Thursday, 15 September 2011

Discovering Maramures.

If you just wish to see the pictures just scroll down. Alternatively I've written a small account of why my wife Melissa and I took this trip and the world we encountered.

This is the my second account of our travels during the summer of 2011. We started our travels first in Hutsulshchyna a small region in South West Ukraine and then traveled over the border to Maramures an enchanted world in Northern Romania.

Our trip came about after reading William Blacker,s book 'Along the Enchanted Way'. Blacker talked eloquently about his experiences in Northern Romania nearly 20 years ago, while living in the small rural community of Breb in Maramures. He described an extraordinary world, where traditional dress was worn everyday and rural life had not changed for hundreds of years. As a family we had travelled close to this magical region in the summer of 2004 and had an idea what his experiences might have been 15 years earlier and had always vowed to return.

Inspired by Blacker’s book I thought it would be an excellent idea if my wife Melissa and I should visit Maramures, returning to discover the traditional world we had missed on our previous trip to Lunca Ilvei and Miklósvár in Transylvania.

Our journey in Maramures started by traveling over the border from the Ukraine to the small town of Sighetu Marmatiei where we hired a car. This was to be the first time in years when we were to travel without horses and just my darling wife and I without our two daughters.

Weighed down with our booty from Hutsulshchyna the trudge over the border proved to be a challenge, especially in the midsummer heat. With our little hire car we swiftly made our way through the magnificent countryside to the small village of Breb featured in Blacker's story.

This account is a selection of pictures we took illustrating some of the people and their homes we encountered during our travels, along with a selection of churches and buildings we chanced upon

The last vestiges of traditional life European can still be found in Maramures but I suspect in ten years time this wonderful world of folk art and craft will be lost forever as the Diaspora return to their homeland to build ugly modern homes while the old folk depart this world, leaving the emerging generation of Maramures desperate to free themselves from the traditions of the past. I wonder how long it will take for the new generation to realise what they are about to loose.

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