OZB Magazine August 2018

Page 1



W W W. O Z B . R O

The Long Walk, Bucharest to Paris

GOLD COATED, Crafted Stories



Douglas Williams - Founder





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 FULVIA MEIROŞU Marketing Director and Website Manager, fulvia@ozb.ro OANA VIȘOIU-CUŢUCACHE Art provider for OZB via Renaissance Art Gallery JIM HENDRY Business Development Consultant NĂFTĂNĂILĂ ALEXANDRU Art Director

You can get a hard copy of OZB magazine at the following distribution points: International Schools, 5 to Go, 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.

Head Over Heart

I hope all OZB readers have had a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing, stimulating, sunny, cool summer and that you are all refreshed and raring to get back to work. Not quite? I understand, me neither, such is life, onwards... You may have noticed that this edition of OZB has slimmed down, we’ve shrunk the number of pages - 68 to 40 - and doubled the number that we print - now 2000 - so that it should be easier to get your hands on a hard copy of the magazine and it should be easier and quicker, thus more convenient, for you busy bees to read OZB. You should be able to read the whole mag during a break, 15-20 mins, with a coffee, perhaps purchased from 5 to Go, our friends, where you can now find lots of OZBs as well as good coffee. We still have great articles written exclusively for OZB by professional writers. Check out our cover story about one of Romania’s most famous sons Constantin Brancusi and the upcoming film about his walk from Bucharest to Paris by the renowned director Peter Greenaway. See what Greenaway has to say about Romania inside - he spoke exclusively to OZB. This cover was created by our talented arts writer Giles Eldridge. BTW, sometimes our partners buy our covers such as our July and May mags, sometimes we have art like this one. If you fancy being an OZB cover person contact me and we can discuss. In this mag read the views of one of Lipscani’s leading publicans Michael Fraser along with economic insight from one of the foremost commentators on all things Romanian, Clare Nuttall. Enjoy Ramona Copill’s photography, she has a rare eye, you’ll see. We have the Transylvanian Literary Festival, bikinis, finance and a heap of other good stuff. For me this summer has been a war zone between head and heart with one wanting this and the other wanting that and it’s been tough, as war zones are. When we really want something no amount of brain logic is going to change that or so it seems. The reality, however, is that the head can win and in actual fact, however tough it may seem at the time, the brain is more often right and the heart more often wrong - take smoking cigarettes as one example. And it seems that this is an analogy that could be

applied to Romania and Romanians today. This has been a difficult month for many Romanians, much soul searching has been going on, many are disenchanted, disillusioned and just plain angry - they want a change and it’s understandable. Change is required, potential is not being met, there’s a tragic exodus well underway. A change of government is what is being called for - no less - and it’s an ambitious demand though it’s one the Romanian people have demanded and got before. It seems to me though that this is the heart talking and why, in a country so passionately Latin, should we expect anything else. So the guy’s in a big, luxury, brand new SUV with a matt paint job, that in itself probably cost more than a decent second hand car. He’s young, like around 30, and he’s put in many gym hours, he’s extensively tattooed and he has a carefully coiffed beard. He’s got an electronic cigarette in one hand, his fancy phone in the other and he’s also trying to perform a tricky manoeuvre that’s blocking a busy road. There’s a fancy girl in the passenger seat. He puffs, smoke pouring from his nose, continuing his phone conversation, cool as the proverbial cucumber, traffic is piling up, someone peeps, pretty soon everyone is peeping. His look says he could and would kill everyone with his pinky. Finally, a cacophony of horns, the dude gives up, floors the Merc and screams away off up the street. Now, it’s entirely possible that this young man paid for his wheels etc with hard earned cash, from astute investments etc and that he’s really quite brilliant but, and call me a cynic or even jealous, somehow I doubt it. And for sure there are dudes like him from Tokyo to Toulouse to Tulsa but there seems to be an astonishingly high percentage present here in Bucharest. Especially considering. What am I driving at? Well, the government may be the tip of a corrupt and ugly dung heap and indicative of many wrongs but there are other elements worth railing against, that need to be fixed, hidden in plain sight. And they can be if the heart can be overlooked and the head more involved. douglas@ozb.ro


Douglas Williams Soul Sanctuary



Clare Nuttall A Fertile Market for Foreign Investment


Anda Ene A Life for a Craft

16 Ramona Copil - I eye you

Oana Vasiliu The Urban Regeneration of Resita






Thousands of kilometres away from Romania, the drying up of aquifers in the Gulf states is causing investors to look with new urgency at opportunities to buy up farmland abroad to ensure long-term food security for their populations. Romania is seen as a promising location — but farmland purchases by foreigners are a highly sensitive issue politically and socially. A combination of profit and food security were the driving force behind the purchase of the largest agricultural producer in Romania, Agricola Braila, by United Arab Emirates (UAE) based investment fund Al Dahra Holding earlier this year. The deal, estimated at over €230mn, gives the holding company control of 57,000 hectares in the Marea Insula a Brailei on the Danube in eastern Romania. The investor is part of Al Ain Holding, which is controlled by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the younger brother of the current emir of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Al Dahra Holding already owns more than 200,000 hectares with operations in 20 countries, and is keen to expand in Romania and neighbouring Serbia. Its acquisition of Agricola Braila is part of a longer term trend that peaked in the pre-crisis years between 2002 and 2008. Investors from the arid Gulf states have been particularly avid in snapping up land overseas from Latin America to Europe to Australia. This followed increasing worries about the drying up of aquifers that had been used to irrigate deserts in previous decades. The use of underground water on this scale has proved to be unsustainable, leading to dire forecasts that groundwater could be about to dry up in countries in the region within a few short decades. While these worrying forecasts have increased the pressure on companies like Al Dahra to seek fertile land in Romania and other overseas locations, Gulf investors are not the only ones snapping up prime farmland in Romania. The country has seen a massive hike in farmland prices in the last few years, a report from real estate company Savills finds. According to the firm’s Global Farmland Index 2018, between 2002 and 2016 farmland prices in Romania rose by over 25% a year on average — the fastest of all 15 countries surveyed by Savills. (Savills, like other international real estate firms, uses prices based on consolidated land sales rather than the considerably lower prices in a European Commission report that looks at all arable land.) There are various challenges to investing into Romania, not least the small size of many of the plots, making buying up usable large areas difficult and expensive.

On the other hand, prices are still among the lowest in Europe, meaning that the opening up of farm ownership back in 2014 led to numerous investments. As of 2015 around 40% of the agricultural land — 5.3mn hectares of the total 13.3mn hectares — was owned by foreigners, a European Parliament study showed. Of these investors, EU buyers owned two to three times as much land as those from outside the EU. As of early 2018, the top landowners in Romania included Denmark’s Ingleby and Italian businessman Luciano Martini, according to local media reports. Indeed, purchases have continued at such a rate that methods to limit purchases of land by foreigners have been increasingly discussed within political circles over the last few years. The situation wasn’t helped by a series of accusations of small farmers being tricked into selling their land at low prices. Despite their politically sensitive nature, farmland purchases in Romania are set to continue in the longerterm, as the impetus for international land purchases, including in Romania, remains strong. As Savills’ report notes, “Although pressure on commodity prices has slowed growth in values in recent years, the long term fundamentals of farmland ownership still apply with increased food production and competitive land use driving demand.” Global farmland prices may not be seeing the heady growth rates of the early 2000s, in the longer term growing populations mean fertile land like that in Romania will continue to be a highly desirable asset.

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. Berkeley Wealth Management Ltd, Piata Charles de Gaulle, etaj 3, Sector 1, Bucuresti, 011857 Romania Telefone: +40 31 860 4716 +40 736 853 709 www.berkeleywm/ro




There’s a place you can go, right here in Bucharest, where the focus is on you and on helping you to better discover the real you, to delve deeper into who you really are. While our material needs are increasingly taken care of, many people in all walks of life are finding that there is something missing, something that many find it hard to even define. Frustrations pertaining to just how we conduct ourselves, how we regard ourselves, our general approach and attitudes rise to the surface. Behavioural patterns, big ones and small ones, become more evident and harder to escape. And these things take time and they take focus in order to get to the bottom of them and perhaps start to correct them. According to the people behind the city’s rather lovely Meditation Center, it’s all about how well we know ourselves. Near the Ponderas Hospital in Cartierul Francez, down an unassuming side street, and in the ground floor of an otherwise ordinary residential building the Meditation Center is a little oasis of calm and tranquility. Through meditation, yoga, counselling, coaching, classes and various other activities the Meditation Center aims to bring together like minded people - those interested in delving deeper into their true selves - and to build a nurturing community. The center is the brainchild of Anda Hobai and Maria-Magdalena Blidarus. Both are qualified and experienced coaches and they are passionate about the center that they launched a year ago. Anda conceived of the interior design which has industrial and Oriental influences - recovered wood, calming greys and subtle lighting - that combine to create an easy energy that’s subdued and yet strangely 8

invigorating. It’s the perfect place to escape the noise and bustle of the city and sit a while, in quiet contemplation, and that is precisely what the center is for. “This is a rich resource that people can use to get in touch with who they really are,” says Magda. “Often there are patterns in our lives, behavioural patterns and these can be seen in the way we react to circumstances, in our relationships, within our families and often they can span generations. But, when we look at how we can do things differently, how we can change these patterns, the answer doesn’t come from our logic, the answer comes from embracing silence and from deep inquirey into ourselves and it’s then that we have those really important ‘a ha’ moments. At this center we can facilitate this, it can be tremendously empowering.” It’s all very organic and this is the way the center has grown, with very little marketing, just through word of mouth. There are events most months and these vary from yoga, silent meditation, active meditation (yup, there is such a thing), to constellations work, coaching, therapy and dance. There is also space for workshops, corporate meetings, and professional training. “We’ve created this place with full hearts, with the longing to offer a space where people can slow down, relax and connect to their true essence. Our center aims to assist open minded people get in touch with their true selves.” Follow the Meditation Center on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s going on or visit www.meditationcenter.ro




The Heart of theMatter BY MICHAEL FRASER

Lipscani/Centrul Vechi/Old Town/Old City/Old center - these are all names that people use to distinguish the area of Bucharest which, in a way, is the marmite of Bucharest. I know people who can’t stand the area, others, will only ever party here. Luckily for me, thousands of people still love the area and fill the streets and bars every weekend! I first came to Centrul Vechi – that’s the only term I use – in the year 2001... maybe... I don’t remember too much to be honest, I was going regularly to a rocking underground live music club called Jukebox. ‘Fire’ and ‘Backstage’ were knocking around but I would spend most of my nights in Piata Amzei. That all changed in 2009, when myself and some others opened a three level club on Gabroveni street. Some would say quite a lot has changed in that time. In 2009 there were five bars in competition, now there are 200. Back then, we had no street, just planks of wood to walk up and down. People were literally breaking their legs to come to party. Oh, times were good! I guess the mayor at the time realised there was a lot of money to come from C-Vechi so decided to cobble the streets and light up the place a little. Wonderfully, they also provided some nice benches which now give the drunk tramps a place to rest from their begging for


cigarettes and/or 1 leu for ‘bread’. Everyone knows that C-Vechi needs and deserves more investment, primarily in the buildings, will it arrive? Maybe but slowly. Still, that doesn’t stop people believing they can open a bar and make a quick buck but these usually close within six months. However, the locations won’t remain closed for long. C-Vechi is as big as any bar/club/restaurant area I’ve seen in the world and attracts as many tourists as it does locals. Love it or loathe it, it’s an impressive place which, with some investment in the right areas can only grow. It’s a safe, energetic, fun place which offers everything you need from a good night out! I’ve run a bar here for the past nine years and it still surprises me every day!

Michael Fraser, 36, has been based in Bucharest for 18 years, running Mojo Music Club for the last nine years. Mojo is one of the best places in Bucharest for live music, live sport, karaoke and hosts the legendary, fortnightly Big British Bucharest Quiz night. See Mojo’s Facebook page for more information. Michael is a party animal, sports enthusiast and loves jumping in the car and driving around the stunning Romanian countryside.



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“Bringing the dream into immediate reality without passing anything through the censorship of consciousness.”Salvador Dali’s answer when asked what is Surreal Art.

Marian Simon is a surrealist graphic artist, formed at the school of great graphic designer Marcel Chirnoaga (Romanian, 1930–2008). Marian was born in 1968 in Romania and since his early childhood he started to draw quite differently from other children. When he was 5 he created his own playing cards where the surreal themes as the Joker appeared. In 1995, he graduated the Bucharest Art Academy “Nicolae Grigorescu”,


the Graphic section, and in 2006 he graduated Philosophy at “Spiru Haret” Academy. Apart from following the path of his own Master, Marcel Chirnoaga, who graduated simultaneously from the Math & Physics and Art Universities, the reason for attending a second University was mainly for him to understand why his drawings were so different from others. The result was not only his own enlightenment but also now the public can enjoy reading the texts he creates and that accompany each of his amazing surreal graphic works. Also, Marian’s brother, who now lives in Israel, is attracted by the surreal and writes surreal poetry under the pseudonym of Simon Jack.

Throughout his professional life, Marian has worked for several major companies (Tabu, Forbes Romania, Promotor), as art director or graphic designer, and is currently Creative Director at Adevarul Holding. In 1997 he began his artistic career seriously and has exhibited personal works in several galleries in Romania and abroad (Prague, Barcelona). “Marian creates his graphics on a canvas using paper and INK and a bit of acrylic paint, but what makes his works so special are the different mediums that he applies as a background ......from coffee to red wine..... his art enchants not only visually but also the other human senses and he lets ones’ imagination work” – Oana Visoiu, Renaissance Art Gallery owner


FEEL SAMSARA – A SURREAL GRAPHIC ART, DRESSED IN COFFEE, was exhibited for the first time in May 2017 at Renaissance Art Gallery following that during the summer of 2018 to be exhibited in Sibiu / Transylvania Romania at the Council Tower (“Turnul Sfatului”) being the first ART EXHIBITION to be part of the International Theater Festival in Sibiu (FITS). Details at FITS website. The visual art was accompanied by SURREAL poetry made by Jack Simon from Israel.

The term “samsara” is tightly connected to the notions of “avidya” and “karman”. Samsara designates the circuit of existence in the world according to the formula of birth-death-rebirth.

The beings are reincarnated according to their past-life deeds and this life is followed by another. This fundamental law of transmigration (samsara) is based on Indian philosophy and religious beliefs.” – Marian Simon The wash tint of all the artworks in this exhibition is nothing but COFFEE and Marian uses on the coffee background INK with a bit of white acrylic to finalize its 24 graphics of 100×70 cm. The rest is art, philosophical thought, surreal graphics, coffee and the silence of dreams. Asking Marian Simon why he chose coffee as the background for SAMSARA he answered: “I have never been a coffee drinker, but this didn’t stop me

for being fascinated with its color, the vintage colour of elegance, refinement, the classic, the oneiric, the dream, the subconscious, of psychoanalysis and, ultimately, of surreal art. - Marian Simon, Surreal Graphic Artist represented by Renaissance Art Gallery Marian Simon is currently working on a new personal surreal graphic art and this time the background will be red wine, so stay tuned and follow Renaissance Art Gallery Facebook and website pages for updates. For more information on Marian’s work please contact Oana Visoiu at oana@renaissance-artgallery.com or 0722381325





Hidden away in the deep heart of the Saxon villages is a rare chance to be introduced to some of the even deeper secrets of the region’s culture: an event that happens every two years is taking place in mid-September. Centred on the Transylvanian village of Richis, the Transylvanian Book Festival is an English-speaking festival, about Transylvania. The three-day main programme includes literature and history as well as music and film, with side events, chances to explore the area, all fuelled by good food and wine in stimulating company. Conceived and organised by Lucy Abel-Smith, the festival draws together those who have written or researched subjects relevant to Romania and the UK. “The joy of concentrating on Transylvania and Romania is the breadth of subject matter barely known even in Romania itself,” she says. “Our aim is to provide a relaxed venue for writers, musicians and academics to find new audiences; one of the important features of the festival is that the speakers join the audience for discussions and the social side of the festival.” The English-speaking event is bringing much of its audience from the UK specially for the festival, “but we believe, of course, that there is a great deal of interest for Romanians and Hungarians,” says Lucy. “Tamas Barcsay, for instance, is to speak about his extraordinary uncle, Miklos Banffy.” Personally, Lucy is looking forward to Maria Pukucs’ talk on the trade with the Ottoman Empire in luxury goods, and a talk on rugs by Levant Boz from Ankara. “This year there is more on 1918 and we have more music with three young musicians from the UK playing the world premiere of a new piece by cellist and composer George Cooke, inspired by Transylvania.” Another highlight will be talks about Romanian Queen Marie, born in Kent, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. “Marie really emerged as a major European figure in both war and peace; she and King Ferdinand put Romania together. I am very much looking forward to a glimpse of the new film on her life produced by John Florescu, as well as Andra Clitan’s talk on the fashions she inspired.” Why stage the festival in Richis? “Apart from the cultural assets we have in this village, the festival brings much-needed income into these communities. Literary festivals have a record of being regenerative, and we hope that this festival – as well as building international friendships – will help bolster local

Transylvanian tourism.” Lucy has been coming to Richis since long before the first festival. “I first came to Romania in the early eighties, lecturing on the churches for museum societies. I am a medievalist and had made some study of Byzantine painting, too. I was struck then by the intense beauty of the central area of Transylvania. I never keep a diary, but I did write a note to myself about its beauty and the astonishing colour of the rugs in the churches when all else was Communist grey. “My arrival in Richis was unplanned: on a trip in 1990 I was with some friends and the horse lost a shoe, so I had to find a way of communicating with my bus. There was one phone in Richis. I thought it was lovely.” Visitors can buy day tickets or a patron’s pass to the whole event. More details on the festival site: www. transylvanianbookfestival.co.uk

MORE PROGRAMME DETAILS: Professor Filip-Lucian Iorga - 1918 and its significance for Romania Dr Maria Berza – Queen Marie of Romania – the country that she loved Dr Maria Pakucs – luxury, trade and politics between the Sublime Port and Transylvania Dr Philip Mansel - The Sun King and the Prince of Transylvania: Louis XIV and Ferenc II Rakoczi Dr Tamas Barcsay – Banffy: A man of his time and out of his time Dr Ruxandra Nemteanu – National architecture after 1918 Ion Florescu – From Hellenized Vlachs to European Revolutionaries: Story of a family 1648-1848 Dr Marius Crisan - Dracula: An international perspective Denisa Comanescu – reading her poetry Michael O'Sullivan – Patrick Leigh Fermor: Noble encounters between Budapest and Translvania Alan Ogden – The Vagabond and the Princess (the story of Patrick Leigh Fermor's affair with Princess Balasa Cantacuzino) Arabella McIntyre-Brown – a stake in Transylvania: coming back to life in the Carpathians Ramona Mitrica – The Lost Footsteps of Agent Victor Music from the Medias choir and our resident musicians, Frederick Bager (piano), George Cooke (cello) and Jaymee Coonjobeeharry (flute) Dragos Lumpan's film 'The Last Transhumance' and John Florescu's film about the late King Michael of Romania, 'About Life'.

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





I met master artisan, Gheorghe Ciuncanu five years ago, when I was

looking for a craftsman to make me a Valentino coat (Pardon me, Mr. Valentino!) that looked very similar to an old Romanian model. The embroidery was slightly different, but the stylization didn’t stray too far from the original Romanian coat. He totally refused me, saying: “Lady, I’m not making this Chinese stuff!” Later on, I came to the master artisan with a beautiful vintage Romanian mantle, which he brilliantly recreated. He is one of the most respected artisans in the country and unique in his own way. He’s the one who was copied by Tory Burch, with now, the famous, Queen coat. I asked him what he thinks about the price that the American designer is selling the model he designed. The answer synthesizes in a phrase an entire philosophy of 55 years of dedication to his craft work: “You cannot ask the human soul for a coat. My greatest pleasure is to see people wearing my coats and being happy. Not the money.”


FOOD & DRINKS ECO What is the name of the craft you practice? My craft is called “Abagerie”, the name is coming from the word “aba” (baize) and “gaitane” (embroidery made with cotton strings manually and mechanically applied). At what age did you start to learn this craft and who taught you? How many generations practised this craft in your family? I was 15 years old when my father took me to the same teacher from whom he also learned the craft. This was a nobleman, “ boier” named Brailoiu, who was very famous at that time for his high class atelier of exquisite coats. In his atelier, my father, then my brother and I learned the technique, but we also learned how to “design” and create our own models mainly, getting inspiration from church architecture and from the elements of nature. In my family, we have had this craft, for four generations: my father and his brother, myself, my daughter and my nephew, who is 22 years old. Explain to us what are the steps to get to the finished product. What is the technique? What type of fabrics do you use? I use wool, wool and cashmere cloth over which I embroider strings specially created for this type of coat, called “gaitane”. This is the iconic element. So, first I make the cut, and then on every piece of the coat, I apply, mechanically or manually, as needed, these cotton strings. And this is the most difficult and sensitive phase. After the piece is embroidered, the garments are closed and other decorative elements are added. The machines I work with are very specialized and some date back to 1864. Dad worked with them too and never complains about them. The work is very hard, but the coats I make last two generations. Man has tended to decorate his coats from very old times. Our traditional costumes have sewn signs and symbols giving information about the bearer (married or not, social status, professional), functioning like a “ Curriculum vitae”. In our mythology from pre-Christian times,

of which we still hold some beliefs even today, our ancestors saw the coat as an armour, defending the man not only from the whims of the weather, but also against the demons from the unseen world. The coat was a combination of aesthetic adornment with an apotropaic function - the power to avert evil influences or bad luck. Do you agree with this symbolism and do you see your coats also from this perspective? Yes, divine signs were made on the clothes, so that the man is protected and attracted good in his life. When he left the house, the man makes the cross sign, and also the cross was sewn on his coat. Craftsmen used to put other symbols that were specific to the area where the customer came for. I put: the rhombus, a powerful sign in sacred geometry, on the breast pocket, then goes down the “snake” symbolizing the flowing water of Tismana (the name of the river and the little town where Ciuncanu lives), clover and on the back, the fir tree because we have fir trees in our area, with the purpose to put the man in communion with nature. I embroider also on coats, the rope and infinite column, very strong symbols that was very dear to the great sculptor Brancusi. He was born in this region and took inspiration from peasant art. How many traditional patterns have you met? How open are you to do other models that would suit the modern man, living in the city? The motifs and patterns are innumerable. Only around Tismana, in 10 villages we have each village with a different model with extra or minus certain elements and other symbols, with the scope of differentiation. Village people don’t want to wear exactly what their neighbours from the other village, wear. And it is the same in all parts of the country. Just imagine! I am open to novelty, I can make any coat. How many hours you work daily? Describe your daily routine. I'm ready for the day at 7am, everyday. At 8 o’clock my “team” ( me, my wife, my daughter, my nephew and a lady I hired) we start to work. Without many


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

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breaks and we work hard. Sometimes I work until 9-10 pm in the night. Everything twirls around me: I set the pattern and the design of the coat. I do not repeat the same model, only if I’m asked, I like to innovate all the time. Then, I apply “gaitane” which is a very difficult and delicate job. It took me about 10 years to know how to apply these “ gaitane”. After 55 years of work, I still have to learn, I learn all the time. What do you say about Tory Burch, the American fashion designer who copied your model. Is it, indeed, your model? Yes, it is my model! Identical. I was inspired by an old photo, where Queen Maria carries this coat, so I made the model. A lady bought from me this coat and she told that she will take it to America. Where, I understood, she sold it for a very expensive price. Then, I saw my model, in the media, that was copied without giving credit, by a famous designer. How did you take this? In some way it's good publicity for you ... Yes it is, but it bothers me that, that this famous American designer, did not tell where she took the model from. Also it bothers me even more, that she asked the human soul for a coat! That's not fair. What is the greatest joy this craft brings you? Will you ever get bored of what you're doing? I don’t do this “job” for money, I am a modest man with a simple life. I love what I’m doing and I’m never bored. I am so enthusiastic about my craft that even after 55 years and I feel that I have enough energy to create a cooperative with 20 people to make more coats. The biggest joy I have is to make people happy. Women say to me, “Master, people turn their heads to look at me on the street, everyone looks at my coat” ... then I am the happiest! For those who would like more information about these coats or to order one contact: clientservice@romanian-blouse.com


Bright Spark



“Who’s that climbing up our pole?” I point down the lane as my wife and I stride home, shielding our eyes from a dazzling sunset over distant mountains. A diminutive man clings to the electricity pole in the field opposite our house. He’s three metres up and hanging on for dear life. Our dogs strain at their leashes, whining as we walk. It’s their pole too, I guess. “Whoever he is,” says Angela, “he doesn’t look safe.” “What’s he doing with those tools?” I ask. “Must be from the electricity board. Power cut, maybe.” “In that case, where’s the van?” “Good question. Actually, it’s Domnul Vasile. Black hat, see?” “You’re right. But he’s too old to be climbing wooden poles.” “My god, he’s fiddling with the connections and tugging a cable.” “He’s risking his life.” “What a nit.” “Let’s see what’s going on.” We trot down the lane, hopping ruts and rocks. Our dogs lunge ahead, yip-yip. Entering the field, we find half a dozen neighbours standing near a huge conical haystack. We nod and they nod back, Buna. But they seem worried and turn to look in the opposite direction, where the field slopes away into a steep valley; never mind Vasile up the pole with his pockets full of pliers and tufty grey head stuffed with bright ideas. He looks down at us and raises a thumb, as you do. Buna! His leery grin lasts too long and I reckon I know why - he’s tipsy, well-oiled. Our next-door neighbour Tanti Lina stands chatting with two other elderly ladies in headscarves and housecoats. Three men in T-shirts squat beside the haystack, sucking on cans of beer. Another neighbour, Horia, drags a big coil of heavy cable across the grass. Hard work, even for a beefy guy like him. He lumbers past in a mucky white singlet and red cap. His round face is the colour of boiled beetroot. He should be in a cartoon, with steam coming out of his nose. One end of his heavy cable is attached to a small mobile

generator with rusty wheels; rusty everything, in fact. The other end is attached to the bobbins at the top of the electricity pole. Or it will be, when his dad Vasile gets his act together. Father and son, eh? Laurel & Hardy, more like. Stan şi Bran, as Romanians say. “What are they doing?” I ask. Angela shrugs. “Jerry-rigging that mobile generator, I think.” “Not a generator,” says Horia, “it’s a winch. And can you move these dogs of yours?” We yank them aside. Horia tips his cap. “Sorry, I’m in a bit of a hurry.” “No problem,” says Angela, “but what’s the problem? Horia pauses, breathing hard, biceps like rugby balls. “Cow.” “Excuse me?” Horia points. “Down in that valley. My cow is stuck in a ravine. Pregnant too. Can’t budge. Stuck fast and not happy about it.” “Oh, I’m sorry.” “Her fault, not yours. My fault, actually, I let her stray.” We look down the sloping field. It’s a long, steep drop into thick woods. I can see treetops below but no ravine and no cow. “So, you’re hoping to pull her up with that winch?” I ask. Horia shrugs. “That’s the idea, or at least free her, so she can walk. I’ve got three hundred meters of steel wire on the winch. The cow is at two-fifty, by my step. I strapped a harness on her.” “Does your dad know what he’s doing, up that pole?” I ask. “So he says.” “What if he falls?” “He’d better not. Or I’ll lose my cow. To a bear.”

This extract is from ‘Never Mind the Vampires, Here’s Transylvania’. Mike is the author of bestseller 'Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania.' Literary critics dubbed him 'The British Caragiale’.




National Treasure “To see far is one thing, going there is another” Constantin Brâncuși (1876, Hobița - 1957, Paris) Given the endless columns written on Brâncuși to date, it might seem impossible to say anything novel about the shepherd boy turned international modernist sculptor superstar but maybe I can point out some of the more intriguing aspects of his apparently unlikely rise and indicate just how extraordinary his life was. It’s a pertinent time to do this as a film about his trek to France during 1903/04 is to be released later this year. Entitled “Walking to Paris” Peter Greenaway’s new film depicts the adventurous and single minded 27 year old as he travelled, on foot, across Europe from tiny Transylvanian village to the, then, International Art world HQ in Paris.The film speculates the happenings and experiences along the way but the fact that he walked is actually true - almost. Five actors play the various ages of the artist including Scottish born Emun Elliot and the Italian Jacopo Uccella. Yes, it may appear a little disappointing that there are no Romanian actors or even locations in this film but this is cinema as artifice not documentary and it’s hard to imagine a better filmmaker than Greenaway for this task for although best known for his films he is in fact also a painter and installation artist. This is why he makes films that look the way they do cinematic paintings. His narratives allow for theatricality while the film as a whole concentrates on the visual. Most films about artists do the opposite and attempt an authentic portrayal of the working life of the artist and, to my mind, nearly alway fail to present images or even atmospheric mise en scène. I think that we can expect “Walking to Paris” to be an intriguing and idiosyncratic visual slice of life. A recent Christies’ auction saw the price for a Brâncuși



bronze settle at 71 million US dollars. This incredibly high price indicates not necessarily redeemable value but rather the status now commanded by the artist as mythological figure. His sculptures are not simply seen as art objects but talisman. He is now up there with the likes of Picasso, with just 5 years between them they both went on to become huge names during the same era; now somehow beyond themselves to that elevated position of “genius”. However with Brâncuși the backdrop is rather different. Picasso was nurtured artistically from an early age by his art professor father. Brâncuși on the other hand could not have had a less auspicious start, literally growing up looking after sheep. Brâncuși achieved what he did by positioning himself within international circles in Paris;

he exported himself and his skills and culture as quiet exoticism. What is so notable about Brâncuși is the way that he drew from motifs found in the wood carvings employed in Romanian vernacular architecture such as the circles, semi-circles and repeated zig-zag forms that can be seen carved within the wooden gates in Romanian villages. Actually you don’t have to travel far to see these patterns as the same circular designs turn up in places such as the Eroilor Metrou station here in Bucharest - the circle halved and repeated. Simple forms repeated is a central trait of the work of Brâncuși and the forms he took from Romanian folk culture were unfamiliar enough to be presented as exotic and new in the art world of early 20th century Paris.

Peter Greenaway on Constantin Brancusi I knew about Brancusi from being an art student in London in the 1960s, and had become fascinated by his influence on Land Art, artists as different as Walter De Maria, Jan Dibbets, Hans Haacke, Michael Heizer, Neil Jenney, David Medalla, Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Gunther Uecker and especially the British artists Hamish Fulton and Richard Long with his photographed walks around the world in uninhabited locations and later by the ephemeral works with simple materials of Andy Goldsworthy. But also in those artists like Richard Serra who homaged Brancusi. I made a number of Land Art works of my own in the English landscapes of the west of England, mainly in Wiltshire where I made many of my early films in that stretch of ancient countryside of Stonehenge from Salisbury through to Shaftesbury and especially around the vanished Black Death towns of Wardour and Bridzor, making large private mythologies that surface in films like “The Falls”. Then in the 1990s I started visiting Romania in association with a Romanian cinema enthusiast, professor and organiser of Romanian Film Festivals, Moscu Copel. At his request I eventually lectured on The New Cinema in Bucharest, held a VJ show there and eventually was honoured with a Bucharest Honorary University Degree with all the cap and gown ceremonies, and official lunches where I was introduced to many local dignitaries, professors and members of the Romanian Film Establishment, including film producers. I travelled around, becoming fascinated with the landscape, the turbulent political history going all the way back to the Roman tyrannical genocide of Dacia, the fictions about Transylvania, the French-Romania love affair, the building of Parisian villas by the Romanian nouveau riche, the music of Maria Tanese, the calumnies of the Ceaușescus etc etc. I researched deeply into the idea of making a film in Romania, based around Brancusi, visited all the Brancusi works that I could in Paris, Philadelphia, Bucharest and


in private collections, became aware that Brancusi was fascinated by photography and made films of his own works. I began to talk to Romanian film producers and set up a plan to make a documentary which turned into a feature film script and we entered into film financing. The Romanian film producer Gabi Antal found reputable state finance but then saw my feature film about Eisenstein which demonstrated that this great Russian Soviet film-maker – perhaps the greatest film-director in cinema-history - was a homosexual. This Romanian producer had recently got himself into trouble by featuring an actor playing Brancusi in what was seen as a vulgar commercial that apparently demeaned Brancusi and upset the establishment. Romania has few cultural heroes and has historically treated most of them badly - but now seeking cultural respectability, has resurrected them and celebrates them such that they have become super-heroes. The Romanian producer got cold feet, balked at the idea of being possibly attacked for lèse majesté again, and demanded final cut of the film, persuading my producer to sign a contract saying that if he, the producer, did not like the final film, we had to pay him a fine of a million dollars. A ridiculous and impossible obligation. Out final cut could never be blackmailed that way and he was exchanged for a coproduction of Swiss, French and Italian finance.

It is rumoured that Brancusi spent nearly 18 months “Walking to Paris” (the title of our film). He was not in such a hurry, and apparently wanted to explore - and walked through the wild places of Europe – the woods and forests, hillsides, mountains, glaciers, plains and moors of Romania, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. So we are making what might be called a “walking road movie” in pre-first-worldwar Western Europe – no six-lane highways, no agribusiness, no factory chickens and no factory pigs. Brancusi kept no journal and there are no witnesses to his journey. We only have his rumoured report that he walked. He might have made part of the journey by train. He no doubt thumbed lifts on farm-carts,

possibly “borrowed” a horse, or stole a bicycle or commandeered a rowing boat. So “Walking to Paris” is certainly about three things – a created journey made by the totally unknown 27-year old Constantin Brancusi across Europe in 1903 and 1904, an attempt to show what his ideas and concepts might be about as a “truth to materials” artist who ultimately changed all our minds about sculpture which has never been the same since, and a cinematic poem about unspoilt European landscape. Cinema is a two-dimensional medium; here we essay ideas about a three-dimensional media artist. We think about Brancusi as a man – very mortal - engaging in erotic, violent, romantic, picaresque adventures, living off the land and walking, walking walking – Europe has recently been full of immigrant walkers – walking to a better life. Brancusi finished his walk under the Eiffel Tower. He was drawn to Paris where all the world’s artists were starting to gather – Modigliani, Leger, Dali, Bunuel, Gertrude Stein, Joyce, Pound, Stravinsky, Corbusier, eventually Hemingway and the Americans. Brancusi on Bastille Day takes his sculptor’s hammer out of his rucksack and bangs on the ironwork of the Eiffel Tower – Bang! Bang! Bang! And says: “I have arrived!” Sculpture was never the same again. CONTENTS OF BRANCUSI’S HAVERSACK 1. A pair of spare shoes – much worn and oiled and kept clean and polished. 2. A hammer with a well-worn wooden handle. 3. A short handled axe 4. Three chisels 5. A metal rasp 6. Underwear - much worn and much washed 7. A cap 8. A cutthroat razor 9. A cake of white soap 10 A toothbrush 11. A strong sharp all-purpose knife. 12. A black bound book of empty white pages 13. Romanian Currency notes 14. A handful of Romanian coins 15. A leather pouch of tobacco. 16. Romanian matches. 17. A Romanian-French dictionary and phrase book 18. Length of fishing-line. 19. Set of fish hooks in a small tin. 20. A small worn metal saucepan to be used as an allpurpose cup, basin and cooking pot. 21 Luxuries –a small pot of pepper and a small cotton envelope of salt. 22. A compass 23. A metal spoon 24. A flint to make a fire 25. A catapult and a sling.



RENTING A HOME AS AN EXPAT R&R Partners Bucharest is a boutique law firm specialized in immigration and commercial law. See https://rrpb.ro/ for more information

Finding a good house or apartment to rent is hard work, but it gets even harder when language barriers and foreign laws are involved. There are a few things that every tenant, and especially an expat, should be careful about in order to have a pleasant and legal stay in Romania. Can we skip the paperwork? Renting a property should only be based on a written contract, signed by the landlord and the tenant, which contains all the rental conditions. The contract should mention the identity of the parties, details about the location of the property, rights and obligations of the parties and conditions for terminating the lease. It is not mandatory to have it authorized by a notary or lawyer, but in all cases we strongly advise to have the contract in writing, not only based on a verbal agreement. It will be very helpful if anything goes wrong, such as the owner not making the necessary repairs or trying to terminate your lease before the agreed term. English, please? One of the most important things that we advise our clients is to either have a bilingual contract, both in Romanian and English, or have a translator to help them understand the contract written in Romanian. There are many cases when landlords or real estate agents rush tenants into signing all-Romanian contracts, without even understanding what they get themselves into. A contract is not even legally binding if a party did not understand what she signed - for example, if it was written in a language she doesn’t speak. Who’s signing? Another important thing is making sure that the person who signs the contract as landlord is indeed the owner of the property or a proxy. Before signing the lease, the landlord should present the tenant some proof of ownership, such as copies of the deed. If the documents are signed by another person on behalf of the owner, the landlord should also present a powerof-attorney. If the landlord refuses to offer such proof, it’s possible that he does not have the right to lease - for example, he is a tenant himself with no right to sub-lease, and

the true owner could later evict the sub-tenant from the premises. What about ANAF? Starting with 2018, the landlord’s taxes for the lease will be paid based on a personal tax statement registered with ANAF (in Ro: “declaratia unica”), which can either be filed online or with the tax authorities’ office. The tenant has no tax obligations in this respect. What’s in the apartment? A property can be leased either furnished or unfurnished, fact that should be mentioned in the contract. If the property is furnished, we advise you to sign a short inventory of the goods rented along with the property, especially if some of them are not in good condition. Otherwise, the landlord could later declare that furniture was rented in perfect condition, even if they were damaged from the beginning, and refuse to return the tenant’s deposit. The deposit usually amounts to one month’s rent. Receipt, please? The tenant should always receive proof of payment from the landlord when paying the rent. This protects the tenant from a possible bad-faith landlord, who could later say that the tenant missed payments and therefore ask him for additional costs or refuse to return the deposit. If the payment is made by bank transfer, the tenant should make a clear payment description and mention the month for which the rent is paid, so the owner cannot later pretend that the tenant missed one or more payments on the way. Who pays for repairs? One of the most frequent lease problems that clients call us for, besides assistance with drafting the rental contract itself, is asking what to do when something is damaged in the apartment. Who is responsible to pay for the repairs, the tenant or the landlord? By law, general small repairs should be covered by the tenant, if they result from normal use of the home. For example, if a lightbulb has to be changed, the costs are normally covered by the tenant. But for major damage, such as a broken boiler, cracks in the wall or broken pipes, the tenant should immediately contact the landlord and ask him to pay for repairs 27



Sighișoara, Europe’s last inhabited medieval citadel, draws tourists from far and wide with its fairy-tale charm, which it owes to its German-speaking founders from centuries ago. While its Dracula connections are well-known (as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the partial inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s gothic horror character), for those of you wanting to immerse yourselves a little deeper in the town’s distinctly medieval vibes, read on.

Piata Cetății (Citadel Square)

Clock Tower

Standing tall over the historic centre is Sighișoara’s best-known landmark, once a meeting place for the town council and a key defensive point, from which the citadel’s cast-iron gates could be slammed shut whenever invaders were at large. Nowadays it houses the town’s history museum, and the entrance fee will allow you to climb the steps up its 64 metres, enjoy the finest views Sighișoara has to offer, and become closely acquainted with its Swiss-made clock mechanism and colourful clock figurines. On top of the tower you’ll find five turrets in an appealing arrangement, their fairytale appearance belying their original meaning - in the Middle Ages this design feature warned travellers that the town had the right to impose the death penalty on visitors who weren’t on their best behaviour.


Once the site of Sighișoara’s bustling market, Citadel Square has also witnessed some bizarre medieval punishments, including the practice of tying thieves up for the whole day with a six-kilogramme weight around their neck (the weight can now be seen in the Medieval Torture Museum, a few steps away). Its pastel-coloured houses have long since been converted into cosy hotels and restaurants. Of note is Casa cu Cerb (the House with the Stag), its emblematic animal featuring in the bronze stag’s head on the façade, and in the restaurant, where you can feast on venison, a throwback to banquets of old. Just around the corner, don’t miss Pivnița lui Teo (Teo’s Cellar), where you can sample a range of homemade liqueurs, including plum, apple and pear palinca, as well as its piece de resistance, the sublimely velvety Teo’s Forest Fruits Liqueur, made from seven types of berries, following a three-hundred-year-old family recipe.


houses a leather workshop, offering visitors the chance to watch a master craftsman in action and buy traditionally made wares.

Scholars’ Staircase

Nearby Citadel Square is another unmistakable Sighișoara landmark, the Scholars’ Staircase, sheltered by its quaint wooden roof. The scholars in question were the pupils at the school you’ll find at its upper entrance, for whom the staircase was built. The walk there was so difficult that students had to put their climbing skills to use, regularly arriving for class covered in mud, or worse, injured from falls. The situation was remedied in 1654 when this picturesque staircase was built, since when Sighișoara’s schoolchildren have been getting to school in comfort, ease, not to mention in idyllic surroundings.

Saxon Churches

Defensive towers

There’s no better place to let Sighisoara’s medieval allure cast its spell than on a walk around the town’s towers, named after the guilds once responsible for their upkeep. Coming in an appealing array of geometrical shapes, some bear battle scars of more turbulent times, one example being the bullet holes that pepper the Tinsmiths’ Tower, the result of an Austrian onslaught in the 18th century. Thankfully, Sighisoara’s towers offer us more than historical musings, with some of them now serving cultural purposes. The Tailors’ and Blacksmiths’ Towers host exhibitions, while the Furriers’ Tower

Sighisoara is unusual among Transylvania’s Saxon towns for having not one, but two medieval Lutheran Churches built by its burghers of old. One of them is the imposing Church on the Hill, located next to the Evangelical Cemetery, where you can wistfully wonder around its tombstones, its inscriptions revealing the town’s German heritage. By the Clock Tower you’ll find the Monastery Church, where you can browse Turkish rugs, a reminder of Sighisoara’s former links with trade routes leading to the exotic east. And for a fun distraction from the regular medieval fayre, look out for the 17th century painting inside, which some claim depicts a UFO, suggesting the town once witnessed encounters of the intergalactic kind. As the medieval Saxons were known to say - just google it.

James Donaghy is a content provider for Orang-Outan, a soon-to-bereleased mobile phone app that aims to enhance your travel experiences in Romania. 29


Case Study:

The Urban Regeneration of Resita BY OANA VASILIU

Once upon a time, Resita, Caras Severin county - western Romania, was one of the most industrialised cities in our country. But after having undergone industrial restructuring during the post-communist decades, Reșița is finding its own way to new businesses, while still retaining its core industrial profile. How? A team of specialists lead by the mayor is currently promoting the surroundings through the “Invest in Resita” business plan. This team came with a vision and objectives combined with a lot of technical knowledge about areas such as the urban economy, community development, architecture, urban geography, civil engendering, public relations and communications. But what’s exactly happening there? “Invest in Resita project started in November 2016 based on starting from the problems of the 30

deindustrialisation and restructuring of the local economy with the aim of attracting investors, urban regeneration, and by offering an excellent ‘home’ version for Resita residents and visitors. Cities are complex economies, so a huge number of factors impact this return. The project is related and in close connection to smart growth and this means planning for what lies ahead. The project was developed in order to keep a flexible guidance in development, we are increasingly adopting flexible urban plans that serve as frameworks into which we fit urban regeneration and local economic development projects proposed,” explained Sorin Dumitru, chief of the mayor’s office. Reșița retains a strong industrial profile having amongst its main employers long established industrial agents such as UCM Reșița (machine construction factory) or TMK Reșița (steel factory). Steel production


is still a major activity, with recent investments in technological upgrade. The official launch of this business initiative took place in April 2018, after almost two years of preparations. “It is difficult to quantify the results of the campaign in such a short time. Anyhow based on different elements we have seen an important change and increased visibility of the community at the national and regional level. We tried to attract companies and organisations to our industrial park or chosen clusters by holding regular conversations with industry leaders; forging connections between businesses, investors, and talent; and organising different events and conferences,” added Sorin Dumitru. But what’s currently happening in downtown Resita? Asked about concrete changes and investments, Resita Municipality answered that they prepared and submitted projects for more than EUR90 million in the last two and a half years. Development projects refer to mobility reintroducing the tram, streets, city center, bicycle tracks; social integration projects - multifunctional recreational area, sport and education centre, parks and residential area and education and residential buildings - modernising and energy efficiency projects. In the future there will be projects for Urban Regeneration Area: Aqua Park, Events and exhibition centre, parks and residential area, projects for more than EUR55 million. “Another direction for us is to continuing identifying and putting in place competitive clusters in sectors can best support growth and focus on R&D, IT, other modern technologies,” underlines Sorin Dumitru from the mayor’s office. But there is more than that. Currently, the touristic capacity isn’t much - 1,000 beds in town and connected with the touristic surrounding area (30 km, 15 minutes driving) goes up to about 4,000 beds. The region has wonderful sightseeing, being surrounded by the Semenic mountains, and a lot of activities happen there - the most notable one being Garana Jazz Festival, where thousands and thousands of tourists come every year for the jazz vibes. “If in 2016 we talked about 5,000 visitors, in 2017 that number doubled and in this year 2018, up until this moment, half of the year, we can talk for about 20,000,” says Sorin Dumitru about the current tourism trends. Worth visiting? We say yes. Worth investing there? Go have a look on www. investinresita.ro. There aren’t too many cities in Romania that offer this type of information.

premio = Premium Car Care

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For the best, freshest, tastiest Sushi in Bucharest, visit Sushi2Go in the Strip Mall on Iancu Nicolae, Pipera. Or visit:

www.livrare-sushi.ro to see the full menu and call 0770 902 782 for delivery. Minimum order 100 lei, further conditions apply.

Mention this OZB advert when you order either in person or over the phone and you will get a free soup/drink/Kapa Maki. Yoi shokuyoku



I EYE YOU With an academic background both in Cybernetics and Sculpture, Ramona Copil balances technology and art. She started her professional path 12 years ago as Junior Support but in 2015, she became Online Support Supervisor and currently manages 3 teams. You’d think her hands would be full with zero time for art but Ramona’s success would not have been possible without her artistic side being given free reign and it’s this that provides her with inspiration and balance. Over the last 10 years, she has been indulging her artistic side exploring different mediums including paint, clay and metal but this last 3 years she has taken a more consistent interest in photography working with light, shapes and textures.








The Speranţa Foundation was founded in 1996 by Florina-Eliza Tomescu, and for over two decades has done everything in its power for abandoned and suffering dogs. On the 17th of April 2001, the first major rescue operation for the dogs was launched. The Speranţa shelter team, joined by Vier Pfoten Romania, helped by save more than 300 dogs otherwise doomed to euthanasia by a newly introduced law. Speranţa Shelter Foundation has worked hard for 22 years, striving to improve the lives of abandoned dogs. Over this time, we have saved thousands of dogs from differing situations from human aggression, car accidents and diseases and today we are sheltering 600 dogs, including eight paraplegic dogs and many with special needs. Our mission is also to raise awareness regarding the causes of abandoned dogs and to educate Romanian people about animals, nature and the human spirit. If you come and visit you will find that the dogs we saved are not all stray dogs. People abandon even Saint Bernard dogs, Rottweilers, Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dogs, Bichons, Cockers and many more and sadly, adoption is at a very low level because some find it hard to take responsibility of a new member of the family, or they lack the space for a dog. There are also fantastic stories, like the story of Biti, the blind dog abandoned in Bucharest, a story that has been shared over 1,500 times and reached hundreds of thousands of people. Biti, despite being blind, found a family in Constanta. The intriguing part is that his new owner is deaf. We can tell you that Biti is more than happy and has been living in Constanta ever since we took him to meet his new family. We are receiving photos of him from time to time and we are glad to report that he is well adjusted in his new apartment near the sea. The supporters of Speranţa Shelter are mostly based in Bucharest, Romania but also in other cities and abroad. They are constantly sending love through our

Facebook page “Adapostul Speranţa” and with some donations that are helpful in supporting our helpers. Sheltering 600 dogs is no easy job. It demands a lot of manpower and money. For that we are trying to make the best of our fundraising campaigns and events. This year we started our first fundraising campaign with our participation at the most loved MTB Challenge in the Eastern Europe, Prima Evadare. Here, our supporters had lots of fun pedaling more that 50km, in order to support our dog shelter. On 18th August our supporters will participate at the Transilvania Bike Trails in Sighisoara, donating their effort in a 78 km race to raise funds for Speranţa Shelter. The people that are doing this are not athletes but they were sponsored for the race and they donated their sponsorship funding to support our work. Although the foundation’s needs are primarily financial, but there is also a need for more affection for our dogs. For that, we have started our volunteering programme where people can come to our shelter and pet the dogs, clean their fur and walk them. This is good therapy after a hard day’s work. We would be glad to hear from individuals or companies that want to know more about supporting our cause.

Vlad Neagu 32y old from Bucharest, Romania. After working in sales for more that 6 years I decided to dedicate my work to helping organizations like Speranţa Foundation and Hospice Casa Speranţei in getting more support from the community and corporate environment. Nowadays I fell very bonded to Speranţa Shelter and their cause and hope to make the best of my work here, where the need for help is so great. See https://adapostulsperanta.ro for more information or contact Vlad Neagu, at vlad.neagu@adapostulsperanta.ro or call +40 721 017 017




Finding the perfect swimsuit sometimes is a tough job. There are so many choices, but you have to pick the one that is right for your silhouette and also keeps up with the trends. Most of us, once we’ve found a style, we like to stick to it, but this summer there are many reasons to be adventurous and try something different. From warm tones to abstract prints, floral designs or subtle details, this year’s swimsuits are very diverse. Polka dots, fruit prints, belts, frilled sleeves, sports bra tops are all in fashion, as well as feminine, bold or romantic models. You might think that summer is almost gone, but remember that there is always summer somewhere, so you must be prepared to enjoy it. You can still get tanned by the pool or at the beach in Romania, as the weather is lovely in August, but even in December you can go on a holiday in a sunny place and use your trendy swimwear. Get your inspiration here and go for shopping after reading about the hottest trends.

Sweet, Romantic Style

The romantic swim trends of this summer are in sweet shades of pink, red and purple embellished with subtle, feminine details: frills and ruffles, fine buttons, ribbed textures, cutouts, belts and beading. These colours and details will be perfect for any girl that wants to be graceful, either if it’s a one piece or two-pieces swimwear.

Rainbow Stripes

The rainbow-stripe trend is in vogue this year in haut couture pieces and now has extended to swimwear. If you are a jolly person and you like colours, this is the pick for you. The swimwear trends always include patterns, and one of the most predominant patterns of this season was stripes. From the runway to a tropical beach, this style is perfect for confident, joyful girls.

Bold Tropical

The palm print has been popular for many years, and this time is in vogue for swimwear as well. This year, the tropical style is bold, with off-the-shoulder silhouettes, extra-bright colouring, ruching and ruffles. Try it and you’ll fall in love with it. Find the best choice for your type of body and enjoy the sun.

Crochet Swimsuits

Crochet swimwear is the hottest trend on Instagram. Sand-coloured bikinis that look like they've been handstitched at home by your mom or granny will give you a romantic, cute look. It’s for any girl that likes classy and pretty outfits. Coupled with a bit of lace, they give you an elegant and chic aspect even at the beach.

High-Waisted Bikinis

This is a classic trend that brings us back to the amazing beauties from the 50s like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and the pin-up girls that looked so pretty wearing these bikinis. This 36

is a trend that came back after many years of teenyweeny Brazilian cut bikinis. This season, high-waisted bikinis are the high-fashion swimwear and you can wear them with confidence, as you will be fashionable and stylish in this vintage swimwear.

Velvet Swimwear

Velvet might not look like a good fabric for a swimsuit in combination with sand, sun and salt, but designers gave it a chance this year, creating a functional velvet meant to hold up. The designs are in beautiful, eyecatching colours and modern cuts, making the fabric superb.

One-Piece Swimsuit

The one-piece swimwear is officially back this year. Both high cut and basic designs can be good choices for every girl. The Baywatch girls from the 90s made it popular, and this season is back in trends. It is practical and feminine at the same time if you don’t mind that your abdomen will not get tanned.

Sporty swimsuit

This is an appealing design, not just a piece borrowed from scuba diving. The sporty designs have rainbow palettes, stripes and they are accessorised with belts, making them one of the catchiest trends of the summer.

Polka dot swimsuit

This pick can be seen both as edgy and traditional, all depending on colour, silhouette or embellishments. You can have a youthful, fun vibe or a classic look. Polka dots are cute and timeless and you might want to include them in your holiday suitcase. Georgiana Dogaru is a journalist and a fashion blogger. You can read her blog at www.stilettoandredlips.com


AGE 50 IS A MILESTONE WHEN IT COMES TO RETIREMENT PLANNING. 50 IS CERTAINLY A WAKE-UP CALL MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. Our top ten retirement planning tips at 50: 1. Know what you have already

age 50 if not sooner. Checking your pension regularly is a good habit to get into. Most pensions can be viewed online; you may consider consolidating your pensions making them easier to keep track of.

2. Consider where you will live when you retire

8. Security or flexibility of income?

If you are turning 50 start off by collating all the information from your pension providers and request a statement and valuation.

Some people may have plans to retire to the sun, stay put, or downsize. Start thinking about where you intend to live early on, as these decisions can often take a long time to come to fruition.

3. When will you will retire?

Those aged 50 now will not receive their state pension until age 67. Many of us will not have saved enough in our pensions, meaning we will need to work until we are older compared to those retiring now.

4. Work out what income is needed

State pension provides an annual income, but for most of us this simply will not be anywhere near enough. Calculate how much money you are spending now, and I mean absolutely everything. Include holidays as well as the household bills and mortgage repayments. Next work out what you will spend when you have stopped working. Think about what you will realistically need to live on, including all the nice things to enjoy in retirement.

5. Invest more now

Chances are once you have done your calculations, you will find that you have a gap in your savings. Don’t be put off doing something about it as you still have time to change your retirement income. Even paying a small amount more into a pension can make a big difference to your income in retirement.

6. Consider your family

If you share your finances with your wife, husband or partner, consider their pension situation as well. It is important to make sure that your pension schemes know who should receive benefits in the event of your death.

7. Track your progress

Taking retirement planning seriously should start at

Since April 2015 the rules about what you withdraw income from your pension has become much more flexible. You can still choose an annuity, which will provide a guaranteed income for the rest of your life, compared with the ability to draw an income directly from your pension. Using the pension pot to buy a secure income will be the right choice for some people, particularly if they would be nervous about their investment and had little or no other secure income.

9. The right investments

It is critical that your pension investments are in the right funds for you. Protecting your lump sum and managing risk exposure is paramount at this stage. You may only have 15 to 20 years before you draw your pension, so plenty of time to invest and benefit from the stock market ups and downs. E.g. if you accumulated 100,000 in your pension by the age of 50, your pension fund could double or treble over the next 15 to 20 years via additional investment and growth. Get started! Seeking professional advice may be just what you need.

10.Are your other finances are in order?

With retirement looming, don’t forget other financial objectives. This could be paying off the mortgage, helping your children with university, or other near term financial goals. Are you concerned about your plans for retirement? Not sure if you are on the right track? Contact us to today. We can review your current situation and provide you with options. 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


The big story of the month has to have been those famous Swedish number plates. Răzvan Ştefănescu, a Romanian living in Sweden, decided to share his thoughts on the ruling party by legally changing the number plates on his car to what can be translated to “Blow me, PSD”. All this was done in Sweden. Then, exercising his EU rights of free movement, drove his nice car to Romania. The police pulled him over on many occasions, because clearly this was an affront to the ruling party, but unfortunately for them the car and the plates are totally legal. Free speech 1, PSD 0 !!! Razvan finally gets to Craiova and it appears

that He who must be obeyed, Mr. Liviu Dragnea had enough of his loyal servants laughing at his party, so he allegedly ordered the police to criminally charge Razvan and remove the plates. Razvan 1, PSD 1. In steps the Swedish Embassy and tells everyone that the plates are legal, 2-1 to Razvan!! In the end he got his plates back. A resounding win for free speech!! The fall out was that the Romanian Police’s rating on Facebook fell from over 4 stars to one star. Idiots for acting as Liviu’s stooges. The police, like the PSD, started whining about how unfair it all was. Just wish that they would all grow up!! Laura Kovasi finally left office, but with with the support of most sane people in Romania and across the world. There is talk that she might, at some stage in the future, run for President. Now that I would like to see. In the meantime the Minister of Justice, Toad of Toad Hall has been unable to find a suitable replacement, not everyone is susceptible to the mind control methods of the PSD

I am writing this on a terrace in Cluj, Cluj has a mayor, Emil Boc, who used to be the Prime Minister. You never hear much about him, other than making Cluj a nice place to live. On the other hand, our Queen of Kitsch in Bucharest, Mrs Firea, makes the headlines nearly everyday. Most of her spending seems to be nothing more than guaranteeing votes and making the PSD look caring and considerate. The latest “donations” have been more money to the Orthodox Church to help with the folly that is the new Church HQ, no telling who her sponsor is, sending 1000 loyal voters in their senior years, for a nice all expenses paid holiday in Greece, and to top it all, erecting a statue of Nelson Mandela, that well known visitor to Romania, (I think he had a summer house in Snagov) in the centre of Bucharest. Yet again, words fail me…. Dean Edgar has been living the expat dream here in Romania for 11 years. He is General Manager of Moorcroft Services, a company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. They can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, house hunting, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need, see www.moorcroft.ro for further details. 38

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

Providing First Class Financial Advice to Local Professionals & Expats Throughout Europe.

3 QUESTIONS IN A WORLD OF FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY…… Is Your Financial Future Secure? Will You Have Enough to Retire Comfortably? Are You Achieving the Maximum Tax Efficient Returns?

For peace of mind contact one of our expert financial advisors today for a free & impartial financial health check. Berkeley Wealth Management provides quality, impartial financial advice on all matters of wealth management. Our qualified financial advisors have extensive experience of identifying the best financial planning solutions tailored each individual client.

Berkeley Wealth Management Ltd, Piata Charles de Gaulle, etaj 3, Sector 1, Bucuresti, 011857 Romania Telefone: +40 31 860 4716 +40 736 853 709 www.berkeleywm/ro



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