Sunday, January 13, 2013

Remembering Romania ...

Having spent the past three months posting about home decor, crafts and food, the insomniac  felt it time for a slight change of pace and decided this week on yet another travel post. Why was Romania chosen, you might be asking? The reply being (whether you asked or not) that a Romanian medal necklace was just sold in the Attic this week - thank you for your purchase, Razvan! - and is currently making its way back to Bucharest, which brought about the sudden desire to peruse Ye Olde Photo Albums (or rather, Ye Olde Pictures Folder on the Computer). However, after having flipped (or rather, clicked) through all the albums, it should surprise absolutely no one that they consist primarily of snapshots of home decor, crafts and food. 

The following photos are twenty-four favourites from the family's Romanian trip in 2008. You can thank your lucky stars it was narrowed down from the 500+ originally taken; the decision to reduce that number made purely for financial reasons. In eleven short months of blogging one has already managed to exceed the allotted storage for photos on Blogger and is now required to pay $2.49 per month for additional storage.

Herein you will find scenes not commonly shared by other travellers. There are no pictures of Bran Castle (commonly called Dracula's Castle for the tourists' sake but which really isn't) or the Merry Cemetery (as one prefers one's cemeteries to be more Dreary than Merry). Instead you will find a hodgepodge of images that sum up the insomniac's  fascination with all things Romanian.

Sadly, she forgot to preserve an image of her most favourite Romanian attraction - a fried cheese dumpling served with cream and jam called papanași, which despite numerous attempts has proven impossible to replicate in the Gothic Mansion's tiny scullery. After lengthy discussions with the Romanian baker at the local coffee shop, it is apparently a difficult dish to recreate in Canada because we don't have the proper cheese. Fortunately, it makes for a perfect excuse to warrant another trip to this delightful country; that and the fact that even in the middle of August, prime tourist season in any other part of Europe, there were very few other sightseers around. And for someone who really enjoys travelling but really dislikes crowds, that in itself is reason enough. Plus, it was very, VERY cheap. 

Without further ado, impressions of Romania ...

Peleș Castle

Hunting Lodge at Peleș Castle 

Random mossy-roofed house on the way to Bran Castle.

One was so absorbed in photographing this little cottage she completely
forgot to take pictures of the castle (the real reason they weren't included today) ...

Skyline of a town whose name now escapes the insomniac.

Probably should have made a written note of it.
As opposed to a mental note. 

One of the many wooden churches impossible to
capture properly in a photo, as they are extremely tall ...

Awesome antique store sign in Sighişoara ...

Small but delightful Romanian town. The name, you might be asking?

Hmmmmm ...

Taking in the harvest - made ever so much better by
the cigarette dangling from the woman's lips ...

Romanian haystacks have a very unique shape,
as do their crosses ...

An evening of folk entertainment at the B&B ...

an evening in which far too much palincă was consumed,
necessitating frequent stops by our guide the following morning
so the insomniac  could exit the van in a timely fashion, bolt into the woods,
and revisit her breakfast of meatballs. Over. And over. And over.

The Origins of the Palincă

Seems harmless enough, doesn't it?

It is considered good luck if storks nest in your chimney ...

Giving serious consideration to pink and green
for the next house ...

You'll have to peer closely to detect the reason for this particular photo;
an attempt to preserve an image of the little bats on top of the grave fencing ...

One day the insomniac  WILL own such a fence.
** drops quarter into The Insomniac  Graveyard Memorial Savings Fund **

Every household had a fantastic gate made either
of wood or wrought iron ...

First rat ever. Because there are no rats in Alberta.

Crouching over a dead rat in the town square to get a
picture raised more than a few Romanian eyebrows ...

Smoke holes in the roof, although this photo
was taken primarily for the black cat weather vane ...

A Painted Monastery

Despite the complete lack of tourists,
a few managed to sneak their way into the picture ...

Note the red tassels covering the horse's eyes;
protection against the Evil Eye ...

You can't see the tassels? Oh, right. The cart was moving. Completely missed it.

The Home of The Woodcarver

Obviously not the only woodcarver in Romania.
He just happened to be the one we visited.
He wanted to marry the 14-year old.

Closeup of The Woodcarver's Home

He was very good at carving.
Maybe we should have married her off.
Just kidding, cherished offspring.

And lastly, as a reward for having successfully managed to sit through yet another series of bad vacation photos, positive proof that Vampyres do still exist in Transylvania ...

The Real Dracula's Castle

The Real Dracula

No Caption Necessary

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.



  1. Thanks for a lovely photo visit to Romania. Amazing it remains so authentic in this modern age.

    1. It is a beautiful country filled with many interesting things. And you're right Gracie, a whole lot of its charm is due to the fact many places appear as though frozen in time. Although one supposes that might be a lot nicer for a tourist than for a resident!

      Perhaps now that they are members of the EU things may have changed, as things always do, and that makes one glad we had the opportunity to experience it the way we did. :o)

  2. Haha, Vampire Camping!
    Ok, where do I begin? You have no rats in Alberta..? What? Must be a joke, surely..?
    I LOVE the bat fence!
    And - Palinca? Why do I not know of this? I have been to Romania for crying out loud.

    1. That sign is priceless, isn't it?

      And yes, we have no rats in Alberta! Well, we were rat-free for 50 years until a few were discovered last year, but they've probably been annihilated by now.

      The bat fence is seriously awesome - again, a few raised eyebrows when snapping the photo!

      You are probably fortunate you DIDN'T discover palincă when you were in Romania! Worst. Hangover. Ever. When were you there and did you love it? :o)

    2. Ok that rat thing, I can't let it go - I'm sorry! We live in Sweden, so not very rat infested in comparison to many countries, for sure - but my cats bring my rat offerings a couple of times a month at least. How cold, and for how long, does it get winter tiem in Alberta?
      Oh palinca! Oh hangover! You just shouldn't have said that. Now I HAVE to find it :) I was interrailing for 6 months through Europe when I was 19, and we did a brief stint in Romania though everyone warned us against it. It must have been... hmm... no no, that can't be right... 1996? 17 years ago??!! No way. I'm only 23.

    3. Winter (and by winter, one means snow!), generally starts around Hallowe'en and lasts until end of March, although occasionally we get a really good snowstorm in May. Temperatures range between +10C to -35C, although thankfully the -35C temps only last for a few days. We average probably around -10C in the winter. But besides the fact Norway rats can't overwinter here, we also have Rat Control along the Alberta borders and it's against the law to own a pet rat, if you can believe it! :D

      You must share your Palincă Experience, should you be lucky (or unlucky) enough to find some! ;o)

      You're only 23 - what a coincidence! So's the insomniac!! LOL

  3. Oh, you've been to Transylvania, which has once belonged to Hungary...I live in Hungary...^^
    Anyway...Transylvania is beautiful, and dreamy, just like in a fairytale! Those gates...their size and 'fanciness' (i don't know if it's an actual word or not :P) simbolizes the owner's prestige and wealth...^^

    1. We have been to Budapest, but it was only for a couple of days and there is so much more of Hungary one would like to see - including the park you were modelling at the other day!

      It would be lovely to visit Transylvania again but this time during their wet, rainy, foggy season so as to have the proper Transylvanian ambiance. Because in mid-August, it was hotter than Hades! ;o)

      One thought perhaps the size of the gate was an indication of the owner's wealth - in which case the owner of the pink and red gate must be very well off, indeed! Even here in Canada one would need a bit of cash to possess a gate of such fanciness!! :D

    2. Oh, sorry, I haven't really followed up on these comments. ^^
      We have some much more atmospheric cities, but for some reason, Budapest's become a very popular destination lately. That park you mentioned in one of the most beautiful spots. ^^

      Transylvania is indeed the most beautiful in Autumn, the foggy, misty weather between the mountains, on the rocky paths...that atmosphere is simply thrilling. ^^

  4. Love the pictures. They really still do the evil eye thing?

    1. Every horse we saw in Romania (and there were a lot, as horse and cart was still a common means of transportation when we were there) had the red tassels covering the eyes. And yet, the insomniac  STILL managed to not get a single solitary picture of one ... Pffft. :D

  5. Romania looks amazing- so many beautiful details ^_^

    1. It really is a beautiful country and all the more special for being rather untouched by tourism - at least it was back then. Did one mention how very few tourists there were? ;o)

  6. Fantastical photos! I think it's amazing how different this country is comparing to most other european countries. It must have been an amazing trip.

    1. It is completely different, isn't it? And yes, it was amazing and the insomniac  would go again in a heartbeat! If one only had the money ... ;o)

  7. A solution regard the Blogger price: I had the same problem with running out of space. I now use Photobucket to host my photos, then I can link them to my blog to show the photos. Best thing is that it's free! :)
    There are a few other free photohosting sites around, so find the one that you like best.

    1. Thanks for the advice, Natalie! That sounds like a good (not to mention FREE) solution!! :o)

  8. What beautiful pictures! Love the architecture! I will have to go there one day! I love how the guy looks like the grim reaper in a trendy hat! I think the pink and green only looks good if the pink is all faded and chipped like that one. You will have to do it exactly like that. :P

    1. Thank you, Laura! The architecture is very unique, isn't it? You really should go - it is a fabulous country!

      Seriously, how often do you see someone with a scythe these days - isn't it awesome! And in a trendy hat, no less!

      That faded and chipped paint technique is something one plans to attempt sometime soon. Quite excited about it, actually! :D

  9. I always get looks when I photograph dead things. :P I'd get more if I collected them for taxidermy! I love how the smoke holes look like eyes! And you must have good eyesight to see that weathervane while walking along the street!

    1. Indeed Laura, they might be hauling you off to the loony-bin should you start picking the dead things up to take home to be taxidermied! :D

      The insomniac  actually has horrible eyesight, but tends to walk around looking up when on vacation since some of the best stuff is up high. However, she does bump into a lot of other people while doing so ... ;P

  10. Haha, aaw, I hope those were some good meatballs :D

    What a beautiful country!
    That hunting lodge is my dreamhouse, just missing some of that moss from the other cute lodge's roof :)

    1. The meatballs were a little sketchy the first time around, Sandra - possibly even more so on the next few go-rounds! ;o)

      It's funny, but the insomniac  finds she prefers taking pictures of hunting lodges and little timbered cottages as opposed to all the grand castles during vacations. Possibly she is gathering reference material for her next house, which she imagines will be similar to the little mossy-roofed cottage. But with pink and green walls! :D

  11. Thanks for posting these wonderful photos of Romania. That's a country that I've long had a fascination with and it was very nice taking in some of the places you visited there.

    1. Thank you, Nightwind! Romania is a place we'd definitely like to return to some day. There were so many awesome cemeteries that were missed because they were in little towns and one felt badly asking the guide to stop every five minutes for a picture! Next time, an entire month - provided we win the lottery, that is. ;o)

      P.S. Your packages went out yesterday ... fingers crossed it doesn't get confiscated at the border and that soon you'll be enjoying fruitcake with your tea! :o)

    2. That's very good news. I'll be watching for the package and thank you so much!!

  12. Beautiful wonderful photos of Romania. Now I want to travel there sometime :'D

  13. Romania looks fantastic I would love to go someday and it’s a lot nearer for me. I remember my mum did go on a package tour to Romania in the seventies I think with my aunty, I must try to find her photos in the loft.

    1. Yeah, it was a looooong flight, for sure! Did your mum enjoy it, do you remember?

  14. Absolutely beautiful! Nice work, my little insomniac!

    1. Thank you, Whorrified! Let us raise a glass of Palincă (or Prince Igor, if you'd prefer) to Romania! ;o)

  15. All your photos of Romania are utterly beautiful (Well, perhaps I wouldn't go so far as to call the dead rat "beautiful"! Haha), but the one I'm totally smitten with is the roof with the smoke holes. It looks like the house is alive and peering out over the town. Love it!

    1. Thank you, Little Gothic Horrors! This will probably come as no surprise, but the insomniac actually enlarged the photo of the dead rat and gave it to some friends, which they proudly display on their wall! LOL

      The roofs are very unique, and when there are whole streets of houses with smoke holes it's almost like they're ALL watching as you walk past. Eerie, but in the best possible way! :D

  16. really liked my country *claps happily, jumps up&down* - Let me send a virtual hug over to you for that. When and if you return, please let me know.

    1. Oh, we really did, Poisoned Purple - it was beautiful! The whole family often talks of going back one day. We only had 11 days and there was so much we missed and would still like to see! So yes, fingers crossed that one day we will be able to return - and the insomniac  promises to let you know if we do! Virtual hug right back at ya! :D

    2. That sounds great! Anyways, I am a little busy right now reading all your blog entries...I love your writing style. I guess I'll have to write more posts in English because I already have some requests to do so.

      In the meantime, te pup! (=kisses)