It’s all had rather a Romanian slant for the last week or so. I’ve been reading “Along the Enchanted Way” by William Blacker.
He spent a number of years living in Romania in the late 90s – dividing his time between Maramures and a Saxon village in Transylvania. I’m quite envious that he managed to spend such extended periods there. Especially as the social landscapes that he describes will be disappearing year on year. He has had a bit of criticism for over romanticising the life of the Romanian peasant and for being sad about the changes that come in the wake of “modern progress”. And while no one would wish a life of hardship on anyone, it is interesting , none the less that those peasants lived with a seasonal rhythm and natural sense of purpose that we in our modern cities are only just noticing that we have lost. I don’t think it is a coincidence that there is now so much “searching” for meaning, community or whatever feels lacking.
And then at the weekend Patrick Leigh Fermor died. He wrote several highly regarded travel books , but my favourite has always been Between the Woods and the Water – which followed the part of his European journey from the Austrian border to the Bulgarian one – and so mostly covered Hungary and Romania. He really does give a glimpse into a world that has disappeared.