Valcea Village Museum

It’s a hot summer day and like on every other sunny day we are having lunch underneath the mulberry tree in front of my grandparents’ house. For a foreign eye this would seem like a small house with three rooms of not more than 3 square meters each but for us this is home of the happiest moments of our childhood. We know each and every corner, we got out of the rooms through all its windows when we were small enough to fit, we ate on a three feet table on top of grandma’s bed when it was winter and cold outside and grandma was weaving at her weaving loom filling the room, we spent nights of gossiping while “beating” the milk to make butter in the middle room of the house where everyone used to gather for cooking, eating and small talk, we sat lazy on the porch reading books when it was raining outside or lining up tobacco leaves, we painted walls and cleaned everything up on Easter time, we shared donuts freshly cooked by grandma in the middle of the night all toped up with laughter and happiness in our small sanctuary called “odaie”, we searched through the pockets and bags of grandpa coming back from church with small gifts for the kids and the ever not missing flowers, we fought for that place behind the heating machine to get warm after coming home from caroling out in the snow, we washed our little faces with cold water every Easter night and dressed up just to get ready for “getting light” in a proper way, we packed small bags to give away the morning of the Easter day for our ancestors and shared the only fish we got from one of our relatives or neighbors at the church just to make grandma happy because she used to think this will make us fast like a fish in the year to come, we guided ourselves from many nights spent having fun with our friends by that light that grandma always used to leave on in the porch for the kids to come home, we ran in and out of this small house saying hellos or goodbyes so many years until we grew so tall that we were almost the size of the entrance door but the house never grew to small for us or our memories.

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Like our story there are tons of other stories of childhoods and lives spent in the Romanian traditional village

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in small houses where everything was circling around one room or two

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where life was spent more outside in open air

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where every object had its purpose and it was used almost daily and not forgotten in the back of a drawer for years to come

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where it was perfectly ok for the chicken, the cat or the dog to enter the “middle room” as it was equally ok to eat with bear hands or from the same plate.

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Valcea Village Museum has gathered in time an impressive collection of houses from different areas in Romania and recreates on an 8 hectares area the functional image of a traditional rural settlement with all its social-cultural institutions including a primary school built at the beginning of the XXth century

Valcea Village Museum

a wooden church from 1785

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a swing from Stoenesti commune that my other grandma used to call “wardrobe” and said on Easter kids could ride it for eggs

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an inn

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a pottery shop from the XIX century

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a sheep yard

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a bee keeper’s place

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The Museum is so well arranged and preserved that you feel like going back in time in that garden, on that day, on that summer, in front of that small 3 rooms house and grandma is calling to go pick-up zarzare :p.

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How to find it?

Valcea Village Museum it’s located near Valcea in Bujoreni Commune. You can drive or you can even take bus number 7 from Valcea and it will drop you right in front. Starting from the month of April the houses may be visited also inside and workshops are organized. And if you are lucky the nice historian that take place of the place will share stories about the school, the houses and cherished old times traditions. All you have to do is ask :p

For more pictures check out our Facebook page here.

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Beautiful Romania – Costinesti

Well travelers this post it’s not about a typical holiday, it’s not about planes, boats, trains, routes or museums.  This is a post about an extended weekend chilling at the Romanian Black Sea in Costinesti.
If you are looking to spend some fun days swimming, sun tanning, playing beach games and partying all night long and if you are the type of traveler that likes better comfortable shoes and not so sophisticated clothes while on holiday as opposed to high heels and fancy dresses than Costinesti is the place to be.
 
The beach positively surprised us; clean, perfect sand, lifeguards at every corner, enough space to sun tan, play football, volleyball and other beach games, with radio platforms bringing together bars for drinks, live DJ and live music, foam parties and beach competition.
For those of you looking for adrenaline there are plenty of water sports and also some “steady ground” activities like testing the flying fox or jumping with ropes or no ropes.
The food is for all tastes and pockets.  You can test the food at the corner of the street like small fried fish (“hamsii”), the traditional Turkish food, pizza, shaorma, Mexicanos (or for those of you that have visited Spain – churros), ice cream, etc. or you can try the self service restaurants with very tasty traditional Romanian food or even high class restaurants serving traditional and international Romanian food.  Our personal favorite are the self service restaurant called “Closca cu Puii de aur” – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Autoservirea-Closca-cu-puii-de-aur/295697233900818?fref=ts and Maxx – an open air club just besides the Obelisc perfect for coffee and cocktail just about at any hour of the day.
If you are looking for parties Costinesti has a lot to offer from foam parties, thematic parties, to concerts all night long the clubs at the seaside are trying as much as possible to make the tourists happy and keep them entrained.  Our favorite is Mega Discoteca Tineretului, an open space club with great music, concerts every night and the best dancers we’ve seen by now – https://www.facebook.com/discotecatineretului?fref=ts
Photo credits – Radio ZU
If you are the type in search for more calm activities you can choose evening entertainment shows or open air cinema or you can even consider spending the time watching the sea at night and the candles inside air balloons lighted up and sent up in the air.
In terms of accommodation you can choose staying with one of the locals; it’s cheap, close to the beach and has all you need in terms of services and who knows maybe you even end up making some new friends.
All in all we loved the experience; Costinesti is truly the pace to chill and relax in a crowd, how we like to say it.

Train Delivery

Well I will admit I do love trains and train stations and the noise trains make on their way to so many destinations for so many travelers. I don’t particularly enjoy the open space trains with all the noise, screaming and eating sandwiches that tend to smell but what would a train journey be without the usual crowd.

But let’s get back to the story of this post. This weekend Bucharest hosted a newly born event Train Delivery (https://www.facebook.com/events/499291786811949/) from the creators of Street Delivery (an 8 years old event that brings the fun on the streets in Bucharest every June) and the Romanian Railways. The main purpose – bringing back the importance and glamour of the North Railway station in Bucharest.
Once you get to North Railway station you are greeted by a panel with the number of the 14 platform. For all the fans of Harry Potter out there I am sure that all of you will think what I thought in the first second of seeing the 14/8. I could almost here the words “All aboard the Hogwarts Express” and I instantly imagined Harry Potter running with his belongings on the secret platform 9 and 3/4 and looked around to see whether I can spot the curly, redheaded and serious Hermione Granger.
 

Once you enter the magic land you are suddenly surrounded by architecture plans, bikes, music, graffiti and all you can imagine and would not expect to see on a train platform. An old train not use is parked in the train station for the delight of the painters and that of the visitors. Ready to take a tour around?All aboard travelers…..the train where everything is not prohibited is all about to leave for any destination.
 
All you have to do is close your eyes and dream whether you dream in the past and remember your train travel days, the goodbyes waived on platforms, the smiles and hugs waiting for you upon your arrival, the promised letters and stolen kisses or whether you dream in the future to that Euro rail trip you’ve always planned or that trip to the seaside your about to take with your friends this summer…is all allowed and encouraged. 



Anything is allowed 
from sitting on the platform edge…

to dancing on the railways…



running on the train’s hallways…



painting the walls…



hanging on the outside stairs, dancingsinginggossiping with your friends, drinking a beer or a lemonade, eating pancakes






taking pictures, even sneak peaking in some confessions at the boot of SUB 25

and if all this is not your piece of cake you can always just sit down and just enjoy the music and the rumor all around or you can watch the movies that are playing, join the open discussions in the waiting lounge or just take a chance and visit the Railway museum it might actually surprise you.


All in all it was a great experience, we loved it, kids loved it, even the railways loved it so hope to make a tradition of this one also.


Train Delivery ends today and until next year travelers take that train journey you always wanted and if not at least dream a bit of playing with the crazy wizards on a trip to the land of magic :p.