At last to the mountain refuge - I was discouraged a couple of weeks back by the forecasts of snow. So this is the first visit since mid January. The snow is still thick around the house – but melting fast. Bottles of tap water which I left in the bathroom are frozen and also upstairs – but not, curiously, in the kitchen (although the water in the kettle was). Apart from a leak sprung by the bath tap, the house has survived the winter in excellent shape – the books unfazed and most of the paintings well protected. Each spring, here in Romania where the seasons are still very distinctive and well….central European… is an amazing rebirth.
Yesterday we visited two superb Romanian mansions – one in a hill above Urlati (a very poor town on the road from Ploiesti in the direction of Buzau) which was the home of one of Romania’s first photographers at the end of the 19th century and gives a marvellous sense of that period.
The other in Ploiesti itself. Excellent guides in both – the first of which had actually helped restore the place (and others). On the way back from Urlati – which is in on the wine foothills – we had some wine-tasting on the main road at the Domeniile Dealu Mare Urlati whose young proprietor Alexandru Marinescu was on hand for a chat – the Merlot rose and Pelin were fragrant and worth buying - at 1.5 euros and 2 euros a litre respectively. It’s interesting that the large Prahova area of Dealu Mare is the current brand name for the good reds in Romania but that they don’t yet really sell on the basis of the regional areas such as Tohani and Urlati – let alone specific vineyards. His wines are available at the Matache market in Bucharest - more here.
Six books waiting for me - including The End of Revolution - China and the limits of modernity by Wang Hui.