Time Stands Still in Romania and Taking Kindly to It

I am telling you, time stands still in Romania – or in any other place in the world, if one was born there. So let’s all take kindly to it.

We have snapshots saved in our mind, of trees in autumn or summer sunsets peeking between traffic, of old buildings and tramway rides, snapshots accompanied by scents and sounds. Lindens in bloom, snow crunching underfoot, hot summer dancing over asphalt, the first tram echoing in rhythm each morning. Easy to remember, yet forgotten until we spot the same place again, hear the same chime, or a scent washes over us, two decades later. Time stands still in the spot where one was born.

A Romanian saying goes like this: eternity was born in a hamlet. And how much truth lies in it…

A hamlet, the simplest form of rural settlement whose population measures its life between sowing and plowing, its spirit still tightly woven in its ancestor’s web of traditions and beliefs. Here, life is an oasis of peace and eternity.

Sure, 21st century arrived in the form of a train station – soon abandoned for no one got off and nobody ever left. And the modern lifestyle came in the form of a cellphone tower too. For whose benefit is still a mystery, since locals don’t use such modern technology and no tourists set foot along their main road either. Only the cows stir its dirt in the morning, and again in the evening when each one knows exactly through which gate to push to arrive home.

With kerchiefs over their heads, a habit they picked it up as children, and blouses with hand stitched flowers motifs, spirals and crosses too, women here smile a lot, speak little, cook finger licking, simple meals, and worry and pray. And their men look after them, and after their crops and their herds, are quick in temper, yet soft in the look they give you, guarded by thick eyebrows.

Time Stands Still in Romania, road to Bran Castle

And, with their cows coming and going, with the sun rising at the rooster’s call and setting in the hushing of the leaves and the singing of the crickets, these people live for today.

For today is eternal, as much as the clouds are overhead and the land underfoot. Yesterday is gone like the storm, taking its thunder with it. Tomorrow might never come, although it is a promise from God. And He always keeps His word. But today, today is eternal, and because of this time stands still in a hamlet in Romania.

Time Stands Still in Romania, road to Vama Bran Castle
Time Stands Still in Romania, taking kindly to it, on the road to Bran Castle Medieval Border (Bran Pass)

I snapped the picture above while we drove from Sinaia to Bran. Very near this spot was the medieval border of Bran Castle, close to the Bran Pass, that was the 14th century toll gate between Transylvania and Wallachia.

It was through here that caravans loaded with merchants’ goods passed between the two principalities. The mountainous and rugged terrain, the relatively narrow pass and the vast coniferous forests, made the route quite risky for caravans.

But Bran Castle was also a point of defense – especially against Turk invasions – and therefore the establishment of a border point here was necessary and soon became profitable for the entire area.

Prince Mircea the Elder, Voivode of Wallachia, was the one who, through a privilege granted to Brasov merchants, established the customs of Wallachia in 1413 atTurciu (today Bran). The medieval Bran customs point was defended against robbers by guards that were backed-up by guards from Bran Castle. Due to their importance, the customs buildings will be rebuilt and consolidated over centuries. It was at the end of the 15th century that Bran border point became the responsibility of merchants from Brasov, Transylvania.

Just imagine, it was through these woods that Vlad Tepes and his brave men, his Viteji, rode back and forth.

But more about this in my next book 🙂

Squarres Photography

Time Stands Still in Romania and Taking Kindly to It is my contribution to Becky’s incredible October Squares #KindaSquare blog feature. Do have a look 🙂

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14 Replies to “Time Stands Still in Romania and Taking Kindly to It”

  1. I have always been fascinated by Romania, Pat. Possibly because I have some Romanian friends. Other friends have vacationed there.

    A thought-provoking concept how “time stands still in the spot where one was born.” You paint a beautiful and real picture of a hamlet. Wow, “today is eternal”…..goosebumps. Your prose is written like poetry and swept me away to this hamlet in Romania. I know you do a tremendous amount of research for your books, Pat. Yet, the information is not dry facts. You have transported me to this time and place.

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Erica 🙂
      You made my day!!!

      It is an enchanting place, Romania. And I am sure that through your friends you feel connected to it. A thin thread it may be, but I hope a strong one.

      To me, there is nothing like that first breath of Romanian air as we exit the airport. Heat and dust it may be, but it smells like home, honestly. 🙂

  2. The train rolls in, but nobody gets off or on, made me smile. You paint a beautiful picture, Pat. Not born there but lost a little piece of your heart to it, I presume? 🙂 🙂

  3. Ah, so glad you liked it 🙂 I am sure that, if one would chose to get off the train in such a remove village, one would discover a deep history and a wealth of knowledge.

    I was born in Romania, Jo, in Bucharest. 🙂

    Thanking you for your visit. Have a blessed day further.

  4. I am a city girl, so not exactly an expert in Romanian village. However, I’ve spent a few awesome summers in Bran’s area. It is, indeed, as beautiful as you describe it. And I have pictures with my dog and the toll gate between Transylvania and Wallachia. How cool is that! 🙂

  5. Greetings from Brazil

    There is a huge love between us human beings and the earth between our fingers, I am from Brazil and I dream of traveling the world.

    Congratulations on the sensational success post!

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