We were woken up by Nikoli knocking on the back door. Dominica answered the door and he immediately made her go over to his and Maria’s house for something. I had been asleep so did not answer the door but Luciana came back to get me to let me know that “mommy had gone over to the barn area.” So I got dressed and went over to see what was up.
Maria was making bread in the outdoor wood oven. We got to see the traditional bread baking processes here which was very cool. It is a huge outdoor oven that probably warmed up over night and they put half a dozen loaves into the embers and some other break items to cook and the four of us sat down to espresso and cognac at nine thirty in the morning.
After many drinks sitting out under the awning in the light rain, Nikoli and I set out on a long walk so that he could show me his fields high up on the north ridge above the church. I stopped and put on sneakers instead of my sandals as we headed out as it was raining all morning and I would be pretty wet in a few seconds once we were off of the road. It turned out to be a very good thing that I did this.
We started by walking through the school yard across the street. I have not been there before even though we look at it directly out of the front parlour. I got to see that they have an actual outhouse because the school for the kids to use!
From there we climbed up the hill behind the school to a seriously muddy road that runs along up there. It is where the “other road” through the village is but it would not be passable by a car in this rain, there is no way a car could make it through. I am guessing that that road is used by horses only! That would make owning a house back there less than ideal. Good to know.
Along that old, mud road Nikoli showed me the old wooden church, moved here hundreds of years ago after having sat for a very long time somewhere up north. It is one of the old wooden churches built during the Hungarian occupation like the fancier onces in Maramures that we went to see up north a few weeks ago. Much smaller and the steeple was mounted on a slab on the ground instead of being on top of the church, it was probably too difficult to reassemble when they went to move it. We could not go inside, though, as it was locked.
From there we climbed up the hill some more and before long came to Nikoli’s orchards. He has extensive plum and cherry orchards up on the hill side and mixed in with them are his vineyards. We walked up and up the mountain to the top of his orchards. He said that there were great panoramas up above there. So we kept marching up the mountain, in the rain.
Above the orchards there was a tree break, then a terribly slick mud track cutting through the fields. The mud track was so slick that I could not walk across it. The falling rain, my sneakers, the slick mud and the angle of the mountain were just too much and I could not get enough speed to cross the track; I was slipping backwards faster than I could propel myself forward! I cannot believe that I did not fall over!
We walked through huge fields and eventually got so high that Nikoli said that he had never been so high in the village before! We were up above all of the fields and heading towards the monument up at the highest point. A cross mounted overlooking the village.
The views from up above the village were amazing. We could see for so far. This was the highest peak in the entire region. There was a little table up there and we sat for a bit, in the rain. We were both a bit tired after the walk. Had it not been raining and muddy the walk would not have been bad. But as it was we were soaked and the walk had taken a lot of effort.
Once we had rested we walked over the hill and into the dark forest behind it. There was a bit of a path through the forest, but I have no idea to where that might have led. To another village, I can only imagine as it went no where near our own.
Through the forest we went and took a number of twists and turns and eventually worked our way our down into a hidden valley to the north west of the monument and down to a high plateau where we came through some fields and found a little hidden house where you would never expect one with no road or path leading to it. Incredibly secluded.
We went to the house and I got introduced to the local tuica distiller who unlocked a secret room and introduced me to one thousand litres of tuica being made! I got to try some and it was so strong that my lips were numb before I even swallowed. The still was put in one hundred and ten years ago!
The walk back was nearly worse than the walk up as the rain never let up and the mud eventually got so slick that there were whole areas that I could not continue moving or, more appropriately, I had no ability to stop moving and just slid and slid and slid. A miracle that I stayed upright the entire time. It was a terribly hard walk.
Altogether it was not that far, just a little under five kilometres, but with the big elevation changes, the continuous rain, the thick mud, no food, all that cognac and tuica, no water and very little sleep it was a difficult walk for first thing in the morning!
Once I was home it was time to get hosed off, shower and relax. It was afternoon by the time that I had gotten home. Dominica had had a nice morning with Maria, they had not hung out nearly as long as we had on our walk. My shoes had to be left outside and all of my clothing cleaned. We had walked through plants so deep that I was soaked to my waist from the fields and wet on top from the rain.
After that the afternoon was a relaxing one just spent being lazy around the house.