New book about Magura

IMG_4802

My new book, Fericita in Transilvania: drumul din Liverpool in Carpati, will be published by Editura All in mid-November. All about my life in Magura – how and why I came here, and why I’ve stayed – the book tells the story of why an English woman left a world-famous city for a remote mountain village in Romania.

Follow the book blog to find out about the book launch, events, signings, talks, offers, competitions and more.

If you’re searching for the right Christmas present, this might be the solution…

 

 

 

Advertisements

Spring board

Mother Nature gets her colour palette out… After the warmest February on record, winter came back for another go in April, and again at the start of May, just to tease us. But the cats and I are relishing the splashes of colour amongst the lush green everywhere, even topped by a sprinkling of snow. My favourite time of year.

New video links

I’ve now loaded up a few links to videos about Magura and the surrounding area. Some of them are images of the village with no voiceover, some are mini-documentaries in Romanian, and there are a couple of American-voiced Dracula-based vids. If you make or find any good vids, do please let me know and I’ll be happy to post them here.

One of my favourites is the real-time drive from the edge of Zarnesti up to Magura – the road I take every time I need any shopping, or have to head off to Brasov, Bucharest or further afield. I love this road, but it can be a challenge if you’re not concentrating. If you’re thinking of hiring a car for your Magura visit, I’d get a high-wheel based 4×4…

What’s your favourite image here?

Enjoy!

Photography course – capture Magura through the lens

In March, we have the chance to learn from a master in photographic technique and artistry, with the Magura landscapes to inspire us. The  workshop with Mihai Moiceanu will not only give us beautiful days of exploring the wild spaces and places around Magura, but to learn how to capture and exploit the limitless potential of imagery through the lens and then on the computer. Don’t miss it – only a small group – not many places available. I hope to be part of the group… so see you there?

Find out more here.

Trent swaps Chicago for Magura

Trent Shelton, a passionate traveller who runs a specialist travel agency in Chicago, is our guest writer today. You can see where else he’s been exploring on his own blog, On the Road 

The Romania you’ve always dreamed of

Trent Shelton Magura hay scythe

Trent caught a Magura man scything the September hay, known as otava

As I planned my next destination on my whirlwind trip in Romania, I started talking to a Dutch couple in their early 30s who were staying in the same Bucharest hostel. It was the typical conversation that you have with almost every traveler: “Where are you from?” “How long are you traveling for?” “Where are you going?” “Where have you been?” However, with this last question, both their voices became excited as they described where they just came from. They described it as one of their favorite places they had ever been which, when stated from experienced travelers, is something never to be taken with a grain of salt. They were, of course, talking about Magura…. Read more

Come on, baby, light my fire!

A blaze of Transylvanian excitement on 25th October! Julia Leescu tells us about an event you won’t want to miss…

fire, bonfire, Sumedru, Saint Dimitriu, foc, pagan festivals, fire festivals, Transylvania, Carpathians, Romania

Sumedru’s fire in Sirnea – come and join the autumn festivities in one of the prettiest villages in the Carpathians.

While most of Europe burns festive fires on Midsummer’s Night, Romanians of the Bran-Moeciu area do things differently and celebrate their Bonfire Day in late October.
Not a bad decision, we say: all work in the fields is done, sheep are back in the villages, shepherds are back with their children and wives, huge piles of local cheese and dried meat are prepared and palinca (local strong alcohol) is distilled for winter. Time to party! Winter is coming: it’s time for Sumedru’s fire (Jim Morrison would be proud).
If you thought that Romanian rural tourism is all about Christian orthodox traditions, your tourist guide might be just wrong. Scratch the surface of many traditions and you’ll see pagan roots. Same goes for St Dimitrie’s holiday – the pre-Christian god Sumedru has transformed himself into Saint Dumitru over the centuries, but the meaning of the old celebration stays the same. The great fire in each of the nine villages of Bran means the death of one season and the birth of the next: the start of a new cycle of life. The bonfire is also said to protect the village against lightning strikes. With wooden houses, this is an important consideration…
The ‘funerary pyre’ of the dead summer purifies everyone around it: dancing and singing children, old folks with boxes full of homemade pastries and chocolate bars, flirting teenagers with torches, daring youths leaping through the flames, locals and tourists.
The fire is usually built on a high hill so everyone can see it. The celebration may last well into the night with concerts around the fire and late festive dinners afterwards at someone’s house.
Visiting any of the Nine Villages on Sumedru’s night offers charming surprises: last year we attended the night celebration in Sirnea village, where local school professor Radu Fruntes organised a great concert with local children lighting the fire, singing and dancing. Later there was a huge party at Radu’s house with hot wine, authentic shepherd-style food and treats and long talks about life with the local police and the mayor.
This year we’re going to Sirnea village again to charge our batteries with authentic Carpathian earth energy, and enough good food to survive the long fast until Christmas.
If you feel a bit cold this Autumn – join Sumedru’s celebration and feel the heat…

Would you like to join us in Sirnea? the evening is Saturday 25th October, but we’ll confirm other information (how to get there, where to stay, what to bring etc) as soon as possible. Leave a comment here, or send us an email with your contact details and we’ll be in touch soon. Please note: this is a traditional and local event, unlike the big commercial thing happening in Bran, so there will be a limit on how many can come to Sirnea. Let us know you’re coming as soon as possible See you there!