Before leaving our riverside free-camp, we breakfasted on Valentina-Carmen's bread and very salty homemade cheese. While we dusted off our mud-splattered clothing, she was probably attending to the permanent appointment she holds with every sunrise and sunset on this earth: milking her cow.
More likely, perhaps, she was done already, having been up for hours while we exhaustedly slept the early morning away. In any case, bolstered by her good food, we set out confidently in the direction of the Tismana monastery. We would really make it this time!
The steep hills that lay before us were a cute joke compared to yesterday's climbs. The road was paved. Much of it freshly! Early in the morning after passing several construction crews laying down new tar, we coasted into a village where we stopped at a small shop to re-supply.
We passed most of the afternoon uneventfully, listening to music as we spun our legs under beautiful skies. Just before arriving at the monastery, we decided to stop for a snack. This guy came over to say hello, and we treated him to lots of little cookies. Like our friend Sirius Black, he wouldn't come very near, only braving a close encounter for the split second it took to snatch the snacks we were offering.
After our rest break, we continued on to the monastery. I'll just come out and say it: I've grown a little tired of looking at the inside of churches over the last year. I wasn't terribly excited as we rolled up, but you can't go through Romania without seeing at least one monastery! Tara really liked the frescoes though, especially the crazy devil painting and the vast array of saints and martyrs. Some of the saints even had their heads lopped off, which were portrayed rolling on the floor in their golden, hamster-ball-like halos.
The grounds of the monastery were much more my style: simple, quiet, and natural. We spent some time walking around before leaving, talking about how much we love to be outside.
Once we'd explored the surrounding area, we hopped on our bikes and a few kilometers later we were cruising into the town of Targu Jiu. We're exited to call it home for the next few days as we catch up on work and see the sights on a self-guided tour of Constantin Brancusi sculptures, recommended by our Romanian friend Silviu.