Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Romanian Food

 Time to Eat
But what? Not to worry.

1.  Staples

Cornmeal.  Food is excellent in Romania; hearty, with a great deal of cornmeal, as in mamaliga, a cornmeal mush (like polenta, formed and unformed) with or without other vegetables, cheeses.  See http://www.food.com/recipe/mamaliga-cu-branza-cornmeal-mush-with-cheese-122683

See also cornmeal porridges (that that mamaglia, served like a mellow and rich polenta), soups -- especially ciorba, a sour soup. Recipe at http://www.natashascafe.com/html/ciorba.html
Hearty. It is not a spicy cuisine. See overview at http://www.romaniatourism.com/foodwine.

2.  Root vegetables, regular barnyard meats.

Overall, think home cooking.  Root vegetables and potatoes, cabbage dishes, chicken and lamb and beef stews, sausages, cutlets, 

Breads are whiter than we expected, but there is plenty of it.

Romanian Music: Roma, Traditional. Bucharest

 Romanian Music


Music -- gypsy fast-fast at the hotel

At this hotel, we joined with another traveler who was on her own. Good times. The Rom, Roma, Romani, or as too-casually known, Gypsies, have a long history, see http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaHistory/minority-gypsies.htm

The language and culture of Rom groups vary from country to country, but with common roots. See also Gypsies, Roma, Romani  The persecution and killing of Roma during the holocaust has been buried beneath the more publicized persecution and killing of Jews and other groups.

Traditional trades, now diminished with the stopping of the caravans, and warehousing of populations in high-rises, include:  musicians and dancers, tinners and coppersmiths, jewelers, blacksmiths, panners of gold, sieve-makers, horse-dealers.  See the Eliznik site.

Local pubs also provide local music, as well as the sophisticated jazz.  Enjoy the local pub and its music. Even watch a video of a wedding that day. See Romanian music.

I believe Bercuvlahu is the video producer, not the musician. Is that so?
Dance music: This sound was on the car radio - there had not been a supplanting by Western music yet. Good.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDDNC7LZz-c&feature=related.

Songs:  Hear Maria Tanase 1913-1963, at, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79QVepeBrWA&feature=related.  Maria Tanase, a mid-20th Century, highly talented singer, see http://www.hrmusic.com/artists/mtaart.html

And the concertina - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOqUnzxLAHI.  Keyboard, accordion, often Roma.  We saw shocking poverty among the Roma. This video of some Roma music is misleading, and highly idealized for the market, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5GjVD2r3-8&feature=related

Itinerary after the fact - Places unfolding. Improvised travel.


Bucharest (includes some Vlad sites),

Snagov - Vlad burial tradition,

Brasov - castle Bran, but he was not there or, at least, just as an occasional guest,

Curtea de Arges,

Poinari - Vlad Castle ruin

Sighisoara - birthplace of Vlad


Bucovina  - painted monasteries,

Voronet - painted monasteries,

Putna - painted monasteries, hermit cave,

Vatra Dornei,

Moisei - see Jewish memorial, holocaust (villagers burned),

Sapinta - Merry Cemetery,

Sighetu Marmetiei - see prison there, intellectuals, political prisoners, interrogations, a US black site?,

Ieud - old wooden churches,

Maramures - ancient area,

Cluj Napoca - city now very modern,

Alba Iulia - watch the smog; castle and town walls,

Hunedoara - John Hunyadi, for a time, foster father of Vlad, killed Vlad's father

Targu Jiu - Vlad held court here

Horezu Monastery,

Ramnicu Valcea, - political rally

Mogosoaia Palace near Bucharest,  see Lenin statue toppled near the kitchens

Bucharest.  Vlad's Princely Court

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Vlachs Ethnic Group. A Welshman among the Vlachs (WWI)

Romanian ethnic Vlachs. Dafydd Ellis.  A Welsh soldier, a medical orderly, in World War I, deserted and apparently lived among the Vlachs, a group identified with Romanian gypsies at the time, and currently.  He and friends had been known to frequent a shepherd community, perhaps that Romanian "Gypsy", and ultimately is believed to have continued to live but in Macedonia.

Dafydd Ellis:  In 1918, he went missing from Salonika, where he was stationed at a quiet field hospital far from any fighting, a teacher, a poet, a pacifist, who found that he was likely to be confronted with orders to serve with a combat unit, despite earlier military promises contrary.  See The Forgotten Story of Dafydd Ellis, at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.news.macedonia/_2Gl4IjKQyg and http://www.farsarotul.org/nl21_6.htm.

A film of this experience would educate and enrich many.  Carpathian origins now spread to Texas, see http://www.txczgs.org/dna.html

Adding to fine galleries: See Romania. http://www.pbase.com/bauer/romania&page=all.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

History, Culture. Vlachs: Dacians, Geto-Dacians, early settlers in Romania, nomadic shepherds

Vlachs, Dacians, Geto-Dacians, Migratory Ethnic Groups

Vlach shepherd, Romania

This shepherd was alone in herding a large flock of sheep, as we all waited for them to scurry among the 18-wheelers and cars, through the village. Their dogs are indispensable. See more on the Romanian shepherd dogs at http://www.romdogs.tripod.com/ogar/romshdog.
The shepherd we watched leaped across the road, carrying his possessions (no carts seen); and was gone. Stragglers among the sheep ran to catch up, and did, but he did not call. No sheepdogs.  Vlach origins, north and south of the Danube: http://www.fact-index.com/h/hi/history_of_vlachs.html.  Traders, shepherds, craftsmanship. Chronology there of dates and events.
Someone described that kind of sight as a cloud of sheep. Exactly. Find one such reference at Dominick Finello's Pastoral Themes and Forms in Cervantes' Fiction/.
Vlach sheep, crossing road, Romania

The Vlachs are an ancient people that are in many eastern European countries. Tradition roots them in the Indus Valley, India migrations of an ethnic group commonly called "gypsies", or Roma (nothing to do with Rome, however), whether accurately or not, these peoples have kept their own ways.
See Gypsies, Roma, Romani.
Vlach may the root of "Wallachia" or "Vlachia". Some believe that it was the Vlachs who originally founded Romania, and were the indigenous people when the Romans came. See the Romania section at http://www.mysite.du.edu/~etuttle/misc/europe.htm#Mong
The Vlachs remain distinct. There were also, however Dacians in the area, another group also laying claim to the indigenous people-founding Romania status. http://www.rotravel.com/History/The-Geto-Dacians/ Their leader, Burebista, 82-44 BCE, opposed Caesar. The society was strong and well organized: they conquered some area Greek cities, and fended off the Celts. Also known as Geto-Dacians, they are referred to from the 6th Century BCE, with Herodotus the first to use the term "Getae" for the peoples north of the Danube. Danube?  Germany?
The Danube stretches from its mouth at Moldavia-Romania (delta), back through borders with Bulgaria, then Serbia (old), Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, etc. See map at http://www.donau-info.org/donau.php?pg=0&lg=en.  The mighty Danube became the border, back at the Romanian history site now, between the Geto-Dacians and the Romans.  Finally, after fierce wars, the Romans, through Trajan, won. http://www.rotravel.com/History/The-Geto-Dacians/  Migrations ensued among tribes opposing Rome. Greek and Roman documents, says http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaHistory/dacia.htm, called these people Thracians. Other kings:  Decebal and Dromihetes.

Geto-Dacians. This also puts the Getae in line, possibly, as the Geats, the tribe later found in northern Europe, the tribe of Beowulf. Beowulf, earliest poem, Saxon, see http://www.alcyone.com/max/lit/beowulf/

Hwaet! That is the word commonly translated as "Lo!"  or "Hark!" See first line of poem, Beowulf.  Nuts.  it is Hwaet!. See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hw%C3%A6t

 See http://www.awesomestories.com/flicks/beowulf-grendel/who-were-the-geats.  Much speculation as to the origin of the Geats. Did they migrate, with many others, north, right up the Danube? Across Carpathians, through Caucasus? Why not look here, scholars? Wikipedia starts its analysis of identity long after the migrations of north-of-Danube peoples unwilling to live under Caesar, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6tar.  I started far earlier, see Sigge Fridulsson, Fridulfson, and the Swedish legends (legends themselves rooted in unknowable events?) at Sigge Fridulsson, Caucasus Migration North, Caesar Era

 More Vlach history http//: www.friesian.com/decdenc2, and at http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaHistory/vlach-south/; and ://www.columbia.edu/cu/romanian/articles/aromani. And, of course, a book:  http://www.amazon.com/Vlachs-History-Balkan-People/dp/0312009372

Road manners.

The fun part here was the good humor of the truckers stopped in their tracks in the village -- no anger, no fingers, just open the window, lean out and chat and smile in good humor as, when all seemed to be past, somebody went under the truck to coax out the last straggler. To an outsider, it looked like respect for someone else's assets and way of life. Room for many. What's the rush.
Less developed countries respect others' lives more.  Is that so?  I seldom saw any kind of road kill. That may not mean a particular love of animals -- stray dogs are everywhere -- recognizable breeds --  from the edicts in Bucharest that people whose neighborhoods were destroyed by Ceaucescu's urban renewal.  Apparently, people could not move into the new apartment highrise boxes, with dogs. The absence of road kill could mean, rather than altruism:  1) skill in veering; and we agree; or 2) the practical side. A hit may damage your own vehicle.
We have found them in Greece and Croatia, for example, see more about "Aromanian Vlachs: The Vanishing Tribe," at http://www.vlachophiles.net/.

Wikimedia Commons provides this map of migrations, and the resolution is as you see it: see http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Migration_des_Roms.jpg
File:Migration des Roms.jpg

There are supposed to be some Vlachs in Texas - see map and discussion of migrations at http://www.angelfire.com/tx5/texasczech/Valachs/Who%20are%20the%20Valachs.htm
Modern map of Eastern Europe, for identifying the foggy lettering above: Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eeurope_rel84.jpg

File:Eeurope rel84.jpg
The mother of the Hungarian hero, Janos Hunyadi (governor of Transylvania in the 15th century, castle at Hundoara, Romania) was said to be Vlach. The Vanishing Tribe site says that Vlachs set up Wallachia.
Update - from our 2007 trip to Poland:
Some Vlachs migrated to Poland - see the Magurski National Park site at http://www.staff.amu.edu.pl/~zbzw/ph/pnp/magu.htm. There, the people were called "Lemks," and lived in the Low Beskid region, with only a few survivors now. There are vestiges of their culture, and later orthodox religion there, and in roadway shrines. The article says they were deported in 1947 for political reasons. See populations post at Poland Road Ways.
Vlachs - Once there is an awareness of something new, all sorts of other information comes out - now we find Vlach references in many places and contexts. More at a Vlach site, http://www.bastian.freeyellow.com/index.