In the hills outside Medias

It was the summer of 2009 and during a walk in the hills outside Medias, I recorded this video with a Canon G10. It was peaceful and quiet and a soft summer breeze helped take away the heat that rose from the valley below. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

The music is Rondo No. 3 in A Minor (K511) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by David H. Porter. It’s public domain, available from MusOpen.org.

And here’s a photo gallery from the same outing, including some panoramic shots.

Medias in 2006

Here are photos from Medias, taken in the summer of 2006. Back then, I used the Kodak v610 digital camera. If you’d like to learn more about the city of my childhood, I’ll refer you to its Wikipedia page.

Medias was famous during medieval times for its wine, which is even mentioned in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Virtually all of the hills that surround the city (and there are many of them) are terraced or bear the signs of past vineyards. Nowadays, they’re barren. Untended, the vineyards withered away, past glories and all.

The outskirts of the city are interesting. The landscape is dotted with houses here and there, some deserted, like the one below. Houses like these exist in the city as well. If they aren’t reclaimed by their owners or restored, they will perish, and that will be a pitiable loss given their age and history.

Let’s look at more beautiful scenes from nature.

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.

A stag in a manger

A self-explanatory video. If you’ve never seen a stag sitting quietly and resting, this would be a good time to check that off your list. 🙂

This animal was filmed at a place called Hanul Dracula, a place in the hills near Danes, a village west of Sighisoara.

A snowy evening walk in Medias

Ligia and I went on a refreshing evening walk with friends last night, during a wonderful snowfall which lasted through the night and covered everything in about a foot of snow by morning. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and of course I took photos, lots of them.

Continue reading “A snowy evening walk in Medias”

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.

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, 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.

First snow on the Transalpina Road

Transalpina is the highest road in Romania. It’s also quite possibly its most picturesque; it certainly offers the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in Romania so far. It connects Transilvania to Oltenia, and the official length of the entire road is 148 km from Novaci to Sebes, although only a stretch of 30-40 km travels atop the Parang Mountains (part of the Carpathians), reaching an altitude of 2145 meters at its highest point.

The road was built by the Romans, as they traveled north toward Sarmisegetusa and then used by them as they carted off thousands of tons of gold and silver from Dacia’s rich mines. (You might want to read through this post for the background info.)

According to this website, the road was paved with rocks by King Carol I in the 1930s, maintained by the Nazis during WWII, then forgotten. Work to repave its entire length began in 2009 and it still goes on, though large portions of the road, including its most beautiful sections, are now ready to be used.

We visited Transalpina twice this year, most recently during this past weekend, and we were awestruck by the beauty of the vistas you can see as you travel along its length. We had the good fortune to drive through right after first snow had fallen on the peaks, draping them in a light blanket of pure white snow. Moreover, we were blessed with a gorgeous sunset that colored everything in sight in a golden orange hue. It was heavenly.

We’d have loved to spend more time atop the mountains but night was falling quickly, the temperature was dropping, and we had hundreds of “miles to go” before we could sleep, to paraphrase Robert Frost.

We drove on, descending into the valley below and into thick fog, then wound our way through the mountains toward Sibiu, passing through such interesting places as Jina and Poiana Sibiului.

I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the trip.

Romania Through Their Eyes – Paul Hemmerth

This (long-awaited) episode presents the story of Paul Hemmerth, a Saxon born and raised in Romania during Ceausescu’s regime, who emigrated to Germany with his family at the age of fourteen, and who came back, drawn inexplicably by the land of his birth, to spend as much time as he can, each year, in the Romanian countryside.

Paul has a website called SlowlyPlanet, where he promotes slow tourism — travel at a leisurely pace, where you can take in all that you see. We filmed the episode at Casa Noah, his B&B in Richis (Reichesdorf), a village near Medias in Southern Transilvania.

Various occurrences (some of which couldn’t be helped) delayed the release of this episode. The hard drive on my editing computer died, and the repairs took almost a week. We also had some scheduled travel abroad, and that delayed us by another week. Further shooting for the episode introduced an extra day or so to the workflow, and the extra editing time introduced by the show’s new format added another three full days to the schedule.

I really do hope you’ll enjoy the new format. It’s a lot more work for me during the filming and especially during the editing, because of the two-camera setup, but it makes the show more engaging. Just to give you a quick idea of the data behind the show, the raw footage comes to about 44 GB of 1080p video. The final version of the episode is 4.3 GB of 720p video, and it’s about 55 minutes long.

Enjoy!

Episode RTTE-005-DE-HD
Released 6/19/11

There’s an official Facebook page for the show, so head on over and give it a Like if you want to be kept up to date with day-to-day details about the filming of RTTE. There’s also an official website for the show. Also don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, where the show’s episodes are posted, along with other interesting videos I create.

First snowfall of 2010 in Medias

We woke up this morning with a puffy white blanket of snow covering the town. It was the first snowfall of the 2010-11 winter, and while it didn’t cover the ground, it did manage to stay on trees and rooftops, providing a welcome change in the scenery. (It’s been ugly weather most of this week, with cold, rainy days and mud everywhere.)

Continue reading “First snowfall of 2010 in Medias”