May 31, 2012

Noapte de Mai

"May  Night / Noapte de Mai"  is one of my favourite songs since 1996, since I listen for first time  Mirabela Dauer's album "I love you, my love / Te iubesc iubirea mea".

May is almost done, the lilac is in full-bloom and the birds are singing all day, thus leading my thoughts to find and share the song. I've done an English translation of the verses for sharing their beauty to a larger audience.

 Lilac branch in full bloom - liliac inflorit

Come on! The nightingale is singing and the lilac is in full-bloom.
Sing! Nothing noble, nice and sweet is gone forever
But nothing will budge over between the flowers and the stars,
Come on! The nightingale is singing and the lilac is in full-bloom!

On the classic hills, virgins are climbing dressed in traditional blouses
Holding empty amphorae, filling their eyes with serenity,
They made the water-spring humming, and the wood cheerful,
Any pain to cease, and poetry to speak out.

And they asked the bird to sing it again,  and on amazing command
Roses spreading their perfume and nightingale its song.

Mirabela Dauer is always singing with passion, joy and  happiness
(Alexandru Macedonski's lyrics and Marian Nistor's music):

Veniti, privighetoarea canta si liliacul e-nflorit,
Cantati, nimic din ce e nobil, suav si dulce n-a murit.
Dar dintre flori si dintre stele, nimica nu va fi clintit,
Veniti, privighetoarea canta si liliacul e-nflorit!

Pe dealuri clasice se-arata fecioare in camasi de in,
Ce-n maini cu amforele goale isi umplu ochii de senin,
Facu izvorul sa ingane, padurea sa se-nveseleasca,
Orice durere sa-nceteze, si poezia sa vorbeasca.

Si zise pasarei sa cante, si la porunca uimitoare,
Se inalta parfum de roze si cantec de privighetoare.

 Lilac flowers - Flori de liliac

May 27, 2012

Congratulations, Alina Cojocaru, on Benois de la Danse 2012!

My favorite ballerina dancer, with really magnificent performances, Alina Cojocaru has won for the second time the "Benois de la Danse" competition - one of the most prestigious ballet competition.

Alina Cojocaru in Giselle - photo courtesy

She was rewarded for her portrayal in the female lead role "Julie" in John Neumeier's "Liliom" (based on Ferenc Molnár's play, with music by Michel Legrand) with the Hamburg Ballet - Germany.

Congratulations, Alina, for your magical performance!

In 2004 she won her first "Benois de la Danse" prix for the her performance in "Cinderella" role, with the "Royal Ballet" - United Kingdom

Cinderella / Cenusareasa (The Royal Ballet): Alina Cojocaru e Johan Kobborg:

Ion Iliescu, who acted as President of Romania from 1990 until 1996, and from 2000 until 2004, gave her in 2002 the "Medal of Cavaler of Romania" / Ordinul national "Pentru Merit"in gradul de cavaler., which make me happy she was honored by her country for her stunning performances.
Although a fan of her expressiveness dance after I saw it in Giselle, Juliet from Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Princess Florine in Sleeping Beauty/ Frumoasa Adormita and Odette in Swan Lake/ Lacul Lebedelor, dancing with grace and passion, almost floating around the scene, let's say that I improved my knowledge about her prizes and awards when I discovered her website

Sleeping Beauty / Frumoasa Adormita : Alina Cojocaru - Federico Bonelli:

It is a great performance to won "Ballerina of the Decade" Award (Moscow 2010), too and the Gold Medal at Nagoya International Ballet Competition and I'm sure that behind those awards stay her strengthens, dedication and perseverance.

Alina Cojocaru dancing in Sleeping Beauty/ Frumoasa Adormita - photo courtesy

Alina Cojocaru was born May 27, 1981 in Bucharest and, because today is her birthday, I wish her "Happy Birthday", too. She started her trainings as gymnast girl than, at 9 years old, was accepted to be trained as ballerina dancer in Kiev, where has continued her trainings for seven years, than received a "Prix de Lausanne" scholarship for a six-months training at Royal Balet School.

Once was started her dancing journey, she performed absolutely wonderful around the world with various international Ballet companies at Kiev, Zurich, Hamburg, London, Paris, Viena, Tokyo, Galas. She become the world's top ballerina dancer and remains a women full of modesty who explains "Just try to tell the story in the best way I can".

As Octavian Paler said: "One can't get out of mediocrity without doing anything in excess / Nu se poate iesi din mediocritate fara a face ceva in exces".
She is a charismatic dancer, performing truly majestics ballets and makes me proud of being Romanian.

Romeo and Juliet

May 24, 2012

Caves of the Carpathian Mountains

Carpathian Mountains stand for a breathtaking wild-beauty of landscapes, with picturesque valleys, karst areas with dolines and caverns entrances, ponors, streams and springs giving rise to gorges and waterfalls, salt  mountains and salinas (Praid, Turda or Slanic Prahova), natural bridges, arches and tunnels formed by erosion (water, frost, wind) at the surface or deep, into subterranean caves ( Romanian Magic Land being on top of my "Why I love Romania / De ce Iubesc Romania" list).

Small Dome of Women's Cave - Domul Mic Pestera Muierii, Gorj
Small Dome of Women's Cave - Domul Mic Pestera Muierii, Gorj

Over the years I've taken trips to visit some caves of the Carpathian Mountains renowned for their beauty: Bears Cave / Pestera Ursilor (electrified, more than 1000m long, just 488m for tourist visits)

Bears Cave - Pestera Ursilor , Bihor
Bears Cave - Pestera Ursilor , Bihor

 Women's Cave / Pestera Muierii (more than 3500m long, electrified, for tourist purposes just 573m)

Large Dome of Women's Cave - Domul Mare Pestera Muierii , Gorj
Large Dome of Women's Cave - Domul Mare Pestera Muierii , Gorj
 The Cave of Pahomie from Polovragi / Pestera Polovragi (electrified, 900 m long), known also as Zamolxe's Cave / Pestera Lui Zamolxe;

The Cave of Pahomie from Polovragi
The Cave of Pahomie from Polovragi, photo wikipedia

Dambovicioara Cave / Pestera Dambovicioara (250 m long);    

Gorges and Cave of Dambovicioara River / Cheile si Pestera Dambovicioarei postcard
Gorges and Cave of Dambovicioara River / Cheile si Pestera Dambovicioarei postcard 

Meziad Cave / Pestera Meziad (4750 m long), and The Cave of Ponor's Fortress/ Pestera Cetatile Ponorului.

The Cave of Ponor's Fortress / Pestera Cetatile Ponorului (entrance has 76 m high)
The Cave of Ponor's Fortress / Pestera Cetatile Ponorului (entrance has 76 m high), foto www.

I wasn't hooked on the sport of caving, but i have expanded my knowledge of the caves through successive visits since childhood (unfortunately  my photographic journey through those amazing caves is incomplete).  It was always amazing to immerse myself  in the fascinating caves and karstic hollows of Carpatian Mountains, and I wish to have time to take another tour of those etched underground treasures, through stalactites & stalagmites or twisting straws and passages.

Bears Cave - Pestera Ursilor , Bihor
Bears Cave - Pestera Ursilor , Bihor

Climbing through miles of wilderness and passing among mountains which keep underground fossil ice formations like Scarisoara Ice Cave/ Pestera Scarisoara(75000m3 stratified ice), Bortig Ice Cave/ Pestera Bortig (25000 m3 stratified ice) or The Ice Cave of the Living Fire Glacier / Pestera Ghetarul Focul Viu (named "Living Fire" due to the sunrays which reflect onto the glacier) is anytime an amazing experience.

The Ice Cave of the Living Fire Glacier / Pestera Ghetarul Focul Viu
The Ice Cave of the Living Fire Glacier / Pestera Ghetarul Focul Viu, photo 

Scarisoara Glacier / Ghetarul din Pestera Scarisoara stands for the largest Ice Cave of Romania (105 m deep and 720 m long, just 250m being for tourist visits). Older than 3500 years, the glacier has more than 26m thickness and stands for a scenic glacier with fine calcite encrustations.

The Church, Scarisoara Ice Cave
The Church, Scarisoara Ice Cave, Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Bears Cave / Pestera Ursilor remains one of the most beautiful and spectacular Cave of Romanian's Mountains. The cave was named " Bears' Cave / Pestera Ursilor" due to numerous skeletons of extinct Cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) discovered at the entrance of the Tourist part of the Cave. The Cave has been opened to visitors after 1980 and it is a must see for those visiting the Apuseni Mountains.

Bears Cave - Pestera Ursilor , Chiscau Village, Bihor County
Bears Cave - Pestera Ursilor , Chiscau Village, Bihor County

It is electrified and has secure pathways for tourists, bordered by a range of picket fences, metallic railings or small stonewalls and palisades. It has an impressive array of limestone speleothems with various shapes: stalagmites, stalactites, columns, flowstones, draperies or straws. The "MAGIC Castles / Palatele Fermecate" ;-) , "Dwarfs' House / Casuta piticilor" "The Devil's Teeth/ Coltii Diavolului",  "The drapes of Bears' Galery/Draperiile din Galeria Ursilor" are just few formations which incited my imagination during my visit there.

Candles Gallery, Bears Cave - Galeria Lumanarilor, Pestera Ursilor , Bihor
Candles Gallery, Bears Cave - Galeria Lumanarilor, Pestera Ursilor , Bihor
 The Bears Cave is structured on two levels, the superior segment being for tourist purposes, and the inferior segment being considered scientific reservation. I spent almost one hour walking throughout a succession of 3 galleries: Bears Gallery aka Fossils Gallery/ Galeria Ursilor sau Galeria Oaselor, Emil Racovita Gallery / Galeria Emil Racovita and the Candles Gallery/  Galeria Lumanarilor  where "The gathering of Old Men / Sfatul Batranilor" are still talking about global environmental issues ;-).

Bears Cave, Pestera Ursilor
Bears Cave, Pestera Ursilor.

A perfect ending for this (incomplete) summary of  Caves of the Carpathian Mountains is  Alexandru Vlahuta's description of Polovragi Cave in "Picturesque Romania/ Romania Pitoreasca":
"On the weak light that plays on the damp and dark walls of the cave we are seeing an amazing abundance of stalactites and stalagmites - large stone tassels hanging from the ceiling like icicles-ice, ready to unite with others that grow from the bottom up - wonderful creation of water droplet, creeping through stones in thousands of years of perseverance, which carves rocks, melts stone and make it what it wants / La slaba lumina ce joaca pe peretii umezi si intunecosi ai pesterii vedem o bogăţie uimitoare de stalactite si stalagmite — ciucuri mari de piatra atarnati de tavan, ca niste turturi de gheata, gata sa se impreune cu altii ce cresc de jos in sus — plazmuirea minunata a picaturii de apa care, strecurandu-se prin steiuri, in mii si mii de ani de staruinta, ciopleste stancile, topeste piatra si face din ea ce vrea.".

May 7, 2012

Sara pe Deal, by Mihai Eminescu

 Flock of Sheep in the evening on Romanian hills
Shepperd with a  Flock of Sheep, in the evening, on the hillside

Evening on the hill, mourning horn sounds
Flocks of sheep climb it, twinkle stars follow them in their way,
Springs mourn clearly, flowing to the water wells,
Under a locust-tree, you are waiting for me, my dearly.

The moon is clearing a holy path to the heaven
Your big-eyes are looking through the seldom foliage, watching ahead
The stars glimmer over the serene vault of the heaven
The longing lies in your breast, the thoughts bulge out on your forehead.

Clouds vault, splitting rays from their floating strings
Old house-eaves are raised to the moon,
The sweep well squeak in the winds,
Fumes over the valley, whistles moan in sheepfold.

Peasants are carrying their scythes to shoulders
When come back from the field; with a chop stroke
Bells fill the evening from everywhere, raising the sounds;
My soul burns like a flame, trembling with love.

Ah! The quiet steals by the village in the valley,
Ah! My steps rush soon towards thee,
Under the locust-tree, we will sit the whole night,
For hours I will tell you how beloved are you to me.

We will lean each to the other our heads,
And dream-smiling will fall into sleep under the high
Old locust-tree. For such a full-of-love night
Who would not give his entire life?

" Evening on the Hill" / "Sara pe Deal "  is a very popular poem, which was wrote by Mihai Eminescu in  1885.  His verses were featured over the years in so many spectacles,  festivals of music and poetry, or tuned videos. I like the next video based on "Sara pe Deal" song composed by Vasile Popovici and interpreted  by Tudor Gheorghe in his series of Season's albums.

Is said that this poem was also source of inspiration for the image painted on salt behind the Mihai Eminescu's bust from Unirea Salt Mine , Slanic Prahova.  I've already translated the verses in English some months earlier, but now it's the full version (I hope it convey the message). 

Mihai Eminescu bust and paint on salt, Unirea Salt Mine, Slanic Prahova
Mihai Eminescu bust and paint on salt, Unirea Salt Mine, Slanic Prahova

Sara pe deal buciumul suna cu jale,
Turmele-l urc, stele le scapara-n cale,
Apele plang, clar izvorand in fantane;
Sub un salcam, draga, m-astepti tu pe mine.

Luna pe cer trece-asa sfanta si clara,
Ochii tai mari cauta-n frunza cea rara,
Stelele nasc umezi pe bolta senina,
Pieptul de dor, fruntea de gânduri ti-e plina.

Nourii curg, raze-a lor siruri despica,
Stresine vechi casele-n luna ridica,
Scartaie-n vant cumpana de la fantana,
Valea-i in fum, fluiere murmura-n stana.

Si osteniti oameni cu coasa-n spinare
Vin de la camp; toaca rasuna mai tare,
Clopotul vechi imple cu glasul lui sara,
Sufletul meu arde-n iubire ca para.

Ah! in curand satul in vale-amuteste;
Ah! in curand pasu-mi spre tine grabeste:
Langa salcam sta-vom noi noaptea intreaga,
Ore întregi spune-ti-voi cat imi esti draga.

Ne-om razima capetele-unul de altul
Si surazand vom adormi sub inaltul,
Vechiul salcam. Astfel de noapte bogata,
Cine pe ea n-ar da viata lui toata?

Seara pe deal - Evening on the Romanian hills, Prahova County

May 1, 2012


Arminden's holiday is inherited from Dacians' times and marks the beginning of summer.  Armindeni has been celebrated by Romanians on "First Day of May"  decorating their homes (including pillars and doors)  with garlands of spring flowers, willow's and lilac's branches in bloom. In some communities,  women and children wore the traditional amulets of spring "martisoare" until the first day of May at the feast of "Arminden"  (when is supposed to tie the martisor's tread to a blossoming spring tree with the belief that all the wishes would come true). The tradition said that Arminden marks also the celebration of  forming grains in ears of  the wheat  and people used to bake a special bread decorated with poppy seeds and leaves.   

Bread with poppy seeds and scented leaves - traditional for Armindeni's Holiday
Bread with poppy seeds and scented leaves - traditional for Armindeni's Holiday

Many of us have been forgotten about Arminden's tradition, and used to associate the May 1st with the annual celebration of workers. Indeed, the slogan of the day:" Workers of the world, unite! / Proletari din toate tarile, uniti-va! " is imprinted in our memory. Even Google celebrates this year "The International Day of Remembrance and Action for Workers/ Ziua internationala a Solidaritatii Oamenilor Muncii"  with a special Doodle (if you missed them before, you may see here the 2012 collection of google - doodles)   inspired by the "Celebrating Workers Contribution" manifesto.

Google Doodle image for The International Day of Remembrance and Action for Workers
Google Doodle for The International Day of Remembrance and Action for Workers
My article want just to bring to your attention a different meaning of May Day, in case you didn't already know. And, of course I'll continue my work to share my cultural heritage to readers of English, this time translating the

poem wrote last century by George Bacovia (more about him in my previous article December)  

Blooming field in spring / dumbrava cu flori de primavara
Blooming field in spring / dumbrava cu flori de primavara

Profile of a gigantic city
settled into a rustic atmosphere,
In the midst of lilac's scent
And pitched guitar chords.

In a festive day,
Joyful,old habits...
Go to the fields
And to the groves
Heroic workers.

And, after another day
Post festum
Encouragements of crosses
On the streets
And on the trams
Necessary to yield
To monotonous Work.

     poem scris de George Bacovia
Profil de burg gigant
Si atmosfera, rara,
Amar parfum de liliac
Si bonduri de chitara.

De–o zi de sarbatoare,
Voioase, vechi moravuri...
Spre cimp se duce
Si dumbrave
Eroua lume muncitoare.

Si dupa alta zi,
Post festum -
Indemnari de cruci
Pe strazi
Si in tramvaie,
Spre necesarul randament
Din monotona Munca.