Archaic, Happy Blue Windows and Whimsy Hills from Romania

happy blue windows and whimsy hills Romania

I’m bringing you an archaic home with happy blue windows and the view of whimsy Romanian hills for Jude’s July Life in Color Photo Challenge 2021.

After the idyllic Transylvanian house with blue windows and the authentic 1885 house by the Black Sea today we stroll to the north-west of Romania, to Bihor county.

On a sliver of land, between the silver crest of Biharia Mountains (Bihor Mountains), and the dark waters of Black Crișul River, homes such as this – mirroring a well established society – smile to the world.

Built in 19th century, the Biharia house was later taken apart piece by piece, transported, and rebuilt at the Village Museum in Bucharest.

I couldn’t find any information on this specific detail, but I am sure that the blue window frames with their wavy lines are inspired by the waters of the Black Crișul River…

Happy Blue Windows, whimsy hills, Blue house museum Câmpanii de Sus, Bihor
Above, the wavy line adorns the windows facing the main road. A warm welcome! 🙂

… and perhaps by the blue snowed peaks of the Biharia Mountains that often pierce the clouds. The Biharia Mountains are the highest peak in the Western Carpathians.

Blue Windows and Whimsy Hills

The river’s name, Crișul, derives from Dacian Krísos, meaning black, word derived from Thracian krs-, kres- meaning colorful. Sometimes the names of a river tell so much about its personality. There are four rivers in the Crișul family: White, Black, Fast and Rocky. I don’t know in which one I’d dare swim 🙂

A rock foundation elevates the house. The front porch has a step, for keeping poultry out, as well as winter’s nasty snowdrifts. For the same reason, the roof is slanted:

House with blue details, museum, Câmpanii de Sus, Bihor
Jovial Blue Windows, Blue house museum Câmpanii de Sus, Bihor

Because it was a mountainous area, with fresh water nearby, the rock, wood and clay would have been within easy reach. Luckily. After securing a plot, of course. The extended family would have helped, neighbors too, and the house would have been raised under the watchful eye of a master builder.

Yet a fountain would have been dug first, then an access road, and then only the home.

House with blue details, museum, Câmpanii de Sus, Bihor
The front porch has a step, for keeping poultry out 🙂

Imagine building a house such as this, turning it into a home, and leading a thankful life, while enjoying a similar view:

Blue Windows and Whimsy Hills

Only that once built the house, as well the land it stood on, entered the family. And it would have been passed on from one generation to the next as the most treasured possession. One that had to be looked after, as a way to honor one’s ancestors.

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Dreamy Blues, Authentic 1885 Tulcea House by the Black Sea

Window shutters painted in dreamy blues adorn an authentic house from 1885 Tulcea, a Romanian county spreading between Danube and the Black Sea.

Window shutters painted in dreamy blues adorn an authentic house from 1885 Tulcea, that dips its shores in both the Danube and the Black Sea. You can visit it now, on my blog, or at the Village Museum in Bucharest, Romania.

We have a Romanian saying, Omul sfinţeşte locul, in English it carries the same meaning as “a good farmer makes a good farm.”

I spotted the bright blue shutters from afar. I quickened my step. I wanted to know who lived in a house with such cheerful windows, and such treasures painted on its doors. Who were they? What was their story?

blue double panel window

They say that one should never start work, or a journey, on a Tuesday for it won’t end well. The year 1654 started on a Tuesday, and it is the year when the great Russian Patriarch Nikon decided to re-examine the church books, for “the Greeks should be followed rather than our own ancients.” The schism that followed affected many during the following century, but especially (as always) the masses. Those who sicked to their old believes, the starovery, were forced to pay higher taxes, wear special clothing that will make them stand out… if not burned at the stake.

I have to pause and draw a parallel between the choice the starovery from the Tsardom of Russia were forced to make in the 17th century and the Romanian population of Transylvania who was forced by Hungarian authorities, during 15th – 16th centuries, to convert to Calvinism, “the true faith.”

Thus, the starovery migrated. Some reached as far as Alaska, others loved the serene land around the Danube and, being fishermen by skill and having the sea in their blood, settled in Dobruja, Dobrogea, at the beginning of the 18th century. Today they are known as Lipovans, or Flipovans(after their leader’s name).

Bright blues and wavy eaves in a house of a family of lipoveni from Tulcea

The Lipovans brought along their personal style, the men wearing long beards, the women dressed in bright reds, greens and blues, like the feathers of the birds, and the spring shoots, and the ripples of the rivers.

Do you see the thatched roof? The way it extends low over the narrow porch? They are distinctive architectural features, as are the wavy eaves:

The house, built as a home in 1885, came to the Village Museum (piece by piece and reassembled here) from the Jurilovca village, siting at the mouth of Razelm Lake – a freshwater lagoon on the shores of the Black Sea in Tulcea County, Romania.

The Lipovans who lived here painted the tree of life, “as in Heaven, so on earth“, on their door:

blue painted door Village Museum. the tree of life, "as in Heaven, so on earth"
The tree of life, “as in Heaven, so on earth

Originally painted in 1885, perhaps as a blessing on the threshhold of their new life, in a new land, and a new home:

dark teal painted door, Village Museum Bucharest
The Tree of Life in front of a full moon painted on a dark teal door, Village Museum Bucharest

And because it meant so much to them, the Lipovans painted it again. I like the wavy movement of the greenery depicted above and how the flowers appear to sway in the breeze.

A door with a painting in shades of green and a dark teal door frame, Village Museum
The Tree of Life again, against a happy background, a new life in Romania, a better life.

The Symbology behind the Tree of Life – Art in Romanian Folklore, Patterns

The tree of life can be spotted painted on a door, such as above. But more often we glance upon a diminutive symbol of it (such as the branch of a fir tree, flowers in a pot, shoots of wheat or rye, or mere leaves), be it carved on the wooden pillar of a home, on a piece pottery, or embroidered by hand in a Romanian peasant blouse, ia.

The tree of life, or its symbols, they all stand for the biblical image of Jesus Christ, and of the His everlasting spirit.

The leaves, symbolize immortality and resurrection.

It is a cheerful house, and I hope the Lipovans led a happy life in their new home in Tulcea County, Dobruja, by the Black Sea.

thursday doors, 100 words story

For Dan Antion’s exciting Thursday Doors and for Jude’s Life in Colour Photo Challenge 2021 – weekly challenges.

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A House with Blue-Framed Windows from Transylvania

A House with Blue-Framed Windows from Transylvania belonging to the free country people, the jeleri of 19th century. A page of history.

A charming tiny farm house with blue-framed windows from the village Dumitra, Alba County, Transylvania, Romania, for Jude’s Life in Colour Photo Challenge 2021 🙂

blue framed window country house Romania Dumitra,Transylvania
A House with Blue-Framed Windows from Transylvania. The low fence, of weaved twigs straightened with clay, is typical for this lifestyle. The roof is made of sheaf of wheat.

This charming farm house was built at the beginning of the 19th century and transported to the Village Museum of Bucharest from Dumitra village, Alba County – approximately 360 km away – in 1957.

It is such a small house, only a porch and a room for everyday life, with an oven covered in Terra-cotta tiles that was used for cooking and for keeping warm during winter.

blue-framed-window-country-house-Romania2 Dumitra, Alba, Transilvania
Blue-framed window of a country house from Romania, Dumitra village, Alba County, Transylvania. The blue used here is unusual for this area.

I like this little house very much because it teaches about the life of the free peasants, the jeleri of Transylvania, those who had a bit of land to call their own and that gave them the feeling of leading a decent, free life.

blue framed window house Romania Dumitra
Framed in blue paint, although we are in the middle of the Transylvanian plateau. Perhaps as a nod towards the Tarnava Rivers springing nearby… not Danube, nor the sea…

A small house was enough, with a low fence, and a small gate at the front. A simple life, but a free one. They would have had a vegetable garden, and the bulk of work – mostly wheat farming – would have been done for a rich feudal noble.

blue framed window country house Romania Dumitra

Let’s take a peek inside. See the dish painted with blue motifs on a pristine white table cloth? On the far wall, woven carpets in white, blue and red.

I hope that, whoever lived here, led a happy, peaceful life.

More blue, and more houses, as well as doors coming your way soon.

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A Ride in the Hot Air Balloon, Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021, week 41

ride in a hot air balloon flash fiction

Following the story-line of Ferris Wheel and Two of a Kind read A Ride in the Hot Air Balloon, my contribution to fiction in a flash challenge week 41 based on the image prompt provided by Author Suzanne Burke.
Enjoy! I had so much fun writing it 🙂

A Ride in the Hot Air Balloon, Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021, week 41

A Ride in the Hot Air Balloon

The ballroom was a giant aviary. People’s actions, she found, mimicked those of birds. Courtship, chatter, hunt, all here. Except that birds, birds didn’t belong in a cage.

She spotted the gold-trimmed black mask the instant she crossed the doorway. Nothing ever escaped her eagle-like eyesight. Yet she pretended not to, allowing him the illusion of initiating the hunt. Men fell for that. So she stood atop the stairs, in her black and caviar-beige Channel evening gown, the perfect shade of beige. She stood, tensed, the center of his attention; him, the man with the mask matching hers. She stood; unable to enjoy what was finally coming. Feeling none of the happiness she thought she will.

Why they call it sweet revenge? She tasted bile.

 It had been stipulated in the contract. Both parties involved will be issued matching masks. Both parties will be aware that arriving at the masked-ball involved and was conditioned by, establishing contact with their prescribed partner.

He’d come. He was watching her, facing her, as she closed the distance. One step at a time, oblivious to music, and the agitation surrounding them. Aware of her dry mouth, her increased pulse, and the reason she’d done it all. To right a wrong.

For the first time since she dressed she was thankful for the mask, covering her flushed cheeks. Her lips, frozen in a sneer she hoped mimicked a smile. The pain she had harbored forever, she allowed it to escape as she took step after step. There was so much hatred that letting some steam escape, by staring at him, didn’t matter anymore.

By the time she had descended, he had closed the distance extending his hand to aid her take that final step. Her arm stiff, to mask tremor, she reached for his.

Their touch felt electrifying, and he smiled the moment he saw the specks of aged whiskey in her treacle eyes.

‘I am sorry I wasn’t there, at the foot of the Ferris Wheel’, he said, so she recognized him. Really saw him. Past the black mask trimmed with gold, past her veils of hatred. It was him, as the contract stipulated it will be, the man she wanted for her revenge, yet he was also himself, the man she had met in the park.

‘The bird-watcher!’

He smiled.

Too late. His had touched her gloved one, the double glove soaked in poison. Soon, his somatic muscles will paralyze. Her plan would have reached its climax.

~

He came through with a strange feeling, that his feet were not touching ground. And he was cold, chilled to the bone.

He was dangling.

Was he dead? His eyes were open, he thought. All he saw was blackness.

Black is the impression of lack of color, his mind offered.

He heard nothing either, only the blood rushing through his ears. He would have touched his eyelids but his arms were secured against his body, tied like a cocoon. He could wiggle his fingers though, frozen stiff.

His mouth shot open. A yell came out.

No echo. His voice just left his body – and was gone. And his body was dangling in space.

At least he wasn’t buried.

Purgatory?

He looked around again. Above, as below, he discerned specks of light. Of all sizes. Then a river of them as if someone had spilled, in the dead of night, milk across the floor.

The Milky Way!

More crumbs ablaze caught his eye in the celestial horizon. A handful of fairy lights. A city!

And his body, dangling between them.

From what?

Ignoring his stiff neck he forced it backward and stared, forcing sight. A silk glove tied around his neck brushed his cheek like a slap. After the ozone-rich air an explosion of freesia invaded his senses. It matured, denoting elegance and grace

Stop it, you old goat.

And another note, above the spring-like ones: shimmering hints of honey.

The dawn, lifting the horizon, removed the amnesia cloak too. He remembered the masked woman descending the stairs, their bird-watching, and she, his project for the night. The disbelief that slashed his heart, and the electric shock when their hands touched. Losing consciousness…

‘Why?!’ he howled at the moon.

From the height of the hot air balloon gondola the woman in the black and caviar-beige Chanel gown retrieved a picture, kissed it, and let it slide along the cord to the man dangling below.

‘That’s why,’ she raged, her scathing tone like knives. ‘Remember her?’

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Hello everyone and welcome to the “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week Author Suzanne Burke will feature an image and invites everyone to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Suzanne runs a great blog as well as authoring many exciting books. WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE

What do you think of the story thus far, in its three installments? I’d love to read your impressions in comments below.

Two of a Kind, Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021, week 40

flash fiction two of a kind

So many of you enjoyed the Ferris Wheel story that this week I wrote a follow-up in Two of Kind inspired by the image prompt provided by Author Suzanne Burke for Fiction in a Flash Challenge 2021, week 40.

Two of a Kind

He was never late. Always minutes early, time used to accustom himself with his surroundings, or people watching.

Today, as he lunged in a winged-back chair covered in leather softer than anything nature intended, waiting at The Gentlemen’s Club – a place so private that even its members were on a secret list – he admired the colors in his whiskey glass. Amber, most said, clueless to the fact that whiskey owed its shades to the charred white oak barrels. To him the shade was auburn, with hints of burned amber, he thought glancing through the glass. Like eyes he’d seen once, as dark as treacle and just as deep, yet hiding specks of burned amber… His pupils dilated remembering how he nearly got himself burned. That’s how he chose to remember.

He turned in the chair as one would and exposed the glass to the light slipping between velvety curtains.

Behind the swirling fire from his glass and heart, he observed – effortlessly, through a life-long exercise – the two gentlemen engaged in an animated conversation that the tabloids would have loved to expose together… The zoo of politicians daily at each other’s throats, now enjoying cigars by the fireplace… The man wearing a suit in the wrong shade for such an establishment, now relocating photographs in his briefcase while the gentleman seated across just ordered his 3rd double.

Always useful to arrive early.

He donned his glass and allowed the vanilla and grassy notes to resonate in his nasal passages. For a brief moment, he was in the park, it was early spring and the scent of fresh-cut grass floated like a spell. Across from his bench sat the woman whose eyes held specks the colour of aged whiskey. And just as many promises.

Enough.

Today he’d come here to close a business deal. Time for him to stand and meet his patron, the man who paid handsomely in exchange for his services. He always stood to meet his business partners. Common courtesy, although today’s partner could become tomorrow’s adversary. Some would say enemy, but he always strove towards turning his enemies into business partners. There was always something he could trade. People always had needs and wants. Especially wants. And he could always obtain whatever it was that they wanted when he gave his word. For his word was his bond.

Whenever he looked back on that fatal day he remembers the glass of brown whiskey, not amber, thirty years old – the mark of power – that arrived at the same time with the manila envelope… Although the glass had touched the table first. He still heard the sound of thick crystal against the mahogany, like the deep clunk of an empty gun.

‘From him, Sir,’ the waiter had said and they both knew: from the client he’d been expecting, whose problem he was about to take on. But who hadn’t thought fit to meet him and close the deal in person.

Only that his hand had touched the glass with the brown whiskey, the 30-year-old whiskey, first, thus sealing the deal before the manila envelope had landed on the table. And his word was his bond.

The picture inside the folder surprised him. It was not that of a person. He always insisted on a recent close-up, a time and a location, never questioning his patron’s reasons.

The picture showed two masquerade masks, white and black satin trimmed with honeyed cord. Day and night, female and male, good and evil… symphony and chaos, his mind offered as the white mask held intricate, hand-painted musical notes. And a pearl set in the middle from which feathers in shades of amber protruded. Like the whiskey…

‘She’ll wear the white one,’ was scrawled on the back and an address he recognized. The World Health Organization, WHO, held their charity ball there tonight.

He picked up his felt-hat and left.

True to his habit he arrived early, in a black mask identical to the one in the picture. But tonight he will curse his habit. The instant he saw the woman wearing the white silk mask, his partner for the night -and project – standing atop the stairs looking across without looking down on anyone, holding her clutch as if it was a drawing book, her right fingers poised as if they held a pencil, that instant, he knew it was her.

The woman from the park. The problem he had to solve.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Two of a Kind fiction flash with masks

What happened next? Find out in A Ride in the Hot Air Balloon.

Hello everyone and welcome to the “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week Author Suzanne Burke will feature an image and invites everyone to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Suzanne runs a great blog as well as authoring many exciting books. WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE

Enjoy short fiction? Have a look at my 100 words story, Short Stories or my Humorous stories 🙂

What do you think, should I go on with this story?? 🙂

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