Merry Christmas, my friends.
I am not in my best mood, as you might have guessed, due to my prolonged absence. But I am OK, I am always here, and I wish you all the best and a happy celebration, together with those dear (and close) to you.
Merry Christmas (or Happy Hannukah, if you please).
Translated to 21st century geography, that is a place somewhere between Piteşti and Sibiu. You can get to actually see this sort of image, without much effort, if you only have the guts to go 15 minute outside the main roads.
Kindle your mind,
Dâmboviţa, the river crossing Bucharest. It is not the Danube, but it still can help improving the center of the city. And speaking of the Danube - I remember there was a project of tying Bucharest with the Danube.
Kindle your mind,
The Romanian metal band RUST launching their last album. Not so long time ago, in Fabrica.
A little explanation: there are two things I like about this picture: the blue and the artificial smoke. I also liked the guys (so shy in personal relations as opposed to what they showed on stage that night), but I couldn't say I'm the typical metal fan, although I enjoyed the Iron Maiden concert in Bucharest back in 2008, for instance.
In my view, Fabrica is a great place to attend a concert. Can't wait to get back there.
Kindle your mind,
I just launched my online journal in Romanian. I decided a try would be useful.
If you want to read and express your views, you're welcome, my friends.
The link was also added to the blogroll.
I arrived in Cluj on Sunday evening, after a very long journey starting on Saturday evening, continuing with a stop on Sunday morning somewhere on a mountain top between Vâlcea and Sibiu and ending with 150 miles of road on Sunday afternoon.
The reason of my coming here was refiling my batteries, as I am really really tired and I could stand no longer Bucharest.
You can get to Cluj Napoca by car, obviously, by train or by plane. Going by train is frustrating - it takes almost 10 hours to get to Cluj from Bucharest (and I must express my amazement that, on Saturday, it took me 7 hours to get to Sibiu, which is less than 300 kilometers north of Bucharest, by train. A ratio of 40 kmph. No comment.). By car, coming from Bucharest, it is frustrating again, because of the underdevelopment of the national roads. By plane would be better, especially if you come from abroad. The airport is quite nice and very close to the city.
Places to see? Yes, there are a few. Basically, the center, but also the Belvedere hill (with wonderful panoramas of the city) and the Botanical garden. I also enjoyed the bridges over the river Someş and the main park nearby. I went to the elegant National Theater and Opera House, and assisted to a good performance of Carmen by Georges Bizet (with the observation that the French spoken on stage could have been better). However, the singing and, from my point of view, especially the orchestra, were very good.
On an easier note, the choice of pubs can take into consideration, but do not limit itself to, places such as: Toulouse, Diesel, Janis Cafe, Janis la Stuf, Demmers (if you like good tea) and Vertigo. A decent club is After eight. As for restaurants, the one I would recommend - and I thank the person who let me know about the place - is La Piazzetta. But I admit that I generally enjoy Italian kitchen, so that choice can be subjective.
After five days, I don't know if living in Cluj is better than living in Bucharest. Usually, it takes me a little to evaluate the place I see and the people who take part to the picture. Comparing to Bucharest, there is obviously more common sense here and people seem more civilized, but not more educated. However, when getting to know them better, they function just like the kind of people you can meet in Bucharest, keeping in mind that there is a sum of cultural differences which, from my point of view, are clearly fading away.
So, as a sort of conclusion to this rather short post, I would say, to my surprise, that I did not notice important differences between Cluj and the south of the country. People are running for their material interest, which is good mainly, but they seem to put a big emphasis on that. Somehow it was frustrating to listen to people talking only about money, even the students in the university library. I have enough of that kind of chat at home.
The photo gallery:
1-2. Janis Cafe - the library
3-4. the center square, with the cathedral and the statue of Matthias Corvinus
5. flower-shop. It was called "Casa cu flori", if I recall correctly.
6. Eroilor str.
7. side street
8. the stadium
9. the river Somes
10-11. After Eight club
12. the opera (well, a part of it)
13-14. views of the city from the Belvedere hill
15. Janis la Stuf. I loved the candles lying on the piano
Kindle your mind,
Although this picture was taken last night, the image was very familiar to me more than 20 years ago.
I used to spend a lot of my time in Bucharest as a child (meaning, generally, a few months a year), which explains why I never had a strong Transylvanian accent. Back at home, in northern Transylvania, I was asked where did I come from and why I pronounce words with a Bucharest accent.
Well, a lot of my time in Bucharest was spent next to the Parliament's Palace (back then, called "Casa Poporului"), in the yard - and the church - of a splendid monastery, called All Saints (picture to follow, btw), intentionally hidden by one of the blocks in the left of this picture. You know, religion was not welcome in the Bucharest of the '80s - dozens of splendid old churches of inestimable cultural value were completely destroyed at the time. On the very place you see now the Parliament Palace, six churches had this fate. And lots of others were translated behind blocks (All Saints monastery among them), and hidden from sights. So that you know why many beautiful things in Bucharest are so hard to spot - it was a intended Communist policy: war against the old, promotion of the Communist urban "accomplishments".
The boulevard was still in the making (I remember soldiers working at the pavement of the new sidewalks), and the palace was never finished until today (if you visit Bucharest, you can still see the cranes in the back of this huge building). The main differences, tough, between then and now, consist in the fact that back then it was much darker, as electricity was scarce in Communist Romania, and of course there were much less cars.
There are quite a few people appreciating the images of this city taken during nighttime (thank you, guys!). In a Communist Romania, it would have been impossible, if not unthinkable to take this sort of images, because of the darkness and the lack of electricity.
Kindle your mind.
The picture was taken back in 1987, if I recall properly, at the International Fair in Bucharest.
I liked that wheels, believe me, they were about 3 meters high. The truck itself - DAC 120 DE - was a curiosity and weighting about 100 tons, and was presented as a sort of a big realization of the Romanian industry at the time. 5 such trucks were exported to Australia, as far as I remember.
Imagine such a monster galloping at 50 miles per hour - its maximum speed. The back of the truck almost didn't get in the picture.
Of course, it was not a common thing to see in Bucharest, but for me it was one of the lasting memories, one of the trade-marks of the city, if you like.
PS. The blog celebrates today its 4th anniversary. Quite a performance, quite nice, don't you think, my friends? I'll celebrate this anniversary by attending a concert tonight. And I hope many years of good blogging on this very page still lie ahead. Being a blogger defines a part of who I am.
Our journey through the Bucharest of the 80s' begins with the presentation of the guide.
Our guide is a young, small - and a little scared - fellow, discovering (certain parts of) the big city while visiting his grandma and intimidated by the air of a metropolis - a city of more than 2,000,000 inhabitants even back then, during the 80's.
I chose to show this picture first because this little guy will show up in the vintage part of the voyage. The picture was taken back in 1984. I was four years old.
I loved that suite, by the way. It was mostly black and white, and combined with my blond hair, it worked wonders on women. Just kidding :)
Kindle you mind,
I am lurking around, my friends. More or less, but around.
My deep personal problem, though, is that I feel empty and de-motivated. And very tired. It is personal. And real.
I have tons of very good pictures of my city - Bucharest -, pictures taken for months now, but I just do not get to see them published.
I guess I'll write more, about things going through my head, rather than publishing photos. I feel the need to exorcise myself. or to confess - whichever you prefer, it is the same.
And I thought of a more personal project: I would like to show you Bucharest as I got to know him as a child, when I got to spend my summer vacations here. You see, I was a normal Romanian child, but instead of spending my summer holidays in the countryside, I would usually get to spend a few months a year in Bucharest, at my granny's. Some of the pictures - as much as possible - will be vintage. Some will be 2011, as a sort of remembrance of the Bucharest I got in touch to back then.
PS. The fact that one of my grandfathers was Bucharestian makes me a honest to God Bucharestian :) ? Just kidding.
So the authorities decided to build a new passage, at Mihai Bravu intersection, over the Dâmboviţa river.
Not a long time ago, they inaugurated another passage over the river, and the new national stadium - called, in a rather kitschy manner, National Arena instead of Stadionul Naţional - was opened last Saturday.
I would say this is good, but I cannot help but to see that our Mair goes for very visible projects - the sort of projects people cannot ignore for obvious reasons (and the picture above is an example) - and also expensive projects, with costs of several hundreds of millions of euros. They also bring votes during the elections, true...
I don't say that building passages over passages inside the first ring of Bucharest is bad. My point is that more can be done with much less money, for instance remodeling the center of the city so that it becomes more walking friendly and encouraging bicycles (even if, true, it is difficult to use a bicycle in Bucharest: it's really warm from June to October and dangerous during the winter. But still.).
And if we were to speak about big projects, the first priority would be to finish the third ring, allowing cars transiting Bucharest to avoid the city itself - which is definitely not the case now.
Like this, I only get the impression that someone is running for easy votes. And I also get the feeling that the city becomes more impersonal.
As I have a free day today, last night I went swimming to the spa nearby... The water was very warm and I felt great. I really enjoy a little swim. As far as I can remember, this is the very first time I ever swam at 1 o'clock in the morning.
Besides that, it is quite nice to have the entire pool just for yourself.... :)
Happy birthday, Ada. And - off the record - you are not, nor cannot ever be, old.
You know, this summer I intended to visit Norway. I still do, and even more now. It's not going to realize this year, but it is a personal project I cherish. I deeply admire that country and I wish Romania was more like it. On a really personal note, I like it when Romanian and Norwegian handball teams meet.
What happened there on Friday punched me just like a fist thrown straight up to my face. Some lonely right extremist killed about one hundred people. I sort of feel embarrassed for that, I am a rightist myself, but not an extremist and I am not gonna kill anybody because of my political views. You cannot create life, than why take it from others? This, I cannot understand and accept. This is illogical, and bad. As far as I can explain, and as far as I understand, the inspiration for these acts came from the Unabomber.
My deepest condolences to Norway and its people. It is a shame that things like this may occur.
For more info in English about current events in Norway, you can go to www.newsinenglish.no
This is the first post in a very long time.
You should know, my friends, that this absence was not planned - and by the way - I do not know when the next post will be. I just know there will be a next post.
My life just took an important, yet unexpected turn, time became short and some things had to be taken care of without delay - like, my house.
I had also a lot of thinking to do about my life and about what should I do in the not-so-distant future. I am deeply fallen in love and it completely changes me, and changes my perspectives.
As soon as possible, and as soon as I'll get a little time, I'll be back with more beautiful pictures from beautiful Bucharest.
I'm not going anywhere, guys, I just had some crazy days.
This is a train station. It is the train station of the city of Câmpina, to be more precise, and if I share a picture of it is in order to let you decide if it is clean of not. My image of a typical Romanian train station is that it must be very dirty. This was, happily, not the case here. And I see it as a good sign, considering the train was clean as well and everything seemed - in a very non-Romanian fashion, quite normal in this trip.
Kindle your mind.
I'd like to write more, but time is short. One thing: every single day - within the last two weeks - I carried my Kindle DX in the underground, with me, and I opened it every day. So far, I'm simply delighted by it.
I also noted one thing: I was NEVER the only person reading in the underground wagon. So there is, still, hope.
Tomorrow, I'll try to say a few words about a Romanian legislative initiative, made public today. A initiative I consider, in very few words, very dangerous.
Kindle your mind.