Bulgarian Cousins to Transylvanian Szeklers

8 June 2019

We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races…What devil or what witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?…Is it a wonder that we were a conquering race; that we were proud; that when the Magyar, the Lombard, the Avar, the Bulgar, or the Turk poured his thousands on our frontiers, we drove them back? Is it strange that when Arpad and his legions swept through the Hungarian fatherland he found us here when he reached the frontier…And when the Hungarian flood swept eastward, the Szekelys were claimed as kindred by the victorious Magyars, and to us for centuries was trusted the guarding of the frontier of Turkey-land….” – Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula


Kalotaszentkiraly to Hajduszoboszlo

Visiting Unpronounceable Villages in Romania and Hungary

2 June 2019

The sun rose twice this morning over the rocky peaks of Székelykő. The rain, for the moment, has moved north and blue sky with white clouds reign. The birds are as happy as I about this bright, sunny day. It is another one of those days when I visit places I can’t pronounce. No matter. The scenery will be spectacular, the people friendly, the food delicious, the beer refreshing and the destinations interesting. Tonight I sleep in Hungary.  (more…)

Rimetea – Where The Sun Rises Twice

31 May and 1 June 2019

Rimetea is located amid a dramatic setting of lush meadows, encircling mountains and rocky escarpments. My simple Transylvanian inn overlooks Székelykő, a sacred peak. It is said that here, the sun rises twice as it crawls across the eastern sky at the edge of the mountains. The birds chirp, the sun rises, a lonely dog howls in the distance, the rooster crows and another idyllic day in Romania begins. (more…)

Borgo Pass – Traveling In The Wake of Dracula

Our Return To Transylvania  –  30 May 2019

Today is what travelers on a tour call “kick-back” day. We face a long drive across the eastern Carpathains, over a few high passes, and through the Transylvanian Basin. Our destination is Torockoszetgyorgy, a town I couldn’t pronounce no matter how much alcohol I consumed. Our drive will be 200 miles of magnificent scenery, small villages, and 7 hours of rest and relaxation watching the Transylvania world go by. (more…)

Painted Churches and Monasteries of Moldavia

Visiting Four “holy scriptures in color”  –  29 May 2019

Could not have been a more perfect day. As I listen to the thunder booming in the mountains to the east, a cloudburst rains down on the lovely gardens outside my window. Yet, throughout the day, visiting four monasteries and a few surprise sites, nothing but sun and mild breezes accompanied us. Only bummers for the day is our hotel has no Ursus beer and I must hang out the window for internet service. Trăiesc România! (more…)

Painted Churches and Monasteries of Moldavia

Three Masterpieces of Art. –  28 May 2019

Voronet Monastery

One of the most incredible sights in the world are the Painted Churches and Monasteries of Moldavia. The historical region of Bucovina is famous for them. There are 22 painted monasteries with 16 restored. Seven churches were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1993, an eighth registered in 2010. Most of these wonders are contained in a relative small region. I will be visiting seven of them over the next two days. (more…)

Charcoal Makers and Salt Mines

27 May 2019

Smoke coming from behind the trees hints of an age-old craft few continue to practice in Romania. It is the making of charcoal, a hard and dirty job requiring long hours and inhaling lots of smoke. Men rise in early morning to start the long process which creates the fuel for Romania’s grilled street food. (more…)