Today we went to Alexandria, to Oana’s aunt & uncle. Alexandria is a one-hour bus trip away from Bucharest, and it was just as white (and sometimes dangerously slippery) there as in Romania’s capital. It was strange to see the old, dilapidated houses in the streets and then suddenly entering the family’s small villa, that whole side of the family being doctors. Marble floors, several big bedrooms, two kitchens and a big eating table which we spent most of the day at, eating a big lunch/dinner (dunch? linner?). The Romanians eat a lot of pork meat (and I do mean a lot) during the Christmas season, and they eat many parts of the pig… the head is cooked whole and used for soup, and yesterday I ate pig skin… *shudders*. It’s a delicacy here, but to me it was tasteless and spongy. And so pork also appeared in several of the dishes in today’s dinner: cooked and served in jelly that tasted like gravy (hrm), as sausages that tasted like those at home (mmhm) except for a really salty skin, marinated filets (mmmhm), and in sarmale. Sometimes I feel like I’m spoiled and picky when confronted with all these new dishes; it takes some time to get used to them. But hey, at least I tried the pork skin.
I even got a Christmas pressie from the family: a bar of chocolate and an hourglass (“to keep track of the time”), and later I got a bottle of 10-year-old, home-brewed, nutwood-ripened Ã…Â£uicÃ„Æ’ Ã¢â‚¬â€ a very strong traditional liquor Ã¢â‚¬â€ freshly bottled from a barrel in the cellar:
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