We reached Lungesti on a steely grey morning after a short ride from Barlad on the local train. Alex promised his mum and dad who had stayed over in their weekend farm we would spend the day helping them with grape picking.
Alex’s family on his mother’s side comes from this village. Tincuta, Alex’s mother, was born and raised here until she moved to the city to work and marry. Some of their relatives still lived in this rural settlement of around 3,000 people surrounded by timeless but unspectacular countryside.
This is the part of Romania called Moldavia (culturally and historically similar to Moldova the country on the other side of the Prut – the river that marks the international boundary between the two). It is the region that produces a third of Romania’s wines.
Our pre-planned day of labour turned out to be one of mostly leisure, laughter and home made liqueur.
The gentle but persistent rain kept us away from the vines after our lunch of boiled delta fish dipped in horseradish sauce, soup with herbs, cabbage salad and pig brain omelette eaten with mamaliga.
Instead of picking fruits I walked with Alex to a house of a relative over the hill at the back to help strengthen family bonds and drink more distilled spirits.