After traveling all the typical tourist sights in Romania we took a detour from the beaten tourist path and head into the backwater countryside of rural Romania. Leaving Transylvania behind, we made a quick stop in Huendoara to see the famous castle there before settling in Lugoj in Western Romania. We used this town as a base for exploring the tiny rural villages where some long distant relatives still live today.
The town area has about 500 inhabitants, mostly of Hungarian background. Many of the residents work in neighboring cities, but grow almost all their own food. Each home had chickens, pigs and a large garden of vegetables and fruit trees. Despite the language barriers, we were able visit the homes of several relatives and have a delicious sit down lunch with them. The meal started off with a typical shot of pálinka (home made brandy), then vegetable soup and fresh grilled chicken and potatoes, delicious!
Their lives were a perfect example of tradition clashing with the modern world – this is the only place I’ve visited with a satellite dish and an outhouse in the same dwelling. The people were honest and hard working and I loved to see the children playing outside in the garden and eating fresh, home-grown food. After our meal we went to visit the local graveyard where we found the grave of my grandfathers grandparents!
It was such an amazing experience to see both the “real Romania” and also the roots of my family. The villages were beautiful and I am so glad we took the time to take a detour and rediscover where my family really came from.