Saturday, July 20, 2013

Romania - Part IV - Lasting Impressions

I didn’t get to take many pictures as we were zooming through the Romanian countryside, which is a pity since many of the lasting impressions would have made beautiful submissions to National Geographic Photo of the Day.

Some of the small villages in Transylvania were not quite infrastructurally up to date.  Bright yellow pipes often lined the streets, and even formed arches over driveways. I asked my Romanian friend what these pipelines were and she said, “Gas lines.”  Gas lines?? Above ground - at bumper level!?  Don’t people run into them?  “All the time,” she said. 

There were other peculiarities of Romanian villages.  Nearly every driveway/carport/front door had a grape arbor to provide shade, but also for homemade wine.  Many houses have modest livestock:  chickens, goats, cows.  I can’t count the number of times I saw elderly women taking their cows for a walk in the early evening - and I can’t believe I never got a photo!

Romania is still a very poor country.  Like Greece there are half-finished buildings dotting the landscape.  In the Danube Delta we saw people living in wagons - reminiscent of the gypsies of lore, however politically incorrect. 

In the country, I never saw any sort of mechanized farm machinery... everything was done by hand, including the cutting of hay/grain with a scythe, and if the hay had to be dried the farmer and his family turned it over with rustic hayforks.  Shepherds conducted their sheep along rivers, bucolic scenes worthy of Vergil - until a low hanging snag or sandbar reminded me that there is no successful recycling program in Romania - bottles and plastic sacks are piled high, even along the Danube!

Before I left for Romania, a friend told me I needed a rabies shot.  That wasn't the case, but I now understand where she was coming from.  There are hundreds of stray dogs in Romania - in every city, village, at every rest stop and every archaeological site.  Many of them have tags in their ears to show they have been immunized and registered - making them look like a ragtag bunch of Steiff Button-In-Ear toys.  


The only thing I really regret about the trip to Romania was that we had absolutely no time to shop for souvenirs or postcards or find a post office to send the postcards we'd written.  I know that means I'll probably have to go back sometime!

No comments: