Though we’re enamored with our guesthouse for the night, we’ve got a problem. We cannot get the wifi to work for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Given that we’re stopped partly so that we can get some work done, we simply cannot stay.
Sadly, after a blissful night of real rest, we packed up all our stuff, ready to begin the hunt for accommodation anew. We got the bikes entirely loaded up and headed out to find our hosts so that we could pay before leaving. When we finally found Gabby and paid him for the night, he wanted to know if we had been to the castle in Sinaia (10 kilometers back the way we’ve just come). When we told him no, he was baffled. Didn’t we know that this castle is bigger and better than the one in Bran? In exchange for the bit of change that he owed us, did we want him to drive us there in his car?
With all of this taking place mostly using charades and words common between Romanian and Spanish, I was only sort of clear about what he was offering. Usually, my gut reaction when I am uncomfortable and unsure about the situation is to simply decline, say no thank you, and move on. When we travel, we frequently use “no” to maintain control of a situation, to keep from being confused or put in an awkward situation. For whatever reason though, Ben (who is more prone to saying “yes” anyway) says, “sure.”
Within two minutes, abandoning the bikes fully loaded in the courtyard, we were climbing into the back of his car, fairly unclear about where we were going or what he had planned for us for the day.
The rush of being in a car, driven by an actual Romanian, was kind of wild. After observing the fast, swerving traffic from the shoulder, it was strange to be in the back seat, participating in the madness. My seatbelt didn’t work and with a couple of hard corners I came right off my seat. Twenty minutes later, still not sure where we were, we all piled out of the car and followed our host, walking, in what we assume to be the direction of the castle.
We wandered the manicured grounds and gardens and then Gabby bought our student tickets to tour the elaborate castle, Gabby waiting outside for us as we went in. An English speaking tour wasn’t taking place apparently, so we were given a sheet of paper and instructed to direct our own tour through the castle.
The castle was cool, though we didn’t buy a photography pass, and therefore don’t have any real proof. The wood work was really impressive though. Then, we walked back to the car, assuming we were going back to the guesthouse. Instead, Gabby started asking us a bunch more questions, assumingly planning to take us somewhere else. In the spirit of saying yes, we accepted, having literally no idea what we’d just signed up for, and soon found ourselves climbing an intensely curvy mountain road, way up the mountain.
Ben and I laughed as we went. Wherever we were going, we certainly wouldn’t have made it all the way up here on bikes! Big signs warned visitors about the presence of bears with images of particularly ferocious looking creatures pictured. Ben was particularly hopeful we might spot one but none appeared.
Eventually, we turned onto an even less established road and then to a parking area. When we got out, we realized we were standing at the first stop of the Sinaia ski lift- we could have paid real money to come this way by the lift! Gabby led us around the top as we checked out the views and showed us where he likes to ski in the winter. Then, we piled back in the car and headed back down, stopping at one more overlook on the way down. We could see the castle we’d just visited way down below.
En route back to the guesthouse, I got to thinking about a Kaylin Haught’s poem “God Says Yes to Me” that I read a few weeks ago. (Sorry, I can’t help it. I really like poetry!)
I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was ok to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
and she said you can do just exactly what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes
I love so much the ideology of saying yes, the idea that the universe gives its blessing to the things we want and ask for. I want to be the kind of person that asks for opportunity and freely leans in to new experiences even when they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable.
All day I’ve thinking about the power behind taking risks and stepping into things with a bit of reckless abandon- we might easily have said “no” to Gabby this morning. If we had, we would have missed out on a lovely day, seeing things we might normally have skipped due to our human powered transportation and spending time with someone who knows the ins and outs of this beautiful place.
When our private tour was finished, sadly said our goodbyes, piled on the bikes and pedaled briefly into town. Our accommodation search took a couple of wrong turns, but we quickly settled into a new place with impressive views, a great kitchen for cooking our own meals, and most importantly, wifi that works. We were still a bit sad to have left Gabby and his family, but sometimes real life has to come first. We worked all afternoon.
Later this evening, we headed out on foot, hopeful we might find somewhere for Ben to get his hair cut. We enlisted the help of a handful of random people on the street. One particularly quirky old guy showed up on his bike to personally direct us around town, but nowhere was open.
Instead, we bought ourselves some pizza and then took a brief wooded walk up to the monastery, set in front of the stunning mountains, soaking up the view.