National Village Museum
The Village Museum is an open-air ethnographic museum located in Herastrau Park, showcasing traditional village life in rural Romania. The museum shows house styles and constructions from every part of Romania.
The excursion guides gave us quite a bit of information about village life in the past. Presently, much of rural life still exists in the small villages. Each home is self sufficient in many ways. They have their own gardens, fruit trees and farm animals (goats, sheep, cows and sometimes horses). Surrounded by enormous forests, the villagers rely on wood for building. The Romanian people develop handicrafts in wood processing. Consequently, many of their daily household objects are made of wood.
Unfortunately, my camera’s charge ran out and I had forgotten to include extra batteries in my bag. I was reduced to using my iPhone for the National Village Museum which was fine, but then had no way to take photos for our last stop at the Palace of the Parliament.
Lunch on Lake Herastrau
It was time for lunch so the group was taken to a restaurant called Pescarus on nearby Lake Herastrau. The bus couldn’t drive up the road to the lake so we all had to get out and walk. I think there were 5 bus loads of people. The lake is actually behind the restaurant and you don’t see it unless you make a special trip. Our group sat at one huge long table in the middle of the room. We were seated at the very end of the long table. There was a couple from Scotland, a couple from Australia and a single guy from Iowa The guy from Iowa talked to the Australian couple about a deer he had shot with an arrow. I didn’t think much of his dinner conversation. He even showed them pictures on his iPhone. Our whole section was pretty much neglected by the wait staff. We didn’t get any bread at first and had to ask for it several times. Our soup arrived after the rest of the room got their main dishes. We also had to ask for ice. I had a vegetarian meal of baked vegetables. Which I must say was actually very good. Shawn and everyone else had some kind of chicken goulash. Dessert was ice cream with chunks of chocolate through the middle. There was folk dancing, but way at the front of the room, so we hardly saw any of it. Just to use the bathroom was an ordeal because we had to wait in line so long. We gathered together and walked back to the bus. Our tour was completed and now we looked forward to getting on the boat.
At the end of the excursion, we made our way to the Port of Giurgiu to join the Viking Cruise tour. It took an hour and a half. The air conditioning did not work that well so it was rather warm on the bus. I think Shawn and I both dozed off from time to time. I did enjoy seeing the small farms and fields of sunflowers and corn. They eat a lot of sunflower seeds and make sunflower oil for export. The rural villagers still utilize the services of the village shepherd. He collects all the goats or sheep in the village and takes them to a field to graze. Then in the evening, he takes them back to the village and each animal knows the way to their own home.
We were happy to be on board our ship at last! Our room was on the middle level – the same level as the dining room. It was the very last room in the corridor, We were able to go up to the outside deck very quickly. The only difficulty might have been the internet reception – a plethora of problems with connections.
When we arrived in our room, our luggage was supposed to be there. Much to Shawn’s dismay, his small bag of toiletries was missing. It had had the correct tag so we couldn’t imagine what had happened to it. I talked to the captain and he took our details and said they would look for it while people were at dinner.
Shawn and I hurried to unpack and put our things away. The room was small but we had an outdoor veranda which was nice. It had plenty of storage and closet space. We had to meet in the main lounge to meet the crew and have an orientation. Shawn and I sat next to a couple from Calgary and they were very friendly. They passed around wine and beer and a few appetizers.
Afterward, it was time for dinner. I didn’t realize it was a set meal every night at dinner and a partial set meal at lunch. Breakfast was pretty much buffet but you could special order different things. Shawn and I had shrimp/risotto for our main meal and for dessert – Shawn had cheesecake and I had sorbet. They serve red and white wine and beer with lunch and dinner. We sat with a couple from Arizona, who we had met on the bus and a Japanese couple. The Japanese couple was very nice but difficult to understand. It is quite an international group of people and so far we met – British, Canadians, Scottish, Japanese, Americans, Australians. I also met a Lady from South Buffalo. She knew all about Elma, where I grew up and had just recently been to a wedding at the Elma Methodist Church, where we went to church. She did say her husband was a big political donor but I won’t mention the party.
Our excursion group was leaving early the next day, so we had to get to bed. We would depart from Bucharest in the evening and travel 10 minutes away to Russe, Bulgaria.