More Palinka, Anyone?

August 6, 2008

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When I looked out the window this morning, there was already one the old babushka grandmas out walking slowly in the garden, hunched over with her scarf and many layers. A very neat moment.

This morning we traveled around Maramures seeing traditional local things, like a Palinka “factory”. First, we stopped at the Merry Cemetery. All the tombstones are wooden with pictures and a poem about the person’s life. For example, “she was a rug weaver and loved her family, then she got hit by a car…” or “he drank too much and cheated on his wife”! Some of them were quite amusing. It was a religious holiday today so we got to see all the people on their way to church. After a quick stop at a supermarket for lunch supplies, we visited a traditional village life museum. It reminded me of the “settlers” museums back home. After a picnic beside the road, we stopped at the palinka place and an old monastery. The old guy at the palinka place was quite a character. Me thinks he’s had too much palinka [everyday]. Palinka is a really strong brandy (40 – 90% alcohol) and the name supposedly comes from the word “to burn”. To burn, indeed!

For dinner, we had a Romanian noodle stew, bread, mash potatoes, slaw salad and palinka, of course. Since it’s a holiday today, we got to see the family members  play traditional music in traditional dress. It was really cool.