Places

A walk through Sibiu’s historical center

These are a few photographs (only 13 this time 😁) taken during a walk through Sibiu’s historical center nine years ago (yes, 2009). If you’re wondering why I keep publishing photos from that year, it’s because I’m finally taking care of my editing backlog. Wait, Raoul, are you saying you’re nine years behind on editing your photos? Ahem… most of my photos, yes. When you take lots of photos, that’s what happens 🤷‍♂️.

Anyway, these photos were taken with my cellphone at the time, the now-venerable Nokia N95 which had a 5 megapixel camera. It was pretty good by the standards of its time and is woefully behind the times now, not necessarily in megapixels but in dynamic range and image quality. Still, it did okay in daylight.

Enjoy the photos!

And here is the grandfather of many of today’s cellphone cameras:

Nokia N95-1

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Places

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.

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Places

An afternoon on the Transfagarasan Road

This weekend, we spent an afternoon on the Transfăgărășan Road, in the Făgăraș Mountains of Romania. (Trans-faragarasan → “Trans” = across and “Fagarasan” = the specific mountains which it crosses.) I enjoyed driving its challenging curves (Ligia not so much) and later we both enjoyed walking and meditating in the mountains. I also took photos (naturally) and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

This is how the mountains look as you approach them from E68, after you pass through a village called Cartisoara.

As we started to climb, these are the sorts of views we started to get. Hold on, the best stuff is yet to come.

At the top, it was fairly crowded. I tried to avoid the crowds as I took my photos. Some people were hiking, others were stuffing their faces. Not sure what it is about the top of a mountain that makes people so hungry. It’s not as if they climbed it — they drove it. There were loads of cars in the parking lot.

This is what the slopes to the top peaks looked like. Although it’s summer, we were fairly high up (above 2,000 meters in altitude) so the weather was foggy and fairly cold (10-15 degrees Celsius).

Since it was too crowded and noisy at the top, and the smell of cooking pervaded the air, Ligia and I decided to drive on past the main peaks and we stopped further down the road, where it was nice and quiet. That’s Ligia hiking toward me.

The views only got better as we went higher up. The black dot in the center of the photo is Ligia.

I’ll let this three-photo panorama show you what I mean. I left the white space unmasked on purpose, to show you everything the camera captured.

Here’s a close-up of the left side of that pano, showing the twists and turns of this picturesque mountain road.

We stopped to meditate and enjoy the tremendous beauty before us where the rock face turned sharply upward and climbing by foot became dangerous (we had no climbing gear with us). As we sat there, fog from the valley rose up alongside the cliff, joining with the clouds.

We climbed down refreshed and clear-headed, and as evening drew near, we wound our way down toward Sibiu and home, but not before taking another panorama of the Transfagarasan.

Here’s another photograph that shows the spread of the road in the valley below.

As usual, if you’ll go through gallery below, you’ll find photos that I haven’t shown here. Enjoy!

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Places

The Paltinis mountains in autumn

We visited the mountain resort of Paltinis today. It’s about 25-30 km from Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Romania, and the road to it is in pretty good shape. The views are wonderful, so if you’re in the area, drive on over.

Funny thing about Paltinis… It’s the place where I almost wasn’t… My mom was skiing on their bunny slope when she was pregnant with me, and she had a bad fall which could have resulted in a spontaneous abortion. Thank goodness it didn’t, or I wouldn’t be around today.

Here are a few photos I took there, which I shot with an iPhone. I used a “pre-filter” for some of the photos — my driving sunglasses! It’s a neat little trick you can do if the lens of your camera is small enough to be masked completely by the lens of your sunglasses, and it works particularly well if they’re polarized. You simply hold the camera right next to your glasses and shoot through the lens. You can compare the resulting effect below. Another thing I should mention is the panoramic-sized photos were stitched together in Photoshop, they’re not single exposures cropped to look like panoramic shots. Click through to view them large.

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