Saturday, 13 August 2011

Day 18 in Romania: couchsurfing in Iasi

Day 17 in Romania

Last night I took the night train to Iasi and was met at the train station by Mihai Godun from couchsurfing. I'd never done couchsurfing before. I was going to stay with a woman in Timisoara, but she cancelled. Since I booked my tickets at the last minute to Iasi, I called Mihai and cancelled as well. I had initially contacted him a couple months before, but didn't have the train tickets then. He called me back and said it was no problem, he could pick me up despite me arriving at 6am. He also told me that my entire couchsurfing profile had been deleted. I think someone from the hostel hacked into my account since I had problems with my email as well. I decided to try couchsurfing since it was with a family and they had good reviews. I told Mihai to look for the pregnant woman with a backpack and he picked me right out of the crowd.

He took me all over the city. We saw Piata Unirii, City Hall (where there is a status of a mayor who was mayor four different times), the 17th century St. Paraschiva Metropolitan Church, Trei Ierachi Church (which is under renovation), the Palace of Culture (also undergoing renovation), Traian Hotel (not really built by Mr Eiffel), the Synogogue (undergoing renovation), the National Theatre (undergoing renovation), the Golia Monaster, and the Princely St Nicholas Church (which is very small), Copou Park, and the Botanical Gardens. As for all the building we saw, we just saw the outside, with the exception of the University. Nearly everything is undergoing renovation or closed. I was told that they're "undergoing" renovation and that means that the government asks for money and then pockets it. They keep "renovating" and keep lining their pockets. That explains why lots of buildings are undergoing renovation.

The Botanical Gardens were very, very nice. They put the ones to Bucharest to shame. The rose garden was gorgeous. Timisoara had a nice botanical garden, but only the front was nice. In Iasi, the entire place is breathtaking. It would take a couple days to see everything.

In Copou Park there is bust of the Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), near a tree where he supposedly wrote many of his poems. The tree had metal bands around it to hold it together because it was damaged in a storm. Years later, they discovered the tree was still alive, so they took the bands off. It's still growing and flourishing to this day.

We also drove past the first firestation which had a little firetruck. There was a dinky pump and two people would stand, one on each side, and pump water. I'm not sure how well it worked.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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