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March 2020 / N° 27

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C E L E B R AT I N G T H E B E S T O F R O M A N I A

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K E E P C L O S E B U T K E E P A D I S TA N C E

R E A D O Z B O N L I N E W W W. O Z B . R O


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O Z I B U NĂ

Of Hawks as Canaries

Douglas Williams - Publisher We live in very strange times, uncertain and scary. Most of this mag was put together way before the situation had become what it is now, who knows what it will be by the time you read this. Be safe and healthy folks. The OZB team wishes the planet a speedy recovery.

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oming back from the northeast of Romania late last year, crossing mile after mile of flat arable land, I was struck by just how many birds of prey there were. On fence posts, in trees, in the sky, in the fields - it seemed that there were more hawks than just about any other type of bird. More recently I was up in Predeal where there is a real issue with bears which have scared a good few people. In these pages we’ve reported upon the success of the re-introduction of the bison who are now thriving out west and those who haven’t watched the Netflix film “Untamed Romania” are in for a real treat. From the Delta to the mountains and from pelicans to salamanders, lynx, bears, boar and deer, Romania is uniquely blessed when it comes to natural history and wildlife. I return to the birds of prey because ecologically speaking these are the “canary species” in that they are clear indicators of the general health of the natural environment. And what the Romanian birds of prey say, loud and clear, is that the natural environment here is in robust good health. Across the world, the numbers of even previously common species may be in free fall but here they are holding up strong. It’s a strong testament to the Romanian people that they’ve built a country where creatures and people can successfully live together and it’s contrary to much of the rest

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of the world. Such is this richness that, as you can read within these pages, Romanian lynx are being relocated to other areas of Europe where populations of this exquisite creature are endangered. And this is real richness, a richness that, I predict, the enlightened societies of the future will value above all else. On top of that this country is blessed with a climate that is very conducive to agriculture with thousands of hectares of deep black loam. There’s a solid water supply, serious droughts, extreme, harmful weather conditions, are rare and there are also thousands of hectares of forest. There’s even oil so there’s very little that Romania cannot provide for Romanians. An independence of spirit, of mind, can also be matched by practical independence from an increasingly dependent and complex, globalised world. Romania is unique in many aspects. This was a large part of what I hoped to say with OZB - Romania is amazing, it’s special, when viewed in the right way. Of course there are flaws, problems, but where isn’t there. So this will likely be the last issue of OZB in this current format. Some key commercial changes mean that we cannot continue as we have been and we need to regroup and rethink in order to move forward. It’s not as I would have wished but predictable nonetheless - print is a tough business right now. You will see over we are launching a campaign to raise funds so that we can go on “celebrating Romania”, bringing the best of Romania to you, dear reader, with great stories and photography every month. Please help us. O zi bună!

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G L OBAL P ERS P EC T I V E, I N T ERN AT I ON AL S TAN DARDS , ROOT E D I N ROMAN I A - OZ B

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Contents OZB's Guide to What to Watch Under Quarantine

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A Place Where Traveling Stays Within the City’s Borders

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The Thousand-Year old Martisor (Mahr-tzee-shor) Tradition

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Timber Reincarnated

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Rock it With Spirit

From Gucci to Musette: What the purses of Romania’s politicians say about democracy

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Romanian Lynx Help Restore Populations in Slovenia, Croatia and Italy

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For the Naqvi Family, Life is Berry Good

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Bradetu 196

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Experience Rustic Romania with the Mihai Eminescu Trust

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Earth Hour 2020 to Mobilize Millions of “Voices for The Planet”

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Love in the Time of Corona

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Taraf de Caliu "Genius at Play"

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Photo Essay : Gregg Helm

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Eglantina von Becheru, Painter, Visual Artist, Millennial Exceptional

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Balls is Bucharest's Meatball Cravers Delight

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The Dalí of Gastronomy in Romania: Chef Dexter, an Exceptional Romanian Millenial

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Mega Image - 6 Romanian Wines Under 10 Euros

Cover photograph: violonist Caliu by Florin Bondrila Top photograph: Sakura Tree by Meriç Dağlı

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A Call to Our Readers & Supporters

? April 2020 / N° 28

OZB I N S P I R AT I O N A L L I F E S T Y L E M AGA Z I N E

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ZB is a joy to make and an even greater one to share. But in these trying times, sustaining print media has become increasingly difficult. This spring, we are launching a fundraising effort aimed at maintaining the feasibility of OZB Magazine. In the next few weeks we will launch a video and an online campaign in conjunction with our new partners at Cine Impact to complement this humble plea for support. Please like and follow OZB on Facebook and, if you go on www.ozb.ro, you will find a paypoint. We are aiming to raise 30,000 Euros, enabling us to print six more magazines through the fall and also allow us to generate some first class film content for our website so that we can expand our “Celebrating Romania” mission to include short, beautiful visual stories that will complement and enhance our magazine, web presence, and partners. OZB’s aim is to celebrate the best of Romania, informing, educating and entertaining our readers in the process. For three years now our features have included wonderful tales of people, places, of events, of food and wine, of art, music, books and beasts, mountains, fountains, history, mystery, fashion and philanthropy. And all of it, as with this mag in your hands, beautifully presented with great writing, wonderful photography and cutting edge design. And free! You can always pick up a copy at over one hundred different points around Bucharest, and we print 2,000 per month. The OZB team is a mixture of international people Romanians who have lived abroad, worked abroad, studied abroad and returned to their homeland; Romanians who have always been here and always will; and international people - an American and a Scot - who are very happy to have made Romania their home. We have a global perspective, international standards and we are rooted in Romania and we are dedicated to digging up interesting, unusual stories that paint a picture of modern Romania that speaks to what we see all around us - a colourful, vibrant, dynamism, fresh and confident and optimistic about what the future holds. We hope you share our vision. If you do, then please help us by supporting our magazine and spreading the word.

OZB •


Q U A RA N T I N E

OZB's Guide to What to Watch Under Quarantine one, and how will manage this one? Pandemic takes a deep and disturbing dive, but one that will ultimately leave you with more questions answered and some sense of light at the end of the tunnel.

Untamed Romania (2018)

This beautiful 2018 documentary just recently released on Netflix offers an incredible visual taste of the plethora of fauna roaming the wild lands of this country’s forests and plains. Tom Barton-Humphrey’s directorial debut is a cinematic and natural masterpiece that will have you sprinting to the mountains by the time this quarantine is lifted.

Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

With the 4th season of this bizarre, metaphysical, and hilarious sci-fi adult cartoon just out, now is as good a time as ever to binge watch a show that delivers a slew of laugh-out-loud moments while also forcing us to consider some very real questions in a time of crisis. What is our place in the universe? Is there anyone else out there? And what should you do if your genius scientist grandfather turns himself into a pickle?

Darkest Hour (2017)

Another timely piece recently released just in time for long anxious days spent inside waiting for positive news, Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning performance as Winston Churchhill is a strong testament to the power of one individual’s leadership in leading a people out of the darkness. Whether it's beating Nazis or defeating Covid-19, politicians around the world today can look to the lessons learned and behavior modeled in this 2017 historical drama for how to lead calmly and pull a nation out of the grip of panic and melancholy.

(Tv Series, 2020)

Not for the faint of heart but about as timely as it gets, Netflix certainly picked the right moment to release this six episode series that tackles the very questions on everyone’s mind in the age of coronavirus. Where do influenzas come from? Why are they so dangerous? What are scientists and doctors doing to prevent the next big

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t the time of publication, OZB cannot predict with any certainty what is going to happen in the coming weeks and months, except that all public gatherings are definitely off. What we do know is that this quarantine is likely going to last a little while, or at least long enough to catch up on some of the great content available for streaming on Romanian Netflix! So in lieu of our usual events page, don’t miss out on these titles while you’re trying to get along with loved ones in tight spaces.

The Terminal (2004)

Just out on Netflix this month, the Tom Hanks classic (we’re rooting for you Tom, get well soon!) is perfect both for those recently traveled and highly stressed over the border situation, as well as a subtle and touching reminder that anyone can find themselves a refugee in the most unexpected of times. This is a good time to indulge in comedies, and the Terminal delivers its fair share of quality punchlines, but the film also offers a gentle nudge in the direction of helping others in times of need. Look out for each other, and let’s hope the Hanks in Australia make a quick recovery.

Rick and Morty

(TV Series, 2013)

OZB's Guide to What to Watch Under Quarantine

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EV EN T S

Power of nature P

ower of nature features two bodies of work, both inspired by and concerned with the environment. Through the collection “Spore” the seemingly destructive existence of mold is questioned and its fragile and powerful nature is emphasised. “There’s Danger Lurking” features illustrations based on zoonotic disease and emphasises the traditional healing power of plants.

“There’s danger lurking in those animals”

Current news is highlighting our risk from animal borne diseases. A direct result of how climate change and globalisation alter the way animals and humans interact. Enter the world of zoonotic diseases and discover an increasing danger to healthy living. Seemingly innocent and slightly playful designs hide a more sinister interpretation which is only revealed, upon closer inspection, through the use of snarling and biting animals. The collection references the naturalist pattern work of William Morris, a key contributor in the revival of traditional crafts. By echoing his use of animals and curvilinear plant forms and intertwining them with graphic illustrations of disease cycles, the viewer is initially fooled into thinking that all is calm on the environmental front. Each infected animal is surrounded by traditional medicinal plants, emphasising the power of nature and calling out for our urgent need to establish a more balanced relationship with the natural world.

Spore

An appreciation for the complexities of growing mold drives 8

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the desire to explore the processes of growth and decay. The work challenges us into questioning our perception of mold as repulsive, highlighting its intricate beauty and representing its fragile yet powerful existence. Within the body of work the hidden power and potential danger of mold is emphasised through the use of expressive organic mark-making, flowing forms and a pastel colour palette. The textures depicted capture the flourishing presence of fungus while the deliberate use of circular application of marks, emphasises the strength and focuses attention to its delicate aesthetics.

About the Artist

Romanian based, British born artist, Jane Tagg was originally trained in embroidery, and has transferred her love of structure and intricate detail into paintings, prints and paper based sculpture. Sparked by a passion about ecosystems and conservation, paintings and graphic illustrations are used to highlight and provoke interest in current environmental issues. See Jane’s sites for more information: janetagg.weebly.com janetaggpatterns.weebly.com Also See Jane’s work at the wonderful Victorei Hub and see their Facebook page for more information about the many cool events taking place there


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Hand-Made Martisoare for Charitable Purposes

Hundreds of schoolaged children make and/or sell hand-made martisoare to raise funds for various causes. It’s a team exercise which stimulates creativity and also helps children appreciate and share a national tradition, while contributing to the wellbeing of small communities. In Bucharest, the largest Martisor Fair took place at the Romanian Peasant Museum, where traditional motifs blended with original ideas and attracted huge crowds during the February 29-March 1st week-end.

Making and Selling Martisoare on Social media

The Thousand-Year old Martisor (Mahr-tzee-shor) Tradition Come March 1st and Romania becomes the land of flowers and Martisoare.

by Dana A. Tudose-Tianu

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omen walk the streets holding huge bouquets of spring flowers, especially pink and purple hyacinths, and wearing (at least one) Martisor on their coat or jacket’s collar or lapel. School girls often pin all the martisoare they receive from classmates onto their shirts. Teachers traditionally leave school, on March 1st, with an armful of flowers. The mood is overall cheery, obviously celebrating the coming of spring. And this

has been going on for as long as we can all remember, successfully surviving the grim communist years. The object itself, the “martisor” being gifted, has evolved through the years from classic representations of four leaf clovers, chimney sweeps and horseshoes (for luck) to elaborate pieces of hand-made jewelry, manufactured from porcelain, stained glass, semi-precious stones, silver and gold-plated metals. Brooches are now most likely

to be gifted as martisoare, and are assorted with a red-andwhite string, which truly represents the symbol of the Martisor tradition. According to Romanian ethnologists, it appears that Dacians were celebrating the coming of spring, at the beginning of March, with Martisoare, as well. The Dacians were the inhabitants of Dacia, which, in antiquity, was an area of central Europe bounded by the Carpathian Mountains and covering much of the historical region of Transylvania (modern north-central and western Romania). During the Dacian times, red and white little pebbles were lined on a string and gifted for Martisor. Even though Martisor is a mostly-Romanian tradition, it has been adopted by other nations living south of the Danube, like the neighboring Bulgarians.

The Thousand-Year old Martisor (Mahr-tzee-shor) Tradition

Making Martisoare and selling them on Social Media (Facebook and Instagram) has offered many people the opportunity to make extra money in February and March. Workshops were held where you could learn how to make martisoare and they attracted teens and adults as well. Tens of fairs took place in Bucharest, in Cafes, inside libraries, bookstores, museums, where more seasoned, as well as beginner-manufacturers, had the opportunity to sell unique martisoare. Subway entrances became display areas for tens of martisor-sellers, while stores like Mega Image, Cora, Carrefour, Auchan, Kaufland, Profi and Lidl, all sell Martisoare for a slightly higher price than you’d find on the street. Important fairs, such as the one at the Romanian peasant Museum would feature hand-made and often unique martisoare, priced accordingly, with ceramic-made martisoare selling for 50-60 RON per piece. • W W W. O Z B . R O M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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From Gucci to Musette: What the purses of Romania’s politicians say about democracy

m e we inis r R ar ter om in , a g a Vio nia r Ch ic n P an a D rim a el br nci el oo ch a,

CO MMEN T

by Alison Mutler “What make of handbag do you think Violeta Alexandru has?” I asked a friend in a conversation about Romania’s labor minister. “Gucci,” she said. “Try again.” She thought and had another guess. “Musette.” Bravo, „right second time,” I responded. Last week, the minister, Violeta Alexandru, came to universul.net for an interview. I listened in and made notes. At one point, the discussion became too technical for the English-speaking readership and my eyes wandered to her purse that she’d left on a desk. Black leather, well-made, discreet. I craned my neck to see what brand it was. Musette. That’s good, I thought. A sign of normality. Musette is a Romanian brand that makes quality, leather products. It’s not extravagant or overly expensive. It’s the kind of purse that a British barrister or a French judge would have on her arm. This isn’t an advert for Musette. Some of their bags are boxy, or have an odd shape. Violeta Alexandru could have walked into the office with a Dacoma or an Anna Cori bag. The message would have been the same: Romanian, good quality and unpretentious. Compare Violeta Alexandru’s handbag to the purses on the arms of other Romanian politicians. Former Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila was known for her fondness of expensive 10

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accessories, whether it was her trademark Chanel (so they said) brooch, a 20,000 euro watch or a pricey handbag. Dancila didn’t do discreet or low-key. Her electorate wouldn’t have wanted it. A decade ago, the press wrote about Raluca Turcan’s designer handbags, wondering where she got the money to afford a Louis Vuitton or a Gucci

on a MP’s salary. The now deputy prime minister justified herself, explaining that she paid monthly installments for her expensive tastes. But it is Elena Udrea, who graced Romania’s political stage for the ten years Traian Basescu was president, who was the walking embodiment of the politician with the “pricey power purse” purchased honestly or gifted through shady deals.

Udrea was the poor, provincial girl made good who went on to become one of the most powerful politicians of an era. Her clothes and accessories cost many thousands of euros and she wore them ostentatiously, almost to the point of caricature. Yet the sums that appeared in the press were so astronomical that in 2015 even Udrea was forced to deny that she’d spent between

From Gucci to Musette: What the purses of Romania’s politicians say about democracy

50,000 to 100,000 U.S. dollars on a Hermes Birkin Crocodile purse. The claims came during a corruption investigation that led to her conviction and a six-year sentence for bribery and abuse of office connected to a boxing gala that she organized. The sentence was later overturned. Udrea’s BFF, Romania’s former chief anti-terror prosecutor, Alina Bica, who fled to Costa Rica with Udrea in 2018 before her conviction, was sentenced to four years in prison that year for abuse of office after she intervened to help suspects in two cases, also had a thing for expensive bags. As chief prosecutor, Bica instructed prosecutors to ask for a suspended prison sentence although for personal not judicial reasons. Her price? A bribe consisting in one Rolex watch and a 2,000 U.S. dollar Louis Vuitton purse. That handbag cost her her freedom and career as a prosecutor.


CO MMEN T

Many women love a Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Fendi purse, although vegans may balk at the use of leather and the price of a expensive purse may be what one family spends on food in a year; and when you’re a minister you need to be sensitive to that. As a public servant holding a post for a limited amount of time, restraint and common sense are qualities. Romania is moving beyond

the addiction to extravagance, flashy handbags and diamond watches. Women politicians rightfully seek to impress with their desire to carry out reforms and serve the public, not with their designer handbag and heels. •

This article was first published on universul.net on February 17th.

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MU S I C

Performance on the National Museum of Contemporary Art Museum terrace, photograph by photograph by Ioana Cârlig

Taraf de Caliu “Genius at Play” by Larisa Perde, Label Manager VRTW, in conversation with Douglas Williams

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here's an energy and dynamism to TdC's music. It’s both ancient and timeless at the same time. What part of Romania do you think TdC speaks to? Where does it come from? Speaking ethno-musicologically, their sound is unique in the world, specific to the region of Southern Romania and to their village of Clejani. The village is considered to be the Mecca for Roma music. People from all around the world - journalists, musicians, 12

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and fans - come here to learn more about this special music.

TdC is so quintessentially Romanian. And yet, their appeal is international and universal. How do you explain this?

Music is a universal language. Spiritually speaking, their music is healing, exorcising, bewitching, mind-bending and soul-haunting at the same time. You get all of these at

each of their concerts. One time, at the end of their gig, a girl from the crowd jumped up front and kissed the lead singer’s feet! People laugh, people cry, dances spring up, it’s madness! And this state is so hard to get in today’s live music... When you first encounter something like this, you just know it’s genius at play.

What’s the story behind Taraf de Caliu?

In late August, 2016, a promoter friend of mine asked

Taraf de Caliu "Genius at Play"

us to set up a Taraf de Haidouks concert in Bucharest. This is how I first found out that the musicians had returned to their village in Clejani and that the band was in a downward spiral because the late Spehane Karo had fallen ill. The musicians were out of gigs and having a tough time. After thirty years of international tours, the Haidouks had returned home just as they left... almost unchanged by time, places or people they encountered, and with the


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MU S I C

same appetite for performing. Although they played on the world’s greatest stages in Tokyo, Paris, Singapore, New York, London, Los Angeles, becoming favourites of the likes of Johnny Depp, Yehudi Menuhin and Yohji Yamamoto, they remain the same humble people from Clejani. Because it was hard to regroup Taraf de Haidouks at the time, we quickly set up a concert with the violinist virtuoso Caliu and other “lautari” from the village, and called the project “Taraf de Caliu din Clejani.” It was the 22nd of August, 2016 – my first encounter with them – and you can bet I was incredibly nervous about meeting these living legends. What happened next? Well… it was love at first sight! The concert took place at dawn, in a very hip garden in Bucharest. It started raining towards the end of their performance and this only amplified the energy. People were dancing barefoot in the grass, some of them jumped in the pool, myself included. It was such a magical vibe, unlike anything I’ve seen before. Then, the unthinkable happened... In November 2016 the man that made Taraf de Haidouks happen, Stephane Karo, died. I unfortunately never had the chance to meet him, but it was clear that he was a special person and all the musicians held him in high regard. We decided to grow the Taraf de Caliu project under our label - Vinyl, Rum, Tapas & Wine. Slowly but surely, the gigs in Romania started to happen on a regular basis, so we went ahead and contacted Margareta, Stephane’s widow, in order to fully bring Taraf de Haidouks on the stage. We unfortunately hit an initial 14

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refusal from her that still holds, and as such we understood that sometimes the musical industry is filled with terrifying passion. We then decided to regroup all the remaining founding members of Taraf de Haidouks and start over using the “Taraf de Caliu” band name. The “Taraf de Haidouks” trademark, registered by Stephane in 2014, was out of our reach, and the musicians could not use the name. So, this is why Taraf de Haidouks is today called Taraf de Caliu. The first gigs were in different places throughout Romania, places where maybe Taraf de Haidouks would have never performed before... a

had a nervous breakdown, he began crying, he kept repeating that he cannot understand how he got here after all the years of glory. All our rational explanations about the fact that we have no choice but to start over because we cannot use the Taraf de Haidouk name, and the fact that people from Romania were almost oblivious to their former success, was useless in the face of his emotional response. And he was right to feel that way. Fast forward to today, four years and significant hardship later, Taraf de Caliu has managed to grow an impressive community at home, almost all their concerts being sold out.

What did the band do last year and what will they be doing this coming year?

Last year we had many concerts in Romania and we’ve started touring abroad again - Prague, Corsica, Coutances, London, Bruxelles. Also, we continued recording for the album that we intend to release this autumn. It will be the first album of the Haidouks after 5 years. Our role, as a label and as their managers, is to be gatekeepers of this music, both here at home and everywhere else, and to continue to make history. On an operational level, we are now in charge of their management, direct booking and promotion for Romania and we’re working on their first new album. We’ve also just recently set up an international partnership with 3D Family that we’re very enthusiastic about and Michel Winter, one of the co-founders of Taraf de Haidouks, as tour manager. We began recording for the new album in 2018 and we want this album to represent the true heritage of this unique Southern Romanian sound.

Tell us about the best/ biggest/most recent gig that you enjoyed the most please.

Viorica Rudareasa , photograph by Florin Bondrila

blessing and a curse. A blessing in that they finally got to showcase their talent at home, and a curse because they were downgraded from the world’s greatest stages. I clearly remember an episode when our car broke down during a tour and we had to literally push it to a nearby service station, after which we all sat down on a field and waited. Caliu then

Music won! And... as an irony, there are Romanians who only now hear about Taraf de Haidouks! One of our greatest sources of joy is the fact that their newfound fanbase is very young, some of them were even born when the lautari first set off to conquer the world. This is truly music that can live forever!

We had many memorable concerts and I think all their fans can attest to that. Our last gig was in Cluj at Form Space, a club where we gathered more than 500 people. We had concerts in so different places, and that’s the beauty: Philharmonic, clubs, old gardens, the rooftop of the House of the Parliament, Casa Ceausescu, Clejani. Check Taraf de Caliu’s Facebook for news of upcoming gigs. •


P H O T O ES S AY

GREG HELM Greg Helm knows Romania like the back of his hand. From the highways and byways to the tracks and trails, paths and backwaters he’s traversed them all at one point or another, on foot, by truck, boat, bike or horse, and he is among the most respected guides in the country. He’s been here over 25 years, speaks the language fluently and knows just about everyone. His knowledge of Romania is intimate and profound and that comes through in this practical and erudite Englishman’s photography.

Photo Essay : Gregg Helm

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PH O T O ES S AY

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P H O T O ES S AY

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Eglantina von Becheru,

Painter, Visual Artist, Millennial Exceptional by Dana A. Tudose-Tianu

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Eglantina von Becheru, Painter, Visual Artist, Millennial Exceptional


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trikingly beautiful and with a very powerful yet feminine presence, Eglantina isn’t like anyone else I ever met in the world of art. True, we are all unique, but her uniqueness as an artist is carving a new path, in terms of individual value and lifestyle of what COULD mean being an artist in 2020’s Romania, and forward. We met on a chilly but sunny first day of March, on the Romanian Martisor, and had a coffee together at Qreator by IQOS, one of the most vibrant places of creative expression, for creative people in Bucharest, near Piata Victoriei. Eglantina has a mission, and by the end of our conversation, I am fully aware she is embodying, for other women artists to learn from and model, a way of life and a way of thinking about her art that, until recently, didn’t seem possible. Gen X-ers never dreamed of this if they were in the arts, but Millennials, it seems, are all about living their life as a whole person, not one of multiple (and different) identities, one at work, one at home, and another one for other social roles we might have. Prior to becoming Philip Morris International’s Media, Messaging & Consum-

er Engagement Lead, Eglantina used to teach painting/ art for two Bucharest-based after-schools. She had been painting for years and had already collaborated with various brands as an artist. When Philip Morris launched IQOS, 4 years ago, they chose 5 key people whom, they thought, could understand the importance of community in art, business, contemporary dance, theatre and film. Eglantina became their art representative. Three months after they offered her a permanent job, the IQOS global creative team asked her to join them in Switzerland to work on experience design. She became engaged and captivated with experience design and has recently (at the end of 2019) created Artgitators, a thinking and perception challenge (not your conventional art exhibition) on six topics with social impact, which took place at Qreator in Bucharest. The exhibition showcased a collection of six paintings, the discovery of which was an experience in itself. The concept Eglantina designed was an experiential fragment of the world in which Surrealism is the official language. She is an independent artist, a painter, who also works as a creative mind, engaging communities around a brand. What comes through from our conversation is the fact that, unlike most people, and especially young people looking for their vocation, Eglantina is able to practice hers all day long – at work and in her private life, both of which she sees as a natural continuation of one another. She works with a team and is able to see her vision carried through in projects which engage hundreds of people through various expe-

riences.

When did you discover you’re an artist, and were you born with an innate talent for art?

EvB: I come from a family or artists, painters and carpenters. I had a natural inclination towards painting ever since I was a little girl. I graduated from the Communication and Public Relations Faculty and I have a Master’s Degree in Film. After my Master’s, I constantly tried to improve through design thinking/experience design learning, to submerge myself into art without limiting myself.

What is the experience younger art consumers are

looking for? What does art mean to them?

EvB: Art is emotion. Someone once told me: “Don’t underestimate the power of beauty.” People are looking for beauty and want to find beauty in art. It is a door to escape the problems of daily life, but it’s also a return to yourself. Art is a unifier – it can appeal to people of all backgrounds. I, for one, enjoy going to the museum for hours, but I also love interactive artistic experiences. Beauty is a fully immersive experience: it’s beautiful because you see it, you hear it, you smell it, you touch it. This is why I prefer designing experiences for people, so that they can truly experience art. •

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NETOPIA mobilePay At this difficult time, Netopia offers free help to those who want and need to implement online payments, such as small shops / ecommerce, restaurants etc. Small businesses & freelancers can transition some or most of their work online and the easiest way to receive payment is to implement, on your website or Facebook Page, a payment link. Payments can be for fixed or dynamic amounts. The Payment process doesn‘t need to go through a Shopping Cart, and the payment link can be sent to clients via email, messenger/WhatsApp, text message, Facebook. If you need help implementing online payments into your platform, please email: antonio@mobilpay.com or horia@netopia-system.com #together #stronger

www. m ob i l p ay. ro ABOUT NETOPIA NETOPIA mobilPay represents financial innovation and responsibility in financial management. With a history that has its origin in the early development of nationwide online businesses – starting in 2005

- NETOPIA mobilPay built its leading company profile by addressing innovative techniques and methods and by continuous correlation with the development of technological and market trends.


FOOD

Balls is Bucharest's Meatball Cravers' Delight by David McLean Shoup

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ith only its second summer around the corner, business is booming at Balls, the meatball specialty corner dine in and take away spot on Calea Dorobanti. OZB met up with Ala Dumitrache, the energetic owner of the new Bucharest eatery. Dumitrache, 30, a graduate of the foreign language institute at the University of Bucharest, Immersed herself in the culinary world for several years after her studies, as a cook, writer and social media promoter for restaurants and food websites. Dumitrache thought up the idea to open a meatball speciality restaurant in Italy in September, 2018, impressed with the number of Italian

eateries offering a specialty food on a set menu.. “My mom is always joking that it was her idea,” Dumitrache laughed. “For quite a few years she’s been saying that there’s no good place to get meatballs in Bucharest.” A corner restaurant was on Dumitrache’s mind when she first started off, incorporating an Italian community comfort food vibe. Where a struggling doughnut shop had previously gone under, Dumitrache set up Balls at 69 Calea Dorobanti last May. Meatballs are an integral part of the Romanian diet, and yet, Dumitrache rightly pointed out, there aren’t many places around the capital to get really good meatballs. Balls, sandwiched between

Nicolai restaurant and Coppa Coffee, fully fills that void. The menu may be niche, but the selection of balls is diverse, from pork, beef and chicken to lamb and an alternative veggie meatball, sauced up with a fusion of Romanian, Italian and Moroccan, and various sides of artisanal bread, mashed potatoes, basmati rice, pickles and salad. The veggie meatball is a new addition, fused with chick peas, halloumi, onion, spices, and deep fried. It’s paired with a slow cooked hot tomato sauce from Morocco and topped with Greek yogurt. Ala Dumitrache and her all-Constanta staff have had additional success with a plethora of Saturday events highlighting the creative and tasty tastings of diverse takes on meatballs from international chefs spanning cultures east and west, sometimes with accompanying block parties outside 69 Calea Dorobanti. Dumitrache said one of the most popular get togethers was the Subarek Saturday

Balls is Bucharest's Meatball Cravers Delight

deep fried beef pie, originally a Tatar dish, drawing in a Pro TV crew and a crowd that swelled beyond one hundred and fifty. On any other day, starting at noon, Balls is the place to be when you’ve got the craving for a great plate of meatballs. And at 24 lei for at least a 600 gram platter of home cooked comfort meatballs, Balls runs competitive with most restaurant quality burgers and fries in Bucharest. Follow Balls on Instagram and Facebook @balls.bucharest

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I N T ERV I EW

The Dalí of Gastronomy in Romania: Chef Dexter, an Exceptional Romanian Millennial by Dana A. Tudose Tianu

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ogdan Alexandrescu (Chef Dexter) is the new Executive Chef of theEpoque Hotel Relais & Chateaux in Bucharest An only child, born in Gherla, near Cluj, in the heart of Transylvania, Bogdan Alexandrescu has quite the life story at 31. His childhood was spent between Gherla and 22

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Bucharest and he was able to understand and experience, early on, original customs, traditions and values in the Ardeal region of Romania, but also those of living the city life. A graduate of the Foreign Languages Faculty of the University of Bucharest, majoring in Greek and English, Bogdan enrolled in a

Master’s in foreign languages at age 21. He chose to leave the program to dedicate himself to cooking and was a contestant on the very first MasterChef Romania Season in 2012. That was his first time working in a professional kitchen, an experience which, obviously, changed his life. I met with Bogdan in

The Dalí of Gastronomy in Romania: Chef Dexter, an Exceptional Romanian Millenial

mid-February, and he immediately made me think of Salvador Dali, without knowing right away of his admiration for the artist. His overall presence is warm and friendly, but at the same time, serious, in the way experts and artists always are about their work. Just before our interview, he had started as


I N T ERV I EW

Executive Chef at the Epoque Hotel Relais & Chateaux in Bucharest. “I started cooking at age 7,” he tells me over a cappuccino. “I cooked for my parents all the time. I made them French fries (mostly overdone to burned), soups and various sauces. My parents used to eat my burned fries and always say ‘yum’. They were and are my biggest supporters.” I’m surprised to learn that Bogdan speaks fluent Greek and had begun seriously studying it during high-school. Our conversation, which lasted a little over an hour, is full of information I like to call “treasure chest material”, which only true experts can give you. These are little insights into fields you don’t know well but suddenly you come to understand and feel drawn to. For the duration of our meeting, I was able to look at cooking through the lens of a chef/artist-in-residence with a real pedagogic skill (which I am wondering if Bogdan is fully aware he has in spades). I left promising to come back and taste some of the creations he will be making, but also thinking that, one day, Bogdan will be teaching at a culinary academy and students from all over the world will listen, just as mesmerized with the world of “the four elements” as I was.

So you gave up on the Masters in Foreign Languages after you went on MasterChef Romania. Where did you go for your culinary training?

Chef Dexter: I graduated from a culinary school in Romania and then I specialized in Food Styling in Belgium and Sicily. The last academic institution I graduated from is

the French Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des Arts de la Table.

Did you have a mentor? Whom do you admire, in your profession?

Chef Dexter: I don’t like to pick favorites, because one idol will limit your personal growth. I do admire a Chef I know personally: Jacques Louis Henrio, recipient of “MOF” (Meilleur Ouvrier de France), a title received by only about 200 Chefs since the 1920s. French Chefs consider it the highest honor. What inspires me most about him is his energy, his vivaciousness. He got his motorcycle permit at 68, about 5 years ago.

How are you as the leader of your team in the kitchen?

Chef Dexter: I am pretty strict, but I am calm. I am not one of those Chefs you see in the movies, who turns hysterical during moments of crisis. I’m ok explaining something several times. If someone in my team does their work properly and respects the vision I’ve created, respects food and the customers, there will be harmony. A chef ’s energy in the kitchen influences his cooking and the cooking of his team, so a balanced state is the base for the best creations.

What is food to you?

Chef Dexter: To me, food is energy and emotion. An Ecuadorian friend told me that cooking is the only art where a person can combine all four elements of nature, creating an incredible exchange of energy. The Chef, too, receives energy from the customer. When a plate comes back empty, it charges you with good energy. •

The Sociological Chef Imagine you’re cooking for a large dinner taking place at the Cultural Center somewhere in a village in Transylvania. The guests around the table are all seniors from the village. You choose a traditional menu with three courses. What will it be? • Home-made Pita with lard, cracklings paste and pickled cucumbers in brine; • Hungarian chicken Paprikas • Noodles with sugar and bread crumbs, paired with fermented apricots (a desert from my own childhood); You’re cooking for a group of foreign tourists who are on their first visit to Romania. They won’t have time to enjoy several dinners out, so you must leave them with a very special taste of Romania. What will it be? • Pork brain salad with red onion, parsley and lovage (with lovage oil); • Sarmale, but I will elevate the dish and serve three types of sarmale: vine leaf sarmale, where I would use beef stuffing; for the cabbage leaf sarmale I would use pork, and for the red cabbage leaf ones, duck meat. • Cremsnit (cremeschnitte), the Romanian version of the Millefeuille; W W W. O Z B . R O M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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WINE

Mega Image 6 Romanian Wines Under 10 Euros by Robert Marshall

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efore MEGA IMAGE exploded onto the urban retail scene, there was a time when avocados were unknown entities and locating a packet of garam masala was like discovering gold dust. Finding a decent bottle of wine was also a challenge, and whilst kiosks and mini markets were well-stocked with sweet and semisweet Romanian wine made by big industrial sized wineries, it was still a struggle to find an affordable and decent bottle of plonk. With its range of store concepts, which currently includes six wine galleries, MEGA IMAGE has led the way in bringing a greater selection of products to a growing group of younger, more curious, and often well-travelled consumers, in search of good value wines that reflect new tastes and trends. OZB has picked out 5 Romanian wines, all under 10 euros, which you can find in MEGA IMAGE stores - from Wine Gallery to Shop and Go outlets, guaranteed to give a decent glass, and not to damage your bank balance.

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Nativus - Zghihară de Averești (Huși), 2018 37.99 RON (8 Euro)

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here is a commonly accepted theory that one of the reasons Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio sell in such high volumes in the UK is because they both have the advantages of having ‘foreign sounding’ names, which provide the necessary spritz of continental escapism, yet are easy to pronounce for the less confident and timorous tongues of British drinkers. By this token try and pronounce Zghihară de Huși - a local variety from the Moldavian region of Romania. It may be a mouthful to say but this grape makes zippy and zesty, dry whites with mass appeal. Forget pronunciation faux pas - if you like refreshing wines, light in body, with tart gooseberry taste, then boldly say - Zghihară de Huși!

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Mega Image - 6 Romanian Wines Under 10 Euros

Crama Gîrboiu - Livia Șarbă 2018 – 23.17 RON (4.80 euro)

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ho says you can’t find a good, dry white wine, made with indigenous grapes, for under 5 euros? This nice floral, fresh, crisp white is made by Crama Gîrboiu, a winery in Vrancea, North-East Romania. Less well known than other local varieties, such as Fetească regală and albă, șarbă delivers the same light fruity aromas of ripe, white peach with a hint of elderflower. This is not a big bold white wine, so if you like confident and creamy Chardonnays then it may not be to your taste. However, if you are prone to the simple delights of, for example, a nice uncomplicated Pinot Grigio to slake your thirst after a hard day of toil, then Livia Șarbă is perfect. Always drink the latest vintage, these delicate whites are not for laying down, and it comes with a convenient screw cap, so you can enjoy a fresh glass across a couple of evenings, however it’s so easy drinking you will probably be back at the shop buying another bottle within the hour.


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Crama Ceptura - Cervus Magnus Monte - Fetească Neagră 2017 – 31.82 RON (6.60 Euro)

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ou are always guaranteed to find a generous selection of wines in MEGA IMAGE’s larger stores and Wine Galleries, however if you need a fast buy from a smaller store, or Shop and Go outlet, then try this smooth, fruity red from Crama Ceptura. The label may not be the most inspiring, but the wine is excellent value with expressive red fruit flavours and a hint of dried plum, which is typical of Fetească Neagră, Romania’s flagship red grape variety. Crama Cepturi is owned by Moldovan wine producers Purcari, which also produce a range of affordable, quality wines. If you are struggling to find a fast solution to quench your Friday night thirst, then you can be rest assured that these wines won’t disappoint.

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Avincis - Vila Dobrusa Rose 2018 - 27.85 lei (5.8 Euro)

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vincis has established itself as one of the most consistent and qualitative Romanian wine producers with high end wines made from local Dragașani varieties such as Crâmpoșie Selectionată and Negru de Dragașani. Luckily for those of us on a budget they have a wonderful fresh range available for retail outlets. This rose is dry and supple with a small amount of extraction from the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which gives a vibrant pink hue and flavours candied berries and forest fruit aromas.

Rasova - La Plage Roze 2018 - 31.99 lei (6.65 Euro)

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aking inspiration in both name and style from the roses of southern France, La Plage is a delicate, fruity and easy to drink rose that pairs perfectly with everything from paella to pizza to prawn crackers. Made from the internationally renowned varieties of Syrah (Shiraz) and Pinot Noir, by Crama Rasova (a winery with spectacular views over the Danube River) it comes in an elegant bottle with a nice label, that is certain to mark you as a relevant and trendy wine drinker. Perfect for spring and summer and Instagram posts.

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Budureasca – Zenovius. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz 2016 - 46.99 RON (9.75 Euro)

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blend of two bold and beefy red varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from Budureasca, one of the larger producers from the Dealu Mare region. A portion of Zenovius has spent time aging in Romanian and American oak barrels that offer a subtly different character to the wines. This approach to ageing and blending is influenced by winemaker Stephen Donelly’s time spent making wine in California and South Africa, and a this no-nonsense, robust and fruit filled wine style can be enjoyed across the entire range of Budureasca wines. If you enjoy the confident notes of this red, but fancy a white, then also try the Budureasca Fume – a varietal combo of buttery Chardonnay, lithe Sauvignon blanc and textured Pinot Gris. W W W. O Z B . R O M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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A D V ERT O RI A L

A Place Where Traveling Stays Within the City’s Borders by Diana Băcală

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n the heart of a chaotic city, you can find a place simply called, Journey Pub, which will enchant you more with every step you take. The decoration of the rooms, each thought and decorated manual, all blend together creating a united and creative atmosphere that will capture

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your attention immediately. A place where you can come by yourself, with family or friends to enjoy a good time in a cozy place. Whether you just returned from your vacation, are enjoying it or planning the next one, this is the perfect place to find your inspiration. The name characterizes the theme really well, covering all the aspects you could think of and more. The suitcase-menus, the decorations on the wall, postcards from all around the globe, everything comes together smoothly. Even the ‘journey’ from one room to the other offers you the possibility to explore five different worlds, each with its own magic. The suitcase-menus are one of the key details of the place. Reading the menu you find yourself in a different place of the globe with each page you turn, whether it A Place Where Traveling Stays Within the City’s Borders

is Spain, Italy, Great Britain or the United States. The diversity of food and drinks offered it is again a statement on how important the attention to details is when creating a colorful and peaceful world in a city as chaotic as Bucharest. The newest addition to the large variety of cultural elements brought to life within the ‘Journey Pub’ world is tank beer, present in the location through the Ursus beer tanks. Tank beer is a fresh and unpasteurized beer brought straight from the brewery within specialized containers meant to keep the beer’s taste and flavor untouched. This beer experience is usually found in countries with rich beer culture like Czech Republic, Slovakia or Poland. The placement of the beer tanks on the terrace completes the mood and offers


AD V ERT O RI A L

you a glimpse into the Czech beer culture. When experiencing this type of beer, you can easily notice its unique characteristics, as tank beer is brought straight from the brewery and it has a short life of only 14 days after opening the tank. Ursus is among the first beer brands to bring this new experience to Romanian consumers. Ursus tank beer is a premium unpasteurized draught beer, which has recently been introduced to the consumers. Its fresh taste comes mainly from two major factors: the brewing age, which is very low, and keeping the beer constantly cold, from production to consumption, which is the maximum that can be done for a beer in terms of fresh taste. If you’re still not convinced with all that this place has to offer, Journey Pub also awaits you with a large series of

events. From photography expositions to film projection and open discussion about astrology or various workshops, you are sure to find your area of interest. The

tank beer also has its own thematic nights under the concept ‘Joia la berarie’, where you will have the chance to engage in challenging games that will take you into the depths of the fabrication process of tank beer, while dancing and laughing to the beats of each performing artist. Whether you’re a local or a tourist and want to enjoy once more the feeling of being lost in a new exciting place visit the social hub for nomads, as they like to call it, where ‘Traveling tastes good!’ • For more details and reservations, contact Journey Pub at following: Facebook: Journey Pub Instagram: journeypub Phone No: +40 752 285 286 Address: Str. George Enescu 25, Bucharest, Romania

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CRA F T

Timber Reincarnated

Doru Popa, Owner of Buha Wood

by Douglas Williams

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he “re” prefix is very much in vogue with recycle, repair and reuse the buzz words of these times. One Romanian carpenter, Doru Popa, is putting all of these into full effect as he scours his local Valcea area seeking out crumbling old houses. Many of these were originally made from oak and from these he carefully extracts the old timber and takes it back to his workshop in Dragasani. There he carefully and skillfully facilitates the reincarnation of the wood, turning it into beautiful pieces of furni28

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ture. The wood he works with is many hundreds of years old. “My grandfather was a beekeeper and I spent a lot of time with him as a boy. He built his own hives and I would help him and this is where my passion for working with wood comes from,” says Popa. After 20 years of working in Italy, Popa returned to his native Valcea with the very best Italian woodworking equipment and a strong desire to establish his own brand - Buha Wood. “I love to give new life to old wood, Timber Reincarnated

we have made some wonderful, huge mirrors - 2m x 1m - from the door frames of one old house and I think these are pretty special.” His workshop also makes beds, bedside tables, tables, chests of drawers and he will soon be making stools. Currently the workshop is busy completing the furnishings of an entire 15 room, luxury hotel in Italy. • Check out Buha Wood on Facebook for more information.


CRA FT

Rock it With Spirit by Douglas Williams

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osamund Muir, shoe designer, businesswoman, multi-linguist and mum of three first arrived in Bucharest in 2007, just before Romania joined the EU. Thirteen years on, this stylish woman is proud to still call Bucharest home and she can’t imagine living anywhere else. “I have a huge affection for Bucharest and I really like showing visiting friends around, they are always so impressed,” says Rosamund. It wasn’t always so. “It’s been wonderful to watch the evolution of this city. When we arrived there was a darkness. It was a bit depressing, especially coming from London. It has slowly but surely developed into this cool city with an independent, edgy, hip vibe. It’s really come on in leaps and bounds.

It’s so different now, it’s so cosmopolitan.” Rosamund’s shoe line combines glamour with comfort and she designs them to survive the rigours of her busy day-to-day life. She “road tests” each and every facet of her shoes to destruction. Literally! “I want to show that you can be both comfortable and stylish, you don’t have to compromise,” Rosamund says. While raising her three kids, she also undertook courses in shoe-making at the prestigious London College of Fashion, telling herself and her husband that once the youngest was attending school she’d launch her shoe brand. And so it has come to pass. Most “Rosamund Muir” shoes are made from a fabric called ‘vitello hair leather’ and all of her shoes have a distinctive star. “We women are all stars and I want my shoes to make the wearer feel like a star. Each of my shoe lines is named after key people in my life. My tagline is ‘Rock it with Spirit.’” Rock it With Spirit

The shoes are all crafted here in Bucharest at an atelier in the south of the city. Most of the materials come from Italy, but the work of putting the shoes together is 100% Romanian and Rosamund couldn’t be happier with the quality of the craftsmanship being achieved every day. “There is so much talent here.” • See www.rosamundmuir.com for more information.

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Romanian Lynx Help Restore Populations in Slovenia, Croatia & Italy

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Romanian Lynx Help Restore Populations in Slovenia, Croatia and Italy


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ive male lynx from the Romanian Carpathians have set off to rescue the Dinaric-SE Alpine lynx population from extinction and to preserve it for the long term, as part of the international project LIFE Lynx (Preventing the Extinction of the Dinaric-SE Alpine Lynx Population Through Reinforcement and Long-term Conservation) which has the primary objective of saving the Lynx population of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. In order to save the species, there is an urgent need to introduce new individuals from other populations, such as the Carpathians. The purpose of this action is to capture specimens in selected areas of the Carpathian Mountains (in Romania and Slovakia) and move them to Slovenia, Italy and Croatia.

LIFE Lynx is coordinated by the Slovenian Forest Service and is supported by the Romanian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Waters, facilitating the implementation of the activities of the European project here in Romania. The relocation of these beautiful animals was possible with the hard work and dedication from the specialists within the National Forest Administration, Romsilva, and the Association for the Conservation of Biological Diversity (ACDB) which is the organization responsible for the project in Romania. The two parties signed a protocol at the beginning of December 2018. In all of the five cases, the captured Lynxes were quarantined for 30 days and then transferred to one of the partner countries within the LIFE Lynx project.• More information about this action is on the page of the European LIFE lynx project: www. LifeLynx.eu

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L I FES T YL E

For the Naqvi Family, Life is Berry Good by Ajay Naqvi

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For the Naqvi Family, Life is Berry Good


L I F ES T YL E

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never came to Romania. Romania happened to me. In fact I believe Romania should happen to most people like me. In today’s torn world imagine Romania becoming an ideal place where the best people live, eat, grow, make and participate in culture. Imagine a Romania grounded in a self sustained economy with an eye to preservation. Romania can be the light! And it must be. My life began in Mohdi, Raipur (I don’t remember but was told by my parents that I was born in a small village in an obscure part of India). My father was in the forest department and we lived extremely close to nature - a life full of greenery, with deer and many cats and dogs over the years. But we were also poor. We moved from villages to cities and then to even bigger cities. Education led to jobs, jobs led to money, money to family and eventually to a crossroads. In the year 2009 I married Ramona, a Romanian, and we had a son soon after. Our instincts to provide him with the best made us look for op-

tions outside of India. Cleaner air, parks to play in and a life not spent in traffic or roads. We agreed that Ramona and Oliver would move to Romania but I would hang back as my career was taking shape with Coca-Cola India as Head of Creative Excellence for India and South Asia. They moved in 2011 and then in 2014 Oliver popped the question to me in Paris on one of our regular family holidays. When your four year old proposes to you, you can’t refuse, can you! Especially when he says: “Papino when are you coming home to live with us?” In September 2014 I moved to Romania, giving up all life as I knew it in India. At first, I did not settle in well with the language and people, and I missed my country and its cuisine. So, I went back in 2016 to head up marketing for Airbnb India. However, Romania was waiting to happen and one fine day Ramona told me about a blueberry farm for sale. I said: “buy it!” With no prior experience in farming, it seemed to me and everybody around us a foolish jump, but in hindsight I think the need to be with family, be healthy and live longer,

the need to keep our child happy and provide a solid future for him made me come back again. I think we bought the farm for our son. We became farmers for our son and we produce for him. And therefore not only did we choose farming but we chose the most difficult type - organic farming. This farm is not our business, it’s us. An extension of us and our value system. Since 2016 we have managed to grow it gently, nurturing it wisely. We have not allowed any commercial pressures to ruin the beautiful fruits we produce. We dig in and fight everyday while people around us go commercial from organic in part due to the absence of labour and also to the back breaking hard work organic farming requires. There is no quick fix in organic farming - no pesticide, no herbicide, no stimulants. There is only nature and its harness and its beauty. Our business model: pre-order, home delivery in 24-48 hours saves us from cultivating fruits from plants that have not been hybridized just for shelf life or in using additives to increase shelf

life which most supermarket fruits have to go through. Having done well over the last 3 years, we have this year found like-minded people who have angel invested in us and we are expanding by another 3 hectares this year and by 5 next year. By 2029 our plan is to have a 100 hectare plantation and also make lovely teas, healthy superfood powders, juices, smoothies, infused water and wine. I guess we want to share what we share with our son, with you all, who not only wish the best for your loved ones but want to act and make it happen. Last year we sold 5,000 kgs of berries, we ran out. We run out every year and we love our customers so much for standing by us and hence we are expanding to ensure that in the future we never run out of the goodness we have been made capable of sharing! • Preorder www.dealulcuafine.ro Regular updates on our facebook page Dealulcuafine Email ajay.naqvi@delaulcuafine.ro

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FEAT U RE

Qreator by IQOS, home of creativity in Bucharest Every now and again we find ourselves having this immense thirst for something new that we can’t quite define. We need to explore and discover new places outside of our safe zones, to bring to the surface things that are hidden inside. Luckily, we don’t always need to go very far, because a place that combines the external beauty, but also potentiates your creativity, can be found in Bucharest, at Qreator by IQOS. Conveniently located right in the heart of the city, in the Victory Square (Piața Victoriei), Qreator has become the place where ideas come to life in unexpected ways. The building itself is a sight to behold – once a historic monument left to decay, “vila Oromolu” was restored and opened to the public in 2017 with a new name and a new purpose. It now offers creators from all backgrounds and arts & culture enthusiasts a place where they can express themselves freely, share experiences and get inspired. Since art comes in all shapes and sizes, there is surely something to suit every taste. Need a quiet studio for an impromptu jam session? You will find all the instruments you

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need in the Music Room. Feel like painting, reading a good book alongside a nice cup of coffee or just chilling at the bar downstairs? Your needs are fully covered. Even if your stay in the city is short, you can always check their website or social media pages for events you most likely won’t want to miss. Just last year Qreator has hosted 327 events, from sculpture exhibitions to movie screenings, workshops and even fashion fairs with local designers. Over 38,700 visitors stopped by to enjoy the diversity of the space and its community. 2020 takes off with tons of exciting events – from theatre plays created especially for Qreator by IQOS, to a series of TEDxBucharest conferences and many creative happenings like Spotlight – The Lights Festival and Museums and Galleries Nights. With such a great response from the public one thing is for sure: Qreator is, without question, securing its spot as Bucharest’s “place to be”. Qreator by IQOS is located in Victoriei Square, Aviatorilor 8A street.


PRO PERT Y

The old traditional Wallachian house after undergoing renovations.

Brădetu 196 by Dona & Vali

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unday mornings in bed should be cozy. And so is this one if you keep warm under the thick, heavy handmade cotton-wool blanket we got from my grandparents in Bucovina. Dona and I fight a bit over it, pulling it over us to avoid exposing bits of our bodies to the cold. In spite of the temperature outside, 10 degrees warmer than it should be in normal winters, and in spite of the very good ceramic tiles wooden stove, it’s chilly in our four by four meter front room of the 80 year old traditional Wallachian house in the Făgăraș mountain foothills. We found it in 2018, after traveling the breadth and width of Wallachia’s highlands for three years in search of a place. We were picky, having devised a number of lists with criteria and indicators of how this place should be. But we were consciously picky, as our aim was to find a place to call home for the rest of our lives. We both work in Bucharest, Dona in a PR Agency and I with Greenpeace Romania. We were born and lived most of our lives in cities, but the choice to move to the countryside has nothing to do with downshifting or downgrading. We’re not running away, we’re running towards. Our love for nature brought us together, and our love for nature pulled us to Brădetu, the little end-of-the-road village in the Vîlsanului valley. The house is a typical Argeș building, with two rooms separated by a hallway and a porch in front, all built over a high stone foundation. A cellar sits under one of the rooms, and the sloping roof at the back forms another space divided into two smaller rooms and an entry connected with the main hallway. This is where the kitchen and bathroom will be once we’ve finished renovation. No one has inhabited the house for almost twenty years since the passing of Mrs. Victoria, late widow of Mitică Rusu (Dumitru Nencov). The

garden, while a mere 0,25 hectares, opens up on two sides to hay meadows and on the third to a small beck and forest. We’re on top of a hill, at the edge of the village, surrounded by nature - we even have bears visiting us - and the horizon reveals two mountain peaks, each over 2000 meters. We wanted a place in the middle of the wilderness, but with a sense of history too, with its own memory to tap into. Our best choice and chief aim was to save an old Wallachian house. Rightfully, a lot of attention is paid to the heritage of Transylvania, with its rigorously designed medieval Saxon villages and marvelously preserved fortified churches featuring dense history and incredible diversity. For any western European, especially the German descendants of the Saxons, the cultural landscape looks and feels familiar. For Romanians it’s special enough to treat it with respect, increasingly so. But the Wallachian cultural landscape is another beast altogether. The architecture is exotic beyond recognition for westerners to easily get the charm out of it, and too familiar for Romanians to care much about. Its identity is diffuse and spread out in the form of mountain villages, shyly hidden in the middle of nature, perched on steep hills, or lost in dense forests beyond sight. For us, all of this is worth saving and enjoying. Yesterday evening, the wood crackled in the stove fire and brought us homely Bradetu 196

warmth. But during the night, heat escapes through the loosely fitted windows. The 80 year old home is slowly decaying, collapsing after years of solitude. We have a lot of rehabilitation work to do over the next few years. But in two year’s time, having repaid the bank loan, the D day will come and we’ll travel the distance to Brădetu for the last, and yet first time. • The interior of the house before renovation.

Roof works.

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NGO

Experience Rustic Romania with the Mihai Eminescu Trust

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hese days, now more than ever, there is a global desire to get out into the countryside and away from the bustle of city life. When planning your next getaway look no further than the Mihai Eminescu Trust for a place to stay. With gorgeous properties, and as one of the country's leading conservation organizations dedicated to maintaining the beautiful and quaint villages, MET is OZB’s top pick for weekend housing.

from the olden days. Food in Maramureș is known to be more than good and Ileana, the lady taking care of the house, takes local gastronomy to a whole new level.” April and May are ideal times to visit Maramures, with clean air and great weather after the snows have melted and before the summer heat sets in. • Visit www.mihaieminescutrust. org/home for bookings and more information.

Featured here in OZB is the MET’s property in Breb, open now and available for as little as 30 euros per night. Breb is located just off of the precarious but breathtaking Route 18 that runs north-northwest from Baia Mare to Sighetu. If driving there yourself, we’d recommend renting an all-wheel drive to take advantage of the scenic off-roads. Tourism has been a boon to the traditional villages in the area, generating the necessary revenue to keep these quaint properties up and running. This particular Breb property is ideal for taking day trips to the culturally and historically relevant main city of Maramures Count, Sighet, home to a number of museums including the Eli Wiesel House and Communism Museum. For those seeking even older culture and history, a huge draw for this region are the Wooden Churches of Maramures, one of which is located in Breb itself. This old wooden house gives off the same feel as a museum itself, from the traditional wooden gate at the entranceway to the interior craftwork and wooden stove (no wifi, mind you). Here’s what the MET has to say about the place. “The house has 1 double bed, 2 single beds and 2 extra beds for kids, if needed. The latter are tiny beds and one of them is a traditional hay bed 36

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Experience Rustic Romania with the Mihai Eminescu Trust


NGO

Earth Hour 2020 to Mobilize Millions of “Voices for The Planet”

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n Saturday, 28 March at 8:30 p.m. local time, Earth Hour, one of the largest global grassroots movements for the environment, will bring people together around the world to show their commitment to the planet. With global biodiversity declining at an unprecedented and alarming rate, up to one million species threatened with extinction and the planet on the brink of runaway global warming, it is ever more important to raise awareness that nature is the critical foundation of a healthy planet

and an immediate, powerful and cost-effective solution to climate disaster. WWF Romania is at the forefront of tackling some of the greatest natural challenges facing Romania, and Romanians can join them and the natural national treasures in solidarity in this year’s Earth Hour. “We encourage people to use their energy for Earth Hour, instead of using electricity - bike, run, play football,” says WWF’s Adrian Trocea. Trocea said WWF also anticipates that major buildings

in Bucharest, including museums and the Palace of Parliament, will shut their lights off to mark the occasion. Earth Hour 2020 will see millions of people around the world join in at events, and will invite them to sign their support online at Voice for the Planet. These signatures will be later presented to world leaders in global forums such as the United Nations General Assembly to help secure a New Deal for Nature and People to address nature loss, reverse environmental decline, and safeguard our all our futures. “The global rate of nature loss during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history, threatening human lives and well-being,” said Marco Lambertini, Director

Earth Hour 2020 to Mobilize Millions of “Voices for The Planet”

General, WWF International. ‘’The services provided by nature are estimated to be worth US$125 trillion a year – double the world’s GDP - and without nature’s resources, the businesses and services we depend on will fail. Nature also benefits us by providing our food, water and clean air, and is one of our strongest allies against climate change. It is vital that we add our Voice for the Planet to press for a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 for a sustainable future for all.” Be sure to check WWF’s Facebook pages for more updates on events and activities in Romania and worldwide to mark Earth Hour at 830pm (22:30) local time on March 28th. •

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S I G N O FF

The National Cathedral of Romania, still under construction

Love in the Time of Corona by David McLean Shoup

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rom Dragobete to Martisor, love is in the air this 2020 season, along with the Romanian outbreak of coronavirus, record high air pollution, and a whole lot of smoke from recent freak fires in my dear Vacaresti Park and Gara de Nord. Who would think that in 2020 we would be mindful that each sniff of that spring air… might bring with it a whole host of life threatening pollutants? It was a huge relief to take advantage of Wizz Air’s awesome flight deals from Bucharest airport, so my girlfriend and I took a spur of the moment trip to the warm(er) countryside… of Italy. Nice timing. The

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corona outbreak was announced just as we arrived back in Bucharest. So if you pass me in the Old Town this week (Mojo Mondays or Fabrica Fridays anyone?) let’s break tradition and use the elbow shake in lieu of touching hands. And after that, wash your hands anyway. For 20 seconds. That’s two rounds of happy birthdays, in your head if singing causes excessive coughing. All this is enough to send even a sane individual right into the kegger, so Martisor came at the right time. In the full spirit of the Romanian spring holiday, now my second year of seasonal femei gift giving, I entered my girlfriend’s family apartment with varying sets of pendants and bouquets of flowers for aunts, cousins, and moms, emerging four hours later with a bellyful of every color of the wine rainbow and an armful of canned herring just in time for de post customs. The start of the pre-Easter de post diet in Romanian Orthodoxy coincides with Lent in the more Roman Catholic-oriented New Orleans where I attendLove in the Time of Corona

ed university and celebrated three Mardi Gras’ too many. In both spiritual traditions, now is the season to give up one or two bad habits and pick up another couple good ones. I thought a good long eight or nine kilometer walk the Monday after Martisor from Gara de Nord back home in the southern half of the capital would do me some good to help shed the Bucharest dad bod and get ready for Vama Veche not-yet-30 four pack but… cough cough wheezing chest pain. What’s that you say Pro TV? An industrial fire near the railyards is causing a record high small particle spike in the air levels on March 2nd? Doamne help me catch a Paști break here. Some of my students around town have taken to wearing industrial grade masks, not for corona mind you, but to filter out air pollutants. If you can afford one great, if not, there’s only so much you can do aside from avoiding excessive breathing in the outdoors. Indoor air filters have been shown to make a difference. With all this air pollution and Corona abounding, this is all the more reason to take a few weekends away and breathe some mountain air. As this month’s OZB has strongly hinted, a weekend getaway to Fagaras, the Prahova Valley, the Avincis Winery, MET’s Breb village, among other beautiful recommended spots, is probably the best thing you can do to clean out those lungs. But do us all a favor, and take the train this time. With the windows down of course. You may increase your pollutants intake but still minimize your chance of catching corona. 2020 is a game of air toxin Russian roulette folks, if it’s not one thing it’s another. Stay healthy and stay strong Romania, let’s get through this challenge together. •

A company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. We can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need. www.moorcroft.ro +40 729 166916 dean@moorcroft.ro


Caliu, photograph by Maria Pansini W W W. O Z B . R O M A R C H 2 0 2 0

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TOGETHER WE PLAY SSSUPEER! Everywhere: Website, App, Retail Shops! 40

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Profile for Douglas Williams

OZB Magazine March 2020  

Romanian magazine in English published monthly and distributed across a wide range of Bucharest based shops, cafes and restaurants.

OZB Magazine March 2020  

Romanian magazine in English published monthly and distributed across a wide range of Bucharest based shops, cafes and restaurants.

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