Brasov, Romania

What a welcome!  After two days’ travel from the States and meeting up with another of our group from Britain in Istanbul, this was our intro to Brasov, Romania:

And the well-fed “happy campers” after our ample lunch, as we began our week together with Friendship force of Brasov:

We, Friendship force Northern Illinois, had hosted the Romanian club in 2009. We liked them and apparently they liked us because they invited us to visit them in their homes in May, 2011.
And what a beautiful country they have! they had so much to show us…

Romania has a very rich historical heritage. They showed us one of Count Vlad the Impaler’s castles (above). Of course he is better known as Dracula.
And we visited the magnificent Peles Castle of the Romanian kings, most recently occupied by King Michael of the House of Hohenzollern until his abdication in 1947. Breathtaking!

And there were the museums: the outdoor bicycle museum on the Brasov city walls, and the Peasants’ Museum in Bucharest.

And fortresses:

We also visited our host Azota Popescu’s School for the Visually Deficient. We so admired their wonderful work to benefit the visually handicapped that we made a donation to that organization.

Our Joyce Schmitz of Friendship force Northern Illinois had hosted Azota Popescu when the Romanians came to visit us in 2009. they became fast friends. So when the exchange traveled to Romania, Joyce (pictured below on the left) brought 350 pairs of glasses that she had personally solicited from american Lions’ Clubs to present to Azota (right). That duffle bag full of glasses was awfully heavy to schlep from america to Brasov, but you should have seen the look on Azota’s face! That’s what good friends do…

We were awestruck by the beautiful churches and their histories:

And how well we ate! the Romanians know how to cook… MMMMmmmmmmmm (We really fought the Battle of the Bulge – and probably lost…)