Once I reached the stop I found an old couple waiting there already. I fell into conversation with the lady who is going to catch the bus and who is called Melecxina. Melecxina is a little older than me and had a mass of grey curls pinned back under her regulation headscarf. Those that had escaped nodded enthusiastically in support of her animated conversation, which from time to time takes on a confidential tone. Her husband would be returning home having accompanied her on the journey and stood apart from this woman talk, felt hat firmly planted on his head. The pair of them have walked for two hours from their village, Vale Roşii, to reach the bus stop.
She told me not to worry about being unfamiliar with this bit of the world. She herself was a stranger in these parts having arrived from Romanian Moldavia only 30 years previously in order to marry her husband. She declared that we must look after one another as we were both women in a foreign land. Various men in big black wide brimmed hats arrived and I was warned not to talk to them. They looked like gypsies. Once on the bus we sat arm in arm to keep warm. Later Melecxina encouraged me to put my head on her shoulder and to sleep. Meanwhile she placed her head on top of mine. This was not the most comfortable position but it did engender an incredible feeling of togetherness.
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I have lived in Romania for the past 4 years plus. I know the country and its people well and very much like the place. Once winter loosens its grip I set out every year on a journey from Romania towards London where my family lives. This journey will involve a deviation to Santiago de Compostela. I write as I go along.... full info