Still in the East

These little wildflowers are also from my Romanian trip. This second village on our tour, Zalanpatak, was previously a centre for glass blowing which explained the row of little bottles , two deep, on a small shelf inside the room. The bottles began to make even more sense after we spent a very enjoyable morning walking on a high plateau which is famed for its very rare and abundant wild flowers. It wasn’t really the time of year for the flowers – that is best in May/ June. But even so our guide found about 30 different flowers for us. Of course I couldn’t resist getting them into water straight away and at the first opportunity doing a photo shoot with them. There will be a few examples popping up in my Etsy shop soon.

Nowadays this village is becoming better known in British circles as one of the two places in Transylvania where Prince Charles has bought properties. Apparently he visits every year, but when he is not using them they are available for less rarified visitors. If you arrive expecting a lot of gold and glitz you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for somewhere that has been restored with care and attention to detail and furnished in the local style then you will be happy !

For me there was an unexpected bonus during our visit as the village ( about 150 inhabitants) were holding their first harvest dance in 8 years. In the afternoon there was a lot of activity with horses racing down the village road before turning to accompany a horse and cart filled with singing children past all the houses in the village. Some villagers purchased grapes or wine at each stop.

When we lingered outside, watching through the windows, the village girl who seemed to speak the most English was sent to invite us in. Well, we didn’t need to be asked twice. It reminded me of going to the ceilidhs on Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides when I used to be a tourist guide. A small community so everyone goes along from tiny tots to the village worthies, each joining in according to their ability. The younger ones, of marriageable age, were dressed in costume and danced some Hungarian style dances that I recognised. Of course we weren’t let off the dancing either. (Although my previous experience didn’t necessarily help too much. Another of the local guides told me that each village has its own style and she always wonders if she’ll be able to follow if she is somewhere new.)

If you are curious there was a recent article all about the guesthouse which includes a video link showing a little tour of the property. And for information about visiting both this location and the others at Miklosvar and Viscri this is the website to check.


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