Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ha peebirth date ooo meeee...!

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes by phone, email, comments or otherwise. Great to know you're thinking of me :>

Went out to a restaurant called Excalibur for my birthday dinner. Lovely place, I wouldn't mind getting a job there just for the chance to wear medieval-style dresses every day, hihi.

And here's the pic before (huuge platter full of...well, everything)
...and after (5 over-filled stomachs and happy grins).
Will definitely go there again. Just that next time I'll know to starve myself 2 days in advance.

...another year older, none the wiser, life goes on merrily, sensibly and optimistically :>

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sighisoara

It was finally time for the much awaited (by me, of course) medieval festival of Sighisoara. Three days a year when you can travel back to another time and dress accordingly, 3 days when dancing in the street is not only acceptable but recommended, when you can drink, laugh and be merry just like, well... the good ol' times ;>

This is old Vlad's house, dressed for the occasion. It is now a restaurant-hotel.
The old clock tower and the street leading down to it: Queuing for kurtos kalacs, as we do each year. Thsi year's wait was surprisingly short, it didn't even reach half an hour.
Me, getting ready to devour my kalacs.
A newly discovered Romanian band which I absolutely loved. Great for the abovementioned dancing in the streets :> Listen to the song below for a sample.
The audience of a play in the small square:Italian flag jugglers. Very impressive, too bad I couldn't see much (sucks being short!). These are the only decent shots I could take.View from a little side street I had never been on before . It's amazing how I discover new streets and views every time.Some more pretty sights:And now for some interesting specimens of humanity.
This is a body builder whose clothes looked like they were about to burst. He looked disgusting, and his woman-thing was no less scary. That satchel really completes the whole outfit!
A sorcerer eating icecream. I wonder if he was willing to disclose the alchemic secret of making ice in summer, and flavoured ice at that!The gypsy woman who insisted on telling my fortune (and then insisted I buy her a beer, lol). Apparently I am lucky and fiery, there is someone who loves me, but he is abroad, I will live 88 years and will have two children. Bahtalo!
Now if that's not the very picture of the beautiful inn keeper I don't know what is! All waitresses at this pub were dressed like this, but none pulled it off better than her.

The cathedral lawn has always been the place where metalheads congreate. Fewer of them this year, but it still brought back a lot of memories (yes, young ones, been there, done that!)

And finally, a bit of local wit:

Anton Pann - Nu mai poci de ostenit
Asculta mai multe audio Muzica »

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm a student baybeeee, so why don't you kill meeeee...

Well well, had yet another awesome weekend! It unfurled as follows:

Friday: Artmania festival in Sibiu, with gigs by Agua de Annique, Tiamat and Lacrimosa. I was sneaky enough to get through with my camera, but not clever enough to take the spare batteries with me, so these 2 pics are pretty much all I have to show for it. See the look on my face? Now that's pure bliss!

Saturday: on to the city of Alba Iulia and its beautiful fortress. What do you know, there were friggin' ponies in the moat! I had a good giggle to myself, hehe.
This is actually three fortresses in one (Roman, medieval and Austro-Hungarian). It has been almost completely restored, and they've done a great job at that. All the statues have noses and arms again, the guides, waitresses and other helpful staff are all dressed accordingly, and the main building is due to become a five star hotel in a couple of years (almost worth considering marrying again just to be able to spend my honeymoon in a medieval castle, haha). I might have a separate post with pics from around the fortresses (joinery included).
This was the guy selling tickets. He was so completely motionless at first, that I stood there for a while wondering if he was real, until he blinked. Once we established he was human, he was a lot of fun to talk to and had no problem having his picture taken with the ladies.
The room of the knights templar.
Out on the field with cannons. The cannons are still there and functional, and are fired at lunchtime every Sunday.
See that? That's pure bliss again :D
Sneaky escape tunnel, now used mostly for Australian elderly gentlemen to photograph (yes, there was an Aussie couple visiting the fortress as well).
After thoroughly exploring the fortress, on to the other main attraction of this city: Lazar icecream! It's made with all natural ingredients (real cream, real honey, real chunks of fruit). Eating seven balls of different flavours? Pure bliss! :D
Then on to another chunk of history (or so we thought). We set out to find some Dacian ruins on a cliff close to the city (Piatra Craivii). We had 2 maps and instructions from the villagers, how hard could it be? Obviously harder than we thought, as we just could not find the right bloody path. Luckily (or so we thought), we met a shepherd who was happy to give us detailed instructions on how to get there. Unfortunately, due to a dialect barrier, we had no idea what he was telling us (obviously the word that means "celery" to us was a totally different thing to him, as he repeatedly instructed us to walk through it). To cut a long story short, we walked until sunset and ended up on quite the wrong peak. See the cliff in the pic? That's where we should have been. Daymn!
And this is the disappointed walk back. We decided it was all a conspiracy of the locals; they must have thought we were Romans and sent us on all the wrong paths.
However, I was quickly comforted by my friend's lovely cats,
and by a few triumphal games of backgammon:
Sunday: We had decided to resume the search for the ruins on the cliff, but my companions' resolve weakened overnight, so instead of Dacian ruins we ended up at the more easily accessible but also more spectacular "Roman baths". Now don't imagine a leisurely comfortable edifice of the kind lazy Romans would have indulged in. I suspect (or, should I say, like to imagine) the place carries this name simply because Romans were (mis)lead here in order to be drowned. :>
It is truly breathtaking: a deep pool carved into the rock by a waterfall, and in its turn feeding a stream that goes all the way down to the village. But wait, there's more!
Once you pluck up the courage to sink into the awfully cold water and swim across the pool, a precariously anchored ladder awaits to take you to the top of the waterfall.
Ta-da!! And once you make it to the top, there's another pool, fed by another, smaller waterfall. If you muster all your spiderman abilities you can climb up to the top of this second waterfall (no ladder this time), and see...surprise!...yet another pool fed by a waterfall. And it ends here, as the last waterfall comes over a very high very smooth wall of rock, quite impossible to climb even with the proper gear. I wish I could have climbed up there with my camera, but I guess some things are just for seeing, not for keeping.
How pretty is that! And how cold was I! I was almost as blue as my towel, hehe. But it was sure worth it!
One last bit of nice scenery:
And a bit of fun. The opening of the waterfall was so narrow you could simply sit in it and stop the water with your bottom. This is my friend filming and instructing her husband to hold or release the waterfall. I dont know why, but I found it extremely giggle-worthy :D

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And, in the latest news: I'm a student again! In other words...pure bliss! :D

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Frustration


I wish you guys would put your names in the comments, or at least clues of who you are. I'd love to know who the comments are from, you INCONSIDERATE BUGGERS!!!
*nice smile*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy event


I would like to take this opportunity to joyfully and proudly announce the birth of this little bundle of cloth. She was born out of an old skirt, Christine's drawer of scraps and some of grandma's bits of lace. She weighs barely anything at all, is a most unhealthy shade of gothly white and is as yet unnamed. I am open to any and all suggestions (name-wise, get your minds out of the gutter!).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Of snow in summer and the feeling of home

Well, we set off to re-experience this marvelous feat of communist technology which is the Transfagarasan, a highway crossing the mountains from Transilvania into the dusty south. I wasn't sure if I should marvel at the obvious effort and skill that went into it, or to get angry at them slicing through the mountains so nonchalantly. A hundred kilometres of tunnels and windy road crossing the highest mountains of Romania and also containing the longest tunnel in the country. Driving at 2000 and something metres, with snow on the side even in the middle of summer and nothing much separating you from the abyss below is quite something.
At the top, there's Lake Balea, a glacier lake around which the skiers and snowboarders congregate at all times of the year. The weather was obviously not very clear on Sunday, but the mist did contribute to the whole "highlands of Transilvania" look.
Poor little shivering bird. It was a bit of a shock for us as well, setting off from home and driving in temperatures of around 28 degrees, and getting up there to 5 degrees, snow and a fog so thick you could lean your bike against it.
La piece de resistance: a giant flying fox (i think that's what it's called in English; if not, we'll call it a flying bat) spanning from cliff to cliff across the valley. Greg, you would have liked this! (Also see the little video at the bottom.) It was soo cool to step off that cliff not seeing 2m ahead of you and not even being able to tell where the line ended!
After the little thrill, it was time to drive through the tunnel into Valahia, where the weather was much nicer, and begin the descent. Which looked as follows:
Horsies had no problems with cars coming and going. I do wonder what they grazed on in the middle of the road though.
Aaand... final destination: the dam of Vidraru, this Hoover Dam of Romania, yet another wonder of communist engineering. 166m tall, 307m wide, perfect for bungee jumping, which some disturbed individuals were actually doing.
Through the building of this dam, a nice big lake was formed. Not quite as nice as lake Tarawera, but it serves the same purposes :)On top of the mountain looming over the dam there's this dude, who's supposed to stand for the sheer energetic power of our glorious country. Everyone calls him Robocop and so shall we.
Driving back up the mountains and towards "our country" as my dad kept refering to it. The chaos, dust and general vulgarity of the south as opposed to our neater and calmer Transilvania were a contrast harsh enough to make me nurture separatist feelings again.
The very picture of racial harmony :)
View of the hills of home from the mountain top. It isn't called The Land Beyond the Forest for nothing :)
More mountainous road:
And another view of the plateau:
And that's me flying (the "woohoo" belongs to my mum).

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