Shockingly little has happened on this blog in the last few months. :-(
First, this was due to university, where I am working on a paper about the history of labor in the Middle Ages and in Early Modernity. As any subject that you delve into deeply, this has turned out to be much more complicated (and even more interesting) than anticipated.
And, for the last two weeks, I was finally traveling again. For my birthday, I went to Romania and to Ukraine, whence I shall have some (hopefully) interesting stories for you. While I am working on these, here are a few photos to wet your appetite.
First, I went to Alba Iulia. As Romania’s secret capital, this will feature in an upcoming episode of my history series “One hundred years ago …”, because in October 1922, this is where King Ferdinand and Queen Marie were crowned. Almost one hundred years was also the time it took me to circumvent the citadel, the second-largest man-made defense structure in the world, just after the Great Wall of China.
There will also be a story about being locked in at the Botanical Garden and about a very legalistic playground.
Next, I went to Baia Mare, the lovely capital of Maramureș.
Travel between the cities was a delight not only for the view of mountains, rivers and the typical wooden houses, but also because I got to hang out in architectural gems like the Baia Mare bus station.
Or the train station in Sighet.
Sighet is quite a lively town for its size, with museums like the one for the victims of Romanian communism or Elie Wiesel’s childhood house, attracting visitors from around the world.
But I mainly used Sighet to walk across this wooden bridge into Ukraine.
For a country bracing full-out war, the border process was astonishingly easy and straightforward (and much friendlier than in other countries in peacetime). Even the trains are still running, although I had to hitchhike because I wanted to go to find the geographical center of Europe. Which I did.
The last stop on my trip, back in Romania, was Satu Mare. A very friendly town, with people everywhere taking time to talk. At the art museum, the director herself gave me a guided tour of the exhibition about Aurel Popp. In French. There seemed to be surprisingly little tourism, even though a brochure which I picked up from the tourist information boasted of direct flights between Satu Mare and New York. (The information was outdated, or had never been true.)
Satu Mare should be much better known, though, because it must be the world’s secret capital of Brutalism.
And as always, there will be plenty of cemeteries.
And cats. Both of these were photographed in Solotwyno, Ukraine. I guess you can tell whose owner is still around and whose owner has been killed.
But more about that in the upcoming articles.
Do you want a posctard?
Actually, you would be surprised how hard it has become to find postcards in some places. But for you, dear reader, I’ll walk the extra miles!