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.…

Celebrating Paști in Moldova

Originally posted on SaraJoy:
“Paste Ferecit” (Happy Easter!) from Moldova! We celebrated Orthodox Easter today in Moldova. This is my 2nd Easter here and continues to be my most favorite holiday celebrated in Moldova. Leading up to Easter Sunday, people spend the week preparing food and cleaning their homes. I was able to help my host…

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…