Bethlen-Criș Castle, Criș, Transilvania, România

The Bethlen-Cris Castle

The Bethlen-Cris Castle is located in its namesake village, Cris, which is in Southern Transilvania, Romania. The medieval castle has been declared an historic monument. It dates back to the 14th century, having been modified and enlarged until the 18th century. Some say it is the prettiest Renaisance castle in Transilvania.

It has a square plan, having been built as a fortified residence for the Bethlen family. It has towers at all four corners and high walls on all sides. Well, it had high walls on all sides in the past. During Romania’s comunist  times, the castle fell into ruins and some of its living quarters were even used as stables, which was a standard communist practice applied to all aristocratic castles in the country.

When we visited it, in 2010, the castle was undergoing a renovation and restoration process. The caretaker told us there was talk of converting one of its wings into a pension/hotel. At any rate, we’re glad the castle is being restored and will be used again.

Here is a gallery of selected photos I took there.

Part of The Milhous Collection, Boca Raton, Florida. The entire collection was auctioned off in February 2012 for a total sale price of $38.3 million USD.

Cars from the Milhous Collection

Back in 2010, Ligia and I had the privilege of seeing a unique collection of vintage and classic cars in South Florida. It was not open to the public, and although we were allowed to take photos and graciously shown around, we were asked not to mention the name of the collection. Instead, we needed to refer to it as “a private, exclusive South Florida organ and car collection”. I abided by those terms all these years, until now.

It is no longer necessary to do so, because in 2012, the Milhous brothers auctioned off the entire collection. Everything went. The entire collection was auctioned off in February 2012 for a total sale price of $38.3 million USD. Since the collection no longer exists and is now spread among various other collectors located who knows where, and it’s been more than three years since the sale and dissolution, the terms of our agreement no longer apply.

This means you are fortunate enough to see immaculately restored cars that few people have ever seen, cars so rare they sell for millions of dollars and for some models, fewer than five exist in the world altogether.

The car that sold for the most money at the auction was a 1912 Oldsmobile Limited Touring. But there is one car prominently featured in the gallery you see here, a car I fell in love with right away, a car I consider to be the most beautiful in the world, a car so special I had to stand at a distance from it and take it all in before I could approach it and touch it. That car is a butter-white 1934 V-16 Cadillac Fleetwood Roadster. It’s a drop-dead gorgeous example of streamline moderne design and it’s a car that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

I truly hope you’ll enjoy these photos. You don’t get to see stuff like this every day.


An insightful video essay about Chuck Jones

I loved this video essay by Tony Zhou about Chuck Jones, the genius behind many of the Looney Tunes cartoons. I absolutely love the classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts. New ones are still being made but sadly, they fall quite short of the mark set by the original ones made in the 40s, 50s and 60s. This video will help you understand the disciplined artistry that took place behind the scenes in order to create those beautiful cartoons.

Thank you Chuck Jones!

Juliet awaits

Historic sights from Tg. Mures

There are so many interesting historic buildings in Tg. Mures, Romania. When you’re downtown, pretty much everywhere you look you can find a building that has stood the test of time and presents various architectural details that catch the eye (or the lens). I think what sets this city’s architectural heritage apart from other cities I’ve visited is that its historic buildings are so varied in their architecture and decorations, unlike other towns where most of the architecture sticks to common themes. Complicated reliefs and daring color schemes adorn these buildings and most of them are remarkably well preserved over time.

Here’s a collection of photographs I think you’ll like. I took them in 2007 and 2009. I snuck in a couple of modern sights which sadly detract from the beauty of the city. Do what I do, try to ignore them…

Should you be interested in licensing any of these photos (or any of my other photos), you might want to read through my terms.


A quick intro to the Dacia 1100

Have you ever wondered what one of the first cars made in Romania looks like? It was first made in 1968 and it was called the Dacia 1100. It was a faithful copy of the Renault 8 and it was, in my opinion, a beautiful car. Perhaps it was under-powered, but given its chassis, suspension and brakes, that was a good thing. The production of the Dacia 1100 lasted from 1968-1972, after which it was replaced by the Dacia 1300, itself a copy of the Renault 12.

I always found the design of the 1100 much more handsome than that of the 1300 and since only 44,000 of them were sold, they’re quite the rare sight. There were almost 2,000,000 Dacia 1300 models made but given their age and poor construction, they’ve become a rare thing these days as well.

The Romanian Dacia 1100 Club paid a visit to Medias today and several beautiful Dacia 1100 cars were on display, including a couple of the more powerful 1100S variant. That’s where I took these photos, which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Here’s more info on Dacia cars, on the 1100 model and also on the 1300 model.

Body image, public perception and the media

Just wanted to publish here a post I wrote on Facebook this morning about body image and the recent controversy surrounding its representation in the media:

Something I don’t get: people are making such a big deal in recent times about being thin and how the fashion magazines are promoting it. They’re making it into a huge issue, as if the plump girls are being persecuted and they’re putting it as if this has been going on forever.

Truth is, this is only a recent thing. Until the 60s, it was a plump girl’s world. Yes, all the way from antiquity to the 1960s or so, people liked bigger women. The thin ones were the outcasts. Nobody wanted them because they were too skinny. They were told to put on weight. There were ads in magazines everywhere for fattening creams and lotions and vitamins and lard and all kinds of stuff to help girls put on weight fast and become “attractive”.

So here’s what I think: all this bulls**t be damned, if you want to be plump, be plump, if you want to be thin, be thin, but do yourself a favor and stop blaming others for your body type. If you’re plump and you’d rather be thin, stop complaining about fashion magazines and learn to love yourself. If you’re thin and would rather be fat, well then, you’re in luck because there are a ton of processed foods out there to help you achieve your goal.

And if you like yourself just the way you are, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky few who get what it’s like to enjoy life. Go on enjoying it, we typically only get 70-80 years of it and we shouldn’t waste it complaining! :-)

Mălâncrav Villa

The Manor at Malancrav

Funny name, beautiful place. Even in Romanian, the name makes no sense, but we sure enjoyed our visit to the manor at Mălâncrav. It’s located in Sibiu County and it was one of the houses of the Apafi Family, which was one of the most important aristocratic families during the reign of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The domain was restored in the early 2000s by the Mihai Eminescu Trust with funding from The Packard Humanities Institute in California and inaugurated on October 1st, 2007.

We decided to drive there one weekend, on a whim. I used my iPhone to take the photos you see here. We were free to roam the domain as we wished, which we did, taking care not to disturb anything.

We loved the manor, the atmosphere of the place, the look of the fortified church next door, and the peaceful chestnut grove across the garden from the house. It’s an idyllic setting and if we’d have known about it years ago, we might have bought it.