After a wonderfully long night of rest in our lovely hotel, everyone trickled into the dining room of our hotel around 9 a.m. While we may have not been ready to rise yet, we were rewarded handsomely with a wonderful breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausages, cheeses, yogurts, breads, pastries, juices, and coffee to our hearts’ content.
After our Romanian breakfast feast, we loaded ourselves onto the bus, did roll call, and headed back into Bucharest for a morning of rehearsal. We spent several hours polishing our repertoire before being treated once again to a delicious Romanian meal provided by members of the church in which we were practicing.
We spent our afternoon doing tourist activities. Our first stop after lunch was the Palace of Parliament, which was built by Nicolai Ceausescu to stand as a monument to the greatness of Romania. This massive, beautiful structure, made almost entirely of materials from Romania, is the heaviest administrative building in the world and one of the largest buildings in the world; it also contains the largest crystal chandelier in the world, which weighs about 5,000 pounds. We spent about an hour touring the palace, and felt dwarfed by the labyrinth of immense rooms that we viewed. One room had such large windows at each end that the curtains covering each window weighed over five hundred pounds. One large reception room was designed to specifically to amplify applause for Ceausescu, an atheistic tyrant; since he was deposed before the building was completed, it probably never served its purpose. We were privileged to be able to sing several of our songs in this room, magnifying God in a room designed to magnify a man who hated God. At the end of the tour, we were shocked to find out that we had only seen four percent of the interior of the palace. (Oh, in case you’re wondering, we did take a group picture in front of the palace.)
When we left the palace, we headed to the Museum of Villages. This is a sprawling outdoor museum which displays different types of village houses from the various regions of Romania and from various time periods. It also included some interesting occupational structures, such as mills, wine presses, fishing shacks, and gold mining equipment. There were a number of churches there as well. We were hoping to sing inside the largest one, but since it was locked, we were forced to settle for singing in front of it instead – and since we were already standing together there, why not take a group photo? So we did that, too.
From the Village Museum, we headed to a very large, very modern mall near our hotel. Our main goal here was to get supper from our choice of a variety of restaurants. Some people inexplicably decided that the best way to take full advantage of this trip to Romania was to buy their supper from Taco Bell or KFC; I am pleased to report, however, that many of us were somewhat more adventurous in our food choices, a decision that generally proved to be wise.
After supper and shopping, we headed back to our hotel for another night of rest.