Looking at the Sea

fisherman's boat, umbrellas by the sea @PatFurstenberg

Where do our thoughts escape to?
The wondrous one that snick out while we languidly watch the sea change its colors? The pressing ones that run away as soon as our mind got caught in the seagull’s wing. The long forgotten ones that elope us before we even blink the sun away.
Where do they go?
Seek refuge in the seashells? Ride the foam of the waves? Or hide underneath the beach chairs only to come out again at day’s end.
To balance the fading daylight.
To relish into the solitude of the beach.
To hide between their own folk.

Last holiday I let the light slip through my fingers as we strolled along the beach. I took these pictures between 18:17 and 19:43 in Mamaia Holiday Resort, by the Black Sea.

I’ll leave you with the fading light and the sea’s ever changing face – and its secrets.

long shadows beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
straw beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
sunset beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
white beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
pink flamingo, sand castle, beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
striped beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
blue fishermen by the sea @PatFurstenberg
beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
beach umbrella and throne  by the sea @PatFurstenberg
beach umbrella 2 beds by the sea @PatFurstenberg
after sunset beach umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg
wodden swing by the sea @PatFurstenberg
umbrella and windy evening on the beach @PatFurstenberg
net covers umbrella by the sea @PatFurstenberg

Long after sunset the forgotten thoughts, and the escaped ones, plunge into the sea. As they dive right below its surface their sinuous backs from the waves we see at night, thick and sluggish. They dive in and out and, thus, the slow white crests of midnight waves are born.
Sometimes the bathing thoughts forget themselves in their merrymaking and never come out and thus, in the morning, the sea is gray like petrol and the lifeguards raise their red flag, marking a hazardous beach. For they know, they’ve seen it happening, bathers vanishing in those calm, thick waters – although no sea predators were ever spotted.
Except for sea-currents circling underneath. But you and I know; those are the long-forgotten thoughts, looming in waiting.

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Looking UP: in Mamaia and Constanta, by the Sea

Looking up in Mamaia and Constanta

While holidaying in Mamaia at the Black Sea this August we booked a tour in a double-decker bus. Just as spectacular as Brasov or Bucharest, here are some of the sights we spotted while looking up…

Mamaia is one of the oldest Romanian holiday resorts at the Black Sea and one I visited since I was a baby. It is famous for its sandy beaches and endless beach. I almost forgot that one of the hotels there has the same name with my Mom:

Hotel Doina, in Mamaia. My Mother's name is Doina :)
Hotel Doina, in Mamaia. My Mother’s name is Doina 🙂

Here is the same gondola from Mamaia seen at sunset:

The pedestrian crossroad:

Also in Mamaia, looking up from the double-decker bus:

In Constanta, modern buildings often alternate with older houses. ses. Look at this charming balcony. It reminded me of Brasov.

Saint Mary is the Patron Saint of Romanian Naval Forces so 15 August is a massive celebration in Constanta, both Christian and military. We went there two weeks after… Look at all the Romanian flags still adorning the city:

I liked the wave design of this light-post found in Constanta Park, near the Cazino, The statue is that of Carmen Sylva, the pen name of Elisabeth, Queen of Romania 1881-1914.

Two different types of street lights right next to each other:

And look at all those birds:

Now this is not a street light, as it is a beacon light, a signaling light – but not a light house…

Still looking up, Constanta is gorgeous:

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Looking UP: Street Lamps from Brasov and Fagaras Castle, Romania, part 2 #travel #pictures

Street lights of Brasov

I hope you enjoyed looking up with me and discovering the intricate street lights of Bucharest, some separating the past from the present.

Brasov, Corona in Latin or Kronstadt in German, is a historical and cultural city found in the heart of Transylvania, in the heart of Romania. It was first mentioned in 1235 and, not many know, it was the birth place of Katharina Siegel, the only woman Vlad Tepes (Dracula) is said to have ever loved.

One of my favorite places in Brasov is not a coffee shop… but Rope Street, Strada Sforii, dating from 17th century, the narrowest alley in Romania and one of tightest passages in Europe, initially built to facilitate a quicker access for firemen. Its width varies between 111-135 cm / 44-53 inch, measuring 80 m / 260 ft in lenght.

A lamp post bordering Strada Sforii, Rope Street, in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A lamp post bordering Strada Sforii, Rope Street, in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Now let’s walk along Rope Street, looking up:

A light street looking like an eye on Strada Sforii, Rope Street, Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A light street looking like an eye on Strada Sforii, Rope Street, Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Now look up and far, do you see the giant letters spelling BRASOV, placed high on Mount Tampa? And opposite the “eye” street light there is a mural of an eye!

"Eye" street light on Rope Street, Strada Sforii, and the Hollywood-style 'Braşov' sign up on the mountain. Image by @PatFurstenberg
“Eye” street light on Rope Street, Strada Sforii, and the Hollywood-style ‘Braşov’ sign up on the mountain. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Next I saw this classic looking street light and his friends, the red carnations:

A classic street light and red carnations in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A classic street light and red carnations in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

This modern, yet lonely light pole, neighboring an old, solo attic window, caught my attention:

A modern street light near an old attic window in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A modern street light near an old attic window in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

The lamp post below is placed on Schei Gate. Down from here is Schei Gate Street where Katharina Siegel lived with her family, at number 20. Back then the street was called White Lane, Ulita Alba.

Lamp post on Schei Gate, Poarta Schei, Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Lamp post on Schei Gate, Poarta Schei, Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

This light post, looking like Little Bo Peep’s curly stick, is located exactly in front of Katharina Siegel’s house, the light green one with three windows visible on the first floor and two windows on the attic:

Street light in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Street light in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

I wonder if Vlad Tepes would have approved with this street light or he would have preferred something like these:

Street lights of Brasov, Romania. Image via@PatFurstenberg
Street lights of Brasov, Romania. Image via@PatFurstenberg

The street light attached to buildings seem to have such elegant arms and top caps, don’t you think?

Speaking of green houses, and the buildings of Brasov are vibrant, here is a street light matching its residence:

A green street light in front of a green house, Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A green street light in front of a green house, Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

I looked up next and saw an elegant lamp post perched on a green building (what shade is this – sea foam, mint?), next to an entire row of red carnations:

Green buildings in Brasov, lampshades, red carnations. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Green buildings in Brasov, lampshades, red carnations. Image by @PatFurstenberg

I called this street light a serenading one, it just seems to be serenading the window placed above:

A serenading street light in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A serenading street light in Brasov, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Now this street light looked like it was doing a split across the road:

A lamp post doing a split in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A lamp post doing a split in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Shadows come out in plain daylight too:

Street lights and shadows in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Street lights and shadows in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Believe it or not, this all dressed up lamp post was affixed to the building of the National Bank:

Spirals and leaves on a cast iron in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Spirals and leaves on a cast iron in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

A frosted lamp post against a marble wall. It reminded me of iced cappuccino.

A frosted lamp post against a marble wall in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A frosted lamp post against a marble wall in Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

When two windows whisper to each other over a lamp posts and red carnations bend over the balcony to thank a street light, you have to stop and look up:

Street lights from Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Street lights from Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

The lamp post next to the window that wasn’t meant to be:

The lamp post next to the window that wasn't meant to be. Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
The lamp post next to the window that wasn’t meant to be. Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

On Mount Tampa, the light poles are as tall as the trees. And so is the passion of those who keep them looking neat, such as this old Lady who was painting them on a hot summer’s day.

Lamp posts on Mount Tampa, Muntele Tampa, Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Lamp posts on Mount Tampa, Muntele Tampa, Brasov. Image by @PatFurstenberg

In Brasov Council Square, Piata Sfatului, light poles are as pretty at bell flowers.

In Brasov Council Square, Piata Sfatului, light poles  are as pretty at bell flowers. Image by @PatFurstenberg
In Brasov Council Square, Piata Sfatului, light poles are as pretty at bell flowers. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Last two pictures of lamp posts, and I hope you made it this far, are from Fagaras Fortress, built in 1310 on the site of a former 12th century wooden fortress:

A hand-help light inside Fagaras Fortress. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A hand-help light inside Fagaras Fortress. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Do you see the wire sculpture of a man on the horse? On the grounds of Fagaras Fortress there are plenty of modern light poles:

Light poles and the wire sculpture of a man on a horse on the grounds of Fagaras Fortress. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Light poles and the wire sculpture of a man on a horse on the grounds of Fagaras Fortress. Image by @PatFurstenberg

I hope you enjoyed the street lights of Brasov. Next in the #LookUp series are the lamp posts of Constanta and Mamaia, by the Black Sea!

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Looking UP: Street Lamps from Bucharest, Romania #travel #pictures

A Farola fernandina design lamp post from Bucharest against a blue sky

This past holiday I chose to look up, towards the sun, the sky and the buildings’ roofs. I discovered some surprising sights that put a smile on my face and sparked my writer’s brain (or so I liked to imagine).

An old-style street light in Bucharest, on Lipscani Street, guarding the border between new and old - image by @PatFurstenberg
An old-style street light in Bucharest, on Lipscani Street, guarding the border between new and old – image by @PatFurstenberg

Also bordering past and present – which side would you choose?

A twin, low energy prismatic street light on Calea Victoriei, bordering old and new. Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A twin, low energy prismatic street light on Calea Victoriei, bordering old and new. Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

I was born in Bucharest, so I am quite proud of the fact that in 1857 Bucharest was the first city in the world to introduce kerosene lamp posts on its streets. The fuel was produced in one of the world’s first refineries equipped with modern facilities, found in the nearby city of Ploiesti. Of course, only Bucharest’s city center was illuminated this way and 1,000 kerosene lamps were used, this bringing a a new craft into light in Bucharest, that of the lamplighter.

A wall-bracket Farola fernandina style street lamp on Hanul lui Manuc. The plaque reads: "1857, Bucuresti, First Capital City in the world illuminated with kerosene lamps. image by @PatFurstenberg
A wall-bracket Farola fernandina style street lamp on Hanul lui Manuc. The plaque reads: “1857, Bucuresti, First Capital City in the world illuminated with kerosene lamps. image by @PatFurstenberg

Here is another wall-bracket street light on the same building. I like the way it seem to serenade both windows. And have you noticed all the details on the facade?

Lamp post on Hanul lui Manuc, Buchrest. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Lamp post on Hanul lui Manuc, Buchrest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

To stay with the Farola fernandina style street lamp and in the same neighborhood of Bucharest, Lipscani, here’s another one:

Lamp post in Lipscani area, Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Lamp post in Lipscani area, Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

And not too far away:

Street light in Lipscani area, Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Street light in Lipscani area, Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Here’s a close-up and I didn’t even have to climb a building to take this photo!

Close-up of street light in Lipscani area, Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Street light in Lipscani area, Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg

We are on a smaller street now, the light pole has a plain design. But what you see behind, the white building with lots of windows and a smaller one in the attic (where the coffee shop is!), that building houses the amazing bookshop Carturesti Carousel, a must-see.

We visited the Village Museum, as we do each time we go to Bucharest, and this time discovered:

Twin lamp post in Village Museum, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg
Twin lamp post in Village Museum, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Have you noticed the twin rosettes and the metal flower on top of the pole? And here is another lamp post from the Village Museum. The museum closes well before sundown, but I image it to be enchanting during the night.

Classical lamp post in Village Museum, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Cismigiu Park, in the heart of Bucharest, is another one of our favorite places. Paddle boats in summer, ice skating early mornings or at dusk during winter, magical!

A very old, overgrown lamp post in Cismigiu Park, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A very old, overgrown lamp post in Cismigiu Park, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Look up, it pays off! We are still in Cismigiu Park (Fountain Park, you could translate), an area linked back to 1799, when ruler Alexandru Ipsilanti ordered that two fountains be built here. Again, a new craft and title was born, that of “Grand Fountaineer” – in charge of maintaining the good order of these two fountains!

But the real Cismigiu Park was designed during the middle of the XIX century by the Viennese landscape architect Carl Wilhelm Meyer at the order of ruler Gheorghe Bibescu.

Initially, in 1860s, there were only 60 lamp posts in Cismigiu Park. Electric lighting was introduced in 1890s. I wonder if this was one of them:

A very, very old, overgrown lamp post in Cismigiu Park, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A very, very old, overgrown lamp post in Cismigiu Park, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

Excited to say that back then, as now, there is a newspaper stand in Cismigiu Park!

Moving on, here are a few more street lights from around Bucharest:

A low energy prismatic street light combining new technology with a classic design. Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
A low energy prismatic street light combining new technology with a classic design. Bucharest, Romania. Image by @PatFurstenberg
My very own, Narnia-style street light on Calea Victoriei, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg
My very own, Narnia-style street light on Calea Victoriei, Bucharest. Image by @PatFurstenberg

I hope you enjoyed looking up with me. Do return for more lamp posts, next we will visit Brasov and Constanta. Why don’t you subscribe to my newsletter or follow my blog?

Any thoughts? Comment below, I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Orthodox Easter Eggs, folktales, symbolism, traditions via @patfurstenberg #culture #history

It was an erstwhile custom that a mother, no matter how elderly or ailing she felt, would take it upon herself to bring food to her lad bided elsewhere as soon as the snow thawed and the first white spring shoots pierced the ground.

A folktale tells that Mary, the mother of Jesus, took it upon herself to visit Jesus in Jerusalem and thus she packed a basket with fresh eggs. It wasn’t much else she could take him, Herod having just increased his taxes, again.

The road was winding through the verdant green hills of Judea and Mary’s heart felt light for each step brought her hither to her son, which she hasn’t seen in a long time. As the morning progressed her own shadow became but a puddle by her feet. Soon enough the basket began feeling heavier and heavier in her work-worn hand and her steps became slower and slower and she felt like her journey to Jerusalem had become a quest for shade. Not many trees were in bloom so as soon as Mary spotted a stream sheltered by a little arbor she quickened her step and stopped to cool and quench her thirst. It was a thirst like she had never felt before.  So she looked about and decided to stop for a few moments.

The stream singed and Mary saw a new nest above her head and smiled. Life was precious. The water moved softly over her fingers and, when she removed her hand, a few droplets lingered on her fingers. She brought the hand to her eyes and smiled, a whole life scene embedded in those tiny see-through pearls.

It was a peaceful moment and life’s moments were just like this string of beads following each other on her outstretched hand. Each one connected to the next, stronger together. Filled with love.

But it was time to move along. Before getting up something tugged at her heart and Mary lifted the white cotton fabric that covered the basket to see if the eggs were still in good shape.

A dreadful sight unfolded before her eyes. It was as if the sun had stopped shining, no gurgling from the stream could glide through the air and all proof of life on earth had been stamped out.

The eggs had turned blood red and the Blessed Mother of Jesus understood that the time had come for her son to pay for our sins. But she was first a mother and he was her baby boy and so she wept, Mary did, and as her tears rolled down her cheeks and dripped onto the blood covered eggs they drew patterns, a cross, a star, lines and spirals.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus hang on the cross, she laid the basket at his feet and kneeled to pray. Then Jesus spoke and asked her not to cry for Him, but to share those blessed eggs with the people who believe in His resurrection.

***

This is why on the Orthodox Easter we color boiled eggs in red, we draw patterns on them and we share them with our loved ones, family, friends, colleagues, knocking egg against egg and saying: “Christ has risen,” and answer “It is true He has risen.”

Red easter eggs on the grass with flowers and blowballs, naturally colored easter eggs with onion husks. Happy Easter, Christian religious holiday.

The symbolism of the Easter egg

The hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ.

The cracking of the egg (through knocking) symbolizes His Resurrection.

The Ritual of coloring Easter Eggs

It is said that coloring Easter eggs is a sacred ritual. The day when one colors the eggs is special and no other activity will take place.

On counting the eggs that are to be colored, one doesn’t begin with one, but with “one thousand”, thus bringing wealth in the house for the remainder of the year.

The paint was already prepared, using different plants for different colors. GREEN – was made from walnut leaves, sweet apple skin. RED came from the leaf of a sweet apple, corn leaves or thyme. A special flower was used for YELLOW. Oregano was used to give the colored eggs a heavenly perfume.

The room where the eggs were painted was also special. No worried or upset person was allowed to step inside and no bad rumors or news of people who just passed away were allowed to reach the ears of the egg-painter.

Easter egg color symbolism

Easter eggs are nowadays colored in a rainbow of shades.

WHITE – means purity

RED – symbolizes the blood of Christ and life

BLUE – symbolizes the sky above, uniting us all

BLACK – means fertility

GREEN – means nature

YELLOW – symbolizes sun and energy

Orthodox Easter Egg Design Symbolism

A straight vertical line means life.

A straight horizontal line means death.

A double straight line symbolizes eternity.

A rectangle pattern – symbolizes thought and knowledge.

A sinuous line symbolizes water and purity.

A spiral means time and eternity.

A double spiral symbolizes the connection between life and death.

Cross – symbol for Christianity

A cross with additional small crosses at the end of each arm is a Russian cross.

A star – is called the “shepherd’s star”

A monastery – symbol of Christianity

Other motives used for decorating Easter eggs: bees, frogs, snakes, lambs, garden tools, fir tree, tulip, wheat.

Other traditions call for all the family members to wash their faces with fresh water on Easter morning, water from a container that holds a red egg and a silver coin. It is believed that the red egg brings good luck, good health, warn off evil spirits and all spells.

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