Missionary, Christina Semon, enjoys a day in the mountains of Romania - 07/20/09

Hello Everyone,

  I would like to share with you my hiking trip to Muntele Gaina.  I was invited by my Romanian friend Iulia to go with her and her friend to camp in tents and to see the Romanian festival on top of the mountain.  We went by bus, okaszia (hitch hiking), and on foot to get to the top of the mountain.  Then did the same thing going back home to Cluj. 

  Saturday was a beautiful day.  We passed by where Avram Iancu was born.  He was once a great leader of Romania.  When we were in the car, the driver was telling us about a short cut up the mountain and that it was marked by red paint markers.  After we got dropped off, we started hiking.  It is not a bad hike if you are not in a hurry to get to the top.  We never did find the short cut.  We were walking on the dirt road which was shared with the cars going to the festival.  It was 9 kilometers to the top. 

   When we were almost to the top, we found wild blueberry bushes.  On the way up we talked to a local who was picking the wild blueberries to sell them at the market.  He had a special tool for picking the blueberries.  All of us could not keep away from eating them.   My hands and tongue were blue!  It took us about 3 hours to hike up.  It was nice to see the beautiful Romanian landscape.   

  We set up the tents and rested for a bit.  After that, we went to the festival.  There were very few artists who brought their traditional Romanian objects.  You could compare it to our country fairs in PA but it was different.  There were a lot of food tents and drinks being served, and loud music being played in the background.  People were setting up tents next to each other and were relaxing with their friends.   My friends and I were not enthusiastic about all the noise.  We thought there would be more traditional Romanian folk activities going on but it was not like that. 

During the night right before going to sleep a herd of horses came by our tents.  They were eating the grass but some of them were a little too curious with what we were doing there.  But after some time they left us.  During the night it got cold and windy.  Early in the morning there were thunderstorms.  We just stayed in our tents and let them blow over and our tents did hold up well during the heavy rains and wind.  I prayed a lot that night.

      Then on Sunday morning we started to descend.  We filled up our water bottles with the refreshing mountain spring water.  It took us two hours to get to the bottom.  We had to do some more walking, and then we hitched-hiked back to the bus station.  The total amout of walking we did on this hiking trip was around 24 kilometers which comes out to be 15 miles.  My body was sore for the next couple of days but the hike was fun. 

   This was my first trip traveling with my Romanian friends.  By participating on this trip, I was working on the Romanian language, culture, and building friendships.  I am grateful to include the ministry of missions with having just plain old fun. 

I hope all is well with all of you.

In Christ,
Christina Semon

The children at the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center
The children at the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center
The children at the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center
A visit with Adrian and Mihiella Ulmer at the St. Dimitrie Center
This concert benefited a children school called Prison Fellowship. There are over 100 teenagers in the school. Their families do not help them at all with getting an education. The school gives these children protection, shelter, food, and an education. They sang famous pieces from various operas.
Romanian mountains from the hiking trip
Camping site
Festival going on during the hiking trip
A Romanian folk artist selling traditional Romanian objects.