First two weeks of August overcast and cool – but the cloudless blue skies now encircle the Carpathian mountain ranges again. Saturday we acted as
tourists – catching the funicular up the mountain which (a bit like Brasov ) towers over the city; and then taking an open-air bus for a city trip. Well worth the 7 euros the afternoon cost (3 for the first; 1 for second; and 3 for parking). Clocked an excellent wine shop en route – offering well-presented wines from various parts of the country – and finished the day with a moving organ and soprano performance at Ghimbav’s fortified church. I’m not a great fan of classical solo singing but Cristina Radu’s voice had me spell-bound. Next Saturday evening sees the last of the Musica Barcensis performances at the most easterly of the fortified Saxon churches - in Rasnov. Brasov has about ten such fortified churches within a short distance - four of them in our neighbourhood. Sofia
A visit to the Carturesti bookshop netted Sach Sitwell’s 1938 Romanian Journey whose intro could have been written yesterday (apart from the references to the royal family)
For Roumania is still unspoilt. Perhaps there is no other country in
Europeof which this is true to the same extent. More than this, under good rule, it has limitless possibilities from its untired human stock, who have come safely through the nineteenth century in their pristine state (ie without industrialisation). Let us hope that there will never be a town in Roumania with a million inhabitants. Bucarest must be getting near that mark. For there is always misery in very large towns; and the good fortune of Roumania lies in its mountains and its plains. And this must bring us back, once more, to our general contention. What is permanent and unforgettable in Roumania is the great plain of Transylvania, the woods of Oltenia, the swamps of the Danube Delta, the valleys of the Neamt, painted Sucevita and Voronet, and the wooden houses and gay costumes seen upon its roads. That is the permanent Roumania; while the modern Roumania of factories and model flats is only its amelioration into twentieth century conditions of civilization. We prefer the old. And it is that which will last, tempered by the new.
an attractive book on the secluded (and old-world) Bukovina region by one of the country’s best-known photographers (Florin Andreescu) was also bought; and some autobiographical musings by Norman Manea who got out of Romania in the 1980s and has an interesting foreward to this 2000 book Romania since 1989
3 DVDs of the magnificent old Romanian conductor Celibidache – playing Bruckner with whom he was great friends - completed the purchases. It's said that noone understood his music better.