In September 2011 I came back to Romania for the first time since 1985. 26 years had passed. One so called Revolution had taken place. A whole new generation of people had grown up in that time.
Romania is, in my eyes, like a teenager now. Trying to stand on its’ own values, often challenged by the input from the outside world, as distraction make itself present.- And the distractions are many. Romania is, in my eyes, like a teenager trying to create its’ own identity.
So Romania; what stays with me, from the past 15 months?
What are my impressions?
Why does it matter?
It matters because I often find that an inaccurate picture of Romania is painted in the world outside Romania. As if Romania was the misunderstood one. The Bucharest Lounge wants to show pictures that display the beauty and meaning from Romania. Tell me later what you think!
The People. Romanians are giving and kind. They are life-embracing food-lovers. They have big hearts and are incredible enduring. Tested in time and full of wisdom. Smart and intelligent. Beautiful: Men are men and women are women.
Bucharest. A funky, interesting town, where the architecture is as eclectic as the life lived in this town. There are the old Communistic blocks, orthodox churches, the Old Town, the French style boulevards, the French styled houses that all make this fantastic mix. I found many great places and I am still exploring.
I found Carturesti, I found Calea Victoriei. I took the metro from Piata Romana several times, and I enjoyed running the Bucharest half marathon. I discovered three different kinds of melons in a fruit market in September and I gladly tasted the first spring onions from a friends’ garden in April. I played with a Ciobanesc Mioritic dog many times and I learned to order a ceai (tea) in Romanian. I fell in love with the traditional clothing and the handicraft, from going to several markets and I just had my Swedish glögg/glue wine from ceramic cups bought at the St Nikolas Market in Bucharest in December. I went to the Km 0 and went back in time. I looked at the new generation outside the university and went ahead in time. Maybe they are the leaders of tomorrow?
I started this blog, because I thought the world should know too, about this amazing city and country.
Cultural heritage: When going to Romanian museums, when learning about Romanian authors, musicians, poets and painters I’m left with a feeling that this is a cultural heritage that has been hidden from the world. The names are not known to us in the West.
Not voluntarily of course. First, Romania was locked under Communism, now: the world outside Romania is so little interested in the Romania of today, because of bad attitudes towards the country. There is an abundance of beauty and art to be enjoyed from Romania. I’m in a huge learning curve myself and will come back when I have more to say. Forgive my ignorance.
Spirituality: There is something spiritual about Romania. Maybe I notice it because we have become so secularized in the part of the world where I am from, Scandinavia. In Romania there is the Romanian Orthodox Church that is very active. I’ve experienced beautiful Easter in Bucharest. I bought the colorful eggs. I’ve visited churches in Bucharest and in Prahova Valley. What struck me is the beauty in the churches: the ornaments and the serenity. The peace. People of all ages coming to church. The routines. After being in a Romanian orthodox church I feel relaxed and my mind is clear.
I’m thinking: the belief in God must have been a strength during Communism? Keeping hope alive? Romanians are enduring people and strong in this respect.
For me I also associate the Romanian Orthodox church with one special priest. Father Tanase in Prahova. I met him three times and I was completely amazed by him. Amazed by his presence, courage and warmth. He set up a children’s camp and helps children, women, elderly and others who need support. My great respect to him.
There is more about spirituality. There is this interest about philosophers, the abundance of proverbs, the country side with its well kept traditions and folklore. I have a feeling, when talking to people, especially Romanian mothers, that there is always a special natural remedy for all, and there seem to be a proverb for all. What also caught my attention was the spoons. The wooden spoons. The spoons of life. They are beautiful and tells me stories about wisdom, love, birth and death. – And all in between. I love stories!
Food and drink. Oh, well. That is an article of it’s own. How can I bottom – line food and drink? I didn’t even travel the country much. What can I say? I love Sarmale. I love the eggplant mix that goes with all. I love the Ciorba with beans and smoked meat, as I get it at Caru cu Bere : in a big bread. I love the freshness of getting fruit and vegetables from the garden of friends. I like my Strudel cu mere from the corner shop. I like Jidvei , Feteasca Regala and I learned to drink that white wine with sparkling water. I love to eat walnuts, crisp and fresh directly from the tree and tempt me with tasty cherries in spring and I ‘m yours!
There is an abundance of great food and drink in Romania. I hope that people in Romanian will continue to buy Romanian, from Romanian farmers and producers. Support their own, instead of buying tomatoes with no taste, flown in from abroad.
At the end I would like to ask:
– Does Romania want people to come and rediscover the country, just like I did?
If the answer is yes, then the first thing to do is to start changing the attitude towards Romania abroad. At the moment, the harsh reality is that Romania is not on the common travel route to most people.
- Because of negative attitudes. People don’t know how beautiful this country is.
With the Bucharest Lounge blog and Facebook page I want to contribute, my way, in painting a more full picture of Romania. I want to show the world the beauty and meaning coming from Romania.
The Facebook page is active every day, the blog will be every week.
Stay tuned and stay connected.
That’s all from the Bucharest Lounge for today.