Sunday, June 30, 2013

Romania 2013 - Part III

The highlight of the Colloquium was the excursion to Constanța.  The coastal town to which Ovid was exiled (after his affair with Emperor Augustus' daughter, Julia) was, according to his own description, bleak.  Today it is a resort area - Ovid was always a trendsetter!
Ovid looking dour in Constanța (Tomis)

It took a long time to get to Constanța, even though it is a mere 200 km from Bucharest.  But we wanted to visit Tropaeum Traiani as well.  It always amazes me how very far off the beaten path some of the Roman outposts are.  The distinguishing feature of Tropaeum Traiani is the monument which  commemorated Trajan's victory over the Dacians.  The original monument fragments are displayed in the museum at Adamclisi, and a modern reconstruction now stands on the site.  It can be seen from miles away and was a reminder of Roman superiority.
Tropaeum Traiani
Original sculptures in the museum at Adamclisi
Original reliefs in the museum at Adamclisi
As always happens on these excursions, I am torn between the Roman sites and the natural history.  I decided I needed to get a better camera with more control after missing a terrific shot of a green and blue lizard because of auto-focus!

Lacerta viridis
We finally arrived in Constanța, and stayed at the lovely Hotel Palace on the harbor.  To compensate for my lack of view, the door to the bathroom was decorated with seashells between two panes of glass!

Ovid may have complained endlessly about the waves and wind at Tomis, I found them romantic and refreshing:

The next day we went to Histria in the Danube Delta. This turned out to be quite an excursion!  There are remains here as far back at the Greek archaic period, which makes is a good place to study continuity.  The museum was fabulous, and when I found a sculpture comparable to my research poster project (The Missouri Dove Girl), the staff not only found publications and bibliography for me, but even allowed me to visit the storeroom!

As I walked to the archaeological site, I heard THIS SOUND.  And I said to myself, "If that's not a HOOPOE, I'm handing in my Junior Ornithologist card!"  And sure enough, the place was overrun with hoopoes*, which flew from the walls of the ancient city, into the fields and back again.  This is known in the ornithology biz as a "life bird!"

We ended up back in Bucharest in time to grab a late dinner, and the next day the participants scattered to their respective homes in 15+ different countries.  I went to Austria to continue my research (and my job search!).

*and storks, hawfinches, European ground squirrels, crested larks, butterflies, pipits and six-inch stinging centipedes.

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