Greetings from the picturesque Romanian town of Brasov! As many times as my family was stationed in Europe, we never had the opportunity to visit Romania, big mistake! If you're planning a European adventure, please add this beautiful country to your list of must see's. I advise you to fly from Vienna to Bucharest if you're a skittish driver, however...it's a tough route in that you will be following and passing truck after truck on two lane roads! It's 200 km from Bucharest to Brasov which might be for you.
My very good friend and I drove from Vienna, Austria to Gyor, Hungary and spent the night with her gracious American friends who hosted us. The next morning, we rented a car and began our ten hour drive to Brasov, Romania after a stop for breakfast and coffee at the fanciest McCafe I've seen!
The route from Hungary to the Romanian border was along the Autoroute which was pretty uneventful with views of vast farmland and beautiful mountains in the distance. As soon as we crossed the border into Romania, our uneventful drive was no longer. We passed village after village, followed horse-drawn carts and myriad trucks from all over Europe while enjoying the scenery and daily Romanian life that sped by us. We did stop for photos of Orthodox churches with onion tops and I enjoyed peeking into rural backyards with chickens, little garden plots and lovely ladies sharing conversation with neighbors.
My wonderful friend did a stellar job driving and passed trucks like a champ, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't gripping the door handle every time she passed a truck, a car or a cart with oncoming traffic! By the time we were just outside of Brasov, the largest moon peeked over the snow-covered mountain range and we yelled! We're both moon lovers and it was quite a sight. We stopped the car to take photos and cruised into the center of Brasov after getting lost one time.
Our hotel is in Union Square and the views from this location are wonderful. We had a Romanian dinner of stuffed cabbage, boiled potatoes with sour cream and the hottest pepper ever, washed down with Romanian wine. We slept very well and woke up to a beautiful day. Neither of us had ever been to Romania and we felt blessed to share this experience together.
Yesterday, we had a driver take us to Bran, home of Bran Castle of Dracula fame. Mario, our driver, told us that the vampire shtick is just that - shtick. Vlad the Impaler did live in the castle and he was no Romanian hero. Vlad was into impaling his enemies apparently and Bram Stoker wrote his famous novel, Dracula, from stories told of a woman who was actually a living vampire. The Castle is moody and the views from the top of the castle are unparalleled. My friend and I took 100 photographs each!
We also visited the Rasnov Citadel which was awesome, as well. We had lunch in a spa/hotel up in the mountains where I tried Radler for the first time - beer with lemon. Excellent! My friend fell asleep in the car and I continued to enjoy the views of the countryside, pinching myself that I am really here.
Today we're touring Brasov with its beautiful gothic churches and gorgeous town square. It's another beautiful day with cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the high 70's. Our cameras and iPhones are charged and we're ready.
One sad note, however...the agent with the exclusive read has passed on representing me and A Decent Woman. I received his email yesterday and I was SO bummed. Sigh. He thinks I'm a wonderful writer and wishes me luck, but had to pass. The agent said that midway through the novel, his interest waned. I wondered if the fact that it's a women's fiction/historical novel was the reason. I know the exact moment he's talking about - Serafina's wedding. Hmmm. Well, I was majorly disappointed, but let's be honest (I tell myself), he asked for the complete manuscript which was a coup in and of itself. I was thrilled to have him read and he sent a kind note back instead of a form letter. I've sent my manuscript to female agents and him. I know my story is a woman's story and maybe only women will 'get it'.
I will continue to enjoy beautiful Romania, my friend's company and our drive back to Gyor where we turn in our rental car and head back to Vienna. Hey, how many people can visit Dracula's castle during a full moon?? That's awesome, actually. I will continue pinching myself and will not miss a second of this amazing adventure.
When I get back home, I will pull out my manuscript and read it from beginning to end and see where the momentum is missing the mark. But, then again...maybe it's fine and dandy as it is. Off to light more candles in more churches for my family, my friend's and my writing future. I will also light a candle for my best friend who is in hospice at this time. I received an email from her daughter two days ago. My friend of nearly 40 years is losing her fight with a stroke she had ten months ago. Now, she's left the nursing home for hospice.
Life is all about perspective for me. I am grieving for my dear friend and praying for her and for her family. I cannot believe that this impromptu trip to Europe comes at the end of her fight and I'm not there. I never dreamed I would be in Europe at her passing and she was stable when I left. I pray that my soul sister hangs on until I return, BUT I want peace for her. She has suffered enough.
Not having a positive reply from the agent isn't suffering. I'm okay and my children are well, thank God. I don't have a thing to complain about. Disappointed, but not suffering.
Peace and love,