Farewell Romania… you were
everything we were told to expect (except that there were no gypsies lying down on the road anywhere!)
trucks and horses and roads....
Not to be
disappointed on the final driving leg, Jane negotiated all the best of Romanian
travel.Patchwork pavement became cobblestones
as we drove back into the mountains onto what will someday be an EU road.Luckily we got behind an 18 wheeler who knew
the road.Driving safely, though without
shocks, he knew when to hold, knew when to fold.The best was on a one lane curve, as we
contemplated where he would elect to go to avoid the 18 wheeler coming in the
other direction; a large brown bull trailing his broken neck tether emerged
from between the trucks.Somehow, ground
beef was not the result, but we don’t have a picture.
Jeanne and the Gypsy...who is who?
Gail snoozed while Jane drove
and I was visited by the spirit of my Dad, Anthony, who as many of you know
could find the worst case outcome in any situation.
State Farm IS There!
As we crossed what was clearly
the Romanian breadbasket, I was curious as to how such huge farms were being
managed.In some towns we saw the
remains of state farm complexes… huge concrete barracks and barns… being torn
down block by block.In some of the
fields, aging equipment plowed and cut.In others, men with grim reaper style scythes cut the wheat and other
crops.As we learned, at the time of the
revolution/transition in 1989, a process was started of returning land that had been taken by the state to its
original owners.This continues, so some
land is held in small parcels, which produces a lot of the amazing tomatoes and
cucumbers we have been eating.Even in
cases when land has been returned, people are recollectivzing, as they realize
that it is more efficient to own one tractor, one harvester and to farm the
land like an ejido in Mexico.This land
is in fairly large parcels and about 11% of the land is farmed this way.Though the Communist model of the state farm
has been dismantled, another chunk of land is still farmed as state entities.Our friend Emi tells us that the Italians
have bought up a great deal of land in the south and are farming it to feed
their own population.
mountains lead to valleys
From No Religion to State
Churches, everywhere; everyway!
Another question we had was,
what’s up with the abundance of churches?What happened to the monasteries during the Communist era, when atheism
(a non-prophet religion) was the law?Turns out that churches stayed open after purges of uncooperative
clergy.The resulting church supported
the regime, though attendees were mostly elderly ladies.With the fall of the Communists, religion
revived with added vigor, and in fact is now state supported.The Orthodox Romanian Church is now the
official state religion.As we saw by
attending mass (sort of; it lasted hours) at the monastery in Bucovina, belief
in that part of the country includes a fair dose of that old time religion, as
it existed in the countryside 1000 years ago.
We bid goodbye to Emi after a
quick meeting in Oradea.She is a
kindred spirit, and we need more like her as all of our countries begin a
slippery slide into intolerance.