OZB - Iulie

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W W W. O Z B . R O

Dental Excellence DR IRINA GAVRILUT


TRAVESTY Tourism Overload





Hello, bună, and welcome to OZB, your new lifestyle magazine all about Romania, in English.



DOUGLAS WILLIAMS Co-owner/Editorial Director, douglas@ozb.ro ARABELLA McINTYRE-BROWN Consultant Editor MARCEL DE ROODE Co-owner/Commercial Director, 0768 971 647, marcel@ozb.ro OANA VIȘOIU-CUŢUCACHE Art provider for OZB via Renaissance Art Gallery JIM HENDRY Business Development Consultant NĂFTĂNĂILĂ ALEXANDRU Art Director

Douglas Williams - Founder

Next Phase Hard to believe that a year has passed since the first OZB came out. I collected the first edition from our printer in a satellite town of Bucharest during the most enormous and dramatic deluge, cracks of thunder, the air heavy with ammonia. The weight of the mags in the back of the car and the axle deep water made for interesting driving conditions round the Centura. Finally, safely home my younger daughter Naomi was recruited with her little posse of pals to transfer the mags into the sitting room where they sat, safe and sound on a Winnie the Poo play mat, ready to be distributed. The kids each made 10 lei and were delighted before you start... And so this dream, crazy or otherwise, had well and truly begun. The first and biggest hurdle had been crossed, no longer did we need to explain the concept to people but we could show them the actual magazine. Sigh of relief, it would be easier from now on, so our thinking went. But this was a year ago, so July, and most of the people who had expressed interest in partnering with us, with investing and with advertising, people who had spoken enthusiastically and sincerely were suddenly unavailable. Out of town, uncontactable. So August mag didn’t happen, nor September nor October and our hearts sunk. A one hit wonder.

You can get a hard copy of OZB magazine at the following distribution points: International Schools, Ted's Coffee Shops, restaurants and bars in the Old Town– Van Gogh, Café Klein, Mojo; World Class, AFI Palace, Starbucks Băneasa, Starbucks Pipera Plaza and Starbucks Iancu Nicolae, the restaurants on Iancu Nicolae St, hotels - Sheraton, Hilton, Pullman, Marriott, Intercontinental; Embassies, Chambers of Commerce.

Eventually my clever partners Fulvia and Marcel figured something out and not only could we make another mag but we could also host a launch event at the Novotel no less. We were rolling. I made an awful speech cognisant of just how precarious our position still was. On the strength of that November mag and the event, however, we had a cracking Christmas mag and we were rolling. And we’ve been

rolling through 2018 with the mag getting better, the whole process getting smoother, slicker but, as with everything in life, change has come a knocking. Three fifths of the original OZB team have now left - yikes, wipe out! Our original distribution guy Sandu Hamuraru, follows his love to Pretoria, South Africa. I’d like to thank him for being there from the start and for doing his best in getting OZB to the places that matter. Ada Popescu designed the magazine, she gave OZB it’s distinctive look but she has decided to move on and it is with no small amount of sadness that I say farewell, it was a great pleasure. So last but by no means least we have to say la revedere to Fulvia Meirosu without whom none of this would have been possible. She has worked tirelessly this past 12 months and Marcel and I are very grateful to her and we wish her the best of luck with her next endeavour. I must also thank our partners without whom OZB would cease. In particular I’d like to thank Superbet and Avincis for their continued support. So it’s down to just Marcel and I? No, not quite, we now have a new distribution guy in the shape of Dan the man and an exciting new designer in the shape of Alexandru Naftanaila and I’m very happy to welcome these folks aboard the good ship OZB. We need more peeps and more partners, if you’d like to be involved in OZB “Celebrating the best of Modern Romania” in English with quality writing, photography, insight and design get in touch with me at douglas@ozb.ro So that was OZB mark I and this is OZB mark II. I hope you like it


James de Candole on the menace of mass tourism




Oana Moraru grades Romanian education system


Elena Ciolacu's moving and winning animation



Zina Burloiu - world class wood worker

Simon Parker's top treks

Bearing all, Paul White's furry friends


Jessi Robson on what attracts her to Romania




A slowdown from Romania’s exceptional 7% GDP growth last year was inevitable, but government policies that have dented consumer confidence coupled with the erupting political crisis that is likely to deter investment could result in a sharper slowdown and jeopardise longer term growth.



It’s too soon to talk of a hard landing for Romania — yet. The economy expanded by 4% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2017, an enviable rate for many economies, though for Romania it already represents a sharpish slowdown to the lowest pace of growth in two and a half years. Indeed, the growth in January-March indicates Romania’s growth for the full year is likely to be around the low end of the range of forecasts from major international financial institutions — for example the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have put 2018 growth at 5.1% while the European Commission expects just 4.5%; all the figures are well below the rather optimistic 6.1% anticipated by the Romanian government.

growth has run its course in Romania. Retail sales are still growing, albeit at a slower rate than previously, and car sales are robust. Consumer lending is also strong, with the stock of bank loans to Romanian households growing 22.8% y/y in May, containing a rapid rise that has inspired the authorities to consider tightening retail lending regulations. And indicating there is plenty of scope for further increases in consumer spending, Romania’s hourly average labour costs rose the fastest of any EU country in the first quarter of this year, while Romania also saw the largest increase in employment across the 28-country bloc in the same period. But in the longer term, as forecast by the IMF, Romania’s growth is expected to slow down to its potential rate (the level of output that an economy can produce at a constant inflation rate) unless serious reforms are made to investment policy. Last year, pointed out the IMF, public investment fell to the lowest level in recent years as a percentage of GDP, and absorption of EU funds is persistently low. A similar point was made by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) country director for Romania, Matteo Patrone, at a presentation at the National Bank of Romania in mid-June. Patrone said that Romania needs a “new economic model” in order to sustain growth in the longer term. This model should be based on “innovation and integration in the global value chain” the banker said, rather than the consumption based growth of the last few years that has not been matched by increases in productivity.

Just as the boom in the last couple of years was chiefly fuelled by consumption, in turn driven by the government’s pro-cyclical fiscal policies — Bucharest heaped fuel on the fire of the accelerating economy rather than adhering to received wisdom that resources should be kept for when the economy needs stimulus — the current slowdown has been caused mainly by an easing off of consumption caused again to a large extent by government policy, specifically by changes to the fiscal code that saw public sector workers’ take home pay stagnate even while they received nominal pay rises. At the same time, inflation is on the rise, speeding up to a five-year high of 5.4% in May. This prompted IMF officials to reiterate fears that the economy is overheating, citing the hike in inflation and Romania’s twin (public and current account) deficits. The IMF recommended a “tighter macro‑economic policy stance [and ] noted that a more cautious fiscal policy stance would help economic rebalancing and reduce the burden on monetary policy.”

Yet the chances of that happening anytime soon is remote given the political crisis into which the country has been plunged by the government’s efforts to remove the head of the national DNA, and President Klaus Iohannis’ subsequent refusal to sack her. There’s now talk of an imminent attempt by the ruling parties to start procedures to impeach the president. Meanwhile, the prison sentence issued to the leader of the ruling PSD LD has added another dimension of chaos to the political scene. In the current environment, the last thing on politicians’ minds is going to be long term strategy.

Clare Nuttall is a Bucharest-based journalist specialising in Eastern Europe. Currently news editor at bne IntelliNews, she has been with the magazine since 2008, initially in Kazakhstan and more recently in Romania. Clare has also written for the Financial Times and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

It would be premature to say that consumption driven







Can you tell us about what your role is just now and what you have been busy with this last few months and what you are likely to be busy with this next few months? I am managing the Helikon School in Calarasi and, at weekends, I am on tour around the country with my seminars for parents and teachers. I have just completed a set of 12 such meetings that engage all participants in a very dynamic dialogue about the present and the future of education in Romania. My goal is to motivate parents to become real partners to teachers and schools as these last two need to open up to feedback from families and finally manage to have the students’ best interests at heart. Most of the educational system in my country is held back by bureaucracy, by an obsolete teaching style and mentalities stuck in a pyramidal administration that does not allow creativity, critical thinking and collaboration to develop inside classrooms and, therefore, does not have a vision for the unpredictable future of our kids. I am also running workshops for teachers around the country and have a permanent involvement in other such transformational projects on national education – Teach for Romania, Aspire for teachers, SuperTeach. Starting this September, I am ready to offer a full and coherent programme for teachers that is based on the invitation I’ve already made to private companies to start adopting schools all over the country and offer scholarships for teams of teachers interested to develop their techniques in class, their relationships with students and parents. It is a two years online programme, mingled with conferences in Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi and based on continuous mentoring of young teachers and head teachers. Can you tell us about your education, what were its strong points and what do you think it lacked? My vocation as a teacher and a mentor was triggered during my Pedagogical High school years. Back then, we

had the opportunity to teach a lot and be assisted by a few dedicated specialists from whom I learnt a lot about children, psychology, didactic steps in teaching every subject at young ages up to grade 5. I think this new generation of students who are aiming to become teachers do not get enough chances during their training years to practice in class next to the really inspiring teachers that our system still has. A lot of their training comes by chance and they are sent out into schools without a strong or deep enough understanding of each age’s needs and must haves when it comes to learning and mind development. Each and every year, our schools that train the future teachers have become less and less committed to doing a good and responsible job. So, there is great need for other organisations and professionals to step in and mentor these young teachers in their present schools. After my very productive and intense high school years, I continued as a student and graduated from the University of Bucharest, with majors in Romanian and English language and literature. What helped me more was the experience after my student years, when I worked, for instance, in the US as a camp counselor and I got the chance to understand more about other education systems and how important the authenticity of the student-teacher relationship is and how damaging the formal authoritative model is. My education continued with many other partnerships with schools abroad and my 20 year permanent research on a large number of school communities all over the world. What were the main factors that took you into a career in education (favourite teacher)? My mom was a very passionate preschool teacher and then, during my high school years, I learnt a lot of the same passion from at least two of my teachers in Pedagogy. They were also very strict and showed me that there is a science behind the show we prepare for class, the science of making minds and hearts grow.

How would you describe your educational philosophy? What do you think are the most important elements of education? I think there should be a very deep understanding – on the teachers’ side – of how the mind works and grows. Traditionally, we have been teaching in classes without questioning the very basis of learning. Most of those we consider great teachers in class are just being tough on students, pushing them to work hard, practice through repetition. My teaching style does not ignore the importance of hard work, the efficiency of memory processes or the repetitive drills. However, I believe that these are the starting points and not the purpose of education. We need to make children think, wonder, feel the taste of their own right and wrong decisions in exploring, we must grow lateral thinking and the ability to connect data across subjects and topics. We need to make them collaborate, speak with their own voice, take leadership positions when studying. This new generation of students works well in class only if they are given a role within their community, only if they feel they have a mission in class, they need to receive feedback fast and know what is behind the material that is to be studied. They need to be anchored in reality and the pragmatic side of learning. What are the best things about the Romanian education system and what do you think needs to be reformed the most urgently? Are there things that the rest of Europe can learn from the Romanian education system? (English language teaching is clearly very successful.) There is still great dedication from parents and families to learning and still a lot of respect and support that families feel towards schools. We still have a few inspired teachers in each school. Studies show we have a huge number – as compared to the rest of Europe – of young students who show great creativity and adaptability. What we lack is genuine school


management. For instance, those great teachers in each school have almost no power to influence, to inspire or to train their colleagues. The way everyone is subordinated to their so-called superiors is still traditionally determined by political decisions that have no interest in promoting good professionals. What needs to be urgently reformed is how we train teachers, what we train them to do and how we can “contaminate” others with what their most inspired peers know. We also need to change mentalities about how kids grow and flourish, how being harsh and critical of our own kids is not going to help them. That was one of my goals for the meetings I had with parents and teachers all around the country: opening minds about how we can be inspired leaders for our children, without having to use discipline, control, punishment, competitions that trigger anxiety or fear of not being good enough at a very young age. What is your vision for education in Romania in the future? Is the classroom and teacher-led-learning soon to be a thing of the past? What might save Romania from the destiny of a small and yet corrupt country would be a great education system able to burn some developmental stages and project itself straight into the future of learning – where each individual has his or her own path to learning. That would need strong political support and commitment to great and visionary change. Since we do not have that yet, I would be more than happy to know that at least the new generation of teachers coming out of school are well-equipped with strong information and skills to design good classes and the ability to measure the impact they have on each student. As long as we do not measure our impact in class and have no personal responsibility in class, apart from the papers we produce within this huge bureaucratic machinery, we will be totally unable to create a vision for the Romanian school. As long as we only measure in national exams what our kids can regurgitate after class, we


stand no chance of becoming better than our parents’ generation and the struggle they still have today –both economically and politically. What are your thoughts on the cultural importance placed upon subjects such as maths and science to the detriment of others such as the arts, music and PE and how does your school, Helikon, address the teaching of the whole child? In a world so unable to predict its future and create algorithms that can guarantee professional safety for each individual that does great in school – such as in the old days of our school years – I find it pretty normal that most of us, parents and children , insist on the heavy subjects and ignore the arts and sports. However, what the cognitive sciences show us today is incredibly logical and full of common-sense. And that is that the only purpose of education is to create that integrated brain, that mind able to sustain tough mathematical thinking just because its creative networks have been trained in Arts and Music. At Helikon, we do the academics in the morning and we make sure the students have all afternoon for arts, music, drama, sports, cooking, gardening etc. They do their work in a very well balanced environment because we make sure they have something to look forward to each day . What are the key qualities that you seek in your teachers? I look for people that have not altered their mentalities in schools that practice labelling students, comparing them and classifying them as good or bad. We hire teachers that do not leave their work after they leave school every day, that like to look for ideas even when they are not asked to, people that like to learn, listen and experience along with their students. What piece of advice do you wish that you'd received during your schooling / what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

PROFILE I would have loved to have been told a lot more about how important is to be myself, listen to my inner guidance and find my own bliss. I was educated to make others happy, to listen to my teachers, to feel afraid that I was not enough until I had proved myself through hard work. What worries you most about the school children that you meet these days and what excites you the most? I feel that there is a huge gap between life and school environments. Schools have become very artificial while the students are more and more aware that what really counts for their future is not addressed consistently enough in classrooms. What really excites me is that this younger generation is so tough to keep in class using the old methods, that we no longer have a choice and will be forced to change our mentalities and techniques. This is probably the first time when kids have more to teach their parents. If they choose to listen and, thus, evolve spiritually.









Whenever somebody asks me about the energy sector in Romania, I tell them we seem to be stuck in a past century mentality. Discussions hover around mammoth companies and megalomaniac pipeline infrastructure investments. We also tend to have a very hardcore geopolitical approach to energy. All Romanians are good at talking about the Russians, right? Romania has always had abundant and diverse energy resources so, in reality, we had little incentives to nurture a culture of innovation in this sector. Last but not least, in the Brussels debate our various governments have placed themselves on the conservative side of the ideological spectrum. We pretend not to be climate change deniers, but we like to keep our coal industry unspoiled, if possible. Like having the cake and eating it, in a way. When we opened Ashoka Romania I felt more determined than ever to bring about a dramatic shift in the public discourse and practice in Romania towards climate innovation for the future. Ashoka is the largest global network which offers social entrepreneurs a lifetime of community and support. We identify and support the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, learn from the patterns in their innovations, and mobilize a global community to embrace these new frameworks and build an “everyone is a changemaker” world. When we opened an office in Romania, in May 2017, we embarked on the journey of finding the country’s social innovators in the energy and environment field. While the ecosystem is not at all conducive to such a mindset shift, as mentioned earlier, we did find some exemplary cases. Claudiu Butacu and Mihai Pasti are the founders of Efden, a student organization which has built, assembled and successfully tested in Romania solar houses which won famous global competitions, like Solar Decathlon. They are very well placed to scale their innovation commercially, while still educating their peers into a sustainability mindset. Iulian Angheluță is the founder of “Lumină pentru România” (eng – Light for Romania) a highly developed crowdfunding process that helps the poorest and most

isolated Romanian communities to have electricity access from solar panels. Iulian managed to bring light to Romania’s last non-electrified schools, yet there are several thousand homes that still don’t have access to this basic form of modern energy. Iuliean Horneț is a Romanian inventor and entrepreneur, who produces pellet-fired heat generation equipment. His devices make heating much more affordable, while burning biomass highly efficiently. Dragoș Preda is an engineer who invented and marketed the first small-scale vertical wind turbine for households, 100% made in Romania. Andrei Voicu and Rareș Dumitrache have created Swip – the first Romanian platform and app which aggregates the demand of several energy consumers and, through bargaining at scale, negotiates better deals with electricity suppliers. Enevo Group is an energy engineering and automation company founded by two Romanians, Cristian Pîrvulescu and Radu Brașoveanu who gave up their comfortable corporate jobs to create a business which offers solutions along the entire energy value chain, from SCADA solutions to energy management. Their startup now has offices in Melbourne, Bucharest and Saudi Arabia and serves some of the largest global players. Romania is pretty advanced in reaching its EUset renewable energy targets, largely due to hydro investments from the communist age. We’ve missed implementing a transparent and fair support system for renewable energy and instead authorities are refusing to give up on coal, despite economic and environmental arguments to the contrary. I am hopeful nonetheless that an ever increasing number of social entrepreneurs will emerge and thrive despite the hardship of being a climate innovator in Romania. Corina Murafa is the Executive Director of Ashoka Romania and an energy and environment policy expert. She's consulted for several large national and international organisations. With Ashoka, the largest global network supporting social entrepreneurs, Corina resumed her passion for social change. http://ashoka-cee.org/romania/



“GLOBAL VILLAGE” How one village in Saxon Transylvania is coping with too many of the wrong kind of tourists.

BY JAMES DE CANDOLE An English landscape painter in Viscri was overheard to complain that it was impossible to see the cows heading out to graze for all the BMWs from Bucharest parked along the cobbled high street: “Well, I shall just paint them out!” she exclaimed. And in this way she preserved the village’s reputation, if not its character. The Saxon farming settlements of Alma Vii (or Almen in German), Biertan (Birthälm) and Viscri (Weißkirch) all have magnificent old fortress churches that sit well in their enchanting landscapes. Where the churches’ hard wooden pews and collection boxes were once filled by disciplined Lutheran farming families, today they are being filled by tourists. Alma Vii, with just 390 inhabitants, is just starting out on Romania’s

tourist development path, a trajectory that begins with slow, independent travellers, on foot, horseback, bike and in passenger cars, and ends with coach tour operators and their regimented cannon fodder. The restoration of the fortress walls of the village’s monumental medieval church complex is now complete, and visitors are starting to trickle in, some 1,500 or so last year. A couple of coaches at most might make it into the village each week in high

season but most visitors arrive by car. Alma Vii’s location, a dead end at the end of a bumpy lane some miles off the main tourist routes, discourages the coach tour operators keen to pack in several stops in one day. Biertan is more advanced along this trajectory thanks to its classification as a World Heritage site and the fast new road linking it with the main road between Medias and Sighisoara. Between April


and October, an estimated 1,000 coaches and 25,000 passenger cars bringing 100,000 visitors park on the edge of the square beneath the village’s heavily fortified cathedral, with its nine gate towers. The town hall raises some 5,000 euro a year in parking fees from these visitors. The church raises much more, as much as 50,000 euro a year, with at least 30,000 visitors each contributing 2 euro (half that amount for children). Local craft - honey, jams, wooden spoons & bowls, and linens - is sold to the tourists and this supports several families in the commune including the growing family of the Orthodox priest. The dozen or so guesthouses dotted around the commune and a restaurant beneath the church all benefit. None of Biertan’s 1,600 inhabitants would consider that their village needs fewer tourists. Quite the contrary. By teatime, with the coaches all gone, the village square returns to its normal quiet self. A couple of local pensioners in wheelchairs (they lost limbs in tractor accidents and the local sawmill, the largest employer in the village), banished during the day because they “put the tourists off”, return to the square to soak up the evening sun. As for the rest of the village, it hardly notices the intrusion - the great majority of visitors never venture beyond the church and square. Viscri has 400 inhabitants, like Alma Vii, and based upon the number of entrance tickets sold by the Saxon church last year, had well over 40,000 visitors, raising some 60,000 euro. Viscri’s popularity is not hard to understand: Its reputation as un unspoilt farming village is deserved and well reflects its character. Latterly, the Prince of Wales Foundation has set up its Romanian HQ in the village and this has attracted lots of interest both from abroad and within Romania. But it is the daily efforts in the field of the Romanian branch of

the Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET), which enjoyed the patronage of the HRH Prince of Wales from its establishment in 2000 until five years ago, that has made Viscri what it is today. Thousands of small, incremental steps taken by the MET, involving hundreds of village houses and their owners in at least a dozen villages over two decades, have helped gradually to transform this and other abandoned farming settlements, impoverished by the departure of all but a handful of their Saxon inhabitants in 1990, into sustainable communities enjoying a modest economic revival. Caroline Fernolend, who leads the MET and is a native Saxon from Viscri, believes there are already too many tourists coming to the village today: “This is why we created our guesthouse website, ‘Experience Transylvania’, to encourage people to visit other Saxon villages and so take some of the pressure off Viscri.” Fernolend says the problem is not just numbers but the kind of visitors that are starting to arrive. She argues that Viscri’s association with HRH Prince Charles has been invaluable in the past but these days is attracting the “wrong tourists”, by which she means Romanians from Bucharest with the wrong expectations who arrive unprepared for the real thing, the simple food and the high street peppered in cowpats. “The real tourists visit the church but many of these Romanian tourists actually think the citadel around the church is the prince’s castle. They cannot believe that a prince would live in a village house that looks just like all the other houses here and feel cheated,” says Fernolend. Mihai Grigore, the owner of Viscri 125, appears to share this view. “I do not give interviews anymore. There has been too much, and the wrong kind of publicity given to Viscri. We want our visitors to come to Viscri for its wild flowers, butterflies and birds. Viscri has little to offer tourists looking for sophistication.



We are boring for such people and they should stay away to avoid disappointment.” The street facade of the Grigore family’s remarkably lovely guesthouse - he has lived there with his wife and three children all year round since 2010 and must have invested 500,000 euro in the place - is quite unremarkable. Like the street facade of the house of Prince Charles, it looks like all the other houses from the street. There is nothing to suggest that there is a stylish guesthouse inside. Grigore says that some of his Romanian guests want him to smarten up the facade. The absence of signs on the houses - visitors are directed to a house number, never a name - is perhaps one of the most pleasing aspects of the village. There is nothing commercial to attract or rather to distract the attention of visitors from the architecture and its setting in the landscape. Another reason why Viscri has retained its authentic character is the fact that a great many of its inhabitants are involved in taking care of the tourists. There is no single hotelier or hotel. The ownership of the guesthouses is spread among many people. It is a true ‘albergo diffuso’. The rooms are spread out across the village and a virtual reception desk operates over the guesthouse owners’ mobile phones. If one guesthouse is full, the owner rings around and quickly finds beds in other guesthouses. There is lots of friendly competition. Viscri is an outstanding example of what a small, coherent community, albeit bolstered by a handful of university educated middle-class outsiders and two internationally renowned charities, can accomplish when it acts together. There are tensions but these are usually overcome. Viscri is one of five villages in the commune of Bunesti. The council’s plans to lay asphalt over the village’s cobbled streets and to install concrete drains on either side of the wide high street were thwarted by the villagers acting as one. A UNESCO expert was invited

by them to give evidence to the council and persuaded council members to drop its abominable plans. But the village is starting to feel the strain of its popularity, especially in July and August and at weekends. It is bracing itself for a surge in numbers next year, after the completion of a brand new 7m wide, 15km long road linking Viscri and Dacia to the main road between Sighisoara and Brasov. Today, visitors wishing to reach Viscri by car or coach would turn off the highway at Bunesti, between Rupea and Sighisoara, and travel the last 7 km along a country lane full of potholes and, until last year, through an avenue of 320 poplars trees. In early 2017, Brasov County Council finally accepted the argument long put forward by the village that the poor condition of the lane has made it hard for local inhabitants to get their children to school in nearby Rupea. Everyone agreed that the lane must be improved. But rather than resurface the narrow road, remove some of the trees and introduce lay-bys to allow larger vehicles to pass each other during the high season, the council went for a whopping 6.6 million euro project that has involved cutting down all the trees and in their place inserting a wider road and deep concrete drains with a 1m diameter to carry away the water that the poplars once absorbed. This new 15km thoroughfare will connect Bunesti to Dacia through Viscri. The great majority of the inhabitants of the village accepted that the trees were a sacrifice worth making if it meant a better road. Many of the trees had reached the end of their lives and the council was unwilling to maintain them or to replant new ones where gaps appeared. The burden of looking after the trees was taken up by the MET but it gave up replanting new trees along the road after local shepherds kept on cutting them down to make their temporary sheep folds. Even so, a handful of locals, when they learnt of the


enormity of the project, objected. They presented their case to the council, arguing that the new road would bring more and faster road traffic and perhaps even encourage commercial lorries to use the road as a shortcut. Cutting down the trees, they pointed out, would remove the natural solution to high water and wind levels, the reason why the Saxons, in their wisdom, planted poplars along the lane that runs through water meadows. The removal of the trees, the oldest of which were planted by the Saxons as much as 100 years ago, has removed the windbreak and sponge, as well as the habitat of the hordes of crows that once lived in them. The noisy crows have moved into the village itself and are making a pretty nuisance of themselves in revenge, one must suppose, at having their habitat destroyed. The objections to the sheer scale of the new road were politely and firmly ignored, and what had started as a request for a repair job of the lane had turned into a multi-million euro high speed corridor. There was no public consultation. True, formal notices were posted in obscure, online places, but no attempt was made to alert or to invite the people of Viscri to participate in the formation of the policy decision that would so dramatically affect them. “We were presented with a fait accompli,” says Mihai Grigore. “Either we accepted the project in its entirety or nothing. We had little choice but to accept the big road.” The poplars were reduced to firewood, though not firewood for Viscri. Five of the thicker trees have ended up in the village and have been turned into “Saxon” water troughs for the livestock on the high street, a pathetic reminder of what had been a defining landmark of this open landscape for a century or more. “We shall replant the trees,” says Caroline Fernolend, “but only after we have taught the shepherds not to steal the young saplings.”

The new road did not split the village for long. People are now working together again to deal with the congestion that the road will bring. Two car parks, one public and paid for by the commune, the other private and already in use, will provide parking for 150 cars. These are situated on the edge of the village. Passengers will be obliged to walk through the village in future, or take a horse and cart up to the church across a meadow. “We have contacted the Romanian coach tour operators and asked them to use the private car park we have made, at our own expense. The coaches from abroad will be asked not to park on the village high street but we cannot enforce this, at least not until the public car park is built later this year,” says Caroline Fernolend. Preserving the character of this place is a constant struggle. The village recently decided not to host the start and finish of the ADEPT foundation's annual Transylvanian bike trails race through 6 local villages. Mihai Grigore again: “The race is a great event, but too big for Viscri. We are still part of it (the trail goes through the village) but agreed with the organizers that the start and finish will no longer take place in Viscri. And it works well now.” Ironically, the latest challenge has come from within, a most unexpected quarter - the Prince of Wales Foundation itself. The foundation has just handed over the running of The Prince of Wales Guesthouse to Jonas Schaefer, a German restaurant entrepreneur and owner of the Valea Verde Resort in nearby Cund. The “eco-retreat” is popular with richer Romanians who drive up from Bucharest for a weekend break in the countryside. Guests may soak away their stress in the resort’s small, natural(-ish) pool in the warmer months. In the winter, the resort stages truffle hunts, with guests taking part in a guided search for this “elusive

and mysterious black gold”, and then enjoying a five-course truffle dinner. The prince’s foundation is now mapping artisan food production across five historic regions in what is now modern Romania Transylvania, the Danube Delta, Bucovina, Banat and Maramures. The idea is to showcase this regional produce in the foundation’s “Food Barn” in Viscri. “This is not the right approach for Viscri,” insists Fernolend. “We have trained eight women in the village to cook for visitors using food grown and raised in the village.” Fernolend argues that this joint venture will attract the kind of visitor Viscri does not need - the kind that is drawn to the village, not to savour what the village offers naturally and unaffectedly, but rather to indulge in a heavily marketed “experience”, to sleep in the holiday house of Romania’s most famous living prince, to be served gourmet dinners prepared by Transylvania’s most celebrated chef. The media theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village” to describe the way in which the world was shrinking thanks to the instant transfer of information, in short, the modern travel industry. At least that English landscape artist, who painted out the cars and coaches on Viscri’s cowshitsplattered high street, knows what the real thing should look like: The “global village” tourist, his head buried in an on-line copy of Condé Nast Traveler, never actually knew. James de Candole settled in rural Transylvania in 2015 after 25 years in Bohemia.

James de Candole settled in rural Transylvania in 2015 after 25 years in Bohemia


Life on the


It all started with a childhood dream. I was 13-14 years old and I would skip school and go down to Constanța’s Tomis Harbor. I really enjoyed seeing the boats and the yachts there. They made me dream and inspired in me feelings of freedom. Above all, I dreamed of buying an old sailing boat, reconditioning it and setting off on a long sea voyage. I tried this, but it was impossible for many reasons: work, space, time, money, parental pressure, etc. For many years I remained on land and just dreamt about the sea and the ocean and sailing. Over the years though, those dreams gelled and they led me to establish Setsail Yachting School. My maritime adventure had properly began. An innocent child's dream had come true. The cruises that we offer are not only for those who just want to enjoy moments of relaxation offshore, away from everyday stress, but for those who want to experience sailing properly.


What could be more relaxing than lying in the sun, the waves rocking you, the cooling sea breeze, a glass of chilled white and the shore just barely visible on the horizon? Besides relaxing, you can also be an active member of the crew, so you can learn the navigation techniques. Nothing compares to the pleasure of travelling by the power of the wind alone, in perfect silence, without the stress of an engine. Our packages begin at 3 hours and can last up to 3 days with accommodation and meals aboard the boat. Our yachts have 4 rooms for 2 people in each, living room with kitchen, stove, oven, refrigerator, audio system, 2 toilets with showers and hot water.


Cruises 3 HOURS - MAMAIA Departing from Tomis harbor, we will sail along Modern Beach, and then parallel to Mamaia resort up to the Năvodari camp. For those eager to take a swim in the sea, we can make a stop. Of course, anyone interested in learning how to sail can participate as an active crew member. This 3 hour cruise will be just enough to "taste" the pleasure of sailing. Many dolphins visit us on this route. | Price - 100 lei/person 6 HOURS - CORBU BEACH Corbu beach is the newest beach on the Romanian Black Sea coast, located only a short distance from the famous resorts of Mamaia and Năvodari to the south and the Danube Delta in the North. This beach is a secluded, wild and pristine, the sand is fine and the water is clean. This beach is a favourite with tourists looking for an oasis of peace - there are no loudspeakers pumping out dance music, no clubs or beach parties or five-star hotels, the only noise is that of the waves lapping. Departure is again from the port of Tomis and we’ll sail along the Mamaia resort, passed the former Năvodari camp and the Rompetrol refinery, after which we anchor in the area of ​​Corbu beach for one hour, during which you can swim, lounge in the sun or enjoy a cold beer on the yacht. With luck we will also see dolphins who regularly appear near our boats. | Price - 150 lei/person 6 HOURS - COSTINEȘTI Costinești Station is an the extension of the village with the same name, about 30 km away from the city of Constanța, between Tuzla (north) and Olimp (south). Known as the resort of the youth, Costinești welcomes its guests with a joyful and animated atmosphere. The beach of the resort is watched by the two symbols of Costinești - the Obelisk and the wreck of the Evangelia Ship, sunken in 1960. Departing from Tomis harbor, we will head south, leaving behind the Casino - the symbol of Constanța and then along the Constanța and Agigea harbors. We will anchor for a lunch break near the famous wreck. | Price - 150 lei/person 1 DAY - VADU Departure from the port will be at 09.00. On our route we will navigate in parallel with Mamaia resort and Năvodari camp, we pass the Rompetrol refinery and Corbu beach and around lunch time we get to Vadu. Here we’ll anchor and go ashore with th dinghy. Guests can dine at the resort's restaurant, renowned for its fish specialties or you can enjoy the beach. The break will be two hours. We will return to the port around 7 pm. | Price - 200 lei/person

1 DAY - LIMANU This cruise is one of the most beautiful one at the Romanian seaside. We navigate in parallel with all seaside resorts, we see Cap Tuzla, stop at the famous wreck of the Evanghelia ship in Costinești, cross the Aurora Head and enter the Mangalia naval yard in what appears to be a fiord - Lake Limanu. This area has been declared an Avifaunistic Special Protection Zone of and is especially beautiful. After 30 minutes of sailing on this lakeside, we reach the most beautiful marina in the country - Marina Limanu, a special place for sailing lovers. The seafood restaurant offers some of the best seafood in the country. On the return leg, we’ll stop for a swim in the sea. | Price - 250 lei/person 2 DAYS - BALCIC (BULGARIA) Balchik is a town on the Black Sea coast, in the Dobrich region of northeast Bulgaria, located 42 km from Varna. It is currently one of Bulgaria's Black Sea biggest tourist attractions. Between 1913 and 1940, it belonged to the Kingdom of Romania, along with the rest of Southern Dobrogea, following the Second Balkan War (June-August 1913). In 1940, the Cadrilater, including Balchik, was regained by Bulgaria. Here, the Balchik Castle can be found, Queen Mary's favorite summer residence, surrounded by the most famous botanical garden in Central and Eastern Europe, especially due to the cactus collection. Because of the limestone slopes in its perimeter, the town was named the White City. The whole area was called the Silver Coast for the same reason. Departure from the port will be at 8 am after the completion of the exit formalities in the country. On our route we will navigate parallel to the southern resorts: Eforie, Costinești (where you can admire the famous wreck), Neptun, Vama Veche. In Bulgaria, we sail near the shore to enjoy the spectacular cliffs between Cape Shabla and Cape Kaliakra. In the evening we arrive to Balchik where there are many restaurants and tavernas that offer a menu rich in fish and seafood. There is a distinctly Greek island feel. It is the only resort on the Romanian and Bulgarian seaside with a truly Mediterranean air. Clubs in Balchik are very welcoming and animated so that the lovers of decibels and agitation will feel great. For those who prefer peace, a glass of wine served aboard the yacht will remain a memory sure to entice your return. The next morning we "weigh anchor" and head back to Tomis. We will arrive around 20-21.00. Contact: 0724384850 | www.haipeiaht.ro haipeiaht@yahoo.com 23


Winning Smile


Dr. Irina Gavrilut has been practicing general dentistry for 11 years, with a close approach to the “Hollywood Smile” concept, along with oral implantology and facial aesthetics. She Graduated from Carol Davila University Bucharest. Why did you choose this career? I chose this career because, growing up as a kid, I was always fascinated everytime I went to the dentist. The equipment seemed cool and the dentist always made it a fun experience. When did you open New Dental Clinic? We officially opened New Dental on the December 1 st 2014, on Romania’s National Day, after 8 years of private practice. Who are New Dental’s patients and why do they come to the clinic? At New Dental we have patients of all ages, from 5 to 80. Generally anyone who needs a simple check up topeople who have had serious problems and traumas. Our patients are willing to solve all their dental problems without going in several different places. What made you open New Dental? I wanted to create a brand that people can trust, to create an experience that people will benefit from and to feel that their dental health is well taken care of. Is there a big difference between a doctor and a businessman /woman? A doctor is a people person. He/she is focused on fixing someone’s health problems. A businessman / woman is focused on building partnerships with clients. Having the right balance helps create a successful person. After finishing the medical studies you really need to develop business management skills, to be able to know how to grow your business one day, especially when in Romania a dentist can work only in the private sector. Which are the secrets to success in Romanian medical private practice? The secret is to work hard, network and collaborate with the right specialists, build partnerships and focus on patients needs and desires. It is also important to use the best materials and equipment, to invest in the latest technology in order to have the best results, to give the best medical services. You need to constantly attend dental meetings and conferences. Which is the most difficult part for a businessman / woman in Romania? There are no difficulties, only challenges. One of these challenges is finding the right people who embrace your vision.

Which are your plans to develop New Dental? We want to expand in the near future, with the possibility of opening another clinic. We will create conditions to treat more patients, on the logistic and medical levels. We want our dentists to be challenged everyday. We want o display our talent. I heard that you collaborate with several NGOs/ children associations. At New Dental we believe in children. They are the future. We believe also in equal chances, giving back and creating opportunities for the young ones. We took care of the children from two associations, and we are about to start the collaboration with another one. Which are your hobbies? I like to travel, to see the world, to meet people from different countries, to get to know other cultures. Describe one day of yours: I don’t have two days that look alike, every day is a new challenge. I really like what I am doing, so I don’t see dentistry as a job, it’s more like a passion.

Snapshot Interview How do you like your coffee ? American What’s your favorite app ? Shazam Name 3 things you always carry with you. Phone, Tic-Tac, small perfume What’s your favorite place in Bucharest ? New Dental How did you spend your last holiday ? visiting 3 countries in one week What do you like best about Romania ? Having mountains and seaside in one place What colour is your kitchen ? White Name 3 favorite hobbies. Traveling, drawing, shopping What is your favorite car ? the safest one If you wouldn’t have your actual career/job, what would you like to do (as a career/job) ? the same


Every Picture



It’s all about capturing the moment, so I’d better be quick. “Tanti Lina, may I take a photo?” Our elderly neighbour turns towards me, raising her hand to shade her eyes from the sun. She squints, confused. Perhaps she didn’t hear. Deaf as this wooden fence between us. I brandish my camera. “A photo of you and your family cutting grass. May I?” She shrugs. “Ba da, Domnul Mike, cum să nu?” Sure, why not. Tanti Lina turns away, pointing into the meadow. She’s explaining something, but no one replies. Her middle-aged daughter Gloria speaks into a phone; her teenaged granddaughter Camelia sharpens a scythe. The chubby guy in the pink polo shirt is staring at me. CLICK. Back home, I scroll through photos from my walk: a sheep with bizarre horns, an ancient wheelbarrow, a tree blasted by lightning. The shot of Tanti Lina’s family is the best. If every picture tells a story, this one hints at the eternal rhythms of life in a remote mountain village. At least, I hope so. I look closer at the stark mountains, dusky hills, and emerald pastures. The light is just right. A good photo, at last. In the foreground, Tanti Lina stands in profile, headscarf knotted at her chin, sharp nose protruding. She’s pointing: Cut this patch. Tall and slim Gloria is in black jeans and a skimpy T-shirt. She has dark eyes, sharp cheekbones, and hair piled high; quite the rock star. Young Camelia has hiker’s legs, but they’re pale as buttermilk. She’s twisting at the hips, ready to swing her scythe. At the far right, stands the guy in the pink shirt, hands in pockets, belly sagging. I know the face. Domnul Bratto? Domnul Gupta? He’s staring towards the camera, suspicious. It helps the composition. Perhaps I’ve cracked the Law of Thirds, albeit unwittingly. I post the photo on Facebook, with a caption about scything. I should add some names. But who’s Mr Pink? I’ll phone my wife, she’ll know. Then again, she’s at the dentist. I check my watch, thumb her number and look at the man in the photo. “They call him Grasu,” says Angela, “why?”

“Nothing important. How’s it going?” “Dentist is checking my x-ray. Anything else?” “No, sorry to bother you.” On Facebook, I tag the fellow in pink - Domnul Grasu - then scroll down. A friend in L.A. has photographed frothy coffee. A carpenter in Italy has photographed yellow bunk-beds. Someone’s shiny-nosed pup is chewing a shoe. Scrolling back up, I find that my photo has already received seven smileys and five thumbs. Wow, that was quick. Maybe I’ll contact National Geographic: Need a freelancer in Transylvania? My wife arrives home with a numb face and a pained look. We sit in armchairs with cats in our laps. “How was your day?” says Angela. “Did some work, went for a walk, put a photo on Facebook. Over a hundred likes, so far.” “What’s in it?” I hold up my phone and she seems impressed. “Nice shot, good light, well-balanced. Gloria looks amazing in black and I like how Tanti Lina is pointing. What’s the caption?” She roots for her spectacles and I look at the photo. 150 likes, wow. Perhaps I’ll turn pro, buy a zoom lens the size of a salami. “You see, Angela, it’s all about capturing the moment. That’s what I’ve done. So many likes! The locals love this photo.” Angela leans closer, reading now. “Not surprised.” “Huh?” “Do you realise what you called the guy in pink?” “Grasu. Quite appropriate, as they’re cutting grass.” “Except that’s not his name.” “You said it was.” “I said, they call him Grasu. But that’s just a nickname. You tagged him, Domnul Grasu.” “What does it mean?” “Mister Fatso.” This story is from ‘Palincashire - Tales of Transylvania’. Mike is the author of bestseller 'Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania.' Literary critics dubbed him 'The British Caragiale’.






On a cool June evening whilst walking through meadows close to a forest in Romania I had a brief but wonderful encounter with this bear family. The mother was foraging for food with her two cubs, slowly but purposely moving through the grass, eventually disappearing into the forest at the base of a mountain. These encounters are rare in Europe, although your best chances of seeing a bear are in Romania which boasts the largest population within the European Union. So how many bears are there in Romania? Well this is a topical debate at the moment and is presently under review in the Romanian parliament. The figures are disputed and vary depending on who you talk to. The official estimates are over 6,000 individuals but conservationists believe that the method for counting bears is flawed and numbers are being exaggerated to support a return of hunting quotas. In 2016 Romania unexpectedly called for a complete hunting ban on all large predators including bears, wolves and lynx. Although this ban was largely welcomed, the powerful and influential hunting lobby were not pleased, as hunters from all over the world were paying thousands of Euros to hunt bears in Romania.

Conservationists believe that the perceived rise in bear conflicts with humans are being used as an excuse to overturn the ban, but have pointed out that these conflicts also occurred when hunting was widespread. Hunters want to shoot large bears as they make the best trophies, but these large dominant males are the ones that naturally control the bear population. Rather than relying on hunting as the main measure to reduce conflict, WWF Romania insists that other methods should be deployed such as the use of electric fences, reduction of attractants, use of bear proof bins and specialised dogs. Whatever the outcome it is important for the authorities to understand that these bears are unique in Europe and could attract far more sustainable forms of income in the long term. A bear can only be shot once by a hunter, but can be shot hundreds of times by a camera held by fee paying tourists. For me it is sad that these beautiful animals are viewed as commodities and decisions are being debated as to how many will be allowed to live. I just hope that the bear cubs I saw playing in the meadow will survive long enough to have cubs of their own and do not live in fear of the gun. www.wildtransylvania.com



Matei Buta

I first fell in love with the mechanics of photography through learning and doing. Only after mastering the technical basics did I fall in love with the medium, taking pictures of all that I could see. My turning point was when I worked as a portrait photographer on the largest cruise ship in the world, the Oasis of the Seas. That’s when I got hooked on portrait photography, almost 10 years ago. Coming back to Romania after living “the American dream” I started

working as a portrait photographer. This opportunity allowed me to work on some personal projects and discover amazingly talented people. I have been truly blessed to have been able to work with magazines and agencies, photographing regularly people and celebrities alike, meeting new people every day and trying to capture their beauty. You can see my full portfolio on www.mateibuta.com








Elena Ciolacu is a Romanian award winning illustrator, graphic novel creator and 2D animator. In 2013 she graduated from Coventry University, UK, with a BA in Illustration and Animation and as of June 2018 she is also a graduate of the prestigious National University of Theatre and Film “I.L. Caragiale”(UNATC) in Bucharest where she undertook an MA in Animated Film. She is a strong believer in visual media’s power to shape society and her work focuses on visual storytelling that aims to bring to the world’s attention messages of moral, spiritual and ethical value. Her first graphic novel, “A Story of Hope for the Bullied”, won two international awards and nearly 500 messages of

gratitude from bullying victims all over the world. Her second graphic novel, “Disposable People”, is probably the first visual narrative that imagines the Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of the people living with it. This book is based on Elena’s research into cases of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and also on her own experience of living with her grandfather who was diagnosed only one week after she started working on this project. Elena is currently focusing on 2D animation projects and her second and latest animated short, also one of her most ambitious projects, has just entered the festivals circuit.



How long have you been doing what you do and where do you draw your inspiration from? I have been drawing ever since I was a child, I got serious about art in high-school and I created my first graphic novel and animated my first short film during my BA studies, but I think I can safely call myself a professional artist from 2013 when I graduated from university. I draw inspiration from many things: everyday life, civic concerns, history, my faith, literature, photography, art, design etc., but all these are steered in a certain direction by my own vision of life, my search for purpose and meaning in everything that I do. Some of the themes of your projects are heavy - your animation “Remember me” is about the Stalingrad war, one of the themes in your graphic novel “Disposable People” is Alzheimer’s, you also did a project on bullying. What motivated you to tell these stories? “Remember Me” has a very special place in my portfolio of work because it was my first attempt at creating an animation and my first attempt at exploring one of the subjects that I am most passionate about: history. It is my modest tribute to the Romanian soldiers who fought in WWII, on the Eastern Front. Although my initial approach was going to be merely depictive and generic about WWII, as I started doing research and read testimonies of Romanian war veterans that fought on the Eastern Front, I soon realized that I had to tell a story that would convey the same awe, respect and sorrow that I felt for my country’s heroes. My two graphic novels, “A Story of Hope for the Bullied” and “Disposable People”, came about almost unplanned, they sort of happened to me. “A Story of Hope…” was created as a university assignment that required us to enter various competitions in order to get exposure. I chose to enter the Creative Conscience Awards (a competition that encourages young creatives to address social and ethical issues) and this opportunity came at the exact time when I was under the deep impression of


the case of Amanda Todd, a Canadian teenage girl who had committed suicide because of bullying. Her story had a strong impact on me because this girl had asked for help before killing herself, she had put her story up on the internet asking for a friend and if I had seen her story in time maybe I could have helped her. There are thousands of children and teenagers going through bullying and I strongly felt at that time that I had to do something for them, to reach out a hand for any of them who wanted to grab it, mainly because I knew what bullying felt like, I knew what its consequences on mental health were. So I created my “Story of Hope for the Bullied”, I posted it on the internet and within a month and a half I received nearly 500 messages of gratitude, newfound hope and empathy from young people all over the world. It was overwhelming! This particular event in my education and career drastically changed the way I saw my purpose and calling and as an artist. “Disposable People” is actually somewhat connected to “A Story of Hope…” because it started as a graphic novel commission from a research centre that was working on a project on the Alzheimer’s disease. They had seen my story about bullying and wanted me to create something similar based on the experience of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Again, just like with “Remember Me”, the research that I did and the shocking and thought provoking information that I found out made me want to tell this story at any cost, even after the research centre cancelled the commission. In an unexpected twist of events, whilst working on this story, I found out that my own grandfather had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This fact brought a very personal touch to the story as I decided to use him as inspiration for the main character - John has my grandfather’s face down to every expression and gesture. Furthermore, most of the lines in the story actually belong to my grandfather and to other real people suffering from Alzheimer’s that I had read about or seen in documentaries during my research. This book was first published in Romania in December


What are the most demanding aspects when you are working on your stories? Every part of the creative process is demanding in its own way. For example, after I come up with an idea, that little light bulb, the first sparkle of inspiration, I then go through a long process of polishing, chiseling and building a story that works. Sometimes this phase lasts long into the production process when I often scrap finished parts out or redefine characters. For me, the story has to carry the meaning and emotions that I first had in mind, but it also has to have believable characters, a coherent and gripping narrative that keeps people engaged with the characters and makes them empathize with them. I would say the feeling of empathy within my viewers or readers is the most important aspect that I focus on. But after I dive into the actual production of the story – drawing the images or animating the scenes, creating the illusion of time and rhythm, backgrounds, colours and lights that support the story – another demanding aspect lies in every decision that I make. I have to also admit that the sheer amount of work that goes into these projects (summing up to years of non-stop work) is a tough personal challenge as I sometime tend to lose sight of life-work balance and my health kicks back at me in revenge!

approached learning animation was similar to learning how to paint: reproducing a master’s oeuvre. In my case the master was Studio Ghibli and I learned by studying their production process from beginning to end. This is the reason why my film has a very Japanese feeling about it, but far from merely copying their style I wanted to challenge myself to reach this extremely difficult level of animation because later on, from the height of this level, I could better see where I would do things differently, where I would experiment. My second goal in creating this film was to share a story that would convey the same warmth and joy that I felt as a child watching the animated films from back then. “The Little Hero” presents a short episode in the life of a little boy and his mother and focuses on illustrating that most unique and beautiful trait of childhood: the act of playing (in real life!). The little boy wants to go out and play with his mother, but she declines his request being ever busy with office work that she often brings home. Sad and disappointed, the little boy goes out to play on his own, but the whimsical appearance of a blue butterfly sets him on an imaginary journey to save his mother from the lonely prison of work and chores. The images are beautifully accompanied by the original soundtrack composed by Simona Strungaru and I am pleased to announce that the film has entered the festivals circuit and in Romania it will screen at two festivals at the end of this year.

You just finished your latest animation short film “The Little Hero”. What is it about and how did it come to be? “The Little Hero” is my MA graduation film and it came to be thanks to my ever loving and supporting family, thanks to CINETic (the state-of-the-art laboratory provided by UNATC), to my tutors, friends and alumni who kindly got involved and also thanks to my stubborn ambition to master this beautiful form of art. My first goal in creating this film was to learn, to teach myself how to animate professionally and the way I

How do you find living and working in Bucharest after the Coventry experience? Different but wonderful! A bit too noisy, hectic and crowded for my provincial tastes, but overall a positive experience. I love that certain beautiful “something” of being among “my own”, no longer a guest or a stranger, but a citizen in my own right entitled to every bit of good and bad that this country has to offer. When I moved back home after almost four years of living in the UK, I felt as if I was immigrating into my own country! I had gotten used to the people, places and life in Coventry, I

2015 with the kind support of ROST publishing house.



had built friendships and a small network of people, I was accustomed to the shops, the rhythm of life, the social system, and I left all that behind to return home where I had to start all over again from scratch. This might seem like a foolish decision to many people, but I left because I knew that the longer I stayed in the UK the harder it would have become to move back home. But packed with the knowledge and life experience from the UK, with all the lessons I learnt from this great and beautiful country, I was able to face many difficulties, to tackle issues with a different attitude and overall to appreciate ten fold everything that my home had to offer. The wonderful thing about living and working in Bucharest is the sheer amount of enthusiasm and support that I am greeted with by people from all walks of life when I tell them what I do and share with them my plans and ambitions. Everyone here is so genuinely happy to meet hardworking people who want to contribute to our society. There is this feeling, you see, of living among your own and sharing the same dreams and struggles with them, of working and fighting together for a common goal, a better tomorrow. I often felt that my tiny accomplishments in my profession were being celebrated by friends and strangers as if they were their own, I was sent messages of encouragement, I was invited on TV shows, I was introduced by people to other people. Even at university, one of the distinct aspects that I felt compared to my experience in Coventry, was that I was not just a simple student, being offered information and skills. If I so wished it, I was part of a team, putting my shoulder side by side with my tutors to recreate our industry from the ashes, to advance our field of work in Romania, to improve and overcome obstacles. This I didn’t have in Coventry, over there I was just one among many and a stranger on top. However, I can’t be hypocritical and idealistic and say that there haven’t been difficult times, or that I did not come across cheaters, liars, cracks in the system and iniquities. I have stumbled over many of these, as one stumbles over them anywhere in the world. But what matters is that we simply stop focusing on them (please, everyone, turn your TVs off!). I do not look at the world with hate and frustration, expecting it to roll out the red carpet for me, I just put all I have got into doing the best I work I can, into being principled and polite and no matter how embittered the world becomes I am sure that there will always be people who will answer back the same way. To sum up, I would like to share a beautiful quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that inspires me greatly and that I wish more people would follow as well: “If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music ... Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”



Financial Securit y in an Ever-Changing World BY JAMES LAWSON

James Lawson, Partner of Berkeley Wealth Management, which offers independent, unbiased financial advice in Romania would like to talk about the importance of Life Insurance. In an increasingly uncertain world financial security is essential. If you were to suffer serious injury, illness or worse the last thing you or your loved ones want to worry about is the ability to cope financially. Since no one can predict what the future holds, it is vital that we plan for all eventualities and this includes making sure that life insurance is part of your overall financial plan. We often ignore life insurance – however, for a relatively low cost it is a powerful tool to help meet a wide range of personal and financial objectives. Most people are familiar with life insurance as a way of providing funds to replace lost income in the event that a family breadwinner passes away. However, it can also be used to pay off existing liabilities such as mortgages and bank loans, as well as providing funds for school fees for children and grandchildren. At Berkeley Wealth when discussing life insurance with clients we focus on four key areas: Income replacement: Especially pertinent for younger families - as the “breadwinner” you need to make sure you have sufficient life cover in place to protect your family in the unexpected happens.

also allows you to spend your own personal wealth today rather than worrying about leaving a cash legacy. Estate planning: Life insurance written in Trust will ensure funds are available to pay estate duties, expenses and other taxes. Business Planning: if you’re a business owner you may rely on the number of key people for the successful operation of your company. Keyman, Partnership and Shareholder covers are all vital aspects to any business. If you are from the UK and you have existing cover it is also important to make sure that you check your policy wording to make sure you’re covered when living outside the UK as many providers do not cover you beyond mainland UK. I would be very happy to provide more detailed information and advise you which provider and solution would be the best for your unique situation. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you would like to know more about this subject, or if you’re interested in a free no obligation Life Cover quote.

James Lawson is Partner of Berkeley Wealth Management based in Bucharest. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a confidential discussion, contact him at james. lawson@berkleywm.com or direct on 0736 805574

Wealth replacement: A life policy is an inexpensive way to pass significant wealth to your next generation. It 37





Who’d have thought that you could come to Romania for raw vegan cuisine? In 2004, when I first came here, Romania had menus red in tooth and claw. If you didn’t eat meat, you could choose between potatoes and pasta, plain, with a tiny bowl of pickles or sour cream. Vegans were pointed at a field and told to eat the grass. Bizarre, since religious locals are vegan for more than half the year, given the number of fasting days they observe. But mancare de post is bland fare. You’re meant to be suffering, not stuffing your face with gourmet nosh. Since then, the Romanian meat-free offering has grown fast. Brasov, for instance, has Rawdia, a raw vegan haven tucked away like a guilty secret, behind Piata Sfatului and within an avocado stone’s throw of the Black Church. Ignore the uninviting entrance and head up cool, leafy stairs to a light, colourful interior and a warm welcome. The owners, Stefania Comsa and Ionut Costin, are both trained chefs who are on a mission to spread the word about raw vegan eating for pleasure and for health. Apart from their three restaurants (Bucuresti, Brasov and Sibiu), they run occasional evening or weekend courses for keen cooks and anyone intrigued by the

idea of raw vegan. They’re planning a five-day cooking camp this autumn in Magura (near Bran) based on Ayurvedic principles, bringing medics, nutritionists and suchlike to try a new approach to food and eating. Comsa is a convert herself after reading Robin Sharma’s book which says quite a lot about the benefits of raw food. “I was a meat-eater, but I started to see the changes in people who switched to raw vegan. I used to be tired all the time – and now I have so much energy and feel radiant. It has really empowered me.” The effect of eating raw vegan was tested by one of her customers, who was diabetic and decided to put Rawdia’s principles to the test. “He ate only our food, for lunch and dinner, every day for a year, delivered to his place. He was diabetic, and tests at the end of the year showed amazing results,” says Comsa. Rawdia’s takeaway parcels are winning lots of new customers – tourists like the packages for picnics, and local workers love a raw vegan option for lunch. Stefania loves inventing new recipes, especially for desserts and cakes, and seasonal specials like paska, cozonac and raw vegan sarmale. “I want to keep learning,’ says Comsa. ‘It’s very exciting, and there’s always more to discover.”

Tastebuds love raw vegan

We had starters of turmeric cashew cream, olive pate, and seed bread (no flour). Completely delicious, all three, and far too much to finish. We were too polite to ask for a doggy bag, dammit. Victoria then chose a salad of quinoa with cashew cheese, spinach, seeds and lemon. “It’s light, but filling. The cashew cheese was deliciously spicy and surprisingly cheesy. A perfect lunch.” I opted to try Rawdia’s burger: almonds, sprouted wheat, kidney beans, onions, tomato and carrot, in a “bun” of oats and seeds, with a bit of salad to add crunch and greenery. The

flavours were great, but I don’t much like the texture of the psyllium which held the burger together. I’m clearly in a minority as Stefania says this is by far the most popular main dish on the menu. All the salads look beautiful and hearty, and next time I’ll try the nori rolls which use quinoa instead of sushi rice. Service is quick and friendly, and the prices are excellent, given the amount of preparation that goes into each dish. Highly recommended, especially for sceptical carnivores.

Arabella is a writer who moved to Magura, a village 1,000 metres up in the Carpathians, eight years ago. She has published many books in both Romanian and English. www.arabellamcintyrebrown.com



Carved into the Future - BY ANDA ENE -

“I fell in love with the trees… Very few people are prepared to devote their lives to a craft, but that is what it takes.” Zina Burloiu- Romanian woodcarver

Since ancient times Romanians have maintained a strong connection with pre-Christian symbolism, rites and rituals. On days of celebration, also in everyday life, our ancestors wore clothes on which were sewn ancient arcane symbols. Some of these symbols we have them carved in wood, in plain sight or in hidden parts of houses, on gates, on decorative and household items. It was believed (and still is), that they have the power to avert evil, while others, on the contrary, attract abundance, health, fertility, harmony and other good wishes. These ancient symbols are still to be found aplenty in the work of Romanian artisans and artists. Zina Burloiu is a Romanian sculptor and a brilliant exponent of this ancient art. She has been recognised as one of the best woodcarvers in the world and her


works can be found in prestigious museums as well as in exquisite private collections. You might expect an artist of her calibre to be somewhat remote, but she is not like that at all: Zina is profound and sophisticated in her work, yet, very simple, grounded and humble. That’s why I want you to meet her, here, in OZB Magazine. Zina, how did everything start for you? Did you find your talent or did your talent find you? I could say it was both. I was born and I grew up in a small village with all these traditions. When I was little I ate with wooden spoons and wore traditional clothes, as did almost every little girl in the village at that time. I was taught by my mother to sew symbols on clothes or other fabrics, both useful and decorative pieces. I also learned to weave and spin wool.


Eventually I went to the School for Popular Arts and studied sculpture. During this time I really developed an appreciation for the work of Brâncuși, who also had traditional roots and was influenced by peasant designs.

My father was so in love with the forest and he used to take me there for long walks and teach me a lot about trees. I can say that I enjoyed all the things I did with my mother, but most of all I fell in love with the trees. I started playing with wood and decorating the bark of the green branches with repetitive geometrical motifs like the ones I used to see on household items. Later, I started shaping the wood and creating different objects. All of this ended when I was thirteen and I left my village to go to high school, but the seeds for everything I am now were already planted in my childhood. At the age of twenty I went to Brașov to attend university. In Brașov I heard about Nicolae Purcărea, maybe one of the best known traditional wood carvers at that time. I saw a few photos of his work and I went to see him. I immediately fell in love with wood carving all over again and that was when I started my carving career. It has been a long journey, from very traditional to neo-traditional, and now more creative, but still with a traditional touch. So you draw your inspiration mainly from traditional wood carving art and nature… from where else? For a long time I used to be inspired by traditional objects, paying attention to the form, which in these pieces was heavily influenced by utility. As my work evolved I started to find inspiration in everything. I had mastered traditional work, but that was not enough. I didn’t want to be stuck with the same every day.

Can you briefly describe how you create your objects, from concept to execution? It is a complex process and it varies. Sometimes it starts with the shape, or even a single word or a theme triggers my imagination. Sometimes the decoration leads me on another journey that I love to explore. There are ideas all around us if only we can see them - like a child sees the world. I look at the stars, or a pattern of clouds in the sky. I see the curl of a leaf, or the veins in an insect’s wings. But most of the time I start with the form. Maybe I trained myself in this direction through making traditional art, because the shape of the object is always the first consideration. The decorations, signs and symbols, come second. What is behind these signs and symbols? Your artwork has incorporated the power of sacred geometry or is it too much to assume that? Yes, even in my new work I use these signs and symbols, and sometimes I reinterpret them or I challenge what people perceive as the stylistic rules of the traditional decorations, such as symmetry, repetition and rhythm. One of the most used motifs is the simple triangle called the wolf's tooth, inherited from our ancestors, the Dacians. This motif it is often used to create other more complex motifs. I also use the zigzag pattern known also as hora, which is a traditional dance. There are so many meanings given to this motif. It is a dynamic pattern and it expresses joy, pain and the challenges of life. A universal motif that I often use is the rosette, the symbol of the sun.

It has many different geometrical variations and it expresses life, light, fertility, richness. Another is the rhombus, a geometrical representation of the egg. It expresses fertility, birth, death and life. The egg is the symbol used by Brâncuși in The Endless Column. I sometimes use zoomorphic motifs such as the snake or the rooster, symbols of protection, or the fish, the symbol of Christianity. I also use the bird as a symbol of the soul. Another motif is connected with the tree of life, which is present in many traditional customs such as baptisms, weddings and burials. Are you preparing anybody to carry on your craftsmanship, to pass on the tradition, as a “call of duty”? I have been teaching quite a lot. I don’t see it as a duty, but because I love doing it. But I have to say that it is very hard for a young person to do this for a living, or even to keep doing it in their free time. It requires a lot of things - space, tools, wood, and most of all, hard work. When people watch me they think, “Oh that looks easy”, but it only seems easy for me because I have spent tens of thousands of hours doing it. Very few people are prepared to devote their lives to a craft, but that is what it takes. If a new young Zina Burloiu found me, it would give me the greatest pleasure to mentor her, but I have not found her yet. Zina Burloiu travels all over the world with her work, but one can sometimes meet her on feast days at The Peasant Museum or The Village Museum. Anda Ene is a coach, entrepreneur and owner of The Romanian Blouse. This is a project dedicated to promoting the most talented Romanian artisans, to help them carry on their traditional crafts into the future. www.romanian-blouse.com fb: The Romanian Blouse




Summer is here and you know that no matter what hues or fabrics are trendy this season, a beautiful tan will always be in vogue. Trends change every year, but good taste and elegance will never be obsolete. In 2018 trends go on two different paths, giving you the opportunity to choose whatever suits you best. One direction goes towards a lively, strong palette, while the other goes towards pastel nuances, for a diaphanous beauty. Feminine, stylish, romantic, mysterious, delicate, entrancing – there is a nuance for every woman. The trendiest colours this summer are lavender, purple, rapture rose, sky blue, light green, military green, milk white, chocolate brown, yellow, tomato red. Many shades to choose from, but all of them look better on a tanned skin. You want to look pretty no matter what you wear, so getting tanned is on your action list this summer. Exposure to sun gives you an attractive colour, but skin cancer is not sexy at all, so you have to be protected against the harmful effect of the ultraviolet (UV) rays. Dermatologists warn us about the effects that sun rays could have on us, so it’s very important to choose a sunscreen adequate for your skin type. Even if the colour will not be the dark brown that you dream of, health is more important and it should be your priority. After all, beauty comes from within and a sharp mind is more attractive than a perfect skin. Ancient civilizations used plants to protect their skin from the sun. Ancient Greeks used olive oil and ancient Egyptians used extracts of rice, jasmine and lupine. It’s been well known for thousands of years that the sun can damage the skin cells, so don’t underestimate the importance of sunscreen. The magic in the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the fact that it doesn’t allow the sun’s burning rays to get through to the skin and burn you. You must choose the SPF that is right for you, based on your skin type. If your skin is very fair and sensitive, it burns very easily and almost never tans, then you need to be very careful and use a sunscreen with SPF 30-50+. If your skin complexion is light, it

burns moderately but you tan eventually, after a few days on the beach or by the pool, the recommended SPF for you is 15-30. If your skin complexion is medium, it burns minimally and tans very well, you are a lucky girl. The right SPF for you is 6-15. If your skin is dark or very dark, almost never burns and becomes pigmented very easily, you are the luckiest. The recommended SPF for you is 2-10. You don’t have to be very worried about getting burnt, but still you need protection against UV. Gerovital and Elmiplant are two traditional Romanian brands that can help you fight with the UV. They have a wide range of beach products and you can choose the one that is adequate for you. Both these brands use natural ingredients coupled with the latest innovations, so you can be sure that your skin is in good hands. Sunscreen absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, thereby protecting against sunburn. It also slows the development of wrinkles and helps fight against skin cancer. In the heat, the skin dehydrates. Because of that, the lines become deeper and more visible, so preventing dehydration is another important step if you want a beautiful tan. Drink a lot of water and make the sun your friend, not your enemy. You don’t want a tanned skin full of wrinkles. Always remember that health is beauty. Investing in your health should be a priority, and the return on investment will be very rewarding: beauty, energy and happy smiles. Enjoy the sun this summer, but don’t forget to protect your skin. That way, you will have a healthy, beautiful tan and you won’t look as if you’ve just been boiled. Health is sexy and sunscreen should be on your shopping list if you are planning to put some colour on your skin this season. Georgiana Dogaru is a journalist and a fashion blogger. Her career highlights include experience in the mass media as a news editor for a business newspaper and television. You can read her blog at www.stilettoandredlips.com




So, here is part two of a guide to some of the lesser known, more overlooked and I would say underrated museums of Bucharest. The larger museums here in Bucharest are ok but I am suggesting that it is the petite and latent collections that are the more enchanting. As with many things here in Bucharest the really interesting stuff is not delivered to you on a plate, you have to go out there and dig around a bit. The National Museum of Maps and Old Books makes it onto the list for being a grown up and well put together museum, albeit with some quirky idiosyncrasies of course. It is situated within the splendid Capitala streets area of Bucharest, north east of Piața Victoriei and housed in a 1920’s Neo-Romanian style building; the architecture that is rather like revivalist Scottish Baronial, in the sense that it looks somewhat fortified. In this instance the interior also benefits from the addition of specially commissioned contemporary stained glass windows and painted ceilings that complement the collection in a surprisingly good way. The museum was established in 2003, being based on a private collection of 800 maps and other objects. Magnifying glasses are available at the reception should you want to get as close as possible to the detail of these beautiful objects. If you do start to look closely you become only too aware of the continually shifting shape of Romania and the surrounding countries. Coming from an island I always find the idea of borders intriguing and the thought that Romania, as we know it today, were demarcated as recently as 1947 seems really quite exotic. Within the exhibition space itself there are English text panels in each room and of course a huge number of maps, diagrammatically depicting Eastern Europe from the 16th to 20th Centuries. In addition to these there are some other miscellaneous maps, including one of Ireland, rather ill-advisedly placed under the section heading Anglia! Curiously there is also another Irish map donated by that country’s former Prime minister, Bertie Ahern, which is physically but not politically displayed in two halves. In addition to the permanent collection there are regularly changing temporary exhibitions on the ground floor of books or graphic art and there is the added merit of a decent website at www. muzeulhartilor.ro So the next place of special interest is the Technical Museum. If you haven’t ventured beyond the northern regions of Bucharest you may well not know of Parcul Carol, south of Piața Unirii. It is dominated by the colossal war memorial at the top of the park, which is itself worth walking up to if only to see the eternal flame and get shouted at by the guards if you get too close. However, less conspicuous is the Muzeul

National Tehnic, Dimitrie Leonida, which is sited on the left just after you enter from the main park entrance. Now clearly this is a Technical museum displaying and presenting objects of engineering and physics but in a way it is also a museum of a museum, meaning that it is an old skool communist era institution and is entirely unrenovated. What you see and feel are the methods of display of another time. This does not get in the way of the fact that there are some fantastic items here. Some of them well displayed but plenty that are in the dark or just stacked in a corner making viewing and photography rather difficult. Among the best items here are a number of transport related contraptions by Justin Capră (1993-2015) the inventor of odd shaped vehicles and unlikely looking flying machines and, famously, the 1956 jet pack, that thing from sci-fi that never came true. As bonkers and eccentric as Capră’s designs were he went on to develop an elegant modular sustainable/zero energy/off-grid house called the Soleta, which is in production today - www.soleta.ro Another very important exhibit is Aurel Persu’s extraordinary Raindrop car. In 1922, Persu filed a patent for the vehicle that had a drag coefficient of only 0.22. I’m no aerodynamic expert and don’t really know what that means but apparently this is incredibly efficient, still more so than 99.9% of today’s road cars. The design is literally based on the form of a falling drop of rain and most importantly sites the wheels within the body of the car. Persu drove it for 120,000 kilometres demonstrating it to potential manufacturers but could not find anyone willing to put it into production. It is very poorly displayed at the Technical Museum and should really be the central exhibit in a place with more space and light. Maybe sometime in the future, when the government have stopped filling the boots of the wealth of this country there might be a project to have a National Museum of some kind that could house the best objects presently hidden away. In the meantime we will just have to seek out the the small museums and stumble across extraordinary things - more next month.

Muzeul Hărților și Cărții Vechi National Map and Old Books Museum Strada Londra 39 8 Lei Entrance Weds. to Sun 10 - 6pm ——————————————————— Muzeul National Tehnic, Dimitrie Leonida Technical Museum Strada Gen. Candiano Popescu 2 at the entrance to Parcul Carol 10 Lei Entrance and 10 Lei for photography April-October Weds. to Sun. 10.30am - 6pm November-March Weds. to Sun. 9.30am - 5pm




For a while now, there is a new talk of the town: one of the greatest European bike routes is going to cross southern Romania - EuroVelo 6, the Atlantic–Black Sea route. The officials of EuroVelo says it is one of their most popular routes and it’s little wonder why: coasts, rivers, castles, top-class infrastructure and a nice flat topography make the about 4,400 km long route every cycle tourists’ dream journey, crossing 10 countries, 4 UNESCO sites and six rivers. The finish line is in Constanta, Romania. Ready to bike? Can we talk about velo-tourism in Romania? This is the first question which crosses your mind when you say velo-tourism. One of the promoters of velo-tourism from Romania, called Cycling Romania, has on its official website this question. “Dear cyclist, think of Romania as being a diamond which is waiting for you to polish it! To a bike tourist, this the most beautiful gem of all, the most surprising and exciting place to ride on two wheels. With its immensely diverse landscapes, rich culture, all kinds of amazing people, Romania is slowly and steadily luring the cyclist to experience the unforgettable adventures to be had within its borders.” And I could not agree more.


“We can talk about a growing niche in tourism. Generally, there are more and more people, travellers who are interested in eco-tourism and especially bike touring. Romania is still an unknown destination for many tourists and has a great potential for growing the cycling tourism industry. A great aspect is that Romanians are really taking to leisure cycling and many understand that cycling might be the best way to discover their own country,” explains Mircea Crisbășanu, founder of Cycling Romania. “I would say from a scale from 1 to 10 Romania is at 5 level bike friendly country. On the one hand you have the beautiful unspoiled countryside, still some old traditions being well kept, an authentic way of living in villages, delicious and healthy local food (much more than in Western European “developed” countries), on the other hand we don’t have such good infrastructure. No legislation regarding bike routes signage, no cycling paths along busy roads, poor public transport options for cyclists and their gear, garbage thrown especially close to bigger cities and very poor public roads signage that makes navigating difficult,” adds Mircea.


Where to bike-tour

The best known cycling routes in Romania are in Bucegi Mountains (from Sinaia until Predeal there are many mountain biking possibilities), within the Sibiu-Sighișoara-Brașov triangle, Transfăgărășan and Transalpina alpine roads, surroundings of Bucuresti (Towards Giurgiu, Comana, Ciolpani, Cernica), the Maramureș area and Euro-Velo6 route along the Danube. “Other small regions are rising on the cyclists’ priorities such as Dealu Mare wine region, communities in Banat Mountains or countryside roads in Northern Buzău,” adds Mircea.

The official EuroVelo 6

According to the map, the Ruse (Bulgaria) - Constanta (Romania) road is currently under development. “From Silistra to Cernavoda, the route follows the Danube for less than 100 Kms and arrives to the point where cyclists must choose between the Black Sea, 100kms further east and the Danube Delta, northwards, and its majestic natural reserve,” notes the specialists. And although there is no special infrastructure for cyclists on our national roads, it seems a lot of bike-fans were adventurous enough and have already completed the EuroVelo6 road. You just need to Youtube-search EuroVelo 6 and you will see happy bikers at the finish line in the Danube Delta or at the Black Sea. “In order to increase the awareness of this amazingly varied cycling road we need the political will and we need a government decision that acknowledges the National Network of Cycling Routes in Romania. We also need the national standards with which an entity can do route signing for cyclists. So far the Romanian state has done nothing to improve the bike infrastructure on EuroVelo 6 and, therefore, only a few cyclists are reaching the Danube Delta by bike. In Germany and Austria there are millions of bike tourists every year along the Danube trail,” says Mircea Crisbășanu on the topic of EuroVelo 6. For this route, the road enters Romania through Vidin border and crosses Drobeta Turnu Severin, Craiova, Alexandria, Giurgiu, Calarasi, Slobozia, Braila, Galati, Tulcea and Constanta.

Dealu Mare wine region, where I am based and where I organise guided cycling tours with Cycling Romania I have noticed a growth of the bikers numbers from year to year. This season there is no weekend without 10-50 cyclists passing through, while 5 years ago you could hardly see any,” argues the founder of Cycling Romania. In an interview for an investigation reportage from Digi24 TV station, Jesus Freire from the European Federation of Cycling explained that: “It’s important that the EuroVelo project is developed in Romania because it is a great source of money, it can create working spaces and business opportunities for the country because it will bring a lot of velo tourists from Europe which will come to discover Romania in a sustainable and beautiful mode. The country’s landscape is impressive and attractive, and the most important landmark is the Danube Delta.” The same investigation explains that in Europe, the velo-tourism means EUR 44 billions, as follows: Germany with EUR 11.37 billions, France with EUR 7.49 billion, UK with EUR 2.83 billion, while in Romania this type of tourism means EUR 180 million - taking into consideration accommodation, food, maintenance of the bikes, rented equipment and so on. Quite sad, really, and could be so different.


Asked if cycling and velo-tourism can be of benefit to the local economy in these regions, Mircea explained that cycling can definitely attract economical growth to these communities. “An ECF (European Cyclists Federation) study in 2012 stated that bike touring in Europe attracts 44 billion euro of revenue annually in all interconnected industries. You can see anytime you travel in Romania that there are more and more bikers on the roads. The cyclist is a good quality tourist and the bike tourist is usually a bigger spender than a regular tourist, having bigger needs in terms of food, culture, healthy lifestyle. For instance, in Urlati area, the




What is it? Possibly the easiest way to get into the Ciucas mountains, this navigationally simple(ish) route follows the broad and almost treeless Bratocea ridge which offers spectacular views of Bucegi mountains and beyond. At the furthest point from the start, you’ll also get some cracking views of the Ciucas peak, which confident hikers might be tempted to scale. The slightly less adventurous might be very content with the 1872m Vf. Bratocea, which you are likely to have all to yourself. It also avoids trudging up the usual and boring path/road up to Cabana Ciucas saving you over three tedious kilometres, 300m of knee jarring ascent ascent and, the hundreds of other hikers and day trippers who drag themselves up this way.



Do-able in winter?

Ciucas mountains, near Cheia

Nearly always, but make sure you are suitably equipped!


Potential hazards:

Medium-hard, but not very long.

Child friendly?

Possibly not.


approx. 9km


477m or 559 if you bag Vf. Bratocea

as there is very minimal tree cover, take your shades, wear a hat and liberally apply sunblock or I can guarantee that you’ll fry even in the depths of winter.




Getting there

It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Bucharest. Take the E60 out of Bucharest and just after you pass Ploieşti, take the clearly marked turn-off/slip road signed to Vălenii de Munte. Go through Blejoi and keep following the A1 north up to Cheia. Roughly 1.5km past this spread-out village, the road enters a series of seven sharp zigzags – not difficult unless you are stuck behind one of the numerous lorries who use this road as a faster route to Brasov. When you get to the top, you’ll be about 1km from the carpark on your right which is marked on Google maps as Pasul Bratocea and is right on the Brasov/Prahova counties boundary. It’s worth noting that this route is surprisingly quiet on a Sunday afternoon – you’re certainly not going to be stuck for half an hour or more like you would do at the usual E60 bottlenecks such as Azuga and Predeal.

Where to eat

Restaurant La Butuci in Cheia (as the streets in this village don’t seem to have names, use your GPS to find it). If closed, the restaurants in the larger hotels will nearly always feed hungry hikers.

Where to stay

Booking.com will come find a plethora of hotels in Cheia, but we were quite impressed with this one: http://www.la-rosa.ro/

THE HIKE Part 1: the track

Starting from the carpark, you can’t miss the wide track on your right, shown on the map as a white road. Follow it through a series of gentle zigzags and if you see the first of the red stripe markings, tempting you to take a short-cut to the left through some trees, ignore them, and enjoy the leisurely ascent. Within a few hundred metres you’ll soon be rewarded (for doing very little) by the first of the excellent views west towards the Bucegi mountains. The track takes you briefly into the start of the thinly-spread forest before coming to an abrupt end at a gated radio mast building, marked on the map as Releu.

Part 2: the steep bit

Just before the end of the road look out for the path on your right – it’s narrow, but quite distinct with the red stripe trail markings usually appearing on trees. On the map, it’s shown as the start of the red dashed line. This is the only section of the hike that can in anyway be described as physically demanding as you gain altitude quite quickly along the zigzagging path. You’ll soon start to see the first of the area’s famed karst scenery with “willy” shaped rock formations,

Sfinxul Bratocei (a slightly smaller version on the Sphinx at Babele in the Bucegi national park).

Part 3: the ridge

By the time you reach Coltii Bratocei, the steep(ish) ascent is almost over and you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. The path is now very easy to follow with 360 degree views which, in my opinion, are amongst the finest in Romania. You are initially led to left of the ridge line and then to the right of it, as you approach the crossroads at Saua Tigailor. If you feel you deserve some lunch or brunch, Saua Tigailor is a fine place to have it, soaking in the magnificent views of Vf. Ciucas. It’s now decision time as you have a number of options for what to do next. (a) go off piste and pick your way up through the rocks for very roughly 100m to bag Vf. Bratocea – there’s a brass plate marking the summit although we found another top a few metres away that was very slightly higher. Whichever one you claim, it’s 99% certain you’ll have it all to yourself and it’s another visually spectacular snacking spot. You can then either follow your tail back to Saua Tigailor or, pick your way through some different rocks back down to the red stripe path and eventually back to the carpark (b) keep on following the red stripe markings to the top of Vf. Ciucas. It’s another 209m of very steep ascent but if you are feeling fit and are comfortable with a bit of scrambling (and coming back down the same way you climbed up….), it’s well worth it. (c) follow the red cross markings to Cabana Ciucas. This adds another 6+ km there and back and turns the hike into quite a full day. The path goes down then up and has a few steep sections, but you’ll be rewarded with even more brilliant views as well as a proper lunch at the Cabana. Just don’t be tempted to follow the road down to the A1 and do a full loop back to your car – as it will involve a very boring decent to the main road followed by some quite dangerous road walking. (d ) simply re-trace your steps back along the ridge to your car and enjoy those wonderful views all over again. Whichever options you choose, I can guarantee that you’ll have had an unforgettable day in the high mountains for surprisingly little physical effort.





Transylvanian diaries — -part 2BY STEPHEN MCGRATH The early evening sun is casting an auburn glow over the village and industrious swallows swoop in and out of our front cellar to build their nest on the side of a wooden beam. I’m sitting under the summer kitchen covered in dirt, watching the swallows in their fasttwitch flight on their own season-pressured mission to prepare a family abode. Tomorrow, my parents arrive from the UK on their first visit to our new family home. We’ve not seen them since Christmas. With no running water, no kitchen or bathroom — I rejoice in the knowledge that my parents are a non-complaining get-on-with-it type of couple. The plan is for their two-week stay to be a working holiday as well as a recreational break. My dad, who worked for years as a builder, wants to help us get some key jobs done on the house. As they pull up in their hire car at 8pm, it is perfectly timed to enjoy the fairytale-like scene of the village cows coming home at sunset — a testament as to why anyone, let alone a young multinational family, would want to move to the Transylvanian countryside. The house is much bigger than it looks in photographs, they say. Indeed, during the mandatory tour of the house, I can see the scale of our project becoming apparent to them. The fresh table flowers are clearly failing to trick them into thinking otherwise. However, with a fridge well-stocked with alcohol and fresh food for a barbecue — it is time to catch up and play host. As always with my parents, the night is long and full of laughter as they marvel at the volume of the male frogs calling desperately for female attention in the stream next to us. It is well past midnight when we retire for the evening. The morning after, my dad wastes no time in getting to work. His main focus — his go-to obsession — is ‘having a good clear out’. He is uprooting 2-metre tall weeds and he’s started a job that I had few ideas on how to tackle: levelling a part of the garden that is subsiding into the stream. Hardcore is being laid down in the low-ground parts and a combination of sheet metal, old wooden posts and vegetation are being built up to stabilise the new ground against the wire fence. Despite its hideous, uneven appearance, my dad insists that the ground will eventually level out and be

ready to host a row of conifer trees. The root system will bind the soil and offer some privacy from the road that overlooks a part of the courtyard. Almost every day during my parents’ visit, the afternoon brings a humid stormy rain, during which we take shelter, drink coffee and snack on whatever foods require little preparation — often fresh bread with ham and a salad. With no running water, we quickly find a use for a stack of paper plates. Washing at the house is no easy task. Each night we collect a bucket of water from the well, warm up it up on a small wood burner, strip down in the courtyard and economically wash off the day’s dirt. My parents do not complain. The evenings consist mostly of eating, drinking and chatting until the early hours in the summer kitchen - surely life's greatest pleasure. It reminds me of my childhood spent caravanning and of why we’ve chosen this location to create our home. The courtyard is beginning to look much better; hay piles from an earlier grass cutting are moved; the exterior of the barn is no longer suffocating with weeds, while lumpy old furniture — mostly wardrobes of no historic value — is broken up for firewood, creating additional space inside the barn. The ground-levelling job takes almost a week to finish, in part because of my dad’s meticulously organised way of working. It feels good to get an important, labourintensive job done. When doing up an old house, it’s important to frequently feel a sense of progress, a sort of triumph over a shoe-string budget and in our case over Romania’s labour shortage too. The whole family stands in the drizzling rain, measuring out an even distance between each of the eight conifer trees on the perimeter of the newly even ground. “You’ll be amazed at how much they’ll grow by next year,” mom says. Hopefully, by then, I think, the paper plates will be long gone and we can shower indoors. Stephen McGrath is a Romania-based correspondent. His work appears regularly in the international press for publications including The Times, BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Spectator, New Statesman, Forbes and others.




A trip to Transylvania in early 2017 opened my eyes to the hidden beauty of Romania. Although I’m not the first one to realize how beautiful being here is. Thousands of Brits movehere each year, as thousands of Romanians do the opposite and flee to the UK for better living wages and opportunities. Continue reading to find out why UK nationals are leaving their home country for Romania. 52

Romanian is now the second largest nationality in the UK, with more than 400,000 currently living here. For many years now, it’s become a common tradition to move here, whether it’s for short or long term work. With a diverse range of opportunities which cater for all types of people, no matter what race, sexuality, gender or religion; higher living wages and a large job market, especially for trained professionals - it sounds

like a haven, why would you want to live anywhere else? Personally, I have many reasons. As would any expat you will ask. The population is creeping to the tipping point and although you CAN survive on minimum wage, you probably wouldn’t want to. Day-trips and traveling have become frightfully expensive and if you live in the city, where all the jobs are - you probably have to pay an arm and a leg to get anywhere


you can truly connect with nature. Even then, public transport and even phone signal doesn’t reach the majority of the UK’s countryside. From the moment I stepped outside the airport in Cluj Napoca, I knew I was in the place for me. I’m not alone with this, as the number of British Citizens living in Romania has tripled in the last two years, with 5,000 in 2015 and 15,300 in 2017. We’ve fallen in love with the kind and warm latin people, defined seasons and cheap living expenses - if you're still earning pounds sterling. This ‘new generation’ of Brits who come to live in RO, are usually found working remotely on their laptops, still earning in their home currency. Being able to earn ‘£ has left the majority of us able to invest in our own properties and form our own businesses. The nature and wildlife in Romania is completely different from what we grew up knowing in the UK with even the busiest cities still a stone's throw away from a forest or natural spring. I’ve seen wild boars eating apples multiple times in my family’s garden in Brasov. The largest wild animal I’ve seen in the UK is a fox, feeble in comparison to the wonders of the Romanian forests. My personal experience in Romania has been life-changing. I still live in the UK mainly but I do make sure that I come back to Brasov a few months each year. Romania has given me so many wonderful experiences and life lessons that just weren’t possible to get in the UK.


Not just another blouse in your wardrobe, but a masterpiece designed to last a lifetime

I’ve exhibited my artwork in galleries and coffee shops here, taught children to paint and met the most kind-hearted people I’ll ever have the pleasure to meet. Why will I be back? The opportunities and experiences here are endless, you should try it too.

www.romanian-blouse.com tel: 0723 700 600


ARVAL. The operational leasing company supported worldwide by organic growth Arval part of BNP Paribas is a leading company on the operational leasing company, with expertize on all types of markets, from fully-developed to emergent ones. Many business opportunities are led by newcomers on the market which open new start-ups or support others as business angels, become investors or are activating in the top management of important corporations present in Romania. Therefore, what Arval represents in numbers and the achievements that settled the international course of the company, plus the expertize of being among the operational leasing leaders on foreign markets, are all highly relevant in bonding these business to business relationships consistently.  Having reached 1 million of leased vehicles totalled by the Arval fleet;  Registering a growth of over 25% of the annual number of vehicles ordered by Arval;  Being the first company to launch a service as Integral Fleet, a unique solution for making the best strategic decision for the entire fleet;  Making a tradition out of Safety Week, a different kind of Corporate Social Responsibility. Arval in numbers throughout the world Arval achieved the milestone of 1 million leased vehicles worldwide. More than 900 employees have joined the company and are now focusing their enthusiasm and talent to contributing to the development of Arval. A growth sustained also by Arval's historic markets of France, UK, Spain and Italy, with an overall increase of 7% in the leased fleet. Arval is now present in 28 countries and is consolidating its position in Latin America. The Arval Global Alliance now covers 50 countries to offer international fleets a consistent level of high-quality service worldwide. This unprecedented performance consolidates Arval's leadership in the European multibrand leasing market and its status as a key industry stakeholder at global level. Arval Romania: success driven by innovation Arval consolidated its top position on the Romanian market registering an almost 10% fleet growth & reaching some impressive numbers of: over 7500 vehicles with full operational leasing, 450 - number of total clients and more than 50 employees. The performances delivered by Arval Romania are the direct result of investment in developing the quality offered to our clients and to our drivers. A worldwide recognition Finalist in the prestigious “International Fleet Industry Award” category, Arval has been recognised as an industry leader and innovator. This award was indeed designed to give visibility to industry pioneers that have designed tools, products or services that act as game changers in the fleet industry. Runner-up of this award, Integral Fleet was recognized thanks to its capacity to support fleet managers in improving their fleet management and allow them to achieve their goals. Integral Fleet, a unique solution The set of data, standard for the entire industry, is easy to upload by the lessor or the client directly in Integral Fleet. It thus frees Arval’s clients working with multi-supply schemes from the burden of having to aggregate all their fleet data from multiple sources, and provides them with a fully customizable 360° view of their fleet. Strategic decision making is consequently facilitated and takes into account all key aspects of their entire fleet, independently of whom they source the services from. Arval was the first in the industry to launch such a service, making it as a reference in the market at an international scale. Arval Safety Week, a different kind of CSR Arval Safety Week, the annual campaign focusing on safe driving, has reached its eighth edition in Romania. As a tradition, the campaign envisages the effort of the company to change the driving behaviour and to make all drivers adhere to a new attitude in the spirit of prevention. About ARVAL: Founded in 1989 and fully owned by BNP Paribas, Arval specializes in full service vehicle leasing. Arval offers its customers – large international corporates, SMEs and professionals – tailored solutions that optimize their employees’ mobility and outsource the risks associated with fleet management. Expert advice and service quality, which are the foundations of Arval’s customer promise, are delivered in 29 countries by over 6,500 employees. Arval’s total leased fleet adds up to 1,028,142 vehicles throughout the world (December 2016). Arval is a founding member of the Element-Arval Global Alliance, the longest standing strategic alliance in the fleet management industry and the worldwide leader with 3 million vehicles in 50 countries. Within BNP Paribas, Arval belongs to the Retail Banking core activity. www.arval.com About BNP Paribas: BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 74 countries, with more than 192,000 employees, including more than 146,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporate and institutional clients) to realize their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the European leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model in Mediterranean countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific. www.bnpparibas.com 54






Shunned by wine connoisseurs, for not being serious enough, but loved by the masses the popularity of Rosé has continued to grow year on year and summer is the perfect time to savour this vibrant and fresh wine. All grape juice (with the exception of red-fleshed teinturier varieties) produces an almost clear juice; it is the contact with the grape skins, which extracts anthocyanins, that gives the expressive palette of colours to Red and Rosé wines. Directly pressing the freshly picked grapes will give the most delicate coloured Rosé wine, whilst a short period of contact with grape skins and juice will give greater intensity to wine’s hue. The other way to make rose is the more obvious way of mixing a small amount of red wine with white wine together; in fact, in the EU this practice is only legally permitted in the Champagne region of France where Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are blended with Chardonnay to make the global selling, popular pink fizz. So how did Rosé become the go to wine for a generation of burgeoning wine lovers? One cynical, but interesting, theory points to the fact that Rosé, with its modulating array of seductive shades, looks great on instagram and social media helping to enhance its visual appearance as a carefree, casual and fashionable wine. The fact that one shouldn’t think too much about Rosé is an advantage especially in an industry that is saturated with verbose, opinionated experts with a tendency to overcomplicate things when it comes to describing or analysing a wine. An enjoyable rose should be vibrant and seductive to look at – whether candy floss pink or salmon hued. Smell of fresh red fruits – often strawberries, raspberries or wild forest fruits, and be lean and moreish to the taste. Fruity simplicity, with a small dose of sweetness is great for a whole range of foods from easy to

prepare salads, takeaway pizza and BBQ Ribs or seafood. In Romania, Rose works well with grilled meats and the residual sugar of the wine helps cut through the fattiness in dishes and helps to refresh the palate. Unsurprising it was the French, and in particular the south of France with its warm Mediterranean climate, where the tradition of making an easy-drinking summer drink to counterbalance the fruity, and often hefty and high alcohol reds. Originally intended to be drunk during the summer months until early autumn, Rosé is now in demand all year round and any wine producing country worth its salt makes a selection of Rosé wine:

wines are best drunk young and often have a greater concentration of fruit and colour and Brotte make a wine that is both elegant with a plump finish. Whispering Angel 2017 It isn’t cheap, but Whispering Angel is now the world’s most popular Rosé. Hailing from Provence, the home of Rosé wine, Whispering Angel spearheaded the international trend for delicate, easy drinking Rosé wines. However that is not to say that this wine doesn’t have some complexity to it. Indeed you get the fresh red fruits on the nose and palate but this is backed by fresh citrus fruits as well. It is no wonder that this wine has seen a 58% growth in sales between 2016 and 2017 and can be found in beach bars and clubs from Monaco to Mamaia. Catleya, Freamăt Rose 2017

3 Rosé Wines to try or buy Tavel Brotte, 2017 Tavel is noted for being a French designated region where only Rose is produced. France has strict rules that determine wine production and in Tavel, located on the south bank of the Southern Rhône, and are dominated by the Grenache grape variety with often a good measure of Carignan as well. Tavel can fetch high prices, largely due to its historic reputation, and the

Although he studied in Bordeaux, Laurent Pfeffer, Catleya’s French owner and winemaker, spent summers in the South of France where he assisted making Rosé. For the last 10 years he has been making wines in Mehedinti, Romania, and his Rosé is a great example of how this wine style can be made throughout the wine producing world. Freamant Rose is made from a blend of the classic French varietals Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, in more or less equal measures. The grape juice spends just a few hours with the skins to produce the subtle, blush pink colour and extract necessary aromas and flavours. Frenchmen are renowned for their sincerity when it comes to wine, so when I asked Laurent to best describe Catleya Rose he used the word “orgasmic”, I assumed it was said without irony, but you will have to drink a bottle to find out.


Panna Cotta with Valrhona Dulcey White Chocolate and Raspberry Sauce

This panna cotta is among our favorite ones due to the unique combination of yoghurt and Valrhona Dulcey chocolate. It has a fresh taste that allows it to be garnished with a series of different toppings, from fresh seasonal fruits to fruit jellies and compotes. Originating from the Piedmont region of Italy, it is a light and extremely versatile dessert that can easily be prepared. Its simplicity is crowned by deliciousness, being a well-known and loved dessert all over the world. The dessert can be enjoyed on Roberto’s On La Strada summer terrace of AthÊnÊe Palace Hilton hotel. Ingredients Panna Cotta (serves 6) 175 g heavy cream 75 g milk 280 g full-fat yoghurt (drained ) 110 g Valrhona Blond Dulcey white chocolate 32% 6 g gelatin sheets (silver)

Preparation Soak the gelatin sheets in very cold water until softened. Squeeze out the excess water. Put aside. In a pot, combine cream, milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add softened gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour over the white chocolate and mix well until it melts. Incorporate the yoghurt and mix. Pour in the preferred cups or glasses and chill until set. Raspberry sauce 400 g fresh or frozen raspberries 25 g sugar Combine raspberries and sugar in a pot and boil until the fruits are softened. Blend them until well pureed and pass through a chinois to get rid of the seeds. Assembly Over the chilled panna cotta pour some of the raspberry sauce and garnish with seasonal fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

Mihaela Dima, Pastry Chef Athenee Palace Hilton, is the person who adds the sweet touch to the hotel's restaurant menus. She has more than 23 years experience in the hospitality industry and she has devoted her passion and expertise to the hotel for the last 20 years, creating spectacular deserts.








“The unexamined life is not worth living” BY ANDA ENE


Socrates first commandment was to “know yourself”. It sounds clear and simple, but those who assume this challenge in a conscious way and go through the process, will tell you that is probably the hardest thing to do. Why is it so difficult? Because we are deceived by the imaginary character we believe is the “I”. Representation of who we are is fueled from early childhood by our family and through socialization, we collect more data and feedback about who we are, what is our value and what we are capable of. We start to look for validation in order to understand if we are ok and develop behaviors to be accepted, to belong, to be respected and to be loved. Therefore, we create our Persona, the famous archetype coined by swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, in order to manage our life safely and to play our “games” properly in society. In the process of shaping our ego, we come to believe that this is us and this is life: the treadmill of daily life with deeds, chores, deadlines, routines, responsibilities, comfort and conveniences with all the pleasures and pain. Is something wrong with this? No, as long as you are fine with what you feel about yourself and what you are doing. But if you are bothered by questions like: “Is this the life I want to live?” “Why can’t I enjoy my life?” “Where is my joie de vivre?” “Why am I living the way I live?” it may be time for a wake-up call. Now it is time for you to take a look inside. Maybe you feel an ardent need to change your life. The change comes, always, from within. You have to change the way you think, see, talk and act in your life and you have to start to become aware of your thoughts, emotions, tone of voice, words you use, gesture you make, everything. Observe your internal conversation and the way you make sense of what’s happening around you, the way you respond in interactions with others or when a person or situation triggers you… Be attentive whenever that “judgy voice” shows up in your thoughts, notice the way your mind is processing the facts and interpreting them. Most of the time are these negative? What is hiding behind the things that limit you? How can you recognize and renegotiate these limits? For the moment it is enough just to see, to accept and to own them. To recognize, without judgement: “Yes, I have this limit and I’m pleased to understand that about me,” or “Yes, I did this mistake, but it was a good lesson, next time I’ll know better how to avoid it or to turn it to my favor.” Or even better: “I was weak and cowardly, but this is going to change, because I will choose to respond differently

next time.” These are just few examples, but you will have plenty of occasions to exercise this new ability. Also, appreciate and celebrate your successes, no matter how small the victory is. Give yourself an A and take a moment to be grateful for your realization. For the moment, it is just enough to observe and accept whatever comes in the light. Observe yourself and others, without judging or labelling. You will start to see for real what you are made of. Get out of the illusory construction you created and finally remove what is artificial. Make use also of what is displayed outside of you. Like a mirror, what you don’t see in yourself, you see in others. It is said that people and spaces around us, are reflections of what we are. Stop this projecting onto others, assume, accept and change what is to be changed. To conclude, your work starts with this commitment: To see myself for what I am. Do not let the mind interpret, find excuses or project on others, don’t defend, don’t criticize, just observe. It is a very annoying period…. but after a while, an interesting kind of detachment settles and you will start to look at yourself with a kind of curiosity and tenderness. Because no longer criticizing yourself for every little mistake, stopping taking things too personally, stopping complaining when things don’t go the way you expected them to, stopping having unrealistic expectations - these things are all possible. You have to recuperate that parts of you that you don’t like, accept or even see and love it, because this makes us whole. More and more you’ll start to appreciate the features of you that you have taken for granted, or even considered a weakness: a kind heart, frankness, being slightly unrealistic and nonpragmatic, being a dreamer. The fact that you didn’t fit in won’t bother you so much because you will start to realize that maybe you are made to stand out . This process will require from you honesty, the capacity to tolerate pain and self-disappointment, confusion, a lot of courage and determination to act on the decisions that, inevitable are needed. But it is worth it, because at the end of the day, all you have is you. Anda - Anda is a coach and entrepreneur. Working with both private and corporate clients, she manages to orient her coachees towards a positive approach and achieve the desired results. Contact: anda.ene@linarson.com




BY ASHLEY WILLIAMS, CENTRE DIRECTOR OF HOSPICE For 26 years, HOSPICE Casa Speranței has developed full palliative care services that are being offered in day centres, outpatient and inpatient units, at the patients’ homes and in partner hospitals. Until now, more than 26,000 people affected by incurable illnesses, both children and adults have received free palliative care from HOSPICE. They and their families have found out that they are not alone in their fight against disease.



At the beginning of the 90s, HOSPICE was founded by Graham Perolls OBE, and started with a small mobile medical team that offered home care to the patients suffering from an incurable disease in Brasov. Slowly, overcoming all obstacles, the organization developed and in 2002, Brasov saw the opening of the first centre of integrated palliative care services, bringing together all palliative care services under one roof. In 2006, HOSPICE services have extended to Bucharest with home care services and support in hospitals. In 2008, the home care mobile units in Făgăraş and Zărneşti were founded. In September 2014 a modern centre of palliative care was opened in Bucharest with over 5.7 million Euro invested in the centre. In 2012, the Florescu family generously donated to HOSPICE a property located in AdunațiiCopăceni, 20km away from Bucharest and it is here that the organisation has developed a socio-medical centre that will offer free services to children that suffer from rare and life-limiting illnesses and to their families. The site, out in the fresh air and tree filled countryside will offer an ideal retreat for our beneficiaries. A place where the whole family will be taken care of in a programme of care, respite, education and therapy. The centre will house a 12 bed inpatient unit, a day centre, accommodation for parents and siblings and also a wide range of medical, social and counselling therapies. There are more than 5,000 children in the Bucharest

area alone living with rare and life limiting conditions, and this centre will offer its services nationally to children with many different conditions. Week long respite stays will be offered to patients with the same or similar conditions so that visiting professionals and experts can provide specialised care and education for the patients and their families. As the refurbishment of the building was drawing to a close, I was appointed to the role of Centre Director in January 2018 to move to Romania from the UK and manage the final stages of the development and prepare the site to move into service. I arrived in Bucharest on 1st February and have been working to develop the services we will host at the centre, alongside recruiting a wonderful team of dedicated professionals with a wealth of experience in child palliative care. Having worked with adults and children with disabilities in the UK and in educational settings, the work at Adunații-Copăceni seemed a wonderful and exciting challenge for me and I certainly have not been disappointed by this rewarding role. The work of HOSPICE as a whole is a truly admirable endeavor and I am very proud to be a part of this expansion of services. In this management position I have the good fortune to work closely with the founder of HOSPICE, Graham Perolls OBE and the HOSPICE Executive Director, Mirela Nemțanu. The project at Adunații-Copăceni could not have been completed

without the generous support of so many donors, corporate and individual, alongside many hours of volunteering from companies and individuals working on the site to renovate and redevelop the whole site. The site today is a wonderful testament to the hard work of all those involved so far and we are not finished yet. We are always looking for sponsors, either financial or in kind, and volunteers to help us make this site a haven of peace and tranquility for the patients and families we will care for. If you or your company would like to know more about how you could support the new centre at Adunații-Copăceni, I would be glad to talk or meet with you and tell you more about the work we are doing and all the ways you could help.

Ash Williams - I am 33 years old and from Lincolnshire in the UK. Prior to moving to Romania, I was managing my own company in London and founded a charitable enterprise offering educational courses for adults and children with disabilities. I was a director of a national charity and involved in a variety of political and voluntary roles. I now live in Bucharest and love the City and all that Romania has had to offer so far. I can be contacted directly on ashley.williams@hospice.ro or (+40) 0720 034 154. See www.hospice.ro for more information.


Well she finally went and did it, Simona Halep has won her first Grand Slam, by beating Sloane Stephens in the final of Roland Garros. She had often been labelled as the only women's number one that had not won a Grand Slam, now she can hold her head high. It was a great game and she has proven to be a worthy champion and a great representative for Romania, unlike other Romanian tennis players I could mention (yes, you Ilie). The only slight fly in the ointment was from the satirical magazine that published a cartoon portraying Halep as a gypsy collecting scrap metal. Idiots. So a hero's welcome was waiting for her, but alas not, our beloved kisch lover and budget waster who said that there was not enough time to organise something in Pta Victoria, the best she could do was on the main steps of the National Stadium. She later relinquished slightly and set something up inside the stadium, a stage and speakers etc. So the “stage” was set to show the country’s appreciation of her win, 20,000 people were present, only for the mayor to try and hijack the event. She almost started a party political speech and


the crowd started booing her off the stage, so she promptly did, almost running to get away. What did she expect, the PSD are changing the law, the streets have been full of protesters against the ruling party, and she thinks that it’s Ok to jump on the back of Halep’s achievements? She went on to blame “Sorosists”, carefully placed agents of George Soros, for spoiling the event. Later that week she finally came out and said it was a mistake for her to have gone on the stage with Simona, that is possibly the only true statement she has ever uttered. So to more serious matters, as the leader of the PSD continues to cement his position as the de facto head of state, the PSD organised a rally in the main square outside parliament to allow their supporters to protest the so called parallel state and abuses of justice. Ironic doesn't even begin to describe this. The supporters were all dressed in white. There followed what could almost be described as something from 1930s Germany. With the PSD blaming everyone but themselves, the Securitate, Traian Basescu, the ex President who is alleged to have created the new

parallel state, Iohannis who is the new villain. Leaders droning on and on. One of the best lines for Dragnea’s oratory was: “I’ve been asked why I chose the colour white for this rally. White symbolises cleanliness and that’s what we are doing. We are cleaning the country of the filth these rats have been spreading.” You really couldn’t make this up. Lots was being made of how the people who had attended had come of their own free will, extra buses and trains were laid on to transport them to Bucharest and back home again, this however was just not true. There were the buses and trains but the vast majority of people attending - pensioners and civil servants - had been threatened with losing their jobs. These were teachers, nurses and others. It seems that the party is becoming bigger than the state, this can only end in disaster.

The battle of wits continues between Iohannis and Dragnea. Liviu was finally prosecuted for influence peddling and was sentenced to three and half years in jail, which he is now appealing, and in the meantime he is trying to force Iohannis to dismiss the head of the anti corruption department, Laura Kovesi, or find himself impeached. Unfortunately Iohannis is between a rock and a hard place, and as we were told would happen at the beginning of June, she has now finally left. Now she has been removed, Iohannis can announce that he will be running again for the job next year. He still has to contend with the possible law changes, but the fact he is still willing to be the only visible opposition - where are you Ciolos, Orban, even Ponta - it's a start. More and more EU countries, with the notable exception of the UK, are publicly stating their worries about the current law changes and the effect on a free and independent legal system, and still Dragnea and Toader, the justice minister, are saying, keep your noses out.

And finally, it is with some sadness that I have to report the departure of the British Ambassador, Paul Brummell. His four years are up and he and his family are off to pastures new. Paul has been an extremely visible and approachable ambassador and has, as far as his mandate allows, represented the UK effectively in difficult times for both Romania, the UK and Europe. You will missed, Sir !

* The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the writer and are not related to those of the publisher, OZB.



Having not had much time off lately I decided to seize the opportunity to mix business with pleasure and go on a road trip to Cluj that encompassed Maramures and Alba Iulia in my compact but nippy Peugeot 107. I must admit I was a little apprehensive as I havent really driven long distances in Romania for at least 10 years. Prior to that I had driven to the UK and back several times. I departed one extremely wet Thursday morning and made my way to the motorway and across to Pitesti having first to fill up the tank. Here is where the “fun” begins! The rain was torrential and visibility poor, and puddles, no, make that small lakes, were everywhere, must have bottomed my suspension at least 10 times and I hadn’t even left Bucharest. The stretch of road leading up to the highway was stop/start all the way, drivers ignoring traffic lights, pedestrians doing the same, took me an hour to get to the OMV just before the start of the motorway. So stocked up with energy bars and water I hit the highway, with the monsoon conditions still in full effect. I am driving to the 66

conditions, at approximately 50 km/h, with the windscreen wipers going like the clappers, I can probably see 10 meters ahead of me, yet there are cars passing me doing at least 100 km/h if not more, bloody idiots! Leaving the motorway and heading for Ramnicu Valcea then to Sibiu, and from here the road follows the River Olt and is a beautiful journey, very picturesque with the mountains rising up from the river, but you don't get much chance to see the view as the truck drivers and car drivers don't seem to care about bends when overtaking. There were so many near misses, absolutely incredible, the Darwin Awards would have a field day here. I managed to get through that challenge and hit the new Sibiu bypass, a delight by Romanian standards, but despite it’s youth it has its share of potholes, guess with all that money spent, someone forget the maintenance deal. But the highway offers another type of driver. Don't dare move to the outside lane to overtake another vehicle unless you are doing 150 km/h plus! Porches, BMW’s, White Van man and other retards will

sit a couple of meters behind you, flashing their headlights expecting you to immediately get out the way. Where the blazes do they expect me to go? I made it to Cluj-Napoca in about 7 hours, body buzzing with the adrenaline, to go to my meeting then watch the football, with some fellow expats based in Cluj. The rest of the trip north to a small village near Sigheti was just the same and after four fantastic days in a small hotel sampling the great food and great scenery and the traditional village life, I headed south to Alba Iulia, another meeting and more football, I finally made it back to Bucharest. Despite the road conditions and piss poor drivers, I will more than likely do it again, my little car performed superbly and there are many places I have yet to see in the country despite being here for over 12 years. I will be the one driving as I was taught - cautiously and with due consideration for other road users. Until the next time.