I am pleased to report that new Cluj Fulbrighters Dan Ratliff and Aline Cautis have accepted my offer to drive them on some weekend tours while we are all here in Romania together. On Friday, we loaded Klaus for a weekend in Maramures, and along with Dan's wife Nancy Ratliff, we headed north, taking the scenic route out of Cluj through Chinteni, and then cutting east across broad Transilvanian farmlands to the main road, which we found just south of Gherla. Our ride north took us all afternoon, as we stopped often for photo opps, as in Glod (which, it turns out, is not the village where the "Kazakstan" scenes in "Borat" were filmed. That Glod is far south and east, near Ploiesti). It was a glorious day, and we took good advantage of it.
Saturday, 30 October
It is Halloween time in Maramureş, but here it is less about goblins than about forebears. November 1st is The Day of the Dead in Latin countries such as Romania, and All Saints Day in the English-speaking Christian world. It is a day when Romanian families decorate the graves of ancestors and dead relatives. Since the day itself falls on a Monday, and is not a national holiday, this weekend is the time when Romanian cemeteries will be jammed with visitors, and bright with flowers and candles brought to decorate and illuminate the graves. These were much in evidence at Săpânța's famous "Merry Cemetery," of which much more was open to visitors than on our last visit in 2009.
|Decorated Graves at Săpânța|
|Autumn in Middle Earth|
|Biserica at Mănăsteria Bârsana|
|The hay is also harvested at the Monastery.|
|One can scarcely find a metal fastener at Bârsana|
|A steeplejack's challenge.|
|Nancy and Dan Ratliff at Mânasteria Bârsana|