A jaunt through the mountains near Bran

During our recent visit to Bran Castle, we had a few spare hours that we chose to spend wandering through the mountains above Bran. We found a dirt road that wound its way up the mountains through a beautiful village called Sodohol and then entered into Bucegi National Park. We stumbled onto it by chance and followed it till we could go no further without damage to the underside of our car, so we parked it and walked. We had a wonderful time and I hope the photos you see here will show it. Some of them are high-resolution panoramas and one includes a view of Bran Castle from afar. Enjoy!

Țara lui Andrei at Bran Castle

This weekend, Ligia and I participated at an event called “Tabăra lui Andrei”, put together by the team at Țara lui Andrei. They organize these wonderful camps for underprivileged children every summer in the village of Bran, in order to provide training, employment opportunities and personal development courses for these children. Each camp lasts about a week, with teams of about 60 children brought in to learn how to grow into productive, well-balanced people who like what they do in life. They do miracles! Normally, you’d say you can’t do much with someone in a week, but you’d be surprised at the results they get!

This week’s camp was for chefs and waiters. At the end of the week, after a lot of on-the-job intensive training and motivational seminars, they organized, cooked and served a three-course meal to a group of Romanian celebrities, notables and government officials invited to attend the dinner party.

We, the dinner guests, were treated to a wonderful event and were blown away by the professionalism of these children of high-school age. The evening started with appetizers, continued with a private tour of Bran Castle and culminated with this special dinner, served in the newly opened Castle Tea House.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the good people at Țara lui Andrei for the amazing, life-changing work they’re doing and for the impact they have on the lives of these children who get to see life through a different lens, even if only for a little while, and then get employment opportunities and a chance at a better life. I’m so proud that this kind of work is going on in Romania!

I also made a video where I talked a little more about this, and there’s a photo gallery here as well.

Ligia’s Kitchen: raw vegan tiramisu

Here’s a quick video recipe from Ligia for a raw vegan tiramisu that can be made in a few minutes using a blender. Bon appetit!

Raw tiramisu

Ligia’s Kitchen: a raw vegan glazed-chocolate cake topped with edible flowers

We upped our game for this episode of Ligia’s Kitchen and filmed it with five cameras. It was a bit nerve-wracking but the end result was worth it. Bon appetit!

Ligia’s Kitchen: A different sort of salad

Salata de vlastari cu kale

Here’s a greens salad made with a range of sprouts, wild garlic, kale leaves, green onion leaves and tomatoes from our garden. I call it different because the combination of the ingredients and the special dressing that Ligia makes for it give it this wonderful and different taste. You won’t know what I mean until you try it!

Ligia’s Kitchen: Green juice from kale leaves and sunflower sprouts

Here’s a delicious green juice you can make in winter from kale leaves, apples, ginger root and sunflower sprouts. Enjoy!

Ligia’s Kitchen: A raw vegan spaghetti dish

Here’s one of Ligia’s raw vegan dishes: freshly cut vegetable spaghetti with a raw vegan sauce, perfectly seasoned as usual. Bon appetit!

A hike through the hills of Atel (Hetzeldorf)

Atel (Hetzeldorf) is a larger village in Southern Transilvania with a beautiful fortified church. The church is undergoing renovations and is closed to the public but the hills surrounding the village were certainly open and welcoming today, as we took a short hike to enjoy nature. In case you’d like to visit the place yourself, here’s a link to the spots we saw.

We’d come to get a bit of fresh air and as we were walking around with Sophie, exploring the flowers and the bugs and the birds and listening to the various sounds the latter two made, we spotted a building up on the hill, looking somewhat deserted. We decided to pay a visit and see what it was. It turned out to be the somewhat deserted church of the Saxon cemetery which overlooks the village.

If you don’t know the story of the Saxons of Transilvania, you need to read this. It tells only part of the story and obviously none of the heartache of the departure from their places of birth, but the deserted graves, tilting and knocked over by time, including the cobwebs on the church door, tell the story of a people that are no more, with only remnants here and there. These people built these magnificent structures and sturdy homes that have stood the test of time and now they are here no longer. Atel is only one of the many, many Saxon villages spread throughout Transilvania but for some reason, seeing all those graves in disarray made me realize how few Saxons there are left and what good work they’ve done over the many hundreds of years they were here.

I hope you’ll enjoy the photos and as usual, if you’re interested in using any of them, please see my licensing terms.

Ligia’s Kitchen: Raw granola

Raw granola

In this episode, Ligia makes raw granola out of the leftover pulp from almond milk and a few seeds, nuts and fruits. It’s delicious and healthier than any granola bars you’ll find in stores.

De Vorba cu Ligia – 5 May 2014

Here’s the fifth episode of our talk show, De Vorba cu Ligia. In this episode, we talk about the launch of Ligia’s pregnancy advice book, “Jurnal de Sarcina”, which took place on May 12th, 2014, and about the 7th edition of our raw food and lifestyle expo, Raw Generation Expo, which took place on May 11th, 2014. Both events took place in Bucharest. Enjoy!

DVCL-005-RO-HD
Released 05.05.2014

De Vorba cu Ligia: the first four shows

De Vorba cu Ligia

As I looked over my site archive today, I realized that I haven’t yet told you about Ligia‘s latest show, which is called “De Vorba cu Ligia“. Translated from Romanian, it means “Talking with Ligia”. It’s a simple name and a lovely show where she interviews various interesting people doing good things in Romania. It’s a show where we also talk about raw food, which is what we did in the fourth, most recent episode. We publish each episode to Ligia’s YouTube Channel in full 1080p HD. We started filming it in December of last year, when Ligia was about six months pregnant with Sophie, and we filmed the last episode this last weekend, when Sophie was 2½ months old.

I’ve posted the first four shows here for you. They’re in Romanian, but I know that at least a few of you subscribed readers know the language, so you’re fine. As for the rest of you, the last two episodes will be of interest, because we’ll show you stuff, not just talk about it, and that’s easily understood in any language. Besides, you’ll get to see our little Sophie in the last one, and babies are adorable in any language!

Episode 1 (12/20/12):

Episode 2 (2/5/13):

Episode 3 (2/14/13):

Episode 4 (5/22/13):

Enjoy! 🙂

A walk in the forest

I took these photos about 5½ years ago on a walk at the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase, MD. They have such lovely fall foliage in their forest. As I edited the photos for the website, it brought back some fond memories of some of my first years together with my lovely wife. This year is our 10-year anniversary and we’re going to have a baby. The good times go by so fast, don’t they? 🙂