And, we had organized a car rental for our time here. We didn't really need it for yesterday, but we wanted to do a long day trip today so by picking it up yesterday we could get an early start today.
So, we called the car rental place and asked where the office was. I couldn't find much info online, which was kind of strange. The guy spoke English, and said that his driver would meet us at a prearranged location, about 20 minutes walk from here.
Okay, so we walked over there, I called the guy when we arrived, and sure enough there he was. And, he had the car with him that they were giving us. He had our contract with him already filled out, and after looking over the car, we signed the papers and gave him 460 lei ($152 CAD, $112 USD) in cash as the deposit, and another 207 lei ($68 CAD, $50 USD) in cash for the two day rental.
All done in a parking lot. And then, the guy shakes my hand, grabs his backpack out of the back seat, and heads off!
Too funny. Another shady car rental deal. But, this seems to be the way things are done.
This car has seen better days though. It's got 250,000 kms (155,000 miles) on it. So, it's been around the block a few times! I think we overpaid for it, but it's only for two days.
We found somewhere downtown to park. Kind of lucky, because there are definitely more cars than parking spots in central Iasi!
The first magnificent building we saw.
The building in the above photo is the Iasi Palace of Culture. A fairly recent building, built between 1906 and 1925. Now, it houses a couple of museums which we didn't bother with. We went in just to see the architecture.
Fantastic inlaid marble floor.
One of the rooms that we found with an unlocked door!
We had brought some lunch with us, but it was too chilly outside to sit and eat it. So we had seen a sign for a nearby shopping mall and went inside.
Huge modern shopping mall. And busy!
After lunch we tried to find the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University Library, which had been ranked as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. But we were having a hard time finding it. So, we went into another university building to ask directions. And we were so lucky!
The reception girl didn't speak any English, but she got on the phone and found someone who did. Everybody is so helpful.
It turns out we had accidentally walked into the The Mihai Eminescu Central University Library.
The Mihai Eminescu Central University Library in Iasi.
So a lady came down to help us out. She spoke excellent English, and offered us a tour of the building. Her name was Oana, and she was very knowledgeable and showed us some of the different rooms in the building as well as leading us up to the top of the dome for a wonderful view of the city.
The auditorium was beautifully restored.
The view from the top of the dome!
There are over 3 million books in the library, but none of it is accessible for a photo. They have an interesting storage and recovery system whereby you have to request a book via the computer, and then the actual physical book shows up via an internal elevator system for the storage area. Very cool. And other than the computers, it's not a new system. It's been that way since the 1800's!
The oldest manuscript in the library dates back to the 10th century! Amazing stuff.
Oana then showed us how to get to the original library we were looking for, but unfortunately it wasn't as good of an experience. Officially, the library was closed at 2:00pm, but we tried the door and it was open. Hey, you don't know if you don't try, right?!
Anyhow, we walked in and it was empty. A lady came out and she was not very happy. I tried telling her that we were tourists from Canada, but that didn't impress her very much. She had no sense of humor at all. I took one photo and we turned around. She locked the door after that.
We had a very quick visit to one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
We went and picked up a few grocery items and went back to our AirBnb hosts.
Marcela and Gabriel have looked after us very well. This is the kind of experience we love. Sure, we are paying them to give us a room for the night, but they have welcomed us into their home as friends. We're having such a good time, and yet we're only here for two nights.
Gabriel makes his own wine, as do many people here in Romania. But I think Gabriel is a master winemaker!
We had a couple of glasses, and they had friends show up to say hello.
Marcela, Gabriel, Kevin, and Ruth.
Maricica, Mitu, Marcela, and Gabriel.
Maricica speaks a little English, and Marcela's English is very good. But the men don't speak any, so Marcela was very good at translating.
Maricica brought some special treats, stuffed with cabbage.
They wanted to see some pictures of Canada.
We had a wonderful evening, but a little too much of that good wine!
This morning, we're off to the north of Romania for a day trip to the UNESCO painted monasteries.
Fantastic deal of the day today for a lithium had vac...great for the motorhome!
And in Canada...