September 21, 2017

On Blogs, Moving and Maps. (Or the Things I've Learned this Summer)

 It's something that anyone can tell you if you are going to travel, or blog. it's simple, and usually easy to follow. Have a map, a plan, an idea, and just a bit of courage. Or, in the case of this blog, and writing about Transylvania, the past tense might be more to the benefit of how the last few months have transpired.

Moving, of any sort, is not fun, and, while moving means new adventures, and this also means that as a writer of a blog a bit of organization is a high needs piece of life, and one which I am still a WIP.  Of course, good intentions and all of that wonderful idea of writing and moving, it simply didn't work as much as I had hoped.

It's also a challenge when a blog is starting to be a part of my life again, after years of feeling as if what I was writing wasn't as needed for readers as before.  The problem wasn't readers, but rather the writer.  Learning that there is always something to say is only piece of the journey. The next part is finding that the passion is still a part of the life of a blogger.

It's not about writing a blog post every day, but rather going forward in a new adventure mode.  Even looking at things in a different way.  In this case, the old assumption of maps being a story was nearly blown to bits owing to my adventures of traveling.  There are maps, and then there is the reality of what a map can actually tell you.  This case is best illustrated with a land map, upon traveling through lakes and the lake areas we found that the map we had made it look a lot different then the actual land.

One of them showed us that the road went "around the lake." This is not entirely the case, what was done was that gravel and dirt was brought in the middle of the lake, and dammed it up- much like beavers tend to do.  After many years, the one side of the lake was marsh and reeds, and the other was, high lake- almost level with the road.  Needless to say, it made for an interesting conversation when the map really didn't show the marsh, but a lake with a road beside it.

Some of the older maps of Transylvania were probably designed more with artistry in mind, as opposed to having the exact location and geography which our modern society wants in maps.  Blogs are similar, and moving and growing, and possibly changing it around to make it stronger is all a part of life and work within the internet.

The best thing learned? Just keep writing and growing.

July 16, 2017

Why Should I Visit Transylvania?

Let's play a game.  Say you want to do a bit of traveling outside of the normal routes.  Say that for you, London, Paris or Berlin are places which you have been to, and would want to visit something not too hot, so not Italy nor Portugal or Spain.  A bit of history is what you are after, along with some very interesting local stories.

You want to see some older buildings which have bloody histories, and some which have world famous people who have lived in them.  You want to visit small towns which date back centuries which seem to be lost in time.

Where should you go to travel?

Let's be clear, you want something a bit different and you have been to all the places listed before, but something familiar would be fine with you.  This is why you should visit Transylvania.  Take for examples its castles, at nearly 700 of them, they range from the famous- Bran Castle- to ruins which you can explore as a tourist. There are older abbeys which have histories dating back more than a 1,000 years.  There are converted churches- from the Lutheran Churches to the Romanian Orthodox.

The food is also impressive, it begins which the mix of Hungarian, the Romanian and the German.   There is a great deal of Asian flavour and Middle Eastern, as the Mongols and the Ottoman Empires would attempt to invade from the East.

Some tourist go to see the land, because of the fact that it was the 'gateway to Europe.'  The past and the present seems to collide, when in a few hours one can drive in a very metropolitan city such as Brasov, only to find centuries old villages which have stood the test of time, and they are still inhabited. For people who have not lived in Transylvania, but have family who did, it is always amazing to search on Google Maps, and see the villages that the family grew up in, and where much of the village is intact and is maintained.

There are religious aspects to the land, this is where cultures seemed to have an idea of how to live, or co-exisit in some fashion with Catholics, Lutherans, Jews and Romanian Orthodox living and worshiping in the same area.  This is a land where the people have both much, and very little.  It is a land which survived and thrived under many types of politics.

The cultures have survived and carried on, and they are a link between the past and the future in Transylvania.  It is a land where the community and the culture are still an important part of Transylvania.

Transylvania, is a place you should visit, not only for the major attractions but also for the less important ones- the people and the smaller communities, where the investment and the memories are so vital.  It is a place you should see to learn about, and to enjoy.  Give yourself the credit, and not only go to see a place such as Bran castle, or to the city of Brasov, but also to the outlying communities which have as much if not more history to them as.

May 21, 2017

Transylvania and "Cool"

Writing about Transylvania
Cool and Things about Transylvania 
Transylvania is cool.  While that might not seem as if that's academic or even remotely smart, what it does mean is that people who don't know about the area, find it interesting.  This conversation has happened time and again when I mention that my family lived in Transylvania.

This conversation usually goes with "wow that's cool." Or, most notably in the last while, "wow, Transylvania is pretty cool."  I'm reasonably certain that they are not making reference to the weather, although the mountains are high enough to be cool for most of the year. Sometimes, they will ask questions about the area to confirm they had heard it correctly.(If I am honest, there is also a good chance that the person will mention Dracula, but I digress)

It's making it easier to be in a more positive mindset about writing and talking about Transylvania when you hear the words it's cool.  It's fun to write about a place where the people and the history is so varied and unique and where each bit of detail can change who and what you see of as "Transylvania."

Going for a bit of a travel with family who once lived there was also an experience which was also both cool and sad.  Google maps proved to be very useful in terms of seeing the villages that people who lived there once saw.  For the most part, the buildings in the smaller villages remained the same. For some people, who left while very young and hadn't returned, it was more of a "wow" moment.  They could visualize their home, and not just from stories others told them.

For others, who left later in their lives, and had more memories of the area, they said that it was different, in some ways more run down, and they could see the effects of communism or of lack of pride in the villages. Others, found that the house or the mill or whichever was there had been torn down, or expanded.  To them, it was bittersweet "cool."

Transylvania does hold some unique memories and for many, these are more vivid and happier than what they find now.  The same holds true with most people and how they recall events.  More often than not, the person remembers it as either better or worse than what it really was.  It seems this holds true when it comes to the people and the land that they lived.  This is another way we can keep the ties that bind us to our past.

Sometimes, for something to be cool, one most have no preconceived notions about the area, and yet, as this post pointed out, most people have an idea of the world around them and have general ideas of what a place, a culture and a people should be.  To be a part of Transylvania and its culture means that sharing the facts is only one part, it is also a willingness to make the place a bit more unique, cool if you will, to others who might want to know more about the land.