Travel: Lanes into The Past

A TIME correspondent's guide to Eastern Europe: Don't expect nouvelle cuisine

It is a warm summer day in the hills of northern Transylvania. There is little traffic on the road, a strip of patched macadam that bisects the valley and climbs slowly through the trees to disappear in the direction of the Hungarian border. A pair of covered Gypsy wagons comes into view, each pulled by a stocky horse. As the wagons draw abreast, the driver of the first lifts his hat and waves. The second driver has stretched out and gone to sleep, the reins held loosely in hands clasped over his ample stomach.

Such bucolic tableaux, this one in Romania,...

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