Sorry I’ve been rather quite for a couple of weeks or so. I promise I’ve not been idle!
In fact, I’ve been away for a few weeks in Romania for a mix of work and pleasure – taking some photos, and also soaking up the fantastic culture, cuisine, history, and landscape (with the impact of the cuisine element quite definitely showing on the waistline!)
We based ourselves in four separate locations, mostly in Transylvania. For many, the first association that word will conjure is of Count Dracula, but there is so very much more to this beautiful and remote part of Europe, nestling in the horseshoe of the Carpathian mountains.
Our first stop was a small Saxon village called Viscri, where the livestock still roam around the dusty streets and where a huge fortified church looms over the villagers’ houses. From there we moved to Miklosvar, a Szekeler village with a beautiful seventeenth century hunting lodge, and surrounded by rolling hills where the sheep graze peacefully. The next stop was Zalanpatak, a remote mountain village (again Szekeler) many kilometres down a rough and rocky road, a bit like something out of a fairy tale.
After the rural part of our trip, we returned to the capital Bucharest for a few days. Described 100 years or so as the Paris of the East, many of its charms have sadly fallen prey to the ravages of the Communist era, but there are some still some amazing little nuggets of beauty to find if you are prepared to delve a little below the surface.
Travel and journeys are an important theme of this blog, of course, both literally and figuratively. Actually physically taking a journey, going somewhere quite different from home and trying to immerse yourself in the culture is a real opportunity to look at the world from a different perspective, and to re-assess your priorities. So as well as just having fun, that’s how I tried to use the experience.
One of the beauties of travelling to such remote areas was the lack of communication with the outside world – no TV, no radio, and no internet. That also, of course, meant no blog posts! But as I said, I have not been idle, and kept a handwritten diary as I went along. So over the coming days I shall post up some of the edited highlights of that, and try to share what was a truly unique experience.
And if my travels inspire you to check out this remarkable and often overlooked corner of Europe, then I can heartily recommend http://www.transylvaniancastle.com/!