Happy May Day!

After a wet, foggy weekend, 1st May is mild, still and dry, the sun trying to break through the hazy cloud and everyone about their Spring business.

How’s your Monday?

New book about Magura

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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…

 

 

 

Turning leaves, early frosts

In October 2011 we were sitting in the main square in Sighisoara’s ancient citadel, when we noticed the chestnut tree over our heads. The long drought over summer and a short burst of snow had confused the tree, and amongst the swelling chestnuts and the shrivelled leaves were fresh green leaves and white flowers. The poor tree didn’t know if it was coming or going. Lots more photos of autumn colour in the new gallery

Sibiu, Oct 2011 (in drought)with Sue and Niall

Confused chestnut, Sibiu, Oct 2011 (in drought) 

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!

Wildflower cat

cat, Carpathians, wildflowers, Transylvania, Magura, Romania, wildlife, BrasovGeorge winding his lithe feline way through the wildflowers in my meadow, 1,000 metres up in Magura village, set in the Piatra Craiului national park.

A warm welcome on a soggy day

Three adventurous characters from the ancient deserts of the Middle East plunged into the dripping green forests of Transylvania for three days of culture shock. David Lowidt takes up the tale…

P1000433We – Roni, Moshe and I – were three mature walkers (some would say old) from Kibbutz Hatzerim in Israel who were looking to stay somewhere a little bit different. Off the beaten track, back to nature, simple life and conditions, see how the locals live etc. And that’s how I found this blog written by Arabella who lives in the beautiful village of Magura in the Carpathian Mountains, and she arranged for us to stay four nights with her neighbours Maria and Chivu Cotinghiu.

“We arrived on Tuesday 24th June 2014, late afternoon. It was chucking it down with rain and we had loads of wet clothes from the soaking we had suffered from the morning’s walk up to the Babela rock in the Bucegi Mountains, but it didn’t take long for Chivu to get the wood burning stove on the go, for Maria to bring us a plate of tasty cakes and for Chivu to start plying us with his homemade high alcohol content drinks. How could we not feel at home?”   Read more…

Natural peace: it’s official

One of the better T-shirt designs in the ‘keep calm’ series is this one, seen on Facebook. Ardeal is another word for Transylvania – and I can attest to the natural calm available in places like Magura, bubbles of peace in the Carpathians, away from the stress of urban life. Get the T-shirt, try the advice.

Ardeal, Transylvania, keep calm

Calm by nature

Spring kitten

Spring blossom mountain cat

Hobbs in blossom, Magura, Transylvania

Hobbs the mountain cat takes a nano-second’s rest in her Spring leaping among the blossom. The mirabel (corcodus) trees in the garden are in full flower, with bees and other insects going mad with spring fever. It’s infectious: the cats spend a lot of time in the air at the moment, feet touching ground (or branch) only rarely as they fly about in the April sunshine.

Vine iarna! Winter’s coming…

Last year we had a surprise snowfall on 11th October, before the apples had been picked. The weight of the snow on trees still in leaf was too much for some, and there quite a few broken branches around the village. This year the snow waited for another two weeks – it arrived yesterday as a herald of the winter to come.

My kittens weren’t fazed for long – the two summer-born kittens were out exploring and enjoying the sensation of paws sinking through the inch (2cm) of snow that fell in the first half hour.

This morning the sun came out fighting, blazing in a cloudless sky and driving the winter back. We have our autumn colours in Magura again, but more snow is promised tomorrow.

We’ll see. With luck we’ll have a few more weeks of autumn.

But winter is coming to Transylvania, and it’s rumoured to be worse than last year. The cats love it, the kids love it, and the snow brings lots of visitors to Piatra Craiului national park. Great for the winter sports fans, for visitors coming to track bears, wolves and lynx in the snow, and for walkers and climbers who love an icy challenge.

But for some of us, winter is time to retreat to the warmest room and dig out the thermal vests.