I stared out the train window for hours, fascinated, while the train wandered around the green, distant lands. I was excited and a little tired, but I had only minutes left till I arrived at my destination. I was wondering how it would be once I got there.
It was at that moment that I saw the most beautiful landscape that took my breath away. Among the wooded hills and shrouded in the splendor of the colors of the sunset, which flew in front of my eyes, the medieval fortress Sighisoara, with its famous towers that adorn it like a diaphanous crown, appeared before my eyes.
It seemed suspended in the air above all and everything, a magical piece that impeccably but also dramatically complimented, the overall picture. It seduced me forever. I felt that I was in another space and time, in some sort of un-reality, my mind struggling to catch up. And this world of eternal time has caught me like a thief, completely capturing my soul for two weeks, during which I have experienced both the new and the old, as I will tell you below.
I have wanted to travel a lot lately, far away and with little money, so I thought it was time to follow my own heart and try volunteering around the world.
It was only natural to start in my beautiful country, right?
I had gone on various trips before, but this time it was different. It was no longer a simple holiday or a photo tour.
I found many offers on a volunteering site and for a few weeks I did not know which to choose. I sent emails and I received requests from hosts who needed help. It was something new to me, obviously, I was excited.
With this method you can travel as a volunteer, that is to work 4-5 hours a day in exchange for accommodation and free meals at hostels, farms, or for helping small craftsmen or even people in their own home.
Finally, I had two favorite offers: to be a receptionist for a hostel in Brasov, but the owner, a very kind and open young woman, reminded me that there was a lot of noisein the mornings, when I was free and I needed quiet to edit my photos and texts. For this reason, the second offer seemed the right one: to help a craftsman in a village beside Sibiu.
Oh, Transylvania was waiting for me.
The train stopped, and I felt lost. I was nervous, but I got off the train and looked around. I saw the craftsman and we shook hands, before starting towards the village.
I have to admit that you need to be somewhat open and brave toget in a stranger’s car and go this his home. Yeah, but it’s very healthy to step out of your comfort zone. That’s how we grow and evolve.
We finally arrived in the village, and I remember watching it on Google Streetview the day before. I looked around me in wonder, feeling unbelievably happy that I was there, the place that seemed just a dream only yesterday. But humans are capable of achieving anything they put their minds to.
I felt myself losing control again, but this time without fear, escaping from my reality and entering a new story.
The first image I saw when the car stopped made me wonder how was the house inside.
I stepped in through the gate with the craftsman.
Oh, great surprise for me! The courtyard was in disarray, as if a war had been going on in there. Three heaps of gravel, and another taller than me, of bricks. A beautiful fountain, as well as dozens of tools that hanged on the walls of the house, ready to rust. This clutter frightened me, my superficial mind took over and told me that inside the house would look the same.
He took my luggage out of the trunk and courteously showed me the way to my room. Big surprise again, because it was very nice! First impression only, because I looked at the corners of the room and I was terrified. There were spiders of all colors and shapes. And I have arachnophobia. Do you think I slept alone that night? Certainly not! I had company from all the spiders who stared at me and from about 300 religious books. I knew from the previous weeks, during which I had communicated a lot with the craftsman, that he was very religious. He even lived for a year at a monastery as a Christian brother, coming back only to care for his mother and aunt until they passed into the Light.
Here’s my room. The only thing I needed the next day was the vacuum cleaner… 😅
But the next few days I felt like I was staying at a 4 * hotel. And I told the owner, happily.
I have listened to many stories from him, including the fact that the bed was built by him and a friend, the wood taken from an old barn.
Several objects have become decorations on the walls, wheels that I suppose the peasants used to use in the field a long time ago. Did I tell you that our craftsman loves everything that is natural, like unpainted wood, brick and clay?
For the two weeks I spent there, Aladdin’s lamp watched over me from the foot of the bed.
Magic is real, my wishes have stared to come true …
Me, as a small person, took my baths in a little pot … well, not exactly a pot, but surely a bucket.
Rustic, we are in the countryside… Nicoleta, what did you expect ?! 😜
That’s how I bathed, stepping on the beautiful handcrafted rug every day. I apologize, someone has worked for at least a few days to create it. And thank you, it was an honor.
But let’s not forget the main point of my visit…
The craftsman and his craft. I helped him, even if not as much as I wanted, to felt. What did that entail? Well, I had not heard of the term until then. Felting is the process by which the wool is turned into felt.
Here are some objects made by our craftsman.
And of course, my favorite slippers …
Now, excuse me, I really do not want to give you ‘the slip’, but more about our craftsman, his craft and everything I’ve done during my first experience as a volunteer, will be found in the second part of this article, which will come as soon as possible.
Until thank you for reading and following me on my trip!
Part II here
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