Last April was our grossly oversold Istrian peninsula holiday disaster in the rented house of the crazy woman, prompting our hasty return to snowy Vienna days early.  This year? Unexpected meetings for Tony canceled our planned five days in Venice, so I assembled a slapdash road trip through Central Europe. As it turned out, our destinations of choice (and the driving distance between said points) were grossly undersold. This being a First World Problem, though, we crammed in as much sightseeing and camera-clicking as possible, and now Romania has joined our list of places worthy of several return visits.

One has to drive across Hungary in order to reach Romania, past gently rolling hills of green and rapeseed flower-yellow. Not a bad start to the trip.

The two passengers in back seemed pretty happy, as well.

Our last minute lodging scramble only got us as far as Szentendre for our first overnight. Szentendre is a small, picturesque village a little north of Budapest; and as we could see even during our brief visit, makes for a popular day trip.  In summer the tour bus count is probably as high as the temperature, so we were pleased that the village was busy but not overcrowded during our stay.

The handful of shopping streets were filled with traditional items and the usual souvenier-y tchotchke.

In the village square, not the expected memorial to victims of the plague. Instead, a cross of gratitude that the plague did not strike Szentendre at all.

 A bookstore in the square. It even had that wonderful, old bookstore smell.

A fresco from the interior of Blagovestenska Church, the Greek Orthodox church. Szentendre is home to nine churches, reflecting its history of religious diversity.

 The Catholic Church atop the former “castle hill.”

The Serbian Orthodox Church, a striking feature of the village.

Hidden medieval pathways invited us to explore the village, the graffiti markings of bored teenagers notwithstanding.

No matter how often we see non-Euro currency, sporting a 10.000 note (€45/$32) still makes us chuckle.
The Hungarian language is completely lost to us; though we attempt basic greetings, rather quickly we revert to German when in the country.  Admit it, this looks like Klingon, doesn’t it?
A pleasant and easy drive, a pretty village, outstanding cuisine and comfortable guest house lodging rounded out the first day. All in all, a superb start to our slapdash road trip.