Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Romania

Twenty folk dancers from New Mexico and twenty folk dancers from elsewhere in the country gathered in Cluj, Romania for an ethnographic dance tour of Transylvania. First of all, being in Europe with so many close friends was exceptional. We all kept pinching each other, was it really happening? Were we really there? Together? We were, indeed. Below is a church built in the 1200's in Cluj.

 This is my singing partner, Rosie, and I in the Botannical gardens. We didn't plan to wear the same outfit. It just happened. Cute, huh?

Each night at dinner, we were entertained by these guys. 

So, our routine was to have breakfast from 7 or 7:30 to 9:30, dance class from 10 am to 12 noon, lunch from 1 - 2:30, then sightseeing in this beautiful city. On days when we didn't have dance class, we took day trips. One trip was over night to a village named Rupea.

Out of 40 participants, probably 30 of us purchased custom-made dance shoes. Here we are looking at the choices.

Strolling the village square.

an ethnographic museum of life long ago

Many of the villages we visited were just as they were 500 or 600 years ago. Except for the cell phones, of course.

Much of Transylvania looks like this, beautiful green, rolling hills dotted with picturesque villages.

Bran Castle, which really has nothing to do with Dracula

This is how we were greeted in Rupea---with Suerca ( very potent brandy) and bread with salt. We were so warmly welcomed wherever we went. We were fed, and then we danced with their musicians and dancers.

If I am asked what I did in Romania, I say "I waited till the cows came home." We did just that. Being a kid from NYC, this was absolutely hilarious to me. The cows come strolling back from the pasture and turn left or right to get to their home.

Part of the buffet we were welcomed with in Rupea

Dancing at the outdoor ethnographic museum

a medieval fortress in Cluj

one of the narrow staircases

We were lucky enough to visit the stables of the Lippinzaner horses. I didn't know they came from Romania.

One of our stops was this farm. I had never eaten a carrot straight out of the ground before. Yum!

At yet another village - the children sang and danced for us and then we got to join in.

This is goulash and the Romanian form of polenta cooking.

At right is our beautiful photographer, Irina, in her traditional costume. She dances in a performing group. That's me on the left in a traditional Hungarian blouse. This was on our last night in Cluj.

I will write more thoughts and feelings and impressions as the days go by and I recover more. Till then


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well now you know when the cows do come home!
Awesome photos, Karen. The churches are beautiful. Funny that horse carts and cell phones exist in the same world.
Glad you were able to go with such a big group and explore the country!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

These pictures really are amazing. I love that photo of Bran Castle. And I love those old churches!

Karen Walker said...

Old churches are one of my favorite things to see when traveling, Alex.
Keith, Bran Castle was fabulous, but I love the old churches so much

Arlee Bird said...

More great photos. These look like stills from a TV travel documentary. It's good that you got to pursue some of your interests while enjoying the travel.

Tossing It Out

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Beautiful pictures. I love the lady with the carrots. :) Cooking over a fire looks hot though--but it's probably not as hot as it is here? We're in the 90s in NC..

Unknown said...

Would have loved to be on that tour, looks so happy.

Mason Canyon said...

Such beautiful photos, Karen. I like your umbrellas and your Hungarian blouse. The Bran Castle looks so mysterious.

Karen Walker said...

Lee, folk dancing thru Transylvania was an awesome way to see the country.
Elizabeth, it wasn't that hot the night these were cooking. We were grateful for the heat. It's been 100 in Albuquerque.
Carole Anne, wish you could have come - we were happy
Mason, yes, the parasols are lovely as is my authentic Hungarian blouse. Thanks

Carol Kilgore said...

I absolutely adore all these photos. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm doing some desk-traveling and enjoying it very much.

Unknown said...

Oh it's gorgeous!! We have a Romanian friend who lives in Germany and he keeps telling us we have to go, which we'd love to, but haven't found the time for it yet.
I bet you had the best time!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Stunning pictures. Looks like a great trip. Obviously you were having a splendid time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - what a lovely trip .. no wonder you didn't think about blogging - no time at all. Looks like a wonderful travelling time ...

Looking forward to reading more anon .. cheers Hilary