More maps to orientate you

These are two of the seven maps I’ve uploaded to the ‘Where we are‘ page, which should give you a better idea of where we are, from Romania’s place in Europe to the coordinates of the village. Now you have no excuse for not finding us…

More books to read here

I’ve updated the books page on this site with two new entries on the non-fiction page and an interloping entry on the fiction page. If you’re coming to Transylvania, or have been here, and want to read more, here are some cracking books to buy or borrow. Here’s the non-fiction page to start with.

A day out from Magura

Our nearest city is Brasov – the most beautiful city in Romania, in my opinion. Medieval bastions, cobbled streets, elegant 18th and 19th century civic buildings and houses, stunning churches, parks and gardens, public squares, and the citadel. All set against the green darkness of Mount Tâmpa and the surrounding forest and hills.

Here are some things to do in your day out Brasov, before coming home to Magura for your delicious countryside dinner.

brasov

A charming new-old book

The latest of my finds, The Romanian Furrow is Donald Hall’s delightful tale of life and work among peasant families in Transylvania. Written in 1933, at about the same that Patrick Leigh-Fermor was tramping amongst the castles and manor houses of the Carpathians, Hall was working in the fields alongside his hosts, living a thousand-year-old tradition of the seasons and the cycle of natural life. The book deserves to be better known – and is not entirely an echo of a forgotten tradition: even in Magura much of the seasonal cycle still rules families and village life. Attitudes and values remain much the same as they were 83 years ago. The perfect read for travellers who might be Transylvania-bound. Read more…

Romania Transylvania peasant life between the wars

Cover of The Romanian Furrow, by Donald Hall (1933)

A beer in Biertan

A few miles north-east of Sighisoara is the Saxon village of Biertan. Its quiet isolation gives no clue to its importance in medieval Transylvania, which was considerable; the only evidence immediately obvious is the fortified church which looms over the village, too substantial for a sleepy place in the middle of nowhere.
We stayed at Pensiune Unglerus, a house in a quiet street a couple of minutes’ stroll from the Unglerus restaurant nestled in the skirts of the great walls of the fortified church and decorated with weapons, armour and pastiche furniture from the chivalric Middle Ages.
The church needs time for proper exploration and it would be worth reading up on its history so you know what you’re looking at.
About 2.5 hours’ drive from Brasov, so three hours from Magura – an easy and excellent weekend sortie.

Romanian migration scare stories are fiction

As a former Liverpool resident, I was interviewed by the local paper about my life in Transylvania, and why the UK should warmly welcome Romanian immigrants.

Following the panic whipped up by Britain’s atrocious xenophobic tabloids (ie Daily Mail, Daily Express), the Liverpool Echo asked me for my perspective on the Romanian ‘invasion’ of the UK. It gave me a chance to do a bit of positive PR for Romania – here’s the link to the story.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/big-read-immigration-scare-stories-6719720