The slopes

Winter in Poiana Brasov and Brasov

Ligia and I got to spend a bit of time in Poiana Brasov recently. Following are a few photos I took as we visited the mountain resort after some significant snowfall. Naturally, everything was blanketed in the smooth, powdery white stuff, and the light just happened to be perfect.

Incidentally, these are some of the first photos I edited with the new Lightroom 4. Enjoy!

Compare these photos with these, taken a few months ago in the same approximate locations.

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Snowy evening in Medias
Out sledding

Sledding is fun!

This is video from a sledding outing with our friends, near Medias, Romania. Remember sledding?

I ask the question because most people look at me funny when I talk to them about hauling an old-fashioned sled up a hill, then sliding down said hill at great speeds, only to repeat the process until completely exhausted, at which time we’d trudge on home with big smiles on our faces.

My sled is part wood, part cast iron, with steel feet. It’s a heavy, sturdy monster that I’ve had since I was a kid, and there’s a good chance this sled will last me my whole life. I might even be able to pass it down to my children.

In the States, I rarely saw people sledding. Sure, if you visit winter resorts, there’s bound to be some sledding going on. But the neighborhood sledding slope has been slowly disappearing.

Remember when parents and children alike would know just which slopes were perfect for sledding? And they couldn’t wait to get their sleds and run outside after snowfall? Remember being in awe at the glossy photo of the latest wooden sled in the L.L. Bean catalog? I can’t even find those old sled models in their catalog anymore… All I can find now are kiddy sleds and plastic somethings. I’m talking about real sleds, like these!

When I grew up in Romania, the hills were full of children, yelling, laughing, crying, running about, having snowball fights, sledding. It was the same for my wife. Now, the hills are mostly silent. Medias is surrounded by hills, yet when we wanted to go sledding, we had to drive around for about 1 1/2 hours, looking for a good slope. Nobody knew where they were anymore.

I’d love to see more people sledding. It’s great exercise and it’s tons of fun! I think local governments can help by maintaining sledding slopes at certain locations. Nothing fancy, no artificial snow, just some lights and a man to turn them on and off. Word would get around and people would come.

By the way, this is what the moon looked like that night, after we got home.

Snow

A walk in a snowy forest

Ligia and I went on a walk in one of the beech forests near Medias on Christmas Eve. This is a video I filmed during our walk. I loved the clear, crisp air and the quiet, punctuated at times by snow powder falling from the trees or the barking of distant dogs.

The background music is performed by a talented artist by the name of Donald Betts and is called “A Curious Story”.

Here are a few photographs I took on that same walk.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Piata Regele Ferdinand in Winter

The central plaza in the city of Medias (Southern Transilvania, Romania) is called Piata Regele Ferdinand (King Ferdinand Plaza). This is what it looks like in winter, during a snowfall.

That’s what it would look like this winter as well, if there were some snow around. I recorded this video almost a year ago to the day and so far, I’ve only seen some frost around. Just yesterday, it was into the low teens (Celsius) and super sunny — warm enough to do some light carpentry work outside.

Brasov

Brasov, as seen from the mountains

When you travel through Brasov (Romania), you notice two things: the wonderful medieval buildings and the mountains that surround the city. But there’s another way to see the city — from those same mountains that surround it.

If you take the road toward Poiana Brasov, a mountain resort that sits perched atop those mountains, about 17 km from the city, you’ll find a few lookout points, positioned in such a way that you’ll get some great views of the city.

Here are a few photos taken from those lookout points.