Dana Mladin

…a holiday window! :)

Reading Time: 16 minutes

I’m not giving up!

I did what I did and somehow I went back to Moldova.

I had some work to do there. But, as soon as I got some window of opportunity, I went around the area! I even did this twice, because I had two windows of opportunity J.

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THE NEAMTULUI FORTRESS

Man, if you are above normal weight and you are not fit either, well, you’ll be just like me – a quarter-hour climb of the hill to the Neamtului Fortress, and my tongue was down to the dust from climbing!

But when you get there, what a splendor! Especially the walk on the bridge that leads to the Fortress, which makes you feel so high! Literally…

It can be seen that the pandemic has left its mark here as well: this spectacular bridge is now divided in two, by a band marked “Neamtului Fortress”, connected by some pillars stuck along the footbridge. This is so that each of us can keep his side of the bridge.

Anyway, not many people came here, which makes the visit a real pleasure!

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After I went into all the nooks of the Fortress, I had my fill of health from a lady who sold on the roadside blackberries picked from the forest.

And then… let’s go down the hill…

HUMULESTI

Just ten minutes by car from Targu Neamt, you come across the famous village of Humulesti. You know: the writer Ion Creanga, “Childhood memories”, those things…

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The memorial house, which you can see in a wink of an eye, is beautifully decorated for tourists.

I am not at all a fan of museums full of information panels, instead I am a fan of reconstructed rooms. To let my imagination wander while looking at the objects, at the things there, to make in my head all sorts of “scenes” from the life of that person.

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Do you remember “the pillar of the chimney where my mother tied a string with pompons at the end, that the cats played with endlessly”? These are the cats J)). Right in the backyard. They are all beat from playing with the pompoms…

I suspect they are employees of the Ministry of Culture. They are special “extras”, to reproduce as accurately as possible the atmosphere of the place.

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And that is all there is in Humulesti.

As the glycemic index was down, I do some filling up with some candy, Ukrainian ones, that are insanely good, which I bought from a small food-store in the town of Targu Neamt. And let us go farther!

AT THE AUROCHS RESERVATION

With great enthusiasm I reach the gates of a place everybody calls “the aurochs reservation”. So it’s clear, it’s supposed to be full of aurochs! I cannot wait! If I am not mistaken, I think so far I have not seen any in Romania.

And I don’t see any now either… Even more, I discover that I actually came to a kind of a zoo.

The wild boar snores like a pig, dreaming beautifully at this time of the day. And this mouflon (or whatever it is) treats us, the tourists, with… its backside. It seems really bothered…

Run!!!

Where to???

To see the aurochs, before they get out of sight.

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And so it was: I blinked, and out of 5, I only saw one!

The truth is that their land is quite wide, they don’t live in a Zoo cage. So, if they want, they linger in sight, if they don’t want to be seen, that’s it, goodbye.

If the aurochs in the reservation are rare to see, the deer are the consolation prize. I discover a way of having fun that quickly spread among the visitors: feeding the deer through the fence.

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You’d have to see me, as I cleaned the place of all the acorns I found. The favorite food for the deer.

And I learned on the go that they only want the acorn itself, not its “cap”. And I’ve been “stapled” a few times, a sign that I’m delicious J)).

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After this place set a trap for me and I had to see which were tree branches and which deer antlers, I left!

A snack in the middle of the day is not bad at all, especially since I, as an inhabitant of a big city, am carried away into the past, when, as a child, I used to pick apples from the tree, I did not buy them from the market or supermarket.

Small, even bad looking, but with a real taste!

AGAPIA MONASTERY

I was here about 20 years ago! I was impressed at the time by the image of the white houses, full of flowers, houses inhabited by nuns.

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Can you believe I was so excited now, that I came here two days in a row?

I rediscovered this place full of colorful flowers, beautifully maintained houses, nuns coming to work…

I took a lot of pictures, I lit candles, I also got wet from rain, I even remembered the BD series (a famous Romanian comedy movie series), with the miracle-working icon from Agapia J.

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And I didn’t miss their museum either, where you can see the paintings of Nicolae Grigorescu, made during the time he lived right here, being employed for “painting the church”.

You are not allowed to take pictures or film, it is written at the entrance, but I see some tourists who take out their phones and take pictures without any problem… This time, I obey the rules.

A cell phone rings. A nun, sort of a guardian of the museum, calmly takes it out of her pocket and answers. I find this is such a strange image J. I wait for her to finish, then I ask her a little about Grigorescu. She shows me the two paintings in the museum – the Mother of God with the baby and the Jesus Christ – The Saviour. She tells me that Nicolae Grigorescu started painting the church when he was only 20 years old! Cool!!!

I see the color palette and his brush exposed and I think what value this man gave them…

Then I admire the old photos, with the houses where Cezar Petrescu, Garabet Ibraileanu, Hasdeu, Grigorescu, Delavrancea, Vlahuta lived. Vlahuta’s house is still standing, so I’m clearly going to see it.

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When leaving the courtyard of the monastery, I notice the “stall” with products made by the nuns themselves! (This is stated on a note). You can buy hats, scarves or kerchiefs. But I go to the house with other local products, from where I get a fresh roll and a… dandelion syrup.

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I’ve never drunk such a thing, so it makes me curious. I don’t even know what the seller told me the syrup is good for: the liver, the colon, the… corazon?

THE HOUSES FROM THE “NEIGHBORHOOD”

Next to the monastery, you can wander through the neighborhood of white houses, full of more and more beautiful flowers. They are the houses of the nuns and they are exactly as I remembered them. It was as if time had not affected them at all.

There is so much peace here and a light so pleasant that I would stop on the edge of the road to think about on the immortality of the soul…

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I follow the signs and arrive at Vlahuta’s House. It is the house where Vlahuta’s sister, a nun at Agapia Monastery first lived. Then their mother came too.

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Together with a colleague I look enviously at the living room of the house, a large, welcoming room, with a wall entirely out of glass, where I think there were lots of parties…

The nun who welcomes us tells us that here Vlahuta often came to rest and he would meet with all the talented minds of the time: Grigorescu, Caragiale, Cosbuc, Delavrancea etc. How great these meetings must have been!

Octavian Goga also entered this house as a child. I can imagine Vlahuta and Caragiale playing with him with cars J.

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Located on a small hill, the house offers a beautiful view over the monastery village. A kind of sedative, I would say.

I remember the old lady I saw in the village, on the porch of her house and I can help thinking how nice it is to grow old in such a place.

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VARATEC MONASTERY

Just a few kilometers from Targu Neamt (Agapia is 9 km away), is the Varatec Monastery.

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I read on the internet that this is the largest nunnery in Romania – 400 nuns. Really??? Wow. The whole time we walked around here, I only saw two. One that sells candles and religious objects and another in the church, dealing with various things.

I marvel at the beautiful mansions in the courtyard of the monastery, I brilliantly miss the tomb of Veronica Micle (who lived here after Eminescu’s death, until she also ended her accounts with life) and that’s it, let’s get to work!…

At the gate of the monastery, a kid who must be about 10 years old sells pears. 5 lei (1 euro) the bag. God, what a craving I had! I immediately buy a bag containing 9 pears. Certainly these pears help him (maybe his family too) to get what he needs. I hope there are as many people as possible come here to buy them.

On the way to the hotel, I think that during these days (just as during the previous visit, which you can read about here), I saw a different Romania. A Romania beyond the noise of big cities, beyond any economic crises, the pandemic or any political scandal.

We need this Romania from time to time. At least enough to charge us with good, positive energy.

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