Thursday, June 14, 2012

'Drum Bun' to Romania

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 Religion
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.


  1. The intolerance has always been there, just hidden better at some times than others...

  2. hey, find any great scarves?? See any vamps?