So, where we last left off:

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Our flight left Munich in the evening and we arrived in Bucharest around midnight to pouring rain. We’ve flown into Bucharest about 8 times during the course of our travels, but the monsoon-type rains caused a situation like nothing we had ever seen.

Several planes had been circling Bucharest waiting to land, but were delayed due to the weather. When the pilots were given the OK to land, all the planes landed and all the passengers deplaned at once. Without warning we took the full escalator to the passport control area, only to immediately realize that there was no space to exit the escalator! The escalator continued to usher people to the next floor but the area was jam-packed with people waiting to pass through the control. People started to fall on top of each other and the escalator was still full, yet no one was saying anything. Not knowing what to say, I yelled out, “Atentie, Atentie!!” It is probably clear that it means “attention” in Romanian, but we often hear people use it as a warning of an impending dangerous situation, like an unexpectedly high curb.

Luckily, my outburst triggered a woman far more bold and loud-mouthed than me to speak-up and berate everyone within earshot for not paying attention to the situation and an airport official pomptly turned off the escalator as a result. Babies were crying. Mothers were crying. It was a mess. We were able to exit the airport without further incident and there was our lovely friend Ana, waiting for us with flowers, presents, and a car to take us to her apartment in the miserable rain.

We capped-off the night at Ana’s with her delicious homemade potato pancakes and Ryan’s favorite Ukrainian mushroom dish and beautiful conversation, followed by a deep, deep sleep. The next day, the three of us caught the train at the Gara de Nord station to head to our favorite place on earth:

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BRASOV!!!!!!!

This would have been an odd excursion to make, as there are no trains from Brasov to Chisinau, Moldova, except that one year ago, we left our two enormous suitcases in Brasov with our dear friend Dustin, so that we could travel light with only our carry-on bags to Budapest, Poland, and Latvia.  The plan would have worked swimmingly if we hadn’t been forced to travel home directly from Latvia due to an emergency. As a result, Ryan spent an entire year in the U.S. without his favorite pillow, among many other things. We spent the 10 months that followed asking each other where certain items were in our house, only to watch each other’s face fall in disappointment as we realized that those items were packed in our enormous suitcases, which were in Dustin’s basement, in Brasov, Romania.

So our two day excursion to Brasov was a long-awaited reunion with our long-lost luggage, and it felt so good. We also got to stay in a fabulous Air BnB on our favorite street in the Old City Center.

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 Of course we were also able to catch-up with Dustin and enjoy the best French onion soup at a cafe that he introduced us to last year and we spent time with Maria, the beautiful owner of the Bistro where we ate all of our meals during the summers we spent in the intensive Romanian-language program. Maria was sweet enough to take us on a drive past the town of Bran (known for Bran castle) and into the mountains for a peaceful afternoon.

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Our few days in Brasov were short, but sweet. We hopped on the train back to Bucharest in the morning, only to hop on another train that same evening to complete our journey to Moldova!

Follow the rest of the journey in blog Part III!