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2016 Germany / Austria / Hungary Travel Blog

Sântana, Romania

Well I got up early and caught the bus to Pest at 6:45 this morning. I arrived at Hertz at 7:10 and by 7:30 I was in on the road to Romania. On the edge of town I pulled into a McDonalds to get some coffee as I did nit have my first cup yet. The room has instant that taste like Taster Choice and I cannot drink that, the breakfast rooms do not open until 6:45 and even Starbucks doesn’t open till 7:00. What is up with that? Can you see Starbucks opening at 7:00 in the states.
The roads were very good and it was easy until Arad. There the freeway ended and the highway was single lane around the edge of town through industrial areas. A lot of trucks and traffic with Santana only 15 km away. I arrived around 11:00 and tried a few of the church’ s but, they were all locked and nobody was around the building or grounds.
I went to the old Santana cemetery first and spend about and hour finding Hellstern names. I took photos so I have a record to reference. Many German names and the Markstein’s must of had a hundred stones between both cemeteries. Most of the graves are from people who lived from late in the 19th century to the late 20th century. The cemeteries are poorly kept with grass growing up to your knees. Many old broken stones and ones where the names aren’t even distinguishable.
Anton was the most popular name for most men and Magdalene, Rosalia and Theresa for woman. I knew it was a ling shot to find my great grandparents as they must have die by the twenties and there just weren’t any stones reflecting dates that old. Who knows if they even stayed in Santana after WWI.
I thought there maybe a chance with Joseph or Benedict, grandpas brothers but, nothing.
The town is not large, predominantly residential with few business’s. Buildings lack any architectural value, are not kept up,and somewhat dilapidated. The streets are not well kept and there seems to be a lot of trash lying around. There is also a fair amount of middle aged men standing around talking and smoking cigarettes at the center of town.
The day was very warm, especially in the sun and after the first cemetery so I went to, what I thought was a restaurant but, it was only a bar with picnic tables under a covered patio awning. I bought an ice tea and bottle of water and walked across the street to the only two food stands in town. There were no tables and they made pizzas, kebabs and few other undistinguishable items. By then some man came up to me and could only say no film in english. I say ok and he shook my hand. I figured he saw my camera and did not want me to take his picture and I wasn’t going to start a fight with some local so I went into the little grocery store. As I was looking for some snacks, there he was again, in the store next to me, babbling away in Romanian about money. I told him I only knew english when a woman, at the check out counter, started to yell at him. As I walked past her she said “You buy nothing”. Now I in a little bit of a confused state so I went around to the back aisle, as this store only had two aisles, and found some crackers. I paid for the snacks and walk out only to be confronted by this guy again. He kept holding a 1 Lei note, which is Romania’s currency so I reach into my pocket and felt around for the smallest note. When I pulled it out, it was 1 Lei and thank my lucky stars because I had 20,000 and several 1,000 Lei and I did not want him or his buddies to see those. So the short is, I think I met Santana’s town bum and beggar.
After another hour in the hot sun looking at graves stones at Cavalry cemetery I got into the air condition car and headed back to Budapest.
There was quite a back up getting across the boarder into Hungary, otherwise it was smooth sailing. By the way, they drive just as fast here as they do in Germany so stay out of that inner lane. Arrived 6:30 at Hertz and then to the hotel at 7:15 for some free drinks and apps at the executive lounge. Tomorrow I get the sleep in and then see the rest of Pest.