I recall as a child that my grandparents were always working in their garden. There never seemed to be a time when the garden was just done. First they were preparing it, then they were planting various kinds of seeds, then they were removing the weeds, and then, once a veggie came a full circle, they’d use the land to prepare it for another one that was growing in the coming season. And on and on it went.
On top of this, there was constant work with the fruits. I didn’t like it at the time, picking cherries for jams or plums for brandy. It was not the kind of fun I wanted to have as a kid.
What I loved the most was taking care of my own plot of land. Both me and my brother had a little piece of land to use it was we saw fit. I planted whatever I could. The best crop I had was one of spring onions. Early in spring they grew tall and green. I was thrilled to eat from my own spring onions.
For years I assumed that all kids spend their summers caring for a garden. I was very surprised when I went to college to meet people who couldn’t distinguish the carrot leaves from the peas or beans plants. After living abroad and since we welcome so many guests to Romania, I’ve learned that what felt so normal to me was not normal for many people.
Just this spring I had two dear friends visit from Brazil. We visited my uncle and went into the garden to eat strawberries and cherries. We had to pick them to eat them. They’ve never done that before. We had a great time, it seems eating fruit you pick with your own hands gives you the same satisfaction I had from eating my spring onions.
These are very simple pleasures. And of course one can find them in many parts of the world. But they are such a big part of the life of Romanians that we find it hard to believe that it could be a unique experience for some people. But since it is, we are always offering it to those who appreciate it and have never done it before.
So when you visit, depending on the season, and if you want to…go fruit picking, enjoy the juicy apple that you pick yourself from the tree, negotiate in the market and pick the best tomatoes, have a picnic in a beautiful meadow with fresh ingredients you bought yourself. These experiences are likely to come in your top 5 of favorite activities done in Romania because this is just one great way to experience Romania.