Songs of the Moment

I love exploring the Romanian music scene. After I was introduced to Bosquito and Subcarpați, I knew there had to be so much more – I just had to find it. Last night, I definitely think I found some awesome Romanian sounds, and I’m encouraged to think that there’s so many more I haven’t discovered. The cool thing about Romanian bands is that it wouldn’t be too difficult to travel to see them. I’m also really excited that most of these bands play exactly the kind of music I love – very chilled and mellow 🙂

First, Golan (Bucharest)

I wish I had more information about this band. The only information I could find was on their facebook page and it says:

“Golan is a three piece band based in Bucharest, Romania. Alex, Mihai and Ernesto’s different backgrounds and skills combine in a unique blend of eclectic harmonies. Using live instruments, sampling and DJing, the trio brings a much needed human touch to today’s electronic music. Their sound is melodic and dreamy while at the same time making you dance your shoes off. Get ready for the Golan experience!”

Next up, Fine, It’s Pink (Iasi)

From their facebook page:

“Post-rock with an electro-psychedelic explosion.”

Yes, please. I could listen to this all night.

Third, Nava Mamă (Cluj-Napoca)

It’s hard to pick a favorite from all the songs I listened to last night, but if I had to pick, I would say that I listened to this since three times in a row. It really helped me focus while I was packing.

From their facebook page:

“Hardcore Ardelenesc / R&B Satanic / Pop Folcloric”

R&B Satanic. That’s a new one for me.

A big thank you to Youtube, who apparently can read my mind and helped suggest these songs to me. If you want to suggest other bands to me, leave me a comment.

 

Sweets for the Sweet

I would like to take a minute and acknowledge the vast amount of dessert options in Romania. As an American, I am very used to saying, “No, I am so full” when the waiter asks if he/she can bring a dessert menu. In Romania, you order all of your courses up front, so with your huge appetite and big fat American wallet, you’re like, sure, I’ll get that ice cream, it’s like 12 lei ($3ish). And so, I will begin a compendium of desserts that you will find and order in Romania.

Exhibit A – Papanași

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Similar to American donuts, but different in that it is topped with some cream and blackberry jam. Holy hell, this should be the national dessert of Romania. After I concluded my quest to find the best iteration of this dessert, I discovered that papanași is my spirit animal.  Verdict: scrumptious.

Exhibit B- Cremşnit

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Some kind of custard thing with a flaky crust. I bought this for like 6 lei ($1.50ish) at the most amazing little bakery (? I don’t know what else to call it, it’s more like a walk up window where you can buy treats). The point is, Cremşnit is delicious. Verdict: divine.

Exhibit C – Covrigi

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Are you hungry on your way home from work? …or maybe you’re not hungry at all, you’re just craving these fantastic circles of joy. Covrigi are similar to pretzels, but instead of salt, they are filled with yummy chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or whatever. Make sure to get one fresh out of the oven because they’re best when hot. Verdict: mouthwatering.

Exhibit D – Clatite

These puppies are basically crepes, but for some reason, I’ve never had a crepe that tasted this good. I’ve had both chocolate filling and fruit filling, and both were heavenly. Verdict: sublime. I basically reached Nirvana eating these.

 

Exhibit E – Kürtös Kalács

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Even though these are a Hungarian treat, I will forgive them and get them anytime my heart desires. I have been very #blessed to have experienced Kurtos several times. I’ve tried the traditional walnut topping, chocolate topping, and plain ol’ sugar glaze. When these are fresh off the grill, they can’t be beat. Warm, sweet bread.

Other desserts that were damn good

On the left, some kind of Romanian flan with orange sauce. Top right, cheesecake, I think? Also, I need to mention that it is usually called “American Cheesecake” – and I think this dessert is perceived as an American food, although many Americans think it’s kind of not worth the calories (I say it depends on what kind of cheesecake). Bottom right, cherry pie. Verdict: not too shabby.

Honorable Mention: Frederick

We bought this little chocolate snowman and named him Frederick. He was a Christmas decoration until after Christmas. After Christmas, we murdered *COUGH* I mean, we ate him. Well, I ate him. Face first. Verdict: sweet, delicious murder.

Look at these beauties..

I love that people use drones for photography and videography. From a drone’s eye view, a building or town can be transformed. You get an entirely new perspective of a place. You can experience a new facet of its personality and charm (especially in the case of Brasov).

Bucharest…

and Brasov…

 

Piatra Craiului – the mountain I am going to climb this summer (hopefully)…

Capra Neagra

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“Goats. They are weird. Yeah, they are crazy.” – Claudiu

We drove up to Zarnesti to Piatra Craiului and the beautiful gorge that is in the park. It was absolutely freezing, so we put on an extra pair of gloves – so officially, I had on: two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, two sweaters, a parka, hat, scarf, and two pairs of gloves. And guess what? It was still freaking freezing. This is probably the coldest air I’ve ever felt, somewhere around -2 F.

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The snow on the ground was crunchy and the air was crisp, and by God, we were going to see the Zarnesti gorge!20151230_155819

We didn’t mean to walk too far, but as we were going along, we met a couple coming the other way who told us that there were black goats (capra neagra) on the mountain ahead. Black goats?! Apparently, these wild goats are something of a rarity, so we walked full steam ahead, ready for a treat. Well, we walked around one bend and then another, and no goats. We decided to walk just a few more minutes, and then give up if those furry little jerks didn’t show.

And then…goats.

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Can you see them in the photo? I spotted those assholes from the ground. There are six of them up there. A veritable goat-themed Where’s Waldo? of sorts. Look closer.

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We watched them hang out for a bit. I had never seen a wild goat before. All of my previous goats have been of the farm persuasion. But these ~wild~ goats were everything they’d been hyped up to be – cliff dwelling, impervious to cold, and very chill. But soon, the novelty had worn off enough that I was very aware that I was cold. Very cold. And so we turned around and hoofed it back to the car (pun intended). It took a long time for my feet to warm back up, some kind of goat-induced hypothermia, I suppose. But it was worth it – the Zarnesti gorge was absolutely breathtaking. 20151230_155248

I was actually surprised to see how many people were up there. Lots of hikers, both serious and casual, and some families. Again, this is a country of people who know exactly how beautiful their land is – and they enjoy it whenever possible.

…and of course, I can’t have a post about Zarnesti without including a photo of this beauty, Piatra Craiului:20151230_164620

A Very Roma Christmas

Because of a lot of bad press, not many people know that the Roma people have quite an interesting culture. Most people focus on the negative “gypsy” side of things, and they completely miss out on some neat things.

Christmas Morning Parade

We woke up to this “music” – and at first I thought, is that a train? What the hell is that noise? Lo, and behold, a Roma parade was coming down the street. We threw them some money from the window. Later, another parade came through, this one with many more people and dressed in even more elaborate costumes.