Occasionally, the heavy pack can be off your shoulders – here I've just bartered my knife for two pounds of delicious cheese, which made the young shepherd (note the characteristic Romanian cowboy hat) we met in the Lala Valley on our first day in the Rodnei Mountains (August 1981) so happy that he insisted on his poor horse carrying my backpack. I'm not sure that I got it right (Romanian is similar to French) but it seems he was carrying back some of the cheese made at the shepherds' hut that they were obliged to deliver to the dairy in the town before they could re-purchase it from the co-op (actually state-owned). When I asked about the bears, he said they preferred horse meat or mutton to humans. All the local people we met in the mountains of Romania in those days, although they often looked wild, were friendly and helpful.
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