December 24, 2011

The White Flowers, Florile Dalbe

The White Flowers, Florile Dalbe is a traditional Romanian Christmas carol, which have been performed by many artists and groups alike and is featured in many albums.

 Merry Christmas ! Craciun Fericit!

Primiti cu colindul? It's Christmas Eve again and it is caroling time, so you may listen some great interpretations of  "The White Flowers", "Florile Dalbe" from YouTube (performed by Stefan Hrusca, Cleopatra Stratan and Miracol Group).

Grupul Miracol - Miracle Group singing " The white flowers"

I translated the verses, to be read while listen the songs.

Wake up host, from your bed
The white flowers
And give us a twisted bagel
Flowers, the white flowers.

Mother didn't bread any bagel
The white flowers
Because she didn't have a sifter
Flowers, the white flowers.

When she got a sifter
The white flowers
Her bread-trough cracked
Flowers, the white flowers.

Mother chided with my dad
The white flowers
For the bread-trough has cracked
Flowers, the white flowers.

When the bread-trough was repaired
The white flowers
The oven did not bake
Flowers, the white flowers.

When the oven started to bake again
The white flowers
The New Year has already came.
Flowers, the white flowers.
Flowers, the white flowers.

" The white flowers"  -  sung by Stefan Hrusca

And for the Romanians, the lyrics which have been inherited from our parents (like many others traditional Christmas songs).
Scoala gazda din patut
Florile dalbe,
Si ne da un colacut
Florile, florile dalbe

Ca mamuca n-o facut
Florile dalbe
Sita rara n-o avut
Florile, florile dalbe

Pe cand sita-o capatat
Florile dalbe
Covata i s-o crapat
Florile, florile dalbe

L-o sfadit mama pe tata
Florile dalbe
De ce s-o crapat covata
Florile, florile dalbe

Cand cuptorul o pornit
Florile dalbe
Anul Nou o si zanit
Florile, florile dalbe
Florile, florile dalbe.

Cleopatra Stratan singing " The white flowers"

Merry Christmas ! Craciun Fericit!

December 15, 2011

Caroling , Caroling

In Romania and other European countries, such as Germany, Austria, Poland, England and Bulgaria, Spain, Ukraine and Greece there is a tradition of Christmas caroling. Groups of singers (and not only children) travel from house to house on the Christmas Eve, singing folk carols, for which they are often rewarded with symbolic holiday gifts. I also like the tradition of live "Christmas Carols" concerts which are held outdoors in cities and towns across the country, during the weeks leading up to Christmas, in the light of the candle-lights and the candles hold by people in the audience who join in singing some of the carols in accompaniment with the singers.

caroling in winter / colindam iarna

Well, this year we will start our caroling with the "Caroling, Caroling / Colindam, Colindam" song by Paula Seling, Romanian singer with an amazing voice (you may read more about her on her website : English or Romanian versions ). We learned the verses from listening many times her "Christmas Album / Album de Craciun" , published in 2002 . Thanks to "Unicord Records Romania" YouTube's channel ,  I may share it with you. Of course, waiting for Santa Claus / in asteptarea lui Mos Craciun, we will continue our caroling with other Traditional Christmas Songs ... but this will be another story.

 "Caroling, Caroling"
I really enjoy it to translate the verses in English
Arise ye, amazing hosts
On the Christmas Eve
Arise ye, Romanian ploughmen
On the Christmas Eve

As the carolers are coming
On the Christmas Eve
On the Christmas Night when Eve falls
On the Christmas Eve

Caroling, caroling in winter 
By the doors, on the windows
Caroling, caroling in winter
With Romanian Carols

The way is difficult an we've tired
On the Christmas Eve
We have traveled from far away
On the Christmas Eve

Caroling, caroling in winter
By the doors, on the windows
Caroling, caroling in winter
With Romanian  Carols

And we do not carol more
On the Christmas Eve
We wish a long life to all who are listening
On the Christmas Eve

Caroling, caroling in winter
By the doors, on the windows
Caroling, caroling in winter
With Romanian Carols

"Colindam,  Colindam"  in Romanian:

Sculati-va gazde mari
In sara de Craciun
Sculati voi romani plugari
In sara de Craciun

Ca va vin colindatori
In sara de Craciun
Noaptea pa la cantatori
In sara de Craciun

Colindam, colindam iarna
Pe la usi, pe la feresti
Colindam, colindam iarna
Cu colinde romanesti

Drumu-i greu si-am obosit
In sara de Craciun
De departe am zanit 
In sara de Craciun

Colindam, colindam iarna
Pe la usi, pe la feresti
Colindam, colindam iarna
Cu colinde romanesti

Si colinda nu- i mai multa 
In sara de Craciun
Sa traiasca cine-o asculta
In sara de Craciun

Colindam, colindam iarna
Pe la usi, pe la feresti
Colindam, colindam iarna
Cu colinde romanesti

December 5, 2011

St. Nicholas Greetings. Urari de Mos Nicolae.

Hey, it's Saint Nicholas Eve! So you better be nice and joyful, because St. Nicholas / Mos Nicolae is going to come through your windows tonight and fill your stockings with surprises ;-)

Urare de Sfantul Nicolae, Saint Nicolas Wishes 2011

Mos Nicolae sa va umple si anul acesta cizmulitele cu dulciuri, bucurii si noroc!

I wish you that St. Nicholas to fulfill  again your boots with sweets, joy and good luck!

November 30, 2011

Why I Love Romania? De Ce Iubesc Romania?

I was recently captivated by the  " Why I love Romania / De Ce Iubesc Romania" campaign launched by "Mediafax Group" together with "Grafitti BDDO" for  December 1st, the National Day of Romania.  This simple but robust campaign, with informative posters (downloaded worldwide by Romanians) about Henri Coanda, Nadia Comaneci, Ilie Nastase, Stefan Odobleja and Nicolae Paulescu , stuck with in my head and I kept wondering what make me proud to be Romanian.

Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Henri Coanda afis
Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Henri Coanda poster

Well, as Octavian Paler said "For me, Romania is not just one country, is a destiny! / Pentru mine, România nu e doar o ţară. E un destin."  and "we have time" to achieve many durable things.

As a child, I walked through Romania following the imaginary threads of Alexandru Vlahuta's descriptions from "The picturesque Romania / Romania Pitoreasca", and sometimes I'm wondering
" Where are our dreamers / Unde ni sunt visatorii"

I grew up learning to love my country, its nature, poetry, traditions and art. I was carried by dreams between Traditional Romanian Christmas Songs  and Tudor Gheorghe's songs (the "Minstrel at the Longing's Courts/ Menestrel la Curtile Dorului").

Mircea Rusu has filled with charm many lonesome days, making many travellers around the world to dream to their "Home's Green Grass / Iarba verde de acasa" with a "Tear of longing / Lacrima de dor" on their faces.

Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Nadia Comaneci poster romana
Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Nadia Comaneci poster

"Why I love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania"
I learned that "Nothing durable can be achieved by indifference / Nimic durabil nu se poate întemeia pe indiferenţă." Octavian Paler and profetic lyrics, parts of Romanian Cultural Heritage, have enriched my soul and enlightened my days. Mihai Eminescu's poems like "A Dacian's Payer / Rugaciunea unui Dac " or "God and Man" / "Dumnezeu si Om" are always dear to my heart.  Toparceanu, Minulescu, Bacovia, Grigore Alexandrescu, Marin Sorescu, Nichita Stanescu, Adrian Paunescu , Neagu Djuvara or Arthur Gorovei... are just few of the magnficent people who gave us the fullness of their soul. 

Amza Pellea, the Magnificent Actor with big heart and open mind, was a genius who left his mark on Romanian culture and cinematography. "Michael the Brave/ Mihai Viteazul" and the Dacian King  in "The Dacians/ Dacii" will be forever associated with him. Nea Marin's jokes interpreted in "Happy moments with  Nea Marin" / "Momente vesele cu Nea Marin" shows, cheered up my childhood.

Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Stefan Odobleja poster romanaWhy I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Stefan Odobleja poster

"Why I love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania"
Romania is a “magic museum” famous for its unchanged way of life and dramatic-wild scenery, its cultural heritage and for its well-preserved historic monuments, rustic villages and religious architectures. Let's talk about  UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania, Dracula's Castle, Romanian Monasteries in Oltenia, about the "Târgu Jiu Sculptural Ensemble" part of Constantin's Brancusi legacy,  or about mural paintings of Sabin Balasa, "Painter Representative of Cosmic Romanticism/ reprezentant al romantismului cosmic"

Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Ilie Nastase poster romana
Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Ilie Nastase poster

"Why I love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania"
Romania has a "Magic Land". " To see far is one thing, going there is another." Constantin Brancusi
Romania joins in its territory all the tourist attractions that makes any journey along its land to became an unique and unforgettable experience for every traveler. There are many beautiful and unique natural wild territories, and places full of inspiration and history inherited by Romanians from Thracians,  Dacians and Romans: Danube River, Danube Gorges/ Cazanele Dunarii and The Biosphere Reserve  Danube Delta / Delta Dunarii,  Busteni, Prahova Valley, and the Carpathian Mountains, Bucegi Natural Park/ Parcul Natural Bucegi, Cozia Mountains and the Olt River Valley.

Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Nicolae Paulescu poster romana
Why I Love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania? Nicolae Paulescu poster

"Why I love Romania?  De Ce Iubesc Romania"

Because "The Magic is the word here!" and
"In the Romanian Kingdom of Fairy-tales imagination is captured with intriguing treasures, old or new,
Connected with "real-world" where all the thoughts and written or spoken words come true."

Happy National Day, Romania!  La Multi Ani, Romania! 

November 29, 2011

Happy National Day!

  The "Romania's National Day / Ziua Nationala a Romaniei" is almost here again... with military parades and official manifestations in most cities across the country, live concerts and festivals. December 1st, the "Great Union Day / Ziua Marii Uniri" has been declared National Day since 1990, although it was celebrated since 1918, when all the historical Romanian territories were unified into 'Greater Romania / Romania Mare', under the Romanian Tricolor Flag (you may read more about it here: December 1st, Romania's National Day).

  The Romanian Tricolor Flag has an interesting history (you may read more on wikipedia:  The history of the flags of Romania).  I just want to show you some variants used over time...

* the official flag before the union differed from the actual tricolor, having horizontal stripes with the blue strip on top

Flag of Wallachian Revolution of 1848 horizontal stripes.
Flag of Wallachian Revolution of 1848. Photo courtesy of wikipedia

* the Flag of the King  (between 1898 - 1922)  had a princely crown in corners and the country's coat of arms in the middle

Flag of the King - 1898-1922.  Photo courtesy of wikipedia
Flag of the King - 1898-1922. Photo courtesy of wikipedia

* the Flag of the Socialist Republic of Romania, had the coat of arms with a red star and the words REPUBLICA SOCIALISTĂ ROMÂNIA.

Flag of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Photo courtesy of wikipedia

*Nowadays, the flag has only 3 vertical stripes, with no coat of arms or words on it. The Day of June 26th is the Day of the National Flag of Romania / Ziua Drapelului National. The meaning of the colors, proclaimed on 1848, June 26, is   “Liberty (sky-blue), Justice (field yellow), Fraternity (blood red)/ Libertate (Albastru), Dreptate (Galben), Fratie (Rosu)”. 

Romanian Tricolor Flag

Anyhow, I'm waiting December 1st, to see how people will flutter the national flag and I hope they will sing / dance once again, in public places, the traditional "Hora of the Union/ Hora Unirii",  the Romanian Hymn of the Union of the Principalities.

 Doina Gorjului dancing Hora of the Union / Hora Unirii
 Doina Gorjului folk dance ensemble,  dancing Hora of the Union / Hora Unirii

Happy National Day, Romania!  La Multi Ani, Romania!
Let's celebrate together  with the "Sonnet I / Sonet I" verses of Romanian bard Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889).

It's autumn outside, the leaves were scattered,
While heavy drops were flung by wind into the windows;
And you're reading letters in tattered envelopes
And in just one-hour rethink your life again.

You'd waste your time with merest trifles
And you don't want someone knocks at your door;
But it is better when it is mudding outside
To daydream at a fireside, sleepily swaying your head.

So I lulled into passivity by thought streams,
Dreaming about the fairy Dochia’s tale
While thick mist has settled in layers around me.

And suddenly I hear a sound of rustling dress,
A softly footstep is touching the old floor...
Then icy, delicate hands are covering my eyes.

Afara-i toamna, frunza 'mprastiata,
Iar vântul svârla 'n geamuri grele picuri;
Si tu citesti scrisori din roase plicuri
Si într'un ceas gândesti la viata toata.

Pierzându-ti timpul tau cu dulci nimicuri,
N'ai vrea ca nimeni 'n usa ta sa bata;
Dar si mai bine-i, când afara-i sloata,
Sa stai visând la foc, de somn sa picuri.

Si eu astfel ma uit din jet de gânduri,
Visez la basmul vechiu al zânei Dochii,
În juru-mi ceata creste rânduri-rânduri;

De odat'aud fosnirea unei rochii,
Un moale pas abia atins de scânduri...
Iar mâni subtiri si reci mi-acoper ochii.

November 22, 2011

Ana Aslan, the Inventor of Anti-Aging Therapy

It is a must to remember Dr. Ana Aslan's (1897-1988) contribution into the anti-aging research and her worldwide recognized results. She was a very fascinating medical research scientist who had dedicated her energy to searching a way to slow down the aging process and to prevent the occurrence of wrinkles and the ravages of age.

 Ana Aslan, the Inventor of Anti-Aging Therapy
Dr. Ana Aslan, photo courtesy of wikipedia
Gerovital H3 brand
Gerovital H3 - Romanian Brand

In 1988, when she died, I did not realized how important was her contribution in the Gerontology area, although I heard many times about famous personalities who came to Bucharest to follow "Gerovital H3 Treatment" aka "Ana Aslan's Therapy" to the Romanian National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

After beginning her career as a specialist in treating arthritis, Dr. Aslan began working with Constantin Ion Parhon (1874- 1969), which was recognized worldwide as a neuropsychiatrist, endocrinologist and politician. They worked together with a team of researchers at the "Parhon Institute of Endocrinology, Bucharest " / "Institutul de Endocrinologie Parhon, Bucuresti" to develop a treatment to combat aging,and in 1955 they published "Novocain- eutrophic and antiaging factor"/ "Novocaina; factor eutrofic si întineritor în tratamentul profilactic si curativ al batrînetii" under "Editura Academiei Republicii Populare Romane/ Academy of Republic of Romania" publisher.

 Gerovital Plant nourishing cream / crema nutritiva

I discovered first Ana Aslan's Anti Aging Cosmetics lines for skin care and hair care, made of natural plant extracts and clay by the Romanian Company Farmec:  "Gerovital H3", "Gerovital Plant" and "Aslavital".

Gerovital H3 Evolution anti-wrinkle cream, anti-aging super-enzyme

Latter on, I passed along a review of the results of the extended investigations in developing Gerovital H3 therapy, published in 1977 by "National Institut of Gerontology and Geriatrics", in the " Gerovital H3: Neurotropic, antidepressive, vitaminic, eutrophic and regenerative factor in the treatment of ageing and trophic disturbances" book.  I have no intention to talk about their steps for developing the renewed "Gerovital H3" drug, promoted as "elixir of youth",  which influences the aging mechanisms at molecular level. I was impressed by the research program developed by the National Institut of Gerontology and Geriatrics / Institutul National de Gerontologie si Geriatrie (the oldest institute of this kind worldwide, named "Ana Aslan Institute" after her) under Romanian Communist Government.

 Gerovital H3 Injections/ Solutie Injectabila

As a reward for her contribution to the development of gerontology and geriatrics, Dr. Ana Aslan was nominated in 1982 by Nicolae Ceausescu for "Leon Bernand" Prize. Together with this distinction granted by the the World Health Organization, she obtained many other international distinctions, the most noticeable being The Oscar Prize (Italy, 1973). She became member of many medical scientific associations for Gerontology and Geriatrics across the world: US, URSS, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and, accordingly to the official website,  nowaday the "ASLAN Institute Group" is present in US, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Egypt, Panama and South America.

In 1985, Prof. Dr. Ana Aslan published a synthesis of her research:  "Techniques and effects of Gerovital H3 treatment-after 34 years of use" where those interested can read more about the antiaging effects of GH3 in wrinkles, spots, eczema or psoriazis. She really dedicated her life to the studying of aging problems. It is a priceless legacy of medical research and I'm honored that her contribution often shows up on the internet. And like so many other before me, over the years, I've come to appreciate her results ;-)
A Posthumous "Thank you" to the scientist who gave a new meaning to the "anti-aging" concept.

November 13, 2011

We Wish You a Happy Birthday!

   We wish you never a sorrow come to you, and good fortune reaches you at every turn to,
   The life brings only joy around, when you'll enjoy all beauties you should view.
   We wish you share your happiness and realize all your desires
   Getting better and better and learning how to gain supporters and admirers,
   We wish you never be afraid to doubt, to face your problems or laugh at yourself,
   Learn climbing up your hill, reaching the top without be stuck on any shelf.
   We wish you all the best in all your decision-making and good luck, too.
   Enjoy the sunshine of your life, follow your heart and we know your dreams will come true.

Pink minigarden and joyful wishes for our nephew's birthday

We wish a Joyful and Happy Birthday to my nephew, who reaches the age of majority!

November 2, 2011

In Memoriam Adrian Paunescu

I cannot believe it's been almost a year since that sad  "Last Day / Ultima zi", (November 5th, 2010) when Adrian Paunescu passed away. Time really has flown by. I cannot say that he is dead, he was just wondering away in "The Train to Nowhere / Trenul spre Neant". The magic of its words reappears to gladden the pathway of those who remember his lyrics, although he wrote them a long time ago.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. Thomas Campbell

Adrian Paunescu display, in front of his house, Barca, Romania
Adrian Paunescu display, in front of his house, Barca, Romania

Adrian Paunescu is still welcoming those who visit his house in Barca, Dolj County, Romania (I took the pictures this summer in my vacation when I pass by).  His picture is watching people who read both: the "First Path/ Primul Drum " poem and "The Flame / Flacara" magazine published under his editorship, displayed at the left of the main entrance of his childhood's house.

Adrian Paunescu display welcoming the visitors of his house in Birca, Romania
Adrian Paunescu's  display welcoming the visitors of his house, in Barca, Romania

The Train to Nowhere

Lyrics Adrian Paunescu, 
The translation is just my way to pay homage to his opera.

I'm coming with my whole life wearing an open collared shirt
And I'm waiting at the station for a train of abyss,
There are no railstations and swithcman, beyond this point,
The stars just got larger and the trees began to thin out.

I'll take the train to nowhere, I bought a ticket,
I turn the music up, I turn the heartbeat down,
I hear it a buzzing, the embankment seems bereft of human beings, 
The station guard is shouting a raport through megaphone.

I let the passengers to say whatever they want, 
I am ready to get off the train if they get on,
I am the passenger to nowhere,  this is enough to me,
I'll pay with my last monies to die without being dissaproved.

I'll make the trip, anyhow,
I am waiting for my train in the last station,
And I think I heard what sounded like a voice
Arguing me for something, nagging me.

It is my shadow overlaid with the light from a kerosene lamp,
Its lugubrious shape will overlay the shadow of a train,
No one else is here, all had already died before,
My life beggins of nothingness and I cannot go out of it.

When crickets carry the light of heaven from place to place,
I sit in my train gazing at the window, and I start to perish
It's kind of arousing that it is no train to nowhere,
I'l take the nowhere to nowhere, nowhere to nowhere.

Trenul spre Neant 

versuri Adrian Paunescu

Eu vin cu toata viata mea si gulerul deschis
Si pe peron astept un tren ce merge spre abis,
De-aici incolo nu mai sunt nici gari si nici acari
Doar stelele sunt tot mai mari si pomii tot mai rari.

Voi lua un tren catre neant, mi-am cumparat bilet,
Mai tare muzica o dau si inima incet,
Se-aude-un zumzait marunt, terasamentu-i mort,
Prin megafon feroviar se tipa un raport.

Dar eu ii las pe pasageri sa zica tot ce vor,
Eu, daca ei se urca-n tren, sunt gata sa cobor,
Sunt pasagerul spre neant, si mi-e destul atat,
Cu cei din urma bani ai mei nu vreau sa mor urat.

Calatoria tot o fac, oricat ar fi de greu,
La cap de linie astept sa vina trenul meu.
Dar mi se pare ca aud un glas cum n-a mai fost
Certandu-ma pentru ceva,luandu-ma la rost.

E umbra mea sub felinar, sinistrul ei desen,
Ce va cadea la randul ei in umbra unui tren,
Nu mai e nimeni pe aici, toti au murit candva,
Eu sunt de-o viata in neant si nu am cum pleca.

Cand greieri duc din loc in loc luminile din cer,
M-asez la geam in trenul meu si simt ca-ncep sa pier,
Nu-i nici un tren catre neant, ci fapt interesant,
Voi lua neant catre neant, neant catre neant.

October 26, 2011

Cristian Sanda Gorun, a new star

Cristian Sanda Gorun is one of the Romanian children with golden voices. He is a very talented teenager originating in Craiova. His first participation in the world of music was as a singer and artist for a TV show entitled "My Childhood / Copilaria mea" in 2004.

I followed his evolution, and I was always impressed by his voice. He participated to the "Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2006", to the "Youth Festival 2008 / Festivalul Tineretii 2008" where his song won the trophy,  "Remember Festival 2009" or "Youth Constelation 2009 / Constelatia Juniorilor 2009" contest.

Some of his songs made touching shows. His amazing performance determined that the " Eminescu" song,  tribute to Eminescu's opera, with lyrics by Doina si Ion Aldea Teodorovici, at a 2007 Music Show, was one of the most appreciated song by the audience (not just because Eminescu is a star for Universal Culture) of the event.

He is still " A child, a new star / Un copil, o noua stea", as said one of his songs, who make you fall in love with his voice  "First and last time / Prima si ultima oara" when listening him, as said another one.

Thanks to all who shared over the web his songs.

In fact I'm always "Feeling good" listening his voice.

I was amazed again by his talent seeing his last participation at the Romanian version of "The Voice" show, "Vocea Romaniei" with "Sorry seems to be the hardest word" on music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin. (unfortunately the video is no longer available). I've loved this song since ever, can you blame me?

"What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do when lightning strikes me
And I wake to find that you're not there
What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it's all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word
It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word
What do I do to make you love me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I do when lightning strikes me
What have I got to do
What have I got to do
When sorry seems to be the hardest word"

Cristian Sanda Gorun - photo courtesy of
Cristian Sanda Gorun - photo courtesy of
Anyhow, you should seen the reaction of all the judges Horia Brenciu, Loredana Groza, Smiley and Marius Moga when he started to sing  October 25th.  All of them decided to promote him to the next round of  "The Voice of Romania / Vocea Romaniei" show .

Good luck, Cristian!

UPDATE: December 19th, 2011

Cristian has qualified for the Final Round of "The Voice of Romania / Vocea Romaniei" show, together with Dragos Chircu, Iuliana Puschila si Stefan Stan. The final show will be held on December 26th, 2011 in Bucharest.
More details about Cristian's songs-shows come in from the official PROTV website, in their article:  Un elev de 18 ani ar putea fi VOCEA ROMANIEI! (An 18 years old school-boy could become The Voice of Romania )

Good luck, Cristian!  Mult Succes!

October 21, 2011

Promoting the Carpathian Wilderness

 I like the videos where is provided an interesting insight into the beauty and culture of Romania, and I think that any initiative to promote  Romanian Tourism is welcome.

 The beauty of Romanian wilderness
The beauty of Carpathian Wilderness

In the next one,  Charlie Ottley features the Carpathian Mountains area ("wild Carpathia") - considering it is perhaps the last great wilderness in Europe.

It is a relaxing tour where you can enjoy the Carpathian Mountains scenery to its fullest. 

Update 07.11.2011 - I came along a new trailer featuring Romanian history through the mystical ruins of the ancient Dacian civilisations and the HRH The Prince Of Wales. Still waiting to see the final version (60' duration).

October 19, 2011

Caraiman Valley on Bucegi Natural Park

I came across the beauty of the Pinus Mugo in my childhood, when I visited for first time   Caraiman Valley / Valea Caraiman  aka Mugo Pine Valley / Valea Jepilor on Bucegi Natural Park/ Parcul Natural Bucegi, Carpathians Mountains / Muntii Carpati, Romania. I'm glad that this beautiful evergreen shrub is included in the list of natural species protected by law in Romania and in many other countries.

Mugo Pine Valley, Valea Jepilor, Valea Caraiman, Bucegi Natural Park, Romania
Caraiman Valley, Valea Jepilor, Valea Caraiman, Bucegi Natural Park

Mugo Pine named also Pinus Mugo, Jneapan / Jnepeni,  Jepi, Mountain Pine, Pinus Montana or Latschenkiefer is an atypical dwarf shrub from Pinaceea family of a pine native from the sub-alpine areas of Europe, very popular in Romanian Mountains.

Wild Mugo Pine, Jneapan, grown on Bucegi Plateau, Romania
Wild Mugo Pine, Jneapan, grown on Bucegi Plateau, Romania

They grown wild over 2000 meters altitude on Bucegi Mountains Plateau, in the Carpathians Mountains and Sub-Carpathian meadows but are also very populars in gardens and parks. This year I enjoyed again their stunning beauty along the Prahova Valley and atop of the Bucegi Massif.

Mugo Pines tunnel along Small Mugo Plateau / Platoul Jepilor Mici, Carpathian Mountains, Romania
Mugo Pines tunnel along Small Mugo Pines Plateau / Platoul Jepilor Mici

In summer we spent few amazing days around Busteni, together with our friends and we enjoyed the generous weather (actually really hot) mountaineering in Bucegi Mountains. We hiked the Babele-Jepi trail, starting by Babele Cabin / Cabana Babele (2200 meters altitude), passing between Mugo Pine Valley / Valea Jepilor and Valea Izvorul Dorului, getting off to the Small Mugo Pines Plateau / Platoul Jepilor Mici, then climbing alongside Skylark Peak / Varful Ciocarlia (2056 meters), cutting through a mugo pines tunnel more then half of hour and, finally... camping at Burnt Rock Cabin/ Cabana Piatra Arsa (1950 meters).

Piatra Arsa Cabin/ Cabana Piatra Arsa/ Burnt Rock Cabin, Bucegi Mountains, Muntii Carpati, Romania
Piatra Arsa Cabin/ Burnt Rock Cabin/ Cabana Piatra Arsa, Bucegi Mountains

This hiking trip remembered me one song learned at a camp in my childhood, named  "On the Loose". Hope you like it, too.

On the loose to climb a mountain, On the loose where I am free,
On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be.
For I only have a moment, and a whole world yet to see.
I'll be lookin' for tomorrow on the loose.

Have you ever seen the sunrise turn the sky completely red?
Have you slept beneath the moon and stars with pine boughs for your bed?
Have you sat and talked with friends, though a word was never said?
Then you're just like me and you've been on the loose.

There's a trail that I'll be hiking just to see where it might go,
Many places yet to visit, many people yet to know.
But in following my dreams, I will live and I will grow,
In a world that's waiting there for you on the loose.


October 18, 2011

Autumnal Emotion

The colorful autumn is again in the air, filling with emotions our souls, and this make me to remember a song dear to my heart "Autumnal Emotion / Emotie de Toamna".  I've liked  Nicu Alifantis' talent since 80's when his career boosted by joining the folk movement promoted by Adrian Paunescu at  "The Flame Literary Circle / Cenaclul Flacara" . He is  a Romanian folk singers, musician and actor born on May 31st, 1954, in Braila, Romania.  You may read the English translation of the verses when listen him playing on his acoustic guitar and singing in Romanian the "Autumnal Emotion / Emotie de Toamna" song (thanks to doktorul for the video)

" Autumnal Emotion"  
                                    lyrics by Nichita Stanescu.
Autumn has come, it has come,
Cover with something my heart,
With the shadow of a tree or better,
Or better with your shadow.
I'm afraid that I won't see you sometimes,
That it will grow wings pointed to the clouds,
That you will mask behind an unusual eye,
And it will finish with a leaf of wormwood.
And I come nearby stones and I remain silent
I take the words and I sink them into the sea
I whistle to the moon, rising it and growing it
Into a great love...

Emoţie de toamnă
                         versuri Nichita Stanescu

A venit, a venit toamna,
acoperă-mi inima cu ceva,
Cu umbra unui copac sau mai bine
sau mai bine cu umbra ta.

Mă tem ca n-am să te mai văd uneori,
Că au să-mi crească aripi ascuţite până la nori,
Că ai să te ascunzi într-un ochi străin,
Şi el o să se-nchidă cu o frunză de pelin.
Şi-atunci mă apropii de pietre şi tac,
Iau cuvintele şi le-nec în mare.
Şuier luna şi o răsar şi o prefac
Într-o dragoste mare.


October 13, 2011

The Legend of Poenari Citadel

The Romanian literature and history is so little known all over the world. As child I was sitting for hours listening Fairy Tales / Basme  and Legends/ Legende retold by my grandparents every night. I like to remember them and I hope you'll enjoy their magically beauty.

A great collection of Romanian folk tales and historical legends, named "Roumanian Fairy Tales and Legends" was published in 1881  by E.B. Mawr, and republished  in 2008 by Forgotten Books

I remembered about it when I saw some images from the "Pro History/ Pro Istoria Festival" at the Poenari Citadel/ Cetatea Poenari.

The funds for this event where people enjoyed medieval shows, exhibits with arms and aromour worn by Romanian medieval warriors, and a great compilation of  Live Music Concerts with traditional, medieval and modern songs, were obtained through the "Sistem si prietenii - cetatea Poenari, respect pentru trecut" project.

"Sistem and friends - Poenari Citadel, Worship to the Past"  is a  project realized with European Structural Funds which promotes the historical region of  Oratia Citadel and Poenari Citadel. The funds are being also used for rehabilitation and reconstruction of access way to the fortresses.  You can see a nice photo gallery of Poenari Citadel and Arefu village on the new website developed in same project  (unfortunately just Romanian version) at

The  Poenari Citadel / Poenari Castle / Cetatea Poenari  is the Fortress where Dracula's Legend started, or, more precisely, the castle where Vlad Tepes has lived (it was known also as "Cetatea lui Negru Voda" or "Cetatea lui Tepes Voda"), on the Arges River Valey, close to Fagaras Mountains. The ruined castle is a worldwide attraction, not extensive in size, which stands on a cliff from Fagaras Mountains (860 metters altitude), on the right side of the DN7C (Transfăgărăşean Road) Piteşti – Curtea de Argeş – Vidraru. Some Romanians named the trail " The great Romanian Wall", and there is a manageable walk up until the ruins, but need to climb many steps (1480) to reach it. The legend tells:

Poenari Citadel / Poenari Castle / Cetatea Poenari, Romania

The fortress of Poinarii

CONSTANTINOPOLE had fallen into the hands of the Turks, and disorder reigned in the Roumanian Principalities, mainly occasioned by the pretenders to the thrones.

In Moldavia, Stephen, who was afterward sur-named the Great, made war against Aron, the murderer of his father, Bogdan, and putting to flight Berendei, who disputed his power, remained sole master of the crown, which he was destined to wear so gloriously for more than 40 years.

In Wallachia, Vlad the 5th, son of Vlad the Devil, cut his way to the throne, sabre in hand, and maintained it by the greatest terrorism and tyranny.

He formed a numerous army, cut off the heads of more than 500 Boyards, who would not join his party, caused to be massacred on one pretext or another, more than 20,000 men; and burned alive, in a barn, 400 Hungarians, whom he ordered to be shut up there, and who were living in his country.

These exploits accomplished, he crossed the Carpathians, and went into Transylvania, set fire to the four corners of the town of Brasov (Cronstadt), and seizing a number of the inhabitants, caused them to be empaled in front of the St. Jacob Church.

He then returned to his Principality, feared even more than death itself by the people, and having acquired the stigma to his name--Vlad the Empaler!


Had this tyrant contented himself with empaling Hamzi, the Pasha of Widdin, in the midst of the Turks, whom with Hamzi he had made prisoners; if his brutal rage, and his thirst for blood, had been exercised against the enemies of his country, that might have passed; there would have been some excuse--some extenuation for his senseless cruelty.

Vlad the Empaler, was an exception--monstrous, even in those barbaric times, which God in his malediction, does sometimes send as a curse to his people.

Vlad was created for the part he played; he hated foreigners! he bated the Boyards! he hated the people! He massacred, empaled, killed, without distinction for his own pleasure and security.


Vlad waged a war of extermination against the Turks augmented his army, and raised many fortresses his coffers were empty, and he laid heavy taxes upon his people. Poor and rich alike Must all contribute to give him money. But the people revolted, all--great and small--refused the heavy impositions which he wished to force upon them. Vlad drew back an instant, full of rage, and swearing to himself to be terribly revenged, when the suitable moment presented itself.

It was not long in coming!

In Tergoviste, all is joy! It is 1470, and Easter Day! Every one is out in holiday attire, wending their way towards the church, or walking about the streets; the bells are ringing, and everything seems joyous under this bright blue sky. Vlad, alone, is sombre and silent. He has not forgotten that once he was obliged to bend to the will of his subjects, and dreams continually of vengeance.


All at once he rises, and calls around him his Captains, and gives his instructions to them in a low voice.

Soon, armed soldiers are assembled in the Castle Court; they leave by detachments, in silence, spread themselves along the streets of Tergoviste, close in the public places, and surround the churches. All who were outside, laughing, or inside, at the foot of the altar,--those who smiled, and those who prayed, all found themselves in a circle of iron, seized, thrown pell mell into the enclosure of the palace. Men, women, children, without distinction of age, sex, or condition were there-mute and terror-stricken, awaiting some great and inevitable calamity. Vlad regarded them with a mocking laugh; his eye, as it glanced over them, was that of a wild beast which has its prey in its power, and rejoicing at the nameless horror which he saw depicted on all their faces; he decided to make them acquainted with his will.


The Empaler had been one day hunting along the banks of the river Argis, and had remarked on Mount Albina, a position which he considered admirable. It was an immense rock, on the top of which was a capacious platform, but so high that it seemed to touch the clouds.

Vultures, and birds of prey, alone, inhabited it, and the tumultuous waves of the Argis, beat continually at its base.

Vlad conceived the design, there to build a fortress, which would be impregnable; but for that, he needed money, and his people had refused it to him! Then he came to another resolution, and with this he now made his prisoners acquainted.

"You would not give me the money I needed," he said, "well, keep it! I will not have you killed to chastise you for your revolt, but I condemn you all, just as you are, to build with your own hands a Fortress on the top of Mount Albina. I wish it to be the largest, the best built, and the most impregnable of all which I possess. You will not leave the mountain until all is finished. My soldiers, have the right of life and death over you, to force you to carry out my instructions."


No sooner said than done, and these unfortunate creatures, young and old, huddled together in gala dress, without saying good-bye to those who were happy enough to have remained at home, were conducted, like criminals, to the bank of the river, at the foot of the mountain. Then, after making footpaths, almost perpendicular in the mountain, they gained the platform, and were surrounded by their stern guardians, exposed to every change in the atmosphere, and to nameless tortures.

Masons, stonecutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, all those who knew any trade, set to work. Those who hitherto had been brought up in luxury, mixed mortar, women chipped stones, young girls carried water, and even children were set to work suitable for their age. One might see at the top and the sides of the mountain, a human ant-hill, always in motion, occupied in this atrocious labour.

Sun, rain, and wind, blackened their faces; their clothes hung in shreds; their features haggard and careworn, some eyes burning with rage, others with the submission of despair. These are no longer human beings, but machines, stupified by sorrow, and no longer able oven to implore God above, to send down his maledictions on the tyrant. Still their work progressed, and soon this citta dolente, was completed.

Vlad arrives, and after looking at it with the minutest attention, seeing that it equaled his expectations, in his clemency, sent back to their dwellings all that remained of these miserable workpeople.

On the banks of the Arges, not far from Stoieneste, may still be seen the ruins of what is called in the country, the cursed ruins of the Fortress of Poinarii.

September 27, 2011

Busteni, Prahova Valley, a beautiful vacation destination

Busteni, Prahova Valley a mountain town located almost in the center of Romania, considered the Main Gate to the Bucegi Massif of the Carpathian Mountains remains one of my most favorite vacation destinations.  

Bucegi Massif, Platoul Bucegi, Romania
Bucegi Massif, Platoul Bucegi, Romania

Although Romania has a lot of gorgeous tourist destinations and the Romanian Officials launched many campaigns to promote Romania internationally as a tourism destination, unfortunately it is still not such a frequented Eastern European Country for travelers.

Picturesque fields with mountain flora, atop of Caraiman Peak, Romania
Picturesque fields with mountain flora, atop of Caraiman Peak, Romania

Well, of course, Bucharest, Romanian Monasteries Unesco World Heritage Sites  and Dracula's Castle are some popular spots, but if you are in Bucharest and want to have an amazing day trip, just rent a car or take the train to Busteni, Prahova Valley / Valea Prahovei.

Busteni view, atop of Caraiman Peak, Carpathian Mountains, Romania
Busteni view, atop of Caraiman Peak, Carpathian Mountains, Romania

I love this picturesque mountain setting boasting spectacular landscapes and tourist attractions. Every time I may choose something new from a lot of holiday activities like mountain trips, hiking, biking, skiing in the winter season, visiting Cantacuzino Palace / Palatul Cantacuzino and Caraiman Monastery / Manastirea Caraiman or listening live classical and rock music during the Music Festivals organized in the main park.

Caraiman Cabin / Cabana Caraiman, Bucegi Mountains
Caraiman Cabin / Cabana Caraiman, Bucegi Mountains

Once you get off at Busteni (just 135 km from Bucharest), you may take a cable car / gondola / telecabina (4350m long - the biggest Romanian cable-car line) from Busteni to the Babele, going atop of a Bucegi Mountains/ Muntii Bucegi. 

View from Gondola, Cable-Car, Telecabina Busteni Babele
View from Gondola, Cable-Car, Telecabina Busteni Babele
There you may pass nearby Babele Cabin / Cabana Babele and climb over boulders to see " Old Ladies Rock Faces / Babe rocks / Babele" and "The Sphynx / The Sphinx / Sfinxul" - fantastic monuments carved by the wind about more than 2000 meters altitude in the Bucegi Massif / Masivul Bucegi.

Sphynx / Sphinx / Sfinx, Bucegi Mountains, wind-carved faces on rock
Sphynx / Sphinx / Sfinx, Bucegi Plateau, Romania
Old Ladies Rock Faces / Babe rocks / Babele, Bucegi Mountains, wind-carved faces on rock
Old Ladies Rock Faces / Babe rocks / Babele, Bucegi Plateau, Romania

After you reach the top, you may hike through the Bucegi National Park / Parcul National Bucegi on marked trails through the colorful fields with rare mountain flowers (rare species of wild flora and fauna, including edelweiss/ floare de colt) .

Colorful fields with rare mountain flowers, Bucegi Mountains
Colorful fields with rare mountain flowers, Bucegi Mountains

In July we spent few days in this area and the generous weather permitted us to take spectacular pictures of the Bucegi Mountains/ Muntii Bucegi and Baiului Mountains/ Muntii Baiului panoramas. We've wondered following the marked trails to the highest peaks in Bucegi Mountains, visiting OMU Peak / Varful OMU (2504 m altitude), climbing on unusual rocky formations alongside Costila Region / Regiunea Costila, Caraiman Mountain / Muntele Caraiman, Zamora area and alongside the second cable-car line "Babele-Piatra Arsa" (2543 m long).

Also we explored the peak areas, hiking for about one hour from the Babele Gondola Station to "The Heroes' Cross / Heroes Monument / Crucea Eroilor", a huge steel cross (48m high and 14m wide) to honor the World War I heroes, erected at 2291 m altitude, atop of the Caraiman Peak/ Varful Caraiman,  (is said that is unique in Europe, by its size and location).

The Heroes Cross / Heroes Monument / Crucea Eroilor, Caraiman Peak, Varful Caraiman, Romania
The Heroes' Cross / Heroes Monument / Crucea Eroilor,  Caraiman Peak, Romania

Heroes Monument / Crucea Eroilor, Caraiman Peak, Varful Caraiman, Bucegi, Romania
Heroes Monument / Crucea Eroilor,  Caraiman Peak, close view

During the night this monument enforced on a concrete pedestal is lighted and is visible (when the sky is clear) from Busteni, Sinaia, Predeal and other SPA towns along Prahova Valley/ Valea Prahovei.

Hope the images will convince you to visiting it one day.

June 24, 2011

God and Man, Mihai Eminescu

Cozia Monastery - Icon painted on the entrance wall
Cozia  Monastery - Icon painted on the entrance wall
Of the old book, eaten by moths, with whiffed covers
I have opened up the lustrous pages, covered with their old letters
Twisted like the blind thinking of strange centuries,
Sad like the airsick bellow the sunken berries.

But on the last page, with sinuous and dry contours
I saw you were born in straw, small and unsightly face
Christ,  a hieroglyph with a plaintive sight,
Mary, sitting quietly with sniff neck and mournful eyes.

Those, My Lord, were the times when those with daring minds
Have been helped by the rough grossly engraving...
While the childlike hand, the burning sight of the holy
Has failed to understand, to imitate in its Icon.

But the virgin soul was thinking of you, hoping for peaceful nights,
Seeing you laughing among the tears, with an angelic smile.
Knelt down at your sides, your mother stood in awe
Raising to the heaven her beautiful and holy hand.

Alongside the ancient forests of the Great India
Within, like oasis, it has been endless empires,
Kings furthering the peace and destinies of their people
Worship to wisdom their passing lives.

But an old wise man, old as the world, gathers them and speaks
About a new belief which has been born into the world, powerful and stronger
Than all that were noticed before. And a shining star
Is burning in the sky, revealing the path to the miracles.

Does it succeed to solve all that was left unsolved ?
Does humankind dream be quiescent for human being?
Does it be the arm to wipe away the ineffectiveness of humanity?
Or may be the hidden spring of true enlightenment?

Does it be able to dispel the eternal anxiety,
The pain which has been born from its limited power
And its unlimited desire ?... Leave aside your hasty words,
Kings, go kneel down for the new born in the stable.

In the stable ?... Was the truth born of a humble spirit?
And the Lord is swaddled in humiliation clothes?
From the suffering of a century, the martyrdom of the entire world,
A star of peace was born, giving light to the earth and sky...

Loads of gold and myrrh are burdened on the camels
And are carried on caravan following the bright morning star,
Which, along with the moist air, looks like having a chip of the sun
Which has just slipped through the blue sky towards the eternal compassion.

And then, the longing of the Christian Heart will see the desert,
And throughout, the wise men from the East, walking like shadows,
Quietly royal shadows, following the happy star...
The moon's rays were shining on the desert skies.

On top of the mountains, with laurel hedges and olive tree groves,
Telling the fairy tales, the shepherds saw the Star
Which put on skies a shinny smile throughout its rays as snow
And they've followed its holy light to the divine stable.

Today, the artist conceives you as a king on his throne,
But his vain heart doesn't follow his elegant handwriting...
By the spirit of his century had been pierced his heart
And the perception in his mind is that you are a Man, not God.

Today, the light of thoughts are readily perceived like the hay-fire,
Yesterday you were pure faith, but sincerest and deep,
You were the King of mankind, the belief in you was hard as rock...
Today it throws you on canvas, or engraves you in marble.

Hurezi Monastery - Icon painted on the entrance arches
Hurezi Monastery - Icon painted on the entrance arches

"God and Man" / "Dumnezeu si Om"   is one of  Mihai Eminescu's poems  from 1873, dear to my heart.  I really wanted to share its beauty with all of you, so in my English translation of it I have tried to maintain the meaning of the poem (sorry for the missing rhymes).  The Romanian poem is from wikisource.

Cărții vechi, roase de molii, cu păreții afumați,
I-am deschis unsele pagini, cu-a lor litere bătrâne.
Strâmbe ca gândirea oarbă unor secole străine.
Triste ca aerul bolnav de sub murii afundați.

Dar pe pagina din urmă, în trăsuri greoaie, seci,
Te-am văzut născut în paie, fața mică și urâtă,
Tu, Christoase, -o ieroglifă stai cu fruntea amărâtă,
Tu, Mario, stai tăcută, țeapănă, cu ochii reci!

Era vremi acelea, Doamne, când gravura grosolană
Ajuta numai al minții zbor de foc cutezător...
Pe când mâna-ncă copilă pe-ochiul sânt și arzător
Nu putea să-l înțeleagă, să-l imite în icoană.

Însă sufletul cel vergin te gândea în nopți senine,
Te vedea râzând prin lacrimi, cu zâmbirea ta de înger.
Lângă tine-ngenuncheată, muma ta stătea-n uimire,
Ridicând frumoasă, sântă, cătră cer a sale mâne.

În pădurile antice ale Indiei cea mare,
Printre care, ca oaze, sunt imperii fără fine,
Regii duc în pace-eternă a popoarelor destine
Închinând înțelepciunei viața lor cea trecătoare.

Dar un mag bătrân ca lumea îi adună și le spune
C-un nou gând se naște-n oameni, mai puternic și mai mare
Decât toate pân-acuma. Și o stea strălucitoare
Arde-n cer arătând calea la a evului minune.

Fi-va oare dezlegarea celora nedezlegate?
Fi-va visul omenirei grămădit într-o ființă?
Fi-va brațul care șterge-a omenimei neputință
Ori izvorul cel de taină a luminii-adevărate?

Va putea să risipească cea neliniște eternă,
Cea durere ce-i născută din puterea mărginită
Și dorința făr- de margini?... Lăsați vorba-vă pripită,
Mergeți regi spre închinare la născutul în tavernă.

În tavernă?... -n umilință s-a născut dar adevărul?
Și în fașe d-înjosire e-nfășat eternul rege?
Din durerea unui secol, din martiriul lumii-ntrege
Răsări o stea de pace, luminând lumea și cerul...

Sarcini de-aur și de smirnă ei încarcă pe cămile
Și pornesc în caravană după steaua plutitoare,
Ce în aerul cel umed, pare-o așchie din soare,
Lunecând pe bolta-albastră la culcușu-eternei mile.

Ș-atunci inima creștină ea vedea pustia-ntinsă
Și pin ea plutind ca umbre împărați din răsărit,
Umbre regii și tăcute ce-urmau astrul fericit...
Strălucea pustia albă de a lunei raze ninsă,

Iar pe muntele cu dafini, cu dumbrave de măslin
Povestind povești bătrâne, au văzut păstorii steaua
Cu zâmbirea ei ferice și cu razele de neauă
Ș-au urmat sfințita-i cale către staulul divin.


Azi artistul te concepe ca pe-un rege-n tronul său,
Dară inima-i deșartă mâna-i fină n-o urmează...
De a veacului suflare a lui inimă e trează
Și în ochiul lui cuminte tu ești om ­ nu Dumnezeu.

Azi gândirea se aprinde ca și focul cel de paie ­
Ieri ai fost credința simplă ­ însă sinceră, adâncă,
Împărat fuși Omenirei, crezu-n tine era stâncă...
Azi pe pânză te aruncă, ori în marmură te taie.

Hurezi Monastery - Icon painted on the wall
Hurezi Monastery - Icon painted on the wall