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We started our first walk from our homestay accommodation and headed towards Breb. The first person we met was an 80 year old lady feeding the pig in her yard. We had been attracted by the green beans hanging above the pig house to dry. I am sure she didn’t understand why we took a picture of them! In a few minutes chat I found out that she is on her second marriage and followed this husband after he promised her land and fortune. But now he is sick in bed and she is looking after him. They have no children, but a niece is taking care of them.

I really enjoyed the walk as I took many shortcuts I have not done before. In Budesti, we took a back street between houses and gardens to avoid the tarmac road, and then later, in Sarbi, I wanted to take a shortcut over the hill avoiding Ocna Sugatag. Haiduc was following us (our host’s dog) and I want to keep him out of the road, as he seemed too tired to move out of the way of the cars!

At that time in the afternoon, there was nobody on the road in the village, so I made a visit to my old friends – the family of the hat maker. The hat maker sadly and suddenly passed away a few years ago, but I know the family very well. I found out that the son, Ionuc (that makes the father so proud in the past) is studying now in Germany. He has finished his first year and he will soon go back. He spoke fluent English with us and walked a while to show us the path. At least now we have a path. For the last bit I decided to go over the hill toward Hoteni, where we were stopping. Unfortunately, there is no path there and so we had to make our own! Fortunately, at this moment Haiduc seemed to wake up and lead us. He must have recognized where we were and decided to walk ahead of us to show us the way.

We passed through overgrown bushes, crossed a dry stream and slogged our way up an endless hill. That last hill before the village seemed the longest one: not steep, but very, very long.
We ended our walk in somebody’s garden and a very old lady was kneeling down to break a pile of walnuts. We came from behind her and she couldn’t see us. I said “Buna ziua!” (Good afternoon) and she replied: “Eu nu graiesc domneste!” (very hard to translate… but something like I don’t speak an upper class language). But we perfectly understand each other in good Romanian and I ask permission to pass her yard and to continue my way back home. Her expression stuck in my head and I had to ask Voichita what the lady meant to say. Voichita thought that the old woman was worried that, as she speaks only in the Maramures peasant language, I may not understand her!! I found that funny!