Part of the joy of doing the Romania thing is the 4 and a bit hour rail journey to and from Sighisoara from Bucharest. Apart from the good meals, I can usually read papers for various meetings, or even discuss things with a travelling companion.
Sunday was different. I had a member of the Mihai Eminescu Trust with me as far as Brasov. She was picking up a BBC film crew who were doing something for Country File. I will let you know when it's on. Anyway, we had a good discussion that dealt with a lot of detail. When she got off, three elderly nuns came into the compartment for the rest of the journey.
They settled down in their seats, took out their psalters, and sang a short hymn - beautifully. At the end of it they smiled and nodded to each other, and I gave them a little clap. They acknowledged it graciously.Then they read silently. Their faces were serene and content. They exchanged a few words from time to time, faces unmarked with our daily stress. It occurred to me that these elderly ladies were completely happy with their lot - something very few of us could say.
As we neared Bucharest ( bang on time) one of them took out a mobile phone and clearly called whoever it was that was supposed to be collecting them. When they got off the train, they were met by a gaggle of similarly placid and serene nuns, who welcomed them back as if they had been gone for months. They turned and beamed at me. I smiled, bowed and waved.
The three nuns raised their hands, and blessed me.