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…
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…
This is Baloo, one of 70 bears who have been rescued and given a 69-acre home in the forest on the edge of Zarnesti (10km from Magura), at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary. You can visit (during the summer) any day except Monday, between 9am and 11am. A fantastic chance to see these remarkable animals – European Brown Bears – at close quarters. The 30-40 minute visit will cost you 40 lei (€9/£8). Click on the photo to see their website for the touching stories of the bears, and more information about the sanctuary’s work.
Perched over a thousand metres above sea level, between two mountains, the village of Magura is a cloud spotter’s paradise. I have to go no further than my garden to watch spectacular formations from dawn to sundown, some fleeting, some slowly evolving, always changing, always fascinating. What do you see in these clouds? Can you give them their proper names?
Zeus’s great fist boiled up against the backlit summer clouds within minutes, turning a peaceful summer sky into a brewing storm which hurled rain, hail, lightning bolts and sleet down on the village to the sound of thunder, before melting back into gentle blue.
This was a sunset too big for me to capture – the fiery show spread west (to the left) of the picture, but I wanted to capture the smokey plume that made it look so like a volcanic eruption.
Lips… Mick Jagger lips… little pink rogue cloud over the village of Pestera in Transylvania – the sky about to kiss the village?
Potential for pictures… a mayfly, an orchid or an angel’s wings… a striking snake… what do you see?
Trouble brewing over Bucegi, to the south of Magura – a huge anvil building over the mountains, bringing a storm to the Carpathian village
An angry sunset, clouds running from the north wind that bent the birch tree in its efforts to blow the mountains down…
On a breathless evening, there was not a hint of wind to disturb this amazing cloudburst formation, which lasted for well over an hour as the sun set behind Piatra Craiului
This formation looks an artist’s exercise in cross-hatching. Out of the picture to the right was a huge ribcage of cloud.
Like delicate fronds of weed drifting in a fast-flowing stream, this cloud formation in an azure sky was hypnotic.
Do tell me what the name is for this kind of cloud – like Spanish moss in the sky, draping its colours over the mountain ridge. It was there for ages, changing so slowly it was the colour that gave away the time lapse.
There are some clouds which are just too cute for words. Little fluffball… Anyone see anything more definite?
A cloud fist about to flick the plane out of the sky… see the bent index finger poised to flick?
Dawn between the village and the Bucegi mountains… a cloudless sky – beautiful and restful, but less interesting without clouds
Dawn… with clouds… Bucegi looms black against the sunrise strata as the village of Magura wakes up to another Carpathian mountain day.
In an otherwise cloudless July sky over Magura, this has a little of everything; if you’re like me, looking for pictures in clouds, do you spot the bird’s skull on the far left? The eye sockets and the beak are clear as clear to me….
A wormhole in space… I expected the Tardis to come shooting out of it any moment.
There was no wind, so the cloud was allowed to grow and develop slowly, over the ridge of Piatra Craiului, over 2,000 metres high in the Carpathians.
Silent drama in the skies: I stood watching for well over an hour as the cloud morphed slowly in the setting sun. One of the most extraordinary clouds I’ve ever witnessed, right over my house. This is the lazy person’s ideal cloudspotting spot…
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.