Dec 212009

Versiune în română

21st of December 2009 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Romanian Revolution, the popular uprising that ended the communist dictatorship. On December 21st 1989 the citizens of Bucharest joined the protests started in Timişoara on December 16th and, as they say, the rest is history. It was a day that changed the rest of my life and for which I am and always will be grateful.

Today’s photo shows a sign posted in the little square featured in my first post on this blog. The sign reads “They died here for liberty/21-22 December 1989” (it’s an approximate translation but I can’t think of a better one).

Dec 202009

Versiune în română

I’m back online after more than 48 hours of absence. No, the snow didn’t reach the first floor window 🙂 but the server’s hard drive, bought and installed last June, crashed. It took my husband two days to recover all the data (the backup was ten days old) and to install a new server. I hope my karma has changed now and this won’t happen again.

My first photo after this break is a straightforward shot of the building whose tower was featured in last post’s reflection. As I said in that post this is an office building build in modernist style in 1936-1937 by architects Rudolf Fraenkel, Teller and Dem Săvulescu. It is known as “Adriatica building”. By following this link you can see a photo of the building dating from late 30s.

Dec 192009

Versiune în română

As I said in one of my previous posts, I’m a sucker for reflection photos. I believe that in photography reflections can bring out amazing effects and make us look at things through a different perspective. So here is another one of my tries at getting a nice reflection photo. This one was taken in downtown Bucharest and it shows the tower of the modernist Adriatica office building (1936) reflected at sunset in the Novotel Hotel.

Dec 182009

Versiune în română

My words (“Let is snow!”) from three days ago were taken way too seriously 🙂 It’s been snowing since Tuesday and it keeps on snowing as I write this post. I wanted a white Christmas but I didn’t bargain for this. I want to be able to leave the house 🙂 I’m actually starting to worry that my fridge is empty 🙂

Dec 172009

Versiune în română

The statues from four days ago belong to the building shown in today’s photo: the Astronomical Observatory of Bucharest, a beautiful house located on Lascăr Catargiu boulevard. It was built during the years 1908-1910 by architect I. D. Berindei for Admiral Vasile Urseanu (1848-1926). The Admiral’s passion was astronomy and he was the president of the first astronomical society of Bucharest, established in 1908. The house, built from the admiral’s personal funds and used by the society, has an astronomical cupola in its highest point (not visible in the photo) and was endowed by Urseanu with a telescope. After the death of the admiral the house passed to his wife who in 1933 donated it to the state to be used as the city’s first Art Galley (Pinacoteca). The Astronomical Observatory and Bucharest’s Art Gallery coexisted in the building until 1949 when the paintings were moved to the National Gallery and the Museum of City of Bucharest. The observatory is open for public.

Dec 162009

English version

The round snack that you see in today’s photo is a Romanian favourite. They are made of flour, yeast, malt, salt and water and can be sprinkled with poppy seed or sesame. They can be either round shaped (like in today’s photo) or shaped like a smaller pretzel (I promise to show you a photo soon). In Romanian they are called “covrigi” (singular “covrig”). They are so popular that there are bake shops whose only purpose is to manufacture and sell covrigi. This kind of bake shops are called “covrigărie”. Covrigi make for a filling snack and cost very little and for this reasons some people call them “the food of the poor”. But I’ve seen all sorts of people queuing up to buy covrigi because the smell of a freshly baked covrig is something hard to resist. The ones in today’s photo are not freshly baked but they have their charm too: they go well with beer 🙂

Dec 122009

Versiune în română

Believe it or not we used to celebrate Christmas during communism although not officially of course (for those who don’t know, the communists are atheists). Christmas came packaged with New Year Celebration and they were officially known as “The winter holidays”. We decorated the Christmas tree with whatever we were able to find and on December 24th, “Father Winter”, Santa Claus’ identical twin, arrived with presents. I remember when Father Winter (a colleague of my parents) came to bring me presents when I was about 5 years old. I was so nervous that I forgot the poem I was supposed to recite. However, he was nice and left me presents nonetheless. By and large I had a happy childhood during communism despite the lack of some basic needs. I realize now that it was thanks to my parents who tried to shelter me from life’s reality.

The picture above is from Romană Square. The next two are taken on Magheru Boulevard where the city hall reused some of last year’s decorations (cost cutting in the economic downturn I think). The last one is showing the University roundabout.