zivile wanted to practice her German, so we talked the whole way until we reached¬†our hitchhiking spot back to Bratislava. ūüôā

We waited there for at least two hours, until a radio personality from Bratislava took us. In Bratislava, we visited a Slovak Food Festival, and now it is my turn to talk about the deliciousness of Slovakias cuisine.:)¬†I ate some traditional dish (of which I can’t remember the name), which consisted of some kind of dumplings with potatoes and sm√Ęnt√Ęna. I could hear the angels singing hallelujah.:D¬†Zivile was on Cloud Number Nine with her special K√ľrtoskal√°cs and even considered moving to Slovakia. In her words:

‘I just want to move here and eat food all the time’

Quite a big plan for the future isn’t it? ūüėČ So, if this hasn’t convinced you yet to come to Slovakia, let me tell you about its awesome views:

In the evening after the festival, we¬†went up a hill called Slavin, from which we could enjoy an incredible night panorama of the city. Zivile and her friend decided to do Yoga, while I was watching them and then fell asleep on the top of the hill…Later, we went down and met our host, but didn’t sleep at his place that night, because he wanted to party, while we wanted to sleep. So, we spontaneously decided to spend the night at Ziviles friends place.

 

Fourth day in Bratislava and Vienna

The next day wasn’t very spectacular. Zivile and her friend visited some museums, while I explored more of the city, because I wasn’t in the mood to go to museums. When we hitchhiked back, we were taken by a very nice Slovak¬†man, who was wearing Lederhosen and at first I thought, that he is¬†Austrian. He¬†had been¬†hitchhiking to Morocco, when he was younger and thought it would be cool to pick up other hitchhikers as well (his wife doesn’t approve of that though…:D). In the evening, we went back to Ziviles friend and we originally wanted to bake a cake for him. Unfortunately, Zivile fell asleep and took the whole tiny¬†mattress for herself (which we had actually planned before), so I had to call the floor my friend for the night (It¬†was surprisingly more comfortable than the mattress…).

Fifth day in Bratislava and Budapest

We woke up very early to start our journey back to Budapest, because we had to take a bus from there to Romania. Finding the hitchhiking spot was a challenge for itself. The Slovak¬†guy who took us the day before, gave us directions on how to get there, but we walked the wrong way at first. After a while I had a feeling in my gut, that we aren’t going the right way, so we walked back and took another way. This particular way was leading us…through¬†a crop field.

‘Lisa, do you think there are snakes in the grass?’

After some slight worries about¬†snakes and the possibly pesticidious grass, we conquered our way¬†through the field, which was our only way to get to the petrol station. When we arrived there, our feet were so wet, that we had to change to dry socks. Zivile took one pair of my socks and I took one pair of her socks, which we only realized later. ūüôā After that, we had another obstacle: We weren’t on the right side of¬†the petrol station. So, we had to cross another field and a bridge¬†in order to get there. In this field, there were some strange and mysterious animals, which is why we basically ran to the other side of the motorway.

After¬†some time, a Bulgarian guy¬†gave ¬†us a lift¬†and he was very concerned about, that we could kill him…but otherwise he was very nice and even took us to the city centre of Budapest, although¬†it wasn’t on his way. Back in Budapest, we met with Lenka and her friend and went to the Danube, before our bus came. It was a very nice and¬†sunny summers day and we¬†bathed our legs in the fresh water. Later we met MuŇ°kas daughter Sini (short for Sinistra :D) and after that went to the bus station.

My personal favourites of this trip were:

  1. Budapest
  2. Walking through a crop field
  3. The view from the hill in Bratislava

Unfortunately, I didn’t do our little ‘homework’ to learn five sentences in Slovak, Hungarian and German. But my Slovak skills are at least enough to talk to MuŇ°ka, so it is anyways a small success for me. ūüôā

This journey was one of the best of my life so far and I am really proud of us, that everything turned out the way we originally planned it, despite some obstacles. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the roots-My trip to Bistrita

Back to the Roots

The 28th of April was a special day for me: I was about to go on my first long-distance hitchhiking trip on my own. I’ve already gone hitchhiking alone, but only to places in¬†Harghita or the neighbouring counties, such as Brasov¬†and Covasna (e.g. Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti, Sfantu Gheorghe, Miercurea Ciuc, etc.), which are very close. This particular trip should be something different though, for a couple of reasons.

My destination: Bistrita, near Cluj-Napoca.

Some of you might be wondering themselves right now: Why Bistrita? It is not a very well known or special city in Romania.

Yet for me it is a special destination. As I partly have Romanian roots and my whole family grew up¬†in Romania, it was a no-brainer for me to visit some of the places, where they lived.¬†Bistrita is the town, in which my father¬†and aunt grew up. I have been there four years ago as well, but couldn’t remember much of it. So, let me tell you about my journey to Bistrita! ūüôā

Lightly packed and inspired by a nice roadtrip-movie from the night before (”Into the wild” ;D), I was full of motivation for my journey. I started to hitchhike to Ciuc with Lenka and Zivile, who were going to Slovakia. In Ciuc, we parted ways and I waited on the road to Gheorgheni for a lift. I didn’t have to wait very long, because¬†three students from Cluj¬† took me with them. They were very cool and one of them even spoke a bit of German, which is always nice. ūüėČ Apart from a very interesting conversation, they even showed me the biggest nightclub in Transylvania (which strangely is¬†located in a teeny tiny village…) as we passed it. On my request¬†they let me out on the road to Bistrita, which apparently¬†leads through the village, in which my mother grew up.

The next part of my trip turned out to be more difficult, because not a lot of people drive to Bistrita. I waited for approximately one hour, until I¬†got very¬†lucky and a guy from there drove by and took me. We passed a lot of Saxon villages on the way, but unfortunately¬†not my mothers village…

Finally in Bistrita, I spent a nice, sunny day strolling around the town and¬†of course I¬†took a lot of photos for my parents. ūüôā After 5 hours of staying there and visiting everything, I decided to go back to Tusnad by train. If I knew before what would¬†happen in the next couple of hours, I probably would have never taken the train…so, let me tell you the whole story (which actually wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds here ;D):

My train trip began at 19.30 pm and originally I should arrive at 2.00 am in the morning. As I am not very keen on long train rides,¬†I¬†was in a constant argument with my brain, which wouldn’t shut up telling me ”It’s going to be a loooong way, my dear friend. Why did you decide again to take the train and not stay overnight in the town?” But well, I had already bought my ticket (which wasn’t expensive at all…) and with a suspicious feeling, I entered the train. In the train I met a very nice student from Cluj, who¬†had also done some voluntary work in Romania and I¬†could inspire her to do¬†an European Voluntary Service.¬†ūüôā Unfortunately¬†she couldn’t go all the way with me, because I had to change trains in a small village. After I entered the second train, I had a short internal panic attack, because I thought I took the wrong one (it drove in the complete opposite direction). But after asking a couple of¬†people, I was¬†sure I took the right one.¬†Approximately three hours went by and then disaster struck us (at least in my eyes¬†;D).¬†Several trees fell down and blocked the railroad! At first, the conductors¬†assured us, that the problem would be fixed¬†in 50 minutes. I internally groaned, because 50 minutes was a huge deal for me. But, unlucky me, the problem took 4 whole hours to be solved! As a highly alert and sensitive person, it is almost impossible for me to sleep in trains or cars, so the waiting time was especially torturous for me. Yet, my saviour was near! His name was Mario, he was 9 years old and travelling with his mother to Bucharest. During the rest of the train ride we played together and got to know each other. He¬†was a very cool kid and made my trip back home very bearable (and I could practice my Romanian ;)).¬†I will be eternally thankful for¬†him. ūüôā¬†In the end, 6 hours of travelling turned into 12. I arrived in Tusnad at 7.30¬†am and basically slept for¬†the rest of the day.

So ¬†in the end the whole trip turned out¬†to¬†be full of positive experiences as well , despite the long journey back. ūüôā
———————————–
HUN:

“√Āprilis 28. egy k√ľl√∂nleges nap volt sz√°momra: az elsŇĎ utaz√°somra k√©sz√ľltem, ahova egyed√ľl mentem t√°voli helyre, stoppolva. M√°r utaztam egyed√ľl stoppal, de csak Hargita megy√©n bel√ľl, vagy a szomsz√©dos megy√©kbe mint pl. Brass√≥ vagy Kov√°szna megye (Zernyesti medve√≥v√≥hely, Szentgy√∂rgy, Szereda, stb.), amik ugye k√∂zel vannak. De ez az √ļt t√∂bb okb√≥l is k√ľl√∂nlegesnek √≠g√©rkezett.

A célállomás: Beszterce, Kolozsvárhoz viszonylag közel.

N√©h√°nyan tal√°n megk√©rdezn√©tek, mi√©rt √©ppen Beszterce? Egy nemzetk√∂zileg nem t√ļls√°gosan ismert, vagy keresett c√©lpont Rom√°ni√°ban.

Sz√°momra azonban m√©gis az, hiszen vannak Rom√°ni√°hoz erŇĎsen k√∂tŇĎdŇĎ gy√∂kereim, az eg√©sz csal√°dom Rom√°ni√°b√≥l sz√°rmazik, itt nŇĎttek fel, √≠gy sz√°momra nem volt k√©rd√©s, hogy meg fogom l√°togatni ezeket a helyeket, ahol kor√°bban √©ltek. √Čdesap√°m, √©s nagyn√©n√©m Beszterc√©n nŇĎttek fel. 4 √©vvel ezelŇĎtt j√°rtam m√°r itt, de k√ľl√∂n√∂sebben sokra nem eml√©keztem.

Most tehát, besztercei kirándulásomról fogok mesélni!

F√ľrg√©n bepakoltam √©s inspir√°lva az elŇĎzŇĎ esti film klub sor√°n megtekintett “road movie” √°ltal ( “√öt a vadonba” ;D ), igen motiv√°ltan v√°gtam neki utamnak. Zivil√©vel √©s Lenk√°val stoppoltunk Cs√≠szered√°ig, ŇĎk azonban Szlov√°ki√°ba utaztak a h√©ten. Szered√°ban elv√°ltak √ļtjaink, √©s √©n, a Gyergy√≥szentmikl√≥s fel√© tart√≥ √ļt mellett v√°rtam, hogy felvegyenek. Nem kellett sok√°ig v√°rjak, h√°rom di√°k, akik Kolozsv√°ron tanulnak, felvett. Nagyon j√≥ fejek voltak, egyik√ľk m√©g N√©met√ľl is besz√©lt egy kicsit, aminek mindig √∂r√ľl√∂k. Egy √©rdekesebb besz√©lget√©s√ľnket megszak√≠tva m√©g Erd√©ly legnagyobb √©jszakai sz√≥rakoz√≥hely√©t is megmutatt√°k (ami el√©g furcsa, hogy egy kisebb faluban van..), ahogy elhaladtunk mellette. K√©r√©semnek eleget t√©ve meg is √°lltak a Beszterce fel√© vezetŇĎ √ļtn√°l, hogy kisz√°lljak √©s folytassam utam, ami nem √ļgy tŇĪnt, azon a falun is kereszt√ľl vezet, ahol anyuk√°m nŇĎtt fel.

Utam k√∂vetkezŇĎ r√©sze egy kicsit nehezebben siker√ľlt, mivel nem sok ember igyekezett Beszterce fele aut√≥val. √ögy egy √≥ra v√°rakoz√°s ut√°n √°llt meg egy sr√°c, aki √©pp odaval√≥si. Nagyon sok Sz√°sz falucsk√°n kereszt√ľl ment√ľnk, de sajnos ahol anyuk√°m felnŇĎtt, nem…

V√©g√ľl Beszterc√©n egy kellemes, napos idŇĎt fogtam ki, kereszt√ľl-kasul bej√°rtam a v√°rost √©s term√©szetesen rengeteg k√©pet k√©sz√≠tettem a sz√ľleimnek. Miut√°n ott minden megn√©ztem amit csak tudtam, √ļgy d√∂nt√∂ttem, hogy visszautazok Tusn√°dra vonattal. Ha tudtam volna elŇĎre mi v√°r r√°m a k√∂vetkezŇĎ √≥r√°kban, bizony√°ra sosem v√°lasztottam volna ezt a lehetŇĎs√©get… K√©rlek engedj√©tek meg, hogy elmes√©ljem az eg√©sz t√∂rt√©netet (ami egy√©bk√©nt k√∂zel sem volt annyira dr√°mai, mint amilyennek itt hangzik ;D ):

A vonat eredetileg 19.30-kor indult √©s √©jjel 02.00 √≥ra k√∂r√ľl kellett volna meg√©rkezzek. Mivel nem nagyon vagyok oda a hosszabb vonatoz√°s√©rt, folyamatos vit√°ban √°lltam az agyammal, ami √°lland√≥an csak azt hajtogatta, hogy “Ez bizony nagyon-nagyon hossz√ļ √ļt lesz, bar√°tocsk√°m. Mi√©rt kellett neked √≠gy d√∂ntened, ahelyett, hogy elt√∂lt√∂tt√©l volna egy √©jszak√°t a v√°rosban?”. De na… M√°r megvettem a jegyet is elŇĎre (ami egy√©bk√©nt nem is volt dr√°ga), √©s egy gyan√ļs √©rz√©ssel k√∂r√ľl√∂vezve, felsz√°lltam a vonatra. A vonaton tal√°lkoztam egy kedves Kolozsv√°ri di√°kkal, aki szint√©n v√©gzett m√°r kor√°bban √∂nk√©ntes munk√°t az orsz√°gban, √©s kicsit igyekeztem gyŇĎzk√∂dni, hogy menjen el EVS-re Ňź is. Sajnos nem tudtunk v√©gig egy√ľtt utazni, mert egy kis faluban √°t kellett sz√°ljak egy m√°sik vonatra. Miut√°n felsz√°lltam a 2. vonatra, lej√°tsz√≥dott bennem egy r√∂videbb p√°nikroham, mivel azt hittem rossz vonatra sz√°lltam fel (teljesen ellent√©tes ir√°nyba indult el ugyanis). De miut√°n megk√©rdeztem p√°r embert, r√°j√∂ttem, hogy j√≥ helyen vagyok. √ögy 3 √≥ra ut√°n a katasztr√≥fa les√ļjtott r√°nk (legal√°bbis az √©n szememben az volt ;D). KidŇĎlt p√°r fa, amik elz√°rt√°k az utat! A kalauz elŇĎsz√∂r biztos√≠tott mindenkit, hogy a probl√©m√°t √ļgy 50 perc alatt meg is oldj√°k. Magamban z√ļgol√≥dtam, mivel sz√°momra 50 perc a vonaton igenis sokat sz√°m√≠t. De szerencs√©tlens√©gemre a probl√©m√°t csup√°n 4 √≥ra alatt tudt√°k elh√°r√≠tani! Mivel nagyon √©ber √©s √©rz√©keny vagyok √ļgy √°ltal√°ban, sz√°momra k√©ptelens√©g, hogy vonaton vagy aut√≥ban aludjak, √≠gy ez a v√°rakoz√°s sz√°momra fel√©rt egy k√≠nz√°ssal. Szerencs√©re a megmentŇĎm k√∂zel volt! A neve Mario, 9 √©ves √©s √©pp anyuk√°j√°val utaztak Bukarestbe. Utam h√°tralevŇĎ r√©sz√©ben egy√ľtt j√°tszottunk √©s megismerkedt√ľnk egym√°ssal. Egy nagyon klassz k√∂ly√∂k volt, aki teljesen elviselhetŇĎv√© tette sz√°momra az √ļt h√°tralevŇĎ r√©sz√©t, √©s m√©g a rom√°n nyelvtud√°somat is tudtam kicsit gyakorolni. Am√≠g √©lek, h√°l√°s leszek ez√©rt a k√∂ly√∂k√©rt. V√©g√ľl a 6 √≥r√°s √ļtb√≥l 12 lett. Reggel 7.30 k√∂r√ľl √©rkezt√ľnk meg Tusn√°dra, √©s azt k√∂vetŇĎen az eg√©sz napot √°taludtam.

A v√©g√©re teh√°t az eg√©sz √ļt egy igen kellemes tapasztalat lett, √©s nagyon sok j√≥ √©lm√©nnyel gazdagodtam. :)”

Hitchhiking in Romania

CAMPING WALKTHROUGHS NO. 6 (1)

Dear future volunteers of Baile Tusnad,

in this blogpost I would like to¬†give you some useful information for hitchhiking in Romania, as well as¬†share with¬†you¬†some of my own stories. Happy reading! ūüôā

First of all I have to admit, that I am not an experienced hitchhiker (although by now, I could say that I am :)) and that I have never tried hitchhiking before coming to Romania. In my home country Germany, hitchhiking is not a very common phenomenon, and I would actually be more afraid to do it there, than here in Romania. So, all of the following tips and stories come solely from my own experiences and I can’t guarantee that the same can be applied to other hitchhikers as well.

In Romania, hitchhiking is a practice that people from almost all age groups do, rather than relying on public transport. It is, of course, a cheaper and faster way of transportation (don’t get me started on the¬†Romanian train system…)¬†and usually you can meet quite interesting people. It is very easy, especially if you are a girl.¬†Also,¬†the people here are probably one¬†of the friendlest I know and on top of that very helpful. Of course, hitchhiking always means stepping into unknown territory, but what would life be without some risks?

1. Always make signs with the places you want to go to!

This tip can be used in other countries as well, but it can be especially helpful if you are an EVS volunteer in an unfamiliar country. In this way, people are more likely to think you’re a foreigner and can¬†immediately see in where¬†you want to go and if they drive into this direction as well.

2.¬†Talking about directions:¬†Romania doesn’t really have motorways, so there are mostly main roads which lead to bigger cities and they go through a lot of villages. So, in case you get lost in the middle of nowhere, remember to orientate yourself on these main roads and wait for a car there.

3. If you hitchhike in winter, remember to pretend that you are almost freezed to death and shake your whole body out of coldness.

I am not lying, this has actually worked a couple of times for me. On the other hand, you don’t really need to pretend that you are frozen, because Romanian winters feel like you’re stuck in a fridge for six months. But still you can try this method if you see, that after¬†half an hour nobody takes you and you can¬†also exaggerate your shaking¬†a bit. Maybe then¬†some driver will have pity with the poor,¬†snowman-like volunteer. ūüôā

4.¬†Another tip for hitchhiking in winter: NEVER EVER forget your gloves and try to wear¬†at least three pairs of socks…

5.¬†A useful sentence in Romanian to tell drivers, that you don’t want to pay them: ”Nu am/avem bani.” (I/we don’t have money.)

Hitchhiking in Romania is somehow illegal, as it is seen as an unauthorized source of profit. The government tried to make a law against it, but hasn’t fully achieved it yet as far as I know.¬†But actually nobody cares, because¬†almost everybody practices it. You also shouldn’t feel obliged to pay the drivers, as hitchhiking should be for free in the first place and not a source of extra income to the advantage of the drivers. Of course some people give them a couple of lei and you can do¬†too if you feel like it; but if you don’t want to , just say the sentence above and they (hopefully) won’t bother you about this issue anymore. From my experience though, the Romanian drivers usually never ask for money.

6. Always make sure you haven’t accidentally stepped into a long-distance-taxi or something similiar.

When Zivile and me hitchhiked back from Sighisoara, we were taken by a man who had a device, which suspiciously looked like a Taxameter. He also constantly¬†talked with other people through a walkie-talkie-like device, which taxi drivers usually possess. So after realization hit us, that we could potentially be in a taxi for quite a long way, we decided to ask him. The answer wasn’t at all what we had expected it to be: The potential taxi driver turned out to be a policeman!¬†He laughed at us at first and reassured us then that he won’t ask for money.

7. Romanians/Hungarian  drive like crazy.

If you want to hitchhike, be prepared that¬†Romanians/Hungarians don’t really follow the driving rules. Sometimes they drove¬†so fast¬†and overran other cars, that I almost got several heartattacks and thought my last minutes had come…This can be especially problematic as the roads are very narrow and curvy.

8. Last but not least, hitchhiking in Romania is a very good way to practice your Romanian or Hungarian and get to know the people better.

When we volunteers go hitchhiking, it is usually me who speak with the drivers, because I speak the best Romanian from all of us. And as not all of the drivers can speak English and you can use Hungarian only in Transylvania, I am a lot of times forced to speak in Romanian. Which is a good thing in my opinion, because I don’t speak a lot of Romanian. Also in this way¬†I don’t have the time to be ashamed of grammatical¬†mistakes, because I don’t have another choice. So if you have gained some basic skills in Romanian or Hungarian during your EVS, I can only encourage you to try speaking, because I can assure you, it will be worth it. Once for example, when we hitchhiked to Sighisoara, a man from Miercurea Ciuc¬†took us all the way. He only spoke Romanian and Hungarian and I talked with him almost all of the drive. Not only did I find out interesting things about Romania,¬†which I didn’t know before, I¬†was also¬†very proud of myself to keep up a conversation in Romanian for so long.¬† After we came back to Tusnad, he wrote me on Facebook, that he looked on our Youth Centers page and is always¬†very glad to meet volunteers, because he admires the energy we put into our work and do many good things in behalf of the community. On top of that, he offered to help us if we need anything at any time. So, this was probably one of the nicest experiences I had so far during hitchhiking.

I hope this blogpost can be somehow helpful for you, if you decide to hitchhike on a regular basis.

So in this case, have a happy hitchhiking! ūüôā

 

 

 

Weird German words translated into English :)

Lately while talking, I used a lot of ¬†words, which actually don’t exist in English.¬†Without¬† being¬†aware of it, I used German words and translated them into English.¬†This made some of the other girls look at me in confusion,¬†obviously, and me at first¬†not realizing why they don’t understand me. ūüôā

After I finally did realize that I tend to do this in the last weeks, I started to think about how weird the German language actually is. There are a lot of words simply being put together. Of course¬†these kinds of¬†words also exist in all other languages, but they sound at least somehow reasonable then.¬†There are also some words, which¬†describe¬†very abstract feelings and¬†don’t exist in other languages. Such words just sound¬†absolutely ridiculous, if being translated into English. And by ridiculous I mean RIDICULOUS! Let me share with you some of these words, when they are translated. ūüôā

  1. A glove in German is literally a ”handshoe” (Handschuh).

Schuhe_0

2.¬†A light bulb is¬†a ”glowing pear” (Gl√ľhbirne). ūüôā

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3. A vacuum cleaner is commonly¬†called a…”dustsucker” (Staubsauger) ūüėČdustsucker-e1417518410546

4. Sometimes we refer to bicycles as ”wire donkeys” (Drahtesel).

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5. A plane is a”fly-thing” (Flugzeug)…somebody obviously ran out of ideas…:)

Clueless Jumbo Jet Plane Looking At Floating Question Mark Sign Emoji

7.¬† When a song or melody is constantly stuck in your head, you have an ”earworm” (Ohrwurm). ūüôā

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8. Let’s face it: From time to time all of us enjoy it a little bit when other people have embarassing moments or are slightly harmed (not in a serious way, of course). In German, we have a word for this called ”Schadenfreude”, which literally means ”harm-joy”.

Schadenfreude

Carnival season in Tusn√°df√ľrdŇĎ

This month, we celebrated the Carnival Season. We organized a lot of activities connected to this topic, for example gips masks, paper masks and photobooth props. We were even invited to be the Jury at the childrens carnival in the community house and picked out the best costumes. This was a nice experience for me, as I have never done anything like this before and the costumes of the children were really creative (I especially liked the washing machine and all the old women costumes¬†:D) We also attended the community carnival, which was also very interesting, because it wasn’t very different from carnival balls in Germany. I really liked the theatre play (although I didn’t understand very much..:)) and that everybody had to bring their own food. Really surprising and funny for me were the Hungarian sl√°ger, because I thought these are a typical German thing. Apparently I was wrong, which made it even funnier for me and immediately remindend me of home ūüôā

 

Talk German to me, baby! Besz√©lj n√©met√ľl, Baby!

Hello, everyone! Hallo, alle miteinander! Helló Mindenki!

With this blogpost, I want to officially invite you to join my new mini-project: A German Club.

Ezzel a blog bejegyz√©ssel hivatalosan is megszeretn√©lek benneteket h√≠vni, hogy csatlakozzatok¬†az √©n √ļj mini projektemhez: Ami egy N√©met Klub.

You probably wonder about my decision and motivation to do this. Well, here are my  reasons:

Since I am here in Tusnad, a lot of people told me, that they either learned German for a couple of years and have almost forgotten everything, or are interested in learning it. So I thought: Why not give them the opportunity to improve their German skills or even learn a completely new language in a relaxed, non-formal way? I know from experience, that not using a foreign language you actually studied ,in a very long time, can easily reduce your knowledge of this particular language. As I myself am very interested in other languages, I thought this could be a good and useful idea.

Val√≥sz√≠n√ľleg csod√°lkoztok, hogy¬†mi√©rt e mellett d√∂nt√∂ttem, √©s mi motiv√°l engem. Nos itt van¬†r√° az okom:

Ami√≥ta¬†Tusn√°dra¬†√©rkeztem¬†nagyon sok ember mondta nekem, hogy¬†√Ķk tanultak n√©met√ľl j√≥p√°r √©ve, de m√°r szinte alig eml√©keznek valamire vagy hogy √Ķket √©rdekli a n√©met nyelv tanul√°sa. Sz√≥val arra gondoltam: Mi√©rt ne adhatn√°m meg nekik lehet√Ķs√©get arra, hogy jav√≠ts√°k a n√©met nyelvtud√°sukat vagy ak√°r mi√©rt ne tanulhatn√°nak egy teljesen √ļj nyelvet non-form√°lis √ļton?¬†Tapasztalatb√≥l tudom, hogy ha hossz√ļ ideig nem haszn√°ljuk azt a nyelvet, amit megtanultunk, akkor k√∂nnyen vesz√≠thet√ľnk az adott tud√°sb√≥l. Mivel engem is √©rdekel m√°s nyelvek¬†¬†megtanul√°sa, arra gondoltam, ez j√≥ √©s hasznos √∂tlet lehet.

For these reasons I would like to offer you to join my German Club on¬†every tuesday¬†from 17.00-18.00¬†o’clock. So, if you ¬†still have some energy left after work¬† and are in the mood to learn or improve German in a¬†laid-back atmosphere, I would be really happy if you could come. But don’t be afraid: I don’t want to focus that much on grammar, but more on conversation.:) If you are interested in grammar and think some more explanations could be useful for you, then I can post some entrys about grammar¬†at any time¬†here in the blog.:)

A fenti indokok miatt szeretn√©m aj√°nlani, hogy csatlakozzatok a N√©met Klubhoz, ami minden kedden 17.00-18.00 k√∂z√∂tt lesz megtartva. Sz√≥val, ha marad m√©g n√©mi energi√°d munka ut√°n √©s van kedved tanulni vagy jav√≠tani a n√©met tud√°sodon k√∂tetlen hangulatban, akkor √©n igaz√°n boldog leszek, ha el tudsz j√∂nni. De ne agg√≥djatok:¬†√Čn nem szeretn√©k t√ļl nagy hangs√ļlyt fektetni a nyelvteni r√©szre, sokkal ink√°bb besz√©lgetni szeretn√©k Veletek¬†ūüôā Ha esetleg m√©gis √©rdekel a nyelvtani r√©sze √©s hasznos lehet sz√°modra, ha elmagyar√°zom ezt is, akkor blogon kereszt√ľl tudok k√©sz√≠teni p√°r hasznos nyelvtannal kapcsolatos bejegyz√©st.

I am looking forward to you! Ich freue mich schon auf euch! V√°rlak Benneteket! :))

keep-calm

 

 

 

 

 

German and Transylvanian Saxon sayings

Zivile has already amused you with funny and weird Lithuanian sayings, which they use in their daily lives. She got me inspired with this and now a lot of weird German sayings came into my mind, which we also use without even realising how funny and senseless they sound in other languages. I hope you enjoy it! ūüôā

If you don’t understand anything at all in any situation of life you can think of, Germans ususally say: ‘I only understand train station.’ (Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.)

When something seems hopeless or when you see that activites of yours don’t work out very well and you have to quit them, you say: ‘ I can remove my make-up now!’ (Das kann ich mir jetzt abschminken!)

Sometimes we all feel like we haven’t achieved anything useful with something, although we worked very hard for it. In Germany, we usually say in situations like these:¬†¬†¬†¬† ‘Everything for the cat!’ (Alles f√ľr die Katz’!)

When somebody really annoys you and you can’t stand this persons company anymore, you can say: ‘You really get on my cookie!’¬†(Du gehst mir echt auf den Keks!)

If you receive a task from someone and you do it completely wrong or your answer is very far away from being right, we say: ‘ You are on the woodway.’ (Du bist auf dem Holzweg.)

Last but not least I have a quite funny and cute Transylvanian Saxon children ‘story’, which my grandparents and parents used to tell me. Usually this story is told with the five fingers of ones hand and to make it funnier, I am going to write it down in the Saxon dialect: ‘Dat gaht an Basch, dat fad an Fasch, dat brut en, dat deid ed of dan Dasch, ond dat papt en g√§r g√§r g√§r.’

= This one (the thumb) goes to the forest, that one (the index finger) catches fishes, this one (the middle finger) fries them, that one (the ring finger) puts¬†them on the table, and this one (the little finger) eats everything everything up. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

The On-Arrival-Training in Sibiu

The On-Arrival-Training is part of every EVS. Normally it takes place during the first two months a volunteer arrives in his or her hosting country. In our case, it started on the 20th of November and ended on the 26th of November. For this reason we had to travel to Sibiu, where the OAT took place that month. Of course this week did not go by without any mishaps, surprises and new¬†intercultural discoveries. ūüôā

When we arrived in Sibiu, our first challenge was to find our hotel. Out of coincidence, two German girls, who I know from my pre-departure-training in Germany, recognized me at the train station and consequently, we made our way to the hotel together. While wandering around the streets of Sibiu without having any idea where to go (not even Google Maps helped..), we met a lot of other volunteers and finally, after one hour of walking through the city, found our hotel (which was at the other end of the city).

In total, we were 65 volunteers from 15 different countries and different age groups ( 18-31). As I am the youngest volunteer here in Tusnad, it hadn’t surprised me to discover, that I was also the youngest one of all the 65.:) Because of our large number, we were divided into three different groups with two trainers each and had four sessions each day. On the first two days we mostly talked about the EVS in general, all the actors included and about the rights and responsibilities of¬†us volunteers. On the next days we mostly talked about intercultural differences, conflict management and setting personal goals. The sessions were really interesting and useful, not only for my EVS but also for my later life.

The other volunteers were all very nice and interesting people, and we all bonded quickly. In between our sessions we always had coffee breaks, where we had the chance to get to know the other volunteers better and also during the meals, the tables were always mixed. In the evenings we normally sat together in a big room in the hotel and just spent time together (of course there was a lot of drinking involved as well :)). But almost all the evenings, due to the loud noise, we were sent to our rooms (where the party continued of course :)).

On one of the days, we also organized an intercultural evening. Everyone had to think of something creative to represent his or her country. In the end we were enjoying ourselves with Turkish, Armenian or Polish folk dances, French etiquette and Hungarian folk songs.

But what would be an OAT if we wouldn’t get the chance to explore Sibiu? ūüôā For this reason we¬† were divided into different groups of four or five people and each group received different tasks, which were¬†to carry out in the city.¬†My groups first challenge was to translate the tasks into¬†English, as¬†they were given¬†to us in Romanian.:)¬†After we succeeded, we made our way to the city centre,¬†where we were greeted by the sight of the beautiful T√Ęrg de Craciun.:) We had some easy tasks, for example finding out about cultural and social¬†events in Sibiu or finding out some famous personalities of the¬†city.¬†But the really interesting tasks were, to ask the Romanian¬†citizens about different topics. We had to ask three different people about their opinions¬†of the future of Romania and we received quite interesting answers: Two men had a quite positive view of Romania in¬†the future and¬†thought also quite positive about Romanias entry into the European Union. One other man on the other hand (who was Hungarian) said, that ”everything sucks”, Romania needed war again and an annexion to either Russia or the USA…So the views differed themselves greatly. Moreover, we had to¬†give one Romanian an item of us, and he or she should give us something back. We gave one man an apple and in return he bought us all a cup of tea, because he didn’t have anything else.:) After all we had a pretty interesting evening in Sibiu with a lot of intercultural experiences¬†(not to mention getting invited¬†for dinner by an American :))

On the last day of the OAT, naturally everyone was sad to leave again, when we all had just started to get to know each other. Nevertheless, we all promised to visit each other in our cities and now we have more reasons to travel around Romania.:) Us four from Tusnad made a good advertisement and already received some visitors.:) So, in general, the On-Arrival-Training was a very nice and useful experience for me.:)

 

 

 

My first month in Baile Tusnad-A small flashback

After I finished High School, I decided to start the adventure¬†EVS before going to university. Consequently, I applied for a lot of projects in many different countries, including Romania. So, after some succesful and also unsuccesful tries, I finally got accepted in a project, called ”Non-Formal-Life”¬†in beautiful¬†Baile Tusnad.¬†Before my departure my feelings were mixed, because I have never been away from home for almost a year.¬†Naturally,¬†out of nervosity¬†I began to doubt my decision a little bit, but on the other hand I was filled with motivation and curiosity.¬†So, on the 31st of October, my journey began:

At first, I arrived in Bucharest and spent the night at my relatives place, only to continue my journey to Tusnad the next day. So, on the 1st of November  we went to the airport to pick up one of my fellow flatmates from Lithuania and then made our way to our hosting town together.When we arrived we were greeted very warmly by our coordinators and after seeing our flat and having a good, satisfying dinner, we fell asleep immediately.

On the next days we explored the town. As Baile Tusnad is the smallest city in Romania, I was a little bit surprised at first to see how silent it is here and how few people wander around the streets (in fact, I tend to call Tusnad ”Sleepy Hollow” in my mind, because the air used to make us pretty sleepy during¬†our first weeks and of course¬†because of the silent atmosphere of the town.:)) I am from a big city, so this change in environment was quite new for me. Nevertheless,¬†I am still stunned to wake up here¬†every day and see the magnificent mountains surrounding us.

After a couple of days our other two flatmates from¬†Slovakia and Hungary arrived and we could finally start working. At first, we talked a lot about the European Voluntary Service in general and after two weeks, we started our first project in the local school with¬†the topic ”Together for peace”. Connected to this,¬†we organized games, presentations and even a little theatre play, in order to show the children¬†the importance of living together in peace. Apart from that¬†we also oganized handicraft activities for the kids and created some very nice christmas decorations for the¬†freshly renovated Youth Center. The kids here are so adorable and sweet and they¬†really enjoy giving us hugs and kisses.:) I really like working with them, although it’s¬† challenging sometimes as well. Especially the smaller ones get bored very fast and then it is¬†sometimes difficult to¬†keep them in a good mood. But challenges are part of EVS, and I am willing to learn how to deal with difficult situations.

Last but not least, there is still some space to report about some free time activities of ours. Every friday or saturday we meet with some locals for a weekly boardgame night and on wednesdays we usually play Basketball (at least we try…:D). On weekends we normally¬†travel and¬†explore Romania (surprise, we don’t go partying :D) and so far we have¬†managed to visit some beautiful places in this country. We went on hiking tours to the Falcon Stone, Apor Tower and the Saint Anna Lake, which are all located in the surrounding area of Tusnad (unfortunately, we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. or Mrs. Bear so far¬†:D). Moreover, we had the chance to¬†see Sibiu at our On-Arrival-Training and we¬†made a trip to¬†Castle Bran also known as Dracula’s Castle. Of course we didn’t want to risk anything, so we carried a lot of garlic with us. ūüėČ

After this month I feel really happy here, because Baile Tusnad and my life here start to feel like home to me, although I still discover something new about this place and its people everyday. That is why I am really looking forward to the following 10 months and hope to gain the best out of this experience for myself.