Castles and Communism on the Road to Dej

A few friends and I visited Banffy Castle (home of Electric Castle), Kornis Castle and the local salt baths (Parc Balnear Toroc) on a recent road trip to Dej. First, Banffy Castle: The inside of Banffy Castle used to be accessible to visitors, however now they’ve barred off the entrances and windows of the building. But…

Do-It-Yourself Romania: A Miscellany of Decay in Vaslui County

I spent Christmas with a good friend who lives in the far east of Romania. There’s quite a lot of interesting rot to see out there if you know where to look. Here are some highlights: My friend knew of a few abandoned wine tunnels back east, where there are many. The one of brick…

Implausible Deniability Part 2

Well, well, what do you know? The AP is up to its usual shitty job of reporting about Romania: The CIA paid Romania “millions of dollars” to host secret prisons, a rights lawyer said Wednesday as the European Court of Human Rights heard accusations that Romania allowed the agency to torture terrorism suspects in a…

Walking Brasov, Romania

Originally posted on One Small Walk…:
taking off from Bucharest If you come by train from Bucharest to Brasov, Romania you have already had a mountain-side seat to view the Carpathians. Legendary mountains of beauty (true) and vampires (maybe not so true), you have already formed an opinion about the countryside you came to see.…

U.S. Ambassador Klemm Takes on ‘Revanchist Russia’

Yesterday the Citadel Group at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj hosted U.S. Ambassador Klemm at the Faculty of European Studies, an event which I was fortunate enough to attend and even participate in marginally. Ambassador Klemm’s speech (transcript here) focused on a ‘revanchist Russia’ and what NATO and particularly Romania ought to be doing to counter its…

Gypsy Palaces in Huedin

Few places in Romania have a higher concentration of garish gypsy palaces than the little town of Huedin, located just west of Cluj.  The palaces have always struck me as the architectural equivalent of gold grillz and raised trucks—flashy emblems for American proles who want to project a moneyed lifestyle despite earning $30,000 a year. Most people…

BlaBlaCar in Romania

I was taking a leak on a train from Iași to Cluj when it dawned on me that there had to be a better way to travel long-distance across Romania.  The thought struck me then and there because, while one hand was busy aiming my Johnson roughly at the rim, the other was holding the sliding door…

The Cave of Bears

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed talking about some of Romania’s amazing caves, including the super cool Scarisoara Ice Cave and the Cave of Bones. Today’s link goes to a post from a Romanian (in English) about the Cave of Bears: So… how much do you like caves? Because if you’re the kind of person who…

Frăția românească

“- Din Basarabia vă scriu, Dulci frați de dincolo de Prut”, Șopti un moldovean cu-n glas acriu, Destăinuindu-i cerului ce l-a durut.   Dovedind, într-un sfârșit, priporul, Se așezase pe un pisc de stâncă, Și-n bezna aceea-l apucase dorul Domolindu-se cu o mâhnire adâncă.   “- Unde mi-s frații? De ce ei au uitat de…

Un rien pervers, un rien nunuches

Wow. I’m a huge fan of the arts but there’s something surreal about seeing one of the most significant moments in recent history turned into a plot line for a show. If you understand French, you can read this interview about a new theater production entitled “Un jour, un destin” (A day, a destiny) all…