Sozopol Marina

Sozopol, Bulgaria

  добър ден  dobŭr den Good Afternoon

We went off exploring old town Sozopol today and had a grand time.  It’s small enough so you don’t need a map unless you’re looking for a very specific place and even then you hardly need it.  I’ve taken lots of photos so you’ll see the place eventually.  We’ll be here tomorrow too, so will  explore the newer part of town which isn’t so much bigger than the old part of town.  I like small. 

This email is about the synagogue of Constanta; the connection with memorials in Israel, and some silliness about Romanian food. 

Ru

Jewish Constanta

There is a small chunk of the Great Synagogue of Constanta on DoraMac.  I didn’t take it; it was given to me as a gift. 

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We were out looking for a chandlery Rick vaguely remembered from 3 years ago when I saw a street and building that I believed to be the remains of the Great Synagogue.  We walked over to C A Rosetti Street and found the building with a locked gate and barking dogs.  A man from the house next door saw us and asked if we would like to visit the building.  We said yes; he shushed the dogs, unlocked the gate and let us into the yard adjacent to the synagogue.

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     “Currently, the only synagogue in Constanţa - the Great Synagogue, is in an advanced stage of

degradation, being abandoned and ransacked, in a real danger of collapse.

From the entire synagogue, there are only three full walls left, fractured diagonally. The roof was

destroyed, so were the majority of colored glass windows. The walls still preserve intact Jewish symbol -

Star of David.

     Although the entrance to the synagogue is not forbidden, even though the synagogue is in

danger of collapse, the access is impossible because of the packs of dogs in front of it.

On the left and right side of the building, there are new buildings; whose construction has only

weakened the”skeleton” left standing.

     Only 16 years ago, during 1995-1996, the local residents said that religious services could be

held in the synagogue. Once abandoned, without a security guard hired to watch it, the building was

ransacked of anything that was not nailed down. “

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro/

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    “The tenants of the neighboring house, who had put a chain to the gate and a few dogs in the yard, were the only ones to make sure and prevent homeless people take shelter inside the building.”

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro

I gave the man a 10 Lei note to thank him.  Then I bent down to pick up a small bit of concrete as a reminder.  He then picked up a huge piece from the pile on the porch and broke a chunk off before I could stop him.  I had vague thoughts that taking “historic ruins” was some sort of crime but didn’t want to offend our “host.”  So I carried it back to the boat and will keep it until they need it back to refurbish the synagogue. 

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     “To restore and consolidate the synagogue, extremely qualified workforce is needed, generous

funding and the desire to save one of the emblematic buildings belonging not only to the Jewish

Community but also to Constanţa.  A few years ago, the Jewish Community of Constanţa tried to save the Great Synagogue in Constanţa.  An architect from Bucharest, Robert Tauwinkl, developed a project to consolidate and repair the building of worship, which is in the archives of the County Department for

Culture, Cults, and Heritage of Constanţa.  The architect even obtained the certificate of urbanism.  A few steps on, things got stalled when it came to money; the building restoration costs a lot, beyond the

financial power of a community that does not even have a Rabbi any longer. “

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro/

The Jews in Constanţa played an active role in the cultural and economic development of the

city, complying with the suggestions and taking advantage of the opportunities of the urban community

and official policy. From the late XIX-th century until around 1930, the number of the Jewish community

members rose – both in number and as economic power. Although the commercial activity and banking

are at core, the real estate should not be overlooked, as they left numerous traces in the public and

private space of the city.

The specific feature of the Jewish religion has led to building synagogues, schools, public baths,

and a cemetery. The social status of merchants and bankers, intellectuals (lawyers, journalists, doctors,

chemists, teachers, historians, librarians, architects, painters, actors, etc.) required and adequate

representation of both the professional space and the residential one. The Jews have contributed to

building the historic fund of Constanţa; today, a number of representative buildings became monuments of architecture.

It is an unfortunate fact that the present Jewish community of Constanţa has 59 members only,

which included those of Mangalia - many of them had been assimilated and only a few purely Jewish

ethnics. In these conditions, the problem of protecting the architectural heritage is a task beyond the

current influence of community. The saving of this Jewish architectural heritage, found on the Romanian

soil, requires extensive inter-institutional programs that can identify technical and financial means.

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro

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The Great Synagogue was on Str. C.A rosette

    Constantin Alexandru Rosetti was a Romanian literary and political leader, born in Bucharest into a Phanariot Greek family of Italian origin. Wikipedia

Born: June 2, 1816, Bucharest, Romania

Died: April 8, 1885

While reading about the Jewish community of Romania I was stunned to come across mention of the Struma and the Mafkura.  I remembered memorials to both immigrant ships in Ashdod, Israel.

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Memorial to the Struma and the Milka Maritza in Ashdod

   “Since 1940, the Romanian government has adopted a series of measures to counteract a

possible aggression coming from the surging of the hostilities in Europe. The start of the war with the

Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, turned the city and port of Constanţa into the main target for the Soviet

aviation and navy.  During this period, the Jews, victims of the anti-Semitic laws, were still assisted in their efforts to emigrate and Romania remained  ”the most important place of illegal Jews embarking. They left for Palestine on the ships from the ports of Constanţa, Sulina, Tulcea, and Brăila.”

According to the existing data in the archives, the Jewish emigration through the port of

Constanţa took place with difficulty and sometimes disastrous but rhythmic between 1940 and 1944.

”There were several ships with the Jewish emigrants: 9 large vessels (Darien II, Struma, Milka,

Maritza, Belasitza, Kasbek, Bülbül, Mefküre, and Morina) - four of them (Darien II, Milka, Maritza, and

Belasitza) with two exits from the port - and 15 small vessels; the number of Jews who came from

Romania as above can be documented as of 4,846.”

http://anale-arhitectura.spiruharet.ro/

Voyage of the Struma

The Romanian port of Constanta, on the Black Sea, was a major embarkation point for Jews attempting to leave Europe for Palestine. Thousands of Jews, desperate to escape the Germans, took the route by boat from Constanta via Turkey to Palestine, despite British immigration restrictions.

In December 1941, in Constanta, 767 Jews boarded a boat named the Struma. They planned to travel to Istanbul, apply for visas to Palestine, and then sail to Palestine. The Struma was unsafe and overcrowded, and lacked adequate sanitary facilities. Despite engine problems, it reached Istanbul on December 16, 1941. There, the passengers were informed they would not get visas to enter Palestine and, furthermore, would not be permitted entry into Turkey.

The boat was kept in quarantine in Istanbul’s harbor for more than two months. Turkish authorities denied the passengers permission to land without British agreement to their continued journey to Palestine. On February 23, 1942, the Turkish police towed the boat out to sea and abandoned it. The next day, on February 24, the boat sank. Although the cause of the sinking is not definitively known, it is assumed that it was mistakenly torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. Only one passenger, David Stoliar, survived. The sinking of the Struma led to widespread international protest against Britain’s policy on immigration into Palestine.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005410

On a happier note I received the following email from “Cousin Ernie;”  the same Cousin Ernie who’d sent me to  Fortnum and Mason while we were in London and who is also the railroad buff….

     “Your pictures and comments on Romania are particularly interesting. Did you know, there is an old Yiddish song, called "Romania", that I remembered while reading your post. My Grandfather used to play it in Ozone Park, when I was just a kid. It also has comments on Romanian food, including Mamaliga. To my total surprise, I managed to find it on Google and thought you and Randal might like to hear it… so here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0agi_Gj2IEc

Ernie

I followed the link and could actually catch the word mamaliga in the song.  With that information I looked for an English translation.  It’s below and sort of makes sense.

Rumania, Rumania

“This song is called Rumania, Rumania. It is composed and sung by Aaron Lebedeff. As in the past I have included the song in Yiddish text, as well as transliteration and translation. The translation if from the back cover of the original album, and while it is a fairly accurate translation, it nonetheless fails to capture the true humor of the original Yiddish lyrics. In this song, Aaron Lebedeff sings about old Romania, its special foods and the good life there before the war. To the best of my knowledge, mamalige is some sort of maize dish (maybe similar to cornbread). Karnatsl is a garlicky meat patty. Kashtaval (or Kashkaval) is cheese made from sheep’s milk. If anyone knows what Kastrovet and Patlazhele are, please share it with us all in the comments.”

Oh! Rumania, Rumania, Rumania …

Once there was a land, sweet and lovely.

Oh! Rumania, Rumania, Rumania …

Once there was a land, sweet and fine.

To live there is a pleasure;

What your heart desires you can get;

A mamalige, a pastrami, a karnatzl,*

And a glass of wine, aha … !

Ay, in Rumania life is so good;

No one knows of care;

Everywhere they’re drinking wine -

And having a bite of kashtaval.

Hay, digadi dam …

Ay, in Rumania life is so good;

No one knows of worry.

They drink wine, though it’s late;

And have a bite of kastrovet.

Hay, digadi dam …

Oh, my, help, I’m going crazy!

I care only for brinze and mamalige

I dance and jump up to the ceiling

When I eat a patlazhele.

Dzing ma, tay yidldi tam …

What a pleasure, what could be better!

Oh, the only delight is Rumanian wine.

Rumanians drink wine

And eat mamalige;

And he who kisses his own wife,

Is the one who’s crazy.

Zets, dzing ma, tay yidl di tam …

“May salvation come from heaven … “

Stop and kiss the cook, Khaye,

Dressed in rags and tatters;

She makes a pudding for the Sabbath.

Zets! Tay ti didl di tam …

Moyshe Khayim comes along

And takes away the best part;

Moyshe Khayim, Borukh Shmil -

Tickle her on the sly.

Zets! Tay tidl di tam …

And the girl pouts, alas,

Seems unwilling, but allows it.

Tshu!

It’s good to kiss a lass

When she’s sweet sixteen;

When one kisses an old main,

She begins to grumble.

Zets! Tay yidl di dam …

What a pleasure, what could be better!

Oh, the only delight is Rumanian wine

http://yiddishlyrics.wordpress.com/  has a link to Aaron Lebedeff singing and you can follow along with the transliteration of the Yiddish.

Thanks Cousin Ernie!

*A Karnatzel is a dried, cigar-shaped beef sausage, generally about the width of a nickel and seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. http://www.kettlemansbagels.ca/

I’m assuming everyone knows what pastrami is.  But if not,

Pastrami is Kosher barbecue, it is corned beef with chutzpah…..Culinary historians believe the highly seasoned, smoked, juicy, bright pink beef in a dark robe, was invented by poor Jews in schtetls in Romania where it may have been made from goose or duck meat. Today some avant garde chefs are returning to that tradition, even making it from salmon, turkey, or other cuts of beef, like round. Without refrigeration, meat spoiled quickly, so they rubbed it heavily with salt and pepper and other spices, and smoked it. This both tenderized it, flavored it, and helped it keep longer. Today, most pastrami is made from beef brisket or navel (a.k.a. plate), tough, stringy, fatty, cheap cuts. The process turns it tender and succulent.

     Some say beef pastrami was first made in the US by an immigrant kosher butcher, Sussman Volk, in 1887, but that date is disputed by the owners of Katz’s which opened in 1888. Katz’s is the oldest deli in the nation, and a haimish New York landmark. If you have never been there, make the schlep to 205 E. Houston St. (pronounced HOW-ston) right after you get off the boat from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to complete the immigrant experience.

http://amazingribs.com/

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August 24, 2014

Sozopol Marina

Sozopol, Bulgaria

Constanta 2

This email shows our stroll into the old town for dinner the first night we arrived.  No history or many stories, just photos of the old town showing itself off in the evening light.

Ru

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Iliutza Horiuk 

  We met this young man in Tulcea when we were in having a late afternoon drink at the Republica Restaurant where DoraMac was tied.  He was there for a folk festival.  While walking along our first evening in Port Tomis he and I passed each other and both surprised and pleased to meet again.  Unfortunately I didn’t get his correct email address.  He plays the cimbalom which is like a hammer dulcimer and will travel to the US later in the year as part of a folk group.  Kathy, keep an eye out for him as he’ll be in the Boston area. 

http://cimbalom.by/about_cim.htmla

http://katleyplanetbg.blogspot.com/

Tomis Boulevard was lined with restaurants and we found one with good food and a helpful owner.

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His son Marco was the subject of his dad’s tattoos. 

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I wanted something light so had a salad and glass of white wine.  Perfect!

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I shared the tuna with this friendly kitten

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Lots of balconies everywhere.  I want a balcony!

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Rapunzel Rapunzel….

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Sozopol Marina

Sozopol, Bulgaria

добър вечер  dobŭr vecher Good Evening

   We left Varna about 7 am and arrived here in Sozopol about 3:45 pm.   The plan, at this point, is to leave Wednesday for an overnight passage through the Bosporus towards Istanbul.  It all depends on the weather exactly what day we’ll leave.  Sozopol is small enough to enjoy for a few days with an old town as well as a “new town.”

   This email is the first of several about Port Tomis/Constanta.  It was another “favorite” and a place one could spend much more time.  And it was our final stop in Romania.

Ru

Leaving Sulina and the Danube behind at 6:55 pm for a night passage to Constanta

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I’ve “painted” the 12 kilometers of canal bordered by stone breakwater quays .  You can see two boats going ahead of us from the canal to the Black Sea. 

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Looking back as the sun set as we  began our journey into the Black Sea

Port tomis/Constanta

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9:30 am was our arrival time in Constanta

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We were tied stern-to on the back wall of Marina Bay marina which was rimmed all round with restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops. 

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Looks great but not an Israeli ice coffee!!!  But we made do.

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Stefan Diamandi, future mariner

Stefan was intrigued by the heavy socks and boots both Randal and I were wearing.  Most tourists in hot places wear sandals or sneakers so Stefan is intrigued by those who wear boots.  He took our photo and I took his.  In Vidin I met interesting women, but in Romania we met interesting men.  (We wear boots because they’re just more supportive for all the walking we do.)

City Highlights

Situated at the crossroads of several commercial routes, Constanta lies on the western coast of the Black Sea, 185 miles from the Bosphorus Strait. An ancient metropolis and Romania’s largest sea port, Constanta traces its history some 2,500 years. Originally called Tomis, legend has it that Jason landed here with the Argonauts after finding the Golden Fleece.

     Founded by Greek colonists from Miletos in the 6th century BC, Tomis was conquered by the Romans in 71 BC and renamed Constantiana by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in honor of his sister. The name was shortened to Constanta during the Ottoman era. During the 13th century, Italy, especially Genoese merchants, dominated the Black Sea and Constanta flourished, only to decline two centuries later under Turkish rule.

     Fine mansions and hotels were built in the 19th century when King Carol I decided to revive Constanta as a port and seaside resort.

     Constanta is the fourth largest port in Europe, ranked just after Rotterdam, Antwerp and Marseille.

The third largest city in Romania, Constanta is now an important cultural and economic centre, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town centre. Its historical monuments, ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, and proximity to beach resorts make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism. Open-air restaurants, nightclubs and cabarets offer a wide variety of entertainment.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html   also has info about all the landmarks we saw

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The Genoese Lighthouse  (Farul Genovez)

Address: Str. Remus Opreanu

Soaring 26 feet, this lighthouse was built in 1860 by the Danubius and Black Sea Company to honor Genoese merchants who established a flourishing sea trade community here in the 13th century.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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The Casino   (Cazinoul)

Address: Blvd. Carpati 2

      During the 1914 visit of the Russian Imperial Family, the casino was host to a royal gala. Despite diplomatic negotiations, Grand Duchess Olga refused the proposed marriage to Prince Carol of Romania and the Russians sailed away. The Grand Duchess was later killed by the Bolsheviks along with the rest of her family.

Completed between the two World Wars in art nouveau style according to the plans of the architects, Daniel Renard and Petre Antonescu, the Casino features sumptuous architecture and a wonderful view of the sea. The pedestrian area around the Casino is a sought-after destination for couples and families, especially at sunset.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

     From a distance, the Art Nouveau building on a promenade beside the Black Sea looks majestic. As you walk closer, however, Casino Constanta reveals itself: broken windows, curling paint, and rusted railings hint at the dilapidation inside. 

     The casino, located in the southeast Romanian city of Constanta, was inaugurated in 1910. With its grand size, seaside location, and marine-themed decor, Casino Constanta soon attracted wealthy travelers and became a symbol of the city. But its glory days were short-lived.

Romania’s changing fortunes in the face of two world wars saw the casino fall into disrepair. During the Second World War, the building was used as a hospital. Under the post-war communist regime, it operated as a restaurant. By 1990, the place had become so run down that it was too expensive to maintain. The building has been closed ever since, a silent sentinel on the edge of the Black Sea.

http://www.slate.com/

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Bogdan Nicodin gave us a lesson in Romanian and Eastern European modern history.  It’s always so interesting to hear from  someone who lives in a place there version of the country’s history.  His politics were similar to ours so we found what he said quite believable.  A very wise, witty, charming young man.

Ovid Square was the center of the old town area and full of charming buildings in various stages of repair and disrepair.

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The Great Mahmudiye Mosque   (Moscheea Mare Mahmoud II)

Address: Strada Arhiepiscopiei 5 (Ovidiu Square)

     Built in 1910 by King Carol I, the mosque is the seat of the Mufti, the spiritual leader of the 55,000 Muslims (Turks and Tatars by origin) who live along the coast of the Dobrogea region. The building combines Byzantine and Romanian architectural elements, making it one of the most distinctive mosques in the area. The centerpiece of the interior is a large Persian carpet, a gift from Sultan Abdul Hamid. Woven at the Hereche Handicraft Centre in Turkey, it is one of the largest carpets in Europe, weighing 1,080 pounds. The main attraction of the mosque is the 164-ft minaret (tower) which offers a stunning view of the old downtown and harbor. Five times a day, the muezzin climbs 140 steps to the top of the minaret to call the faithful to prayer.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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National History & Archeology Museum

Constanta - Glykon

(Muzeul de Istorie Nationala si Arheologie)

Address: Piata Ovidiu 12

     An impressive collection of artifacts from Greek, Roman, and Daco-Roman civilizations is on display illustrating the history of Dobrogea from the Stone Age to modern days. Greek and Roman objects can be found on the main floor. Two statues, one of the "Glykon - The Fantastic Snake," dating from the 3rd century BC, and the other of "Goddess Fortuna and Pontos," god of the Black Sea, are considered protectors of the city and port and are the highlights of the collection.

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Ovidiu’s Square

Constanta - Publius Ovidius

   Designed by the sculptor Ettore Ferrari in 1887, the statue dedicated to the Roman poet, Ovidius Publius Naso, gives name to this square. Emperor Augustus exiled Ovid to Tomis in 8 AD.

The House with Lions

Constanta - History and Archeology Museum   (Casa cu Lei)

Address: Str. Nicolae Titulescu 9

     Blending pre-Romantic and Genovese architectural styles, this late 19th century building features four columns adorned with imposing sculptured lions. During the 1930s, its elegant salons hosted the Constanta Masonic Lodge.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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Everything comes alive at night with the cooler temperatures

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The Roman Mosaics   (Edificul Roman cu Mozaic)

Address: Piata Ovidiu 12 (next to the National History & Archeology Museum)

      A vast complex on three levels once linked the upper town to the harbor. Today, only about a third of the original edifice remains, including more than 9,150 sq ft of colorful mosaics. Built toward the end of the 4th century AD and developed over the centuries, it was the city’s commercial centre until the 7th century. Archeological vestiges point to the existence of workshops, warehouses and shops in the area. Remains of the Roman public baths can still be seen nearby. Aqueducts brought water six miles to the town.

http://romaniatourism.com/constanta.html

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The new commercial port in the background

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August 22, 2014

Varna, Bulgaria (again)

Здравей zdraveĭ

   We checked back into Bulgaria and will have one more stop at Sozopol before we check out and head back towards Turkey probably stopping in Greece first.  Not sure yet exactly what the plan will be.

I am definitely ready to be done and my enthusiasm is flagging to tour each place we visit.  I really did enjoy or stop in Port Tomis, Constanta and wish we had more time.  But we really do have to get going if we’re to get back to Turkey, find a place to get DoraMac repainted and totally spiffed up ready for whomever becomes her next owner AND fly home to the US hopefully by mid-September.  But maybe I’ve wet some appetites about visiting Eastern Europe with its charming cities and towns and warm, friendly people. 

Ru

Tulcea

“The largest town of the Delta with a population of 91,000, lies just before the last fork in the Danube at km 71 on the site of the ancient Roman settlement of Aegissus, built in turn on a Dacian city founded in the 7th century BC.  It is a significant port and industrial centre, with no particular charm, but the harbour bustles with luxury boats taking visitors on trips into the delta.

  In town, you can get a good overview of the many varieties of local flora and fauna in the Danube Delta Museum, along with displays illustrating the traditional life of delta fishermen.  There are also museums of history and archaeology, folk art and ethnography, as well as an art gallery.”  JPM Danube Guide. 

Sulina

“Downstream from Tulcea, passenger boats ply back and forth incessantly between fishing craft and rusting cargoes along the Sulina branch.  The channel was deepened back in the 19th century to permit the passage of bigger ships, and the winding 92 kilometer stretch of the river was turned into a 64 km canal with a navigable channel 150 m wide and at least 7.50 m deep.  Merchandise and passengers are unloaded at regular intervals outside the little villages scattered along the banks.

…port of Sulina, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea.  You can see the 0-km maker near the old lighthouse.  Already a settlement in Byzantine times, Sulina was later a mooring point for Genoese ships.  Since the 19th century this former fishing village has developed shipyards and a fish-processing industry (no longer there.)  Here the work of the river is highlighted: by depositing 80 million tons of silt and gaining 40 m fron the sea each year, it has moved the lighthouse from the shore to the middle of the marketplace!  From here the Black Sea seems just a stone’s throw away, even if the ships still have to journey another 12 km through a canal bordered by quays in order to reach the open sea.” 

JPM Danube Guide 2013 edition.

I’m afraid we spent our time in Tulcea going to the ATM, buying sim cards for our dongles, going to the outdoor market for some tomatoes, peaches, and cucumbers, and the next day to the grocery store.  Not a very exciting time in Tulcea, though for the guide to say “it has no particular charm” is a bit unfair.  It wasn’t instantly obviously charming, but if you explore the small places and neighborhoods, you can usually find something or someone to bring a place to life.  While having an “arrival drink” at the Republica Restaurant where we tied up DoraMac, we met a young man traveling with a folk group.  We chatted for a bit.  Days later while walking through the old town here in Port Tomis, we met him again and learned about his travels as a folk music musician.  You’ll meet him when I write about  Port Tomis. 

We did spend a bit more time exploring Sulina where we were tied up on the waterfront promenade of small shops and restaurants.  Three years ago when Rick and Mary did their first river trip, the waterfront was one dusty road with not much on it. 

The article below tells what Tulcea was like before communism and I think it’s pretty accurate for many of the places that we visited.

Augustin IOAN

A Space of Forbearance

- Ethnicity and Architecture in a small Romanian town –

http://www.google.com/

Augustin IOAN : Romanian Native Collaborates with UC Professor   

http://www.uc.edu/alumni/spotlight/augustin-ioan.html  a Fulbright Senior Scholar and the recipient of a Getty Grant

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It was hard to photograph the birds as we weren’t so close to shore and I was busy catching up with the photos from earlier stops.  But here is a photo of a stork I did manage to catch.  Thankfully Delta tourism seems popular as a way to safeguard the wildlife in the area rather than draining the place as we did in Florida.  An eco-tourism industry has developed taking tourists into the Danube inlets to see the flora and fauna and visiting the small towns.  We were much too big to go those places and taking a “boat tour” at that point wasn’t in the cards. 

https://romaniadacia.wordpress.com/tag/danube-delta/ shows more and tells more about the Delta area with lovely photos of the land, birds and people.  Really worth a look.

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Tied up at the Republica Restaurant which was another test of gymnastic abilities getting off and onto the boat.

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There really is a Transilvania in Romania.   Thankfully Randal’s card did work here.

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Big boats come along up the Danube here, this one from our destination, Istanbul.

We left Tulcea early for Sulina.

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Along the way we’ve seen lots of horses, all looking well fed; at least from a distance.

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http://www.independent.co.uk/

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First single digit marker.

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The last of the Danube charts we’ve been following.

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Tied up along the waterfront promenade near St Nikolas Church.

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Randal and  “Christi” the Sulina port police. 

He explained the port rules but also taught us about Romanian food which we tried the next day for lunch.

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Romanian Orthodox not open when we were there.

“The cathedral was built between 1919-12 and 1933-34. It was built to commemorate the return of Dobrudja to Romania in 1878. The dome was a target in World War II and the church sustained heavy damage. Repairs began in 1969, furthered in 1975, and finally completed in 1982.

https://www.stnicholascenter.org/galleries/gazetteer/4079/

In the late 19th century, Sulina, although modest in size, was one of the most prosperous towns in Romania, thanks to the activities of the European Danube Commission. Numerous edifices and monuments (presented below), which have survived to the present day, although now in an advanced state of decay, complete the image of a once flourishing and cosmopolitan port.

1.The Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas was built in a number of stages, between 1910-12 and 1933-34. Its foundations were laid by King Carol I himself, on the occasion of his visit to Sulina in 1910, to commemorate the historic act whereby Dobrudja was returned to Romania in 1878. The church is remarkable for the harmony of the whole, the unity of its Neo-Romanian forms, and its picturesque details. In its architectural design, the central band of cable moulding and the mosaic medallions are particularly worthy of note.

     The fact that most of the places of worship in Sulina are dedicated to St Nicholas is because most of its inhabitants are mariners or fishermen, who honour this particular saint as their patron.

http://www.icr.ro/bucharest/

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1856 (Ottoman). Inactive at least since 1983. 16 m (59 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story masonry keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white. A 1st order Fresnel lens is mounted in the lantern. …The Sulina Branch of the Danube is the only mouth navigable by modern ships. Sedimentation has moved the entrance to the river considerably to the east, leaving this historic lighthouse high and dry. Located on the south bank of the river in the town of Sulina. Site open, tower open daily for climbing. ARLHS ROM-019.

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/rou.htm

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“We’ve been  waiting for you since 1945,” were the words spoken by the man on the far left.  He had his heart set on owning a Camaro one day.  He was with his wife’s brother and father.

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In the cooler evenings shops opened and folks came out to stroll.

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We managed to walk past the restaurant we were aiming for so ended up at the last one on the promenade.  The fish soup was only okay (not nearly as good as Martha’s) and probably not really intended as a meal.  But it was late so I didn’t want anything heavy.  But the singer was really good.  She sang many songs in English and sounded a bit to me lik Joan Baez.  She was sitting at the edge of the restaurant in the dark so my photo is a bit odd.

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“Christi” recommended this place and one of the dishes he suggested was mamaliga

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Mamaliga, goat cheese and cream : The photo is bland but the food wasn’t.

(Ma ma lee ga ) is very similar to polenta.  This goat cheese was very salty as is most goat cheese I’ve had away from home.  Mixed together it was very good but more than I could eat.

    “Romania isn’t best known for its food but it will be….I know. There is an incredibly rich culinary tradition here, homegrown in Romania, born out of the necessities of life, brought in by the Ottomans, Germans, Russians, Serbians, Hungarians…. Add to that a generous climate, fertile soil and the Black See that provide fabulous ingredients in abundance and you are ready to feast.

To understand Romania and to understand mămăliga, you have to understand traditional Romanian culture.

Historically, Romanians ate this golden bread (mămăliga - made from cornmeal) as a replacement to bread. It is inexpensive, easy to do every day, in every season and could be found in every house.

Mămăliga is similar to a porridge made out of wheat of cornmeal traditional for Romania. It is better known to the rest of the world in its Italian form named polenta.

Traditionally, mămăliga is cooked by boiling water, salt and cornmeal in a special-shaped cast iron pot called ”ceaun” or ”tuci”.

Mămăliga is much thicker than the regular Italian polenta to the point that it can be cut in slices with a string, like bread.

Sometimes, mămăliga can be much softer, almost to the consistency of porridge.

Mămăliga is a fat-free, cholesterol-free, high-fiber food. It can be used as a healthy alternative to more refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta or white rice.

In Romania, mămăliga is used as a bread substitute and can be served all day:

-with sour cream and jam for breakfast,

-stuffed with cheese and served with pickles as a all day meal

- used as the starchy base for meaty stews, grills, Sarmale recipe here….(Mamaliga and Wild Boar Stew)…etc, at dinner. )

http://chocolateoblivion.blogspot.com/

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Some buildings along the promenade had been lovely once upon a time, but now needed lots of rennovation. 

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The Danube: Kilometer  2412 back in Kelheim, Germany to 0 at Sulina, Romania

From Sulina we did a night passage in the Black Sea to Constanta, our final stop in Romania.  There we did do a bit of exploring. 

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Port Tomis, Constanta, Romania

Salut,

   Randal and Rick are hooking up everything they took down when we lowered the mast for the river trip.  The crane came early afternoon and lickity-split the mast was up before Mary and I were back from the grocery store.  Much less stressful than taking it down (especially as I wasn’t there to see;) though making sure everything gets hooked up exactly right is stressful.  Thankfully it’s only in the low 80s with a breeze so working out on the bow in the sun isn’t awful.  The sails need to be put back.  ( I have no idea the nautical term as I’m not a sailor;) and the paravane arms and fish as well. 

  Tomorrow evening we’ll take off for Bulgaria on an overnight passage. 

From the start of this journey, I’ve been a somewhat reluctant participant.  But I’ve enjoyed Eastern Europe for some reason I’m  hoping to explain to myself one day.  One or even two more days in Braila would have been nice, though exploring in the afternoon heat is not so fun.  But the only cruising months are those we’ve chosen, so hot weather is unavoidable.   Seeing the old town on a work day would have been more interesting than Sunday with the small shops closed up and few people about. 

   Romania was an ally during WW2.  For their trouble they were placed under the Russian sphere of influence.  In Sulina we were welcomed by a Romanian lawyer who said, “We’ve been waiting for you since 1945!”    No Yankee Go Home in this part of the world or any we’ve been in actually.  I certainly hope we give as warm welcome to people who visit the US. 

Ru

“Being from Braila is not a Choice, It’s a Destiny

In and of itself being from Romania is a destiny. Not just because you’re born there, but because when you care enough, your whole life is dominated by that unique love-hatred relationship you have with your country. Although individually many experience that tormented, dual feeling regardless of their place of origin, I would say that Romanians are characterized by a combination of national (sometimes even nationalist) pride and self-loath, not very dissimilar from the rest of the Balkan nations, but certainly exacerbated by the long years of nationalist-communist propaganda under Ceaușescu—the former—and by equally long years of negative stereotyping of Romania and Romanians—the latter.

There are, however, pockets of regional pride in Romania, cities and counties which are animated by the goal of bringing themselves up to the standards advocated and demanded by the European Union and all other international organizations that now regulate and monitor Romania’s development. Most of these places are in the historical region of Transylvania, a melting pot of sorts of Romanians, Hungarians, Szekelys, Saxons, Serbians, Slovaks and other ethnic groups. There, places like Cluj-Napoca, the old Transylvanian capital, Sibiu, Brașov, to name a few, have developed better than the rest of the country, and can now easily be associated with any other midsize town from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the last two decades, they rebuilt, restored, recreated old places, reinvented old legends and promoted an international image based on their historical and cultural heritage.

When it comes to South-East Romania though, at the opposite corner of the country from the success stories above, and especially to the Lower Danube area, where the mighty European river prepares itself to share its waters with the Black Sea and forms the Danube Delta, things did not go so well. The oldest and most representative city for the riverine culture and history of the region is my hometown, Braila.

Home to about 170,000 inhabitants, making it about the tenth largest city in Romania, Braila has a long history. Although the city is not mentioned in official documents until 1368, its existence at the mouth of the Danube is probably significantly older. For all intents and purposes, Braila is preparing to celebrate its 650th anniversary of documented existence in 2018. Sandwiched between the historical principalities of Moldavia (now shared between Eastern Romania, Moldova and Ukraine) and Wallachia (now Southern Romania), Braila started out as a fishing community only to expand into a prosperous trading center by the time of the first documents mentioning its existence in the 14th century. Conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1538, the city was reorganized as a kaza, an Ottoman stronghold and citadel on the border between Moldavia and Wallachia, only to be returned to Wallachia in 1826. The Russian protectorate of the city, led to the complete destruction of the old citadel, and the re-urbanization of Braila into a modern city, following the urban planning used for Odessa. While this led to a prosperous next hundred years in the city’s history, it also wiped out its entire Ottoman heritage. Braila’s golden age of economic prosperity and international recognition as the most important port at the mouth of the Danube ended abruptly with World War II and the ensuing brutal Soviet occupation.

As one of the most successful business communities of prewar Romania, Braila was considered a hotbed of bourgeois capitalism and was treated like an enemy of Romania’s new occupation forces. Its 19th century buildings, former homes to some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Romania, were left to slowly decay or were outright demolished to make room for god-awful eyesores of boxy residential buildings that now dominate the architectural urban space of most of the former Eastern Europe. Until the 1970s, Braila was left to fall behind economically as well, probably as a punishment for its former economic prowess. From the pearl of the Danube, Braila turned into a ruin slowly but surely, and only recently local authorities started an ample, but somewhat misguided process of reconstruction.

This history, which no matter how much you try cannot be compressed in a few lines, is what makes those of us coming from Braila feel our hometown as a destiny, a burden and a joy in the same time. The overwhelming responsibility to honor and salvage Braila’s history from oblivion is the former, and the vision of the future and the certainty that it can come to be, the latter.

But for that vision to come into being, Braila’s civil society and local administration, its political organizations, its cultural and educational institutions, its business leaders and entrepreneurs must come together and design a strong and realistic long-term development strategy. From the reconstruction of the old downtown and its revitalization, to the old harbor and the Danube promenade, to the restoration of the old Ottoman catacombs that snake in all directions under the city and even the rebuilding of some of the old ottoman citadel walls to a coherent strategy for major infrastructure projects, for the spa town of Lacu Sărat, for the natural reservation island of Insula Mică a Brăilei, and for new entertainment projects, such as water parks, shopping areas, picturesque pubs and bars, Braila has enormous potential for development. All it needs is will, love for what the city is and what it can become, and funding, which should not be difficult to obtain.

How many of us are ready to accept Braila’s challenge and make its future their destiny? I did it for some years now, and I will continue to do it, but I cannot do it alone.”

http://quotidianwonders.com/

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We finallytied up here at 1 pm after fighting the currents.  We’d tied up to a different dock but was told it was private so had to leave.  This dock was nearer the old part of the city.  There were no power or water hook-ups so we knew our stay would just be overnight.  We were able to snag wifi from a restaurant down the waterfront. 

We closed up the boat and set off for lunch in the old town area.

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     “In the early 19th century, Turks, Romanians, and many Greeks, especially merchants, Armenians and Jews lived in the city. Since the early 1830’s, many more Greeks, basically traders and craftsmen, settled down in Braila, and quickly dominated the economic life of the city.

The number of Greeks in the second half of the 19th century, was about 5,000, representing 10% of the city residents. In this time, Braila was the largest port in the country and an important industrial center.

The Greek people dominated the field of flour industry. We should mention that four out of the five modern mills in the city, belonged to greek families: (The Galiatsatou brothers, John Millas and Son, Christophoratou etc). The Greek mills were among the most modernized in Romania and in contrast to the flour mills of Bucharest, they were directed to exports. Until the eve of the Second World War, there had been established some other units, such as Panayis Violatos’ flour mill and that of Lykiardopoulos-Valerianos, the largest in Romania.

Shipping

Throughout the Ottoman period, Braila was a notable commercial center, mainly as a port exporting cereals and other agricultural products. In 1837, the number of ships that had sailed to the port reached 448. The ships under Greek flag had the strongest presence in the commerce. A. Petalas, Th. Faraggas and I. Lykiardopoulos were among the most important Greek merchants.

The main activity of the greek community of Braila, was, however, the riverboats. Some of the greatest owners of barges (slepion) were Manuel G. Chrysovelonis, Stathatos Brothers, Othon Stathatos and many others.

Massive flight of Greeks in 1950-1951

In 1950-1951, we have the decline of the Greek community. Approximately 50% of the Greek people who lived in Braila decided to leave the city because of the change in the political status. Some of them moved to Greece, others to Australia or America, leaving all their fortune behind. One of the consequences was the definite closure of the Greek schools in the area.”

http://www.aionion.gr/en/historical-data/

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Art deco?  I’m not sure, but the doors and window grates were lovely.  The streets between the river and the “old town area” had seen better days, but some buildings still had lovely architectural freatures.

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The Blue Clock its one of the city landmarks. Built in 1909 by a clockmaker from Prague, its located in Traian square, right in the middle of the historic center.  http://www.dreamstime.com/

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Bank of Romania across the road from the Greek Church

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“Owned by the Greek community, the Evangelismos church was built between 1863-1872 by the architect Abraham Ioannidis, originating from Prussa, Asia Minor. He himself supervised the construction of the church by Italian builders and craftsmen.

The Church has the form of a cross, with two domes and its dominant style is Greek – Byzantine, with Gothic and Renaissance details.

The murals at the central dome were painted by Gh. Tattarescu in 1872. Constantine Livadas-Liokis from Cephalonia painted another part of the church in 1901 and finally, in 1945 – 46 Velissarios completed the murals.”  http://www.aionion.gr/en/historical-data/

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The old town architecture.

Architecture

     “The old center of the city has many 19th century buildings, some of them fully restored. The most important monuments are the Greek Church, erected at 1865 by the Greek community, the „Sfintii Arhangheli” Church (the oldest in the city, begun in 1667, the former mosque was transformed into an Orthodox Church in 1808), the 19th century „Sfantul Nicolae” Church, also from the 19th century, the „Maria Filotti” theatre, the Palace of Culture and its Art Museum, the History Museum, and the old Water Tower. The latter houses a restaurant with a rotation system (360° in one hour).

    Early in 2006 the municipality received European Union funds to renovate the old center of the city, aiming to transform Braila into a major tourist attraction of Muntenia.

    Tourists who get to Braila can also visit many interesting places like: Public Garden, a park situated above the bank of the Danube with a view over the river and the Macin Mountains, Monument Park, Natural Sciences Museum situated on Park Highway, the Mini-Zoo, Independence Square, Braila Museum form Traian Square, the statuary group Traian, built by the sculptor Tache Dimo – Pavelescu on celebrating 1800 years from the conquest of Dacia, the clock in the city centre, dating since 1909, Kinetic Fountain situated in the city’s civic centre ,which is the "brainchild" of the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Lucaci, also known as the "2nd Brancusi". Kinetic Fountain is a fantastic and eye-catching example of kinetic art, optical art, programmed art and neoconstructivism.” http://ec.europa.eu/

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Red and Green Travelocity gnomes on a balcony in Braila

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Sunday afternoon seemed to generate little activity and most small shops in the area were closed

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Second Hand from some well known shops.

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A great balcony to people watch

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Ana Aslan was born in Braila

     Ana Aslan (1897-1988, born in Braila) studied at the Faculty of Medicine in Bucharest (1915-1922). She was professor of Cardiology at the Faculty of Medicine in Timisoara (1945-1949). Between 1949 and 1952 she was head of department at the Institute of Endocrinology in Bucharest. Starting in 1952 she became General Director of the Institute of Geriatrics. As one of the pioneering scientists in the world on medical gerontology, Ana Aslan focused also on social gerontology.

     Ana Aslan proposed systematic countermeasures in order to create a system to stimulate third-age people’s activities. Ana Aslan became aware of the long-term biotrophic action of Procaine and introduced it as a medicine to be taken in small quantity on long terms, for curing and prophylactic benefits. The Gerovital H3 is the first Romanian original biotrophic product and also the first medicine designed to delay human aging processes. It was developed between 1946 and 1956 by Prof. Ana Aslan and her followers, as a result of numerous clinical and experimental studies.

http://www.ana-aslan.ro/#!biografie-ana-aslan-uk/c1v6d

“J Am Geriatr Soc. 1975 Aug;23(8):355-9.

Effects of a procaine preparation (Gerovital H3) in hospitalized geriatric patients: a double-blind study.

Zwerling I, Plutchik R, Hotz M, Kling R, Rubin L, Grossman J, Siegel B.

Abstract

The effects of Gerovital H3 (a specially stabilized form of procaine hydrochloride) on geriatric psychiatric patients were assessed in a double-blind study at Bronx State Hospital. The mean age of the subjects was 73 years and the average rating for the severity of organic symptoms was "moderate." During the first six weeks of study, the patients were each given a 5-ml injection of either Gerovital or placebo (saline) intramuscularly three times a week. This dosage was doubled to 10 ml per injection during the second six weeks. Nine Gerovital and 10 control subjects completed the first six weeks; and 6 Gerovital and 7 control subjects completed the entire 12-week study. Objective rating scales were used to evaluate patients on measures of interpersonal functioning, cognitive ability, psychiatric symptoms, and urine and blood chemical findings. All subjects were assessed before treatment and at six weeks and twelve weeks of the study. Side effects were recorded at two-week intervals. On most measures the variability between subjects was quite large, whereas differences between average scores for the two groups usually were small The few significant differences showed no systematic pattern and would be expected to occur by chance alone when so many statistical comparisons are made. The overall results of this double-blind study strongly indicated that, among these hospitalized geriatric patients with organic symptoms, Gerovital H3 had no ameliorative effect on either psychologic or physiologic functioning.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1097490

Gerovital H3: Banned Fountain Of Youth Drug Favored By Hollywood Makes A Comeback

By News Staff | July 3rd 2013

“Gerovital H3, one of the "fountain of youth" miracles drugs that crop up once a generation, was banned in the United States in 1982, but the alternative medicine crowd that never let go of homeopathy after hundreds of years is reviving it.

The FDA can’t always protect people, of course. Communist Romania engaged in state-sponsored marketing of Gerovital H3. In 1956, a paper titled "A new method for prophylaxis and treatment of aging with Novocain-eutrophic and rejuvenating effects" was published in the now discontinued journal Therapiewoche by Ana Aslan, director of the Geriatrics Institute of Bucharest and the communist regime established an anti-aging resort and clinic for foreigners.

It’s not perfect, but the FDA remains the best scientific food and medicine body in the world.”

http://www.science20.com/

  We walked to old town looking for lunch.  Sadly, while we were eating some very persistent “Roma/gypsi “ girls came begging.  The ony way they would leave is when the waitress said she would call the police.  You are torn as to how to handle the situation. 

   “THE Roma community is beeing chased from countries across Europe. Romania and France have sent Roma back and forth since 2007, when Romania joined the European Union, but it seems that the French are now intending to pursue a harder line towards the Roma from Romania in their country.

On September 12th, Manuel Valls, France’s interior minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, the minister for European Affairs, travelled to Romania to discuss Roma integration with the country’s president and prime minister. The visit was expected to bring some concrete proposals on how to improve the integration of the estimated 400,000 Roma living in France (a large part of whom are from Romania). Yet they only struck a framework agreement that allows some 80 Roma families who wish to return to Romania to receive “financial support for economic reinsertion” by the French authorities…….Mr Ponta said the real solution to the problem is education and jobs: children from Roma communities need to attend school regularly and Roma need to find stable jobs in Romania. …..Gelu Duminica, the head of the “Impreuna” Agency for Community Development, a foundation that supports the integration and development of the Roma community, says five of their programmes that are financed through the EU are currently suspended because the Romanian government didn’t make payments:”

http://www.economist.com/

     “From the time they entered Europe from India a thousand years ago, the Roma were targets of discrimination.

Countries passed laws to suppress their culture and keep them out of the mainstream — and sometimes went much further. Roma were enslaved in Hungary and Romania in the 15th century and targeted for extermination by Nazi Germany 500 years later.”

http://edition.cnn.com  explains the people called “Roma.” 

After lunch and a quick trip to the grocery store, we returned to the boat.  Randal’s ATM processing company as well as mine refused to allow us access to our accounts in Romania without email confirmation.  Ricks’s card had worked but was limited by the machine’s limits.  So we didn’t have so much money to squander.  (The situation was resolved by our next stop, Tulcea.)  It was quite hot so sitting around under fans resting was about the only thing to do.

In the evening we set out for a walk and that’s when Braila comes alive.  Lots of folks out for Sunday evening strolls in the cool dusk.  Dinner is a late affair: 9 or 10 pm.  That’s fine for Rick and Mary, but Randal and I are ready for bed about that time.  By 8pm I’m usually not hungry.  We actually did stop for a snack and I had some wonderful grilled vegetables. 

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A greenway/park followed the river front

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The early evening drew out the citizenry to the park and restaurants along the way. 

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Seagulls or aliens?

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A fountain with moving parts fascinated us

Kinetic Fountain situated in the city’s civic centre ,which is the "brainchild" of the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Lucaci, also known as the "2nd Brancusi". Kinetic Fountain is a fantastic and eye-catching example of kinetic art, optical art, programmed art and neoconstructivism.”

The work of the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Lucaci, called by many "the second Brancusi?. Lucaci remains, above all, the sculptor in stainless steel. Commissioned in 1988, the impressive fountain depicting two hands, that move and join.

     The of Ancient, Renaissance and Enlightened traditions are combined by the architect. Neoconstructivism, kinetic art, optical art, art scheduled, new materials, all contribute to the achievement of a large sculpture and a monumental work.

     Elements that define the force of the artist’s sculpture are the material - stainless steel unalterable – the lightning vibrations exploring the polished surface, the movement, the sonority and also the project itself - that of a sculpture of urban integration.

http://www.romguide.net/Visit/Kinetic-Fountain_vt28c

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They looked like Oscar statuettes made subtle movements as did the whale’s tale looking things

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Lots of folks were out enjoying the evening

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Braila city’s new center where this small boy was far more interested in the planter than the fountains.

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Ecaterina Teodoroiu statue in the new city center

Ecaterina Teodoroiu (Romanian pronunciation: [ekateˈrina te.odoˈroju]; born Cătălina Toderoiu; January 15, 1894 - September 3, 1917) was a Romanian woman who fought and died in World War I, and is regarded as a heroine of Romania.

In Romanian historiography, Ecaterina Teodoroiu is placed in the context of gendered experience of the Great War on the Eastern Front, on the same pedestal as Queen Maria of Romania.

She was born in the village of Vădeni (nowadays part of Târgu Jiu), in the historical region of Oltenia, in Southern Romania. After studying for 4 years in Vădeni and Târgu Jiu and graduating from the Girls’ School in Bucharest, she was to become a teacher when the Romanian Kingdom entered World War I on the Allied side, in 1916.

In October 1916, Ecaterina joined the Romanian Army during the first Jiu battle when General Ion Dragalina’s 1st Army repulsed the 9th German Army offensive. A Scouts’ member, she had initially worked as a nurse but she subsequently decided to become a front-line soldier, being deeply impressed by the patriotism of the wounded and by the death of her brother Nicolae (Sergeant in the Romanian Army). It was an unusual decision for a woman of that epoch, so she was sent to the front rather reluctantly. However, soon she proved her worthiness as a symbol and as a soldier. She was taken prisoner but managed to escape by killing two, or perhaps three German soldiers. In November, she was wounded and hospitalized, but came back to the front where she was soon decorated, advanced in rank to Sublocotenent (Second Lieutenant) and given the command of a 25-man platoon.

For her bravery she was awarded the Military Virtue Medal, 1st Class.

On September 3, 1917 (August 22 Old Style), she was killed in the Muncelu-Varnița area, during the last phase of the Battle of Mărășești (in Vrancea County), where she was hit in the chest by German machine gun fire. According to some accounts, her last words before dying were: "Forward, men, I’m still with you!"

She was buried in the city center of Târgu Jiu, and her grave is honored by a monument erected in 1936 by Miliţa Petraşcu.   Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecaterina_Teodoroiu

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A print-mixing fashionista and her grandson.

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Pedal and motorized go-karts along the river promenade.  At times they were more like dodge cars. 

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Super-moon August 10th

“Sunday’s “super moon” will be the biggest and closest full moon of 2014, with scientists are saying there will not be a closer full moon until November, 2034. It will be a perigee full moon, meaning it is near earth and will appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger.”

Read more at http://guardianlv.com/

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Port Tomis, Constanta Romania

Salut

It poured down rain last night!  Lots of lightning.  The thunder was not so noticeable.  Actually it was a welcome relief from the awful rap/rock that was being boomed out not far from the marina.  The forecast is for more rain and thunder today, though just now there’s blue sky and the sun is out.  It is a perfect 78 degrees after what’s been more like 87 degrees for a while.  Most stops haven’t enough power for our AC so it’s been lots of fans and afternoon siestas. Dinner is later in the evening when it’s cooler, if we even feel like it at all. 

There’s boat work to do in preparation for the passage to Varna and on to Istanbul so we’ll be here for several days.  But it’s a good place to be.  Very walkable and charming. 

This email is about Silistra.  I loved the art museum there and our walks around town  We didn’t look for any of the ancient ruins, but rather just spent our time in the local neighborhoods seeing what life is like today. 

Ru

 

“Silistra (Bulgarian: Силистра, pronounced [siˈlistrɐ]) is a port city in the far northeast of Bulgaria, lying on the southern bank of the lower Danube at the country’s border with Romania. Silistra is the administrative centre of the Silistra Province and one of the important cities of the historical region of Southern Dobrudzha.

     Silistra is a major cultural, industrial, transportation, and educational center of northeastern Bulgaria. There are many historical landmarks including a Roman tomb, remains of the Medieval fortress, an Ottoman fort, and an art gallery.”  Wikipedia

“Location: Silistra is a town situated on the right bank of the Danube River, 442 km northeast of Sofia. The land border between Bulgaria and Romania starts from Silistra. This is a city with rich history and today is a regional centre.

     History: The region around Silistra was inhabited centuries before Christ, but the first written sources are from the Roman chronicle from 106 year, that mentions the name Durrostorum- “fortified town”. The rest decades of Roman inhabitance continue strengthening, and the town grows and gets attractive. The fortified system, the water conduct system and draining system, street net, villas, Roman buildings, residencies, baths, ovens and cemeteries. After the end of the Roman Empire the town falls under Byzantium rule. After the establishment of Bulgaria 681, the town is in the borders of the country and is called Drustar. In 1388 it was conquered by the Ottomans. This does not affect the ethnical population of the city and its inhabitants are mainly Bulgarians. During the 15th century it bears the name Silistra and develops as a boat construction centre in the Ottoman Empire.

     After the liberation the bourgeois class forms in the town. From 1913 to 1940 it was part of Romania, and then it was returned back to the territories of Bulgaria forever.

Sightseeing: The very well preserved Roman tomb from the 4th century is of great cultural- historical significance. Parts of the ancient Roman wall were discovered in different parts of the town. The very well preserved Medjidi Tabiya fortress, completed in 1853 is extremely interesting. The historical and ethnographic museum in the town gives detailed information for the history and lifestyle in Silistra. The Thracian rock cult complex called “Badjaliyata” and is in the picturesque canyon.

A visit in the biosphere reserve “Srebarna” just 16 km from Silistra is unforgettable experience. The nature here is unique and the reserve is listed in the UNESCO list. Boat trips along the Danube river and other attractions along the float of the big river.

The hotels and restaurants in Silistra are countless and open to welcome guest. You should not miss to try the local delicious cuisines and wines from the region.”

http://www.visitbulgaria.net/en/silistra/silistra.html

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DoraMac at the dock of the Hotel Drustar

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The hotel manager had come to catch our lines and help get the power supply working.  He also talked with us a bit about life in Silistra and Romania in general.   The end of Soviet “planned economy” and the advent of democracy had given many people his age the option to leave to find better jobs in other countries. 

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“On the beautiful riverside of the River Danube, right next to the unique archeological complex next to the first Danube park in Europe where is situated a luxurius five-star hotel, named after the ancient name of Silistra "Drustar" /everlasting castle/.

The hotel has a sense of the ancient culture together with a touch of a romance which is carried along Danube. It amazes the eye with ist unique infrastucture and its exellent style.

Hotel Drustar is awarded the Gold Authentic Bulgaria Quality mark and a Rose of Distinction in Ambience.

Hotel Drustar is situated on the river Danube, in the beautiful city park. The location of the hotel is in the best location, close to all financial institutions and cultural sites.

The city Silistra is 120 km from Bucharest and 150 km to Varna, which makes the location a convenient top spot.”   http://www.hoteldrustar.com/?lang=eng

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Getting the power supply to work. 

Every place we stop is different from every other place we stop.  Thankfully most of them can provide power and water.  This is the first trip we’ve ever made where you can’t absolutely plan your next stop and where power and water aren’t always available.  A few times we had to postpone doing laundry and in Ruse actually used the Yacht Club washing machine and shower.   As Mary keeps sayin, we were really lucky that by the end of the day we found a yacht club with space for a boat our size.  The further east, the more we had to anchor or tie up to restaurant barges, but that was okay too. 

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Sunrise looking further down river

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Seagulls rafting downriver on a log

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This reminded me of my Outward Bound days though our boat was 30 feet long and had two masts.  But we had to use these huge oars too.  Notice the kids on the left are in sync but not the 2 on the right.

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Now they have it.  They are rowing against the current going up river. 

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Just down the Danube river park near the Drustar Hotel

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From the second half of the iX Century.  You can see shape of the 3 apse “temple” as it is called here.

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Our North Cyprus friend Kalle had made himself an electric motorized bicycle so we thought he’d like to see this gasoline motorized version parked just near the outdoor market.  Both versions can be pedaled as well. 

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The central outdoor market

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This lady’s stall had the longest line in the market.  We weren’t sure what was so special but they all knew.  One thing we couldn’t find anywhere were raisins. 

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A shop selling wine from barrels

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Red and white

In Sicily we’d gone to shop like this intending to buy some wine but didn’t find one we liked so didn’t want to chance that again here.  I would have felt awkward saying, “sorry, we don’t like any of your wine.”   Looks like you could buy olive oil too, but we really didn’t need any.

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Renovation and archeological excavations were in progress around the center of town. 

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The oddest “iced coffee” so far.  Coca Cola with frozen coffee crystals and ice is my guess.  Funny enough we met a Dutch couple who had also been in Silistra and gotten the same Iced coffee and also left most of it on the table.  Randal drank the remaining Coke that was served with the coffee.  I guess you were supposed to drink some and then add more of the Cola. This is where Randal had ordered cappuccino but had gotten instant hot chocolate.  He drank the Cola and I drank some of his hot chocolate.  At least it was a nice shady spot and good for a rest. 

After our “refreshments” we continued exploring the city.  I found the neighborhood picturesque.  Randal, not so much.  But it reminded me of my wanderings in China and many of the places we’ve visited.    Interestingly, most of the homes were one or two story at most; many with some gardens or decorative planters.

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The following day we walked several miles away from the center of town looking for soda water in 6 pack plastic bottles.   We saw mostly high rise concrete apartment buildings.  (As we’d set out to go grocery shopping that morning I’d not taken my camera which just is too much along with lots of groceries. ) The buildings were fronted with wide sidewalks where simple stalls had been set up and people were selling luscious fruit and vegetables.  One small stall had watches and I bought one for 9 lev.  It is just like the simple large-faced one I’d bought in Kotta Tinghy Malaysia many years ago but whose silicone band had broken and I’d found no replacement.  We walked over an hour exploring and stopping in small grocery stores eventually finding the German Lidl supermarket but it had no small bottles of soda water.  (Big ones go flat too fast.)  So we walked back to the center of town, ate lunch and then walked the other direction to the Kaufland supermarket and found the soda water.  We would need a taxi to carry it all back so stopped at the service desk to ask if a taxi could be arranged when we’d finished shopping.  The service counter lady called her English speaking colleague and he said to come to the desk when we were ready to leave and they would call a taxi.  Very helpful.  So was the taxi driver.

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Some women just have the knack.

I notice these women for several reasons.  We’d passed the lady on the right in the outdoor market and other places around town.  They both come to about my shoulder.  And I envied the way they could mix prints and have it look nice.  Women everywhere around the world can do this and I love the way it looks.  At home you would raise eyebrows if you dressed like this.  At least once upon a time.  Lately it seems to be a “fashion trend.”

“Break out of your wardrobe rut by mixing patterns.  Simple Guidelines for Mixing Patterns

1.Make sure one color repeats in every piece of the outfit (for example, navy paisley with navy, red, and white plaid).

2.Combine loose prints with structured prints (like swirls with stripes).

3.Blend small designs with larger-scale ones (such as gingham with bold flowers).

http://www.realsimple.com/

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I just wonder what their lives have been all about and all that’s they’ve seen. 

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He started in Vienna  on his way to the Black Sea and often caught up and passed us!  He had camping equipment with him.  And he’s not the only one to do this.  You can bike the trip also which I’d think a better choice. 

http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/

http://www.vitezkurtos.com

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Port Tomis Constanta Romania

Salut,

  Tonight it’s raining cats and dogs as it does in New England as opposed to pouring down rain as it does in Virginia.  Thankfully it stopped from mid-morning until mid-afternoon so we could get out for a walk.  The wind isn’t so fierce now as it was earlier.  Tomorrow Randal and Rick will go off to the chandlery for parts and then hopefully, if the weather cooperates and the crane can come, the mast will go back up tomorrow. If not, hopefully Tuesday. 

   This email is for all of you art lovers out there.  I truly enjoyed visiting the Silistra Art Gallery.  Randal was a hero and waited for me but I could have stayed all day.  I didn’t but have photos I can return to as well as the Gallery Catalog.  The Gallery is in a lovely building in the town center.  Very well maintained and a pleasure to visit. 

  We checked out from Bulgaria in Silistra so our next photo stop will be Brailia, Romania.

Ru

“Silistra Art Gallery houses one of the finest collections in our country and presents major achievements in 20th century Bulgarian fine art…..

The gallery located in the downtown area was founded in 1072 as a department of the Silistra History Museum.  At that time it occupied the first floor of the city’s most impressive building, built at the turn of the 19th century.  Since 1986, when the second floor was reconstructed, this admirable piece of architecture has been functioning as the city Art Gallery.”  Catalog of the permanent collection of the Silistra Art Gallery

The photos labeled below were in the museum catalog of the permanent collection.  The labels describing the current exhibition were in Bulgarian sad for me.  The others were some of my favorites.

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Dimitar Kulev  (Tania Dimitrova Kuleva) and self-portrait lithograph I believe.

https://www.facebook.com/

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Dimitar kindly walked me around the museum and though we didn’t speak the same language we could share the art.  It’s really a wonderful museum.

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My Land So Beautiful 1986

Stoyan Venev 1904-1989

National Academy of the Arts Sofia in 1931

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Fire Walkers 1973

Zlatyu Boyadjiev 1903 – 1976

National Academy of Arts Sofia in 1932

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A City Morning 1986

Svetlin Rusev 1933-

National Academy of Arts Sofia 1959

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A collage

“The early impetus of Bulgarian traditions in the arts was cut short by the Ottoman occupation in the 14th century, and many early masterpieces were destroyed. Native artistic life emerged again in Bulgaria during the national revival in the 19th century. Among the most influential works were the secular and realist paintings of Zahari Zograph in the first half of the century and Hristo Tsokev in the second half. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, Bulgarian painters such as Anton Mitov and the Czech-born Ivan Mrkvichka produced memorable works, many of them depicting the daily life of the Bulgarian people.

In the early decades of the 20th century, further development of both style and subject matter took place, and the foundations were laid for later artists such as Vladimir Dimitrov, an extremely gifted painter specializing in the rural scenes of his native country; Tsanko Lavrenov, a noted graphic artist and art critic who also painted scenes of old Bulgarian towns; Zlatyo Boyadjiev, noted for his village portraits; and Ilya Petrov, who painted scenes and themes from Bulgarian history. After World War II, Socialist Realism dominated Bulgarian artistic circles. Its influence was seen in the broad historical themes that were adopted by artists in genres ranging from cartoons to still-life paintings and regional landscapes. At the beginning of the 21st century, the best-known contemporary Bulgarian artist was Christo, an environmental sculptor known for wrapping famous structures, such as the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin, in fabric and plastic.”

http://www.britannica.com/

www.sbhart.com/en  is the website for the Union of Bulgarian Artists with current activities and archived exhibition information. 

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Tomis Yachting Club and Marina (Constanta Municipality)

Port Tomis, Constanta, Bulgaria

Salut,

Mary and I went out to find a supermarket while Randal and Rick wrestled with the wires that needed to go back up the mast.  They’re still at it now, but have had a bit of success.  Oiy!  It’s one of the reasons we’ll probably be here a few more days longer than we planned.  That’s fine as there’s lots to see in the old town area.  While Mary was using the ATM, I was looking into the closed Tourist Office.  The lovely woman inside opened the door, welcomed me in and gave us maps and brochures.  She was very helpful.  It’s a holiday weekend and the office was closed yesterday and today.  So she was very kind indeed.

This email is the final one from Ruse.  The next email will be about our visit to Silistra.

Ru

http://davidsbeenhere.com/2014/07/08/mini-travel-guide-ruse-bulgaria/   This is a blog to read if you really plan to go to Ruse. 

We arrived in Ruse on Sunday, a day when many shops traditionally close.  But after being on the boat for several hours we always need some walking so off we went into town to find some lunch.  We walked past the History Museum and the Regional Library and a small park that was being upgraded.  In a few blocks we passed a small open air market and then a closed shop selling barbeque chicken.  Eventually we found an open restaurant called Plan B and had a late lunch.  We had an interesting discussion whether the restaurant was the owner’s Plan B or the restaurant was supposed to be your Plan B if your first choice was not available.  The food was good and the restaurant very modern.  Then we walked into the town center, toured around for a bit and returned to the boat.  Every day we’d go back into town but somehow we never did stop at the library and the museum signage was in Romanian so we took a pass.  I did go in and ask about Lipnik, but didn’t learn more than I already knew though the ladies were very nice.  The main center of town was a 15 minute uphill walk from the boat.  When it’s as hot as it has been the past weeks, you tend to wander less, unless you get lost as we did on the way to the Transportation Museum and then you wander a lot.  ( A lovely lady and her young daughter of granddaughter walked us out of their way to show us where to go.)  Below are all the photos that I thought showed our view of Ruse.

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A small Sunday outdoor market.  I hope the empty boxes mean much of the produce had been sold.  Had we been on our way home we probably would have bought some.

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Randal and Rick checking out the barbequed chicken store. 

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Street art

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Official Public Art

“Monument of Liberty was designed by S. Zlatev and S. Kiryakov. The sculpture was made by Arnoldo Zocchi – an architect and sculptor from Fiorentina. Today the monument is part of the city’s coat of arms. It is made of granite and bronze. The statue at the top represents a figure of a woman that holds a sword in its left hand while the right hand points the direction of the liberators. One of the two bronze lions at the base breaks the chains of slavery with its mouth, and the other one protects the Sword and Shield of Freedom. The text of the main sign says, “Dedicated to the fighters and the volunteers who took part in the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1876-1877.” Two cannons are placed at the rear end of the base.”  http://rusetourism.org/  a very good introduction if you visit Ruse.

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A truly terrible photo of the monument with the lions and a small monument of a man fighting a water monster … maybe.

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Fountains make you feel cooler!

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A  wood sculpture of razors

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Lots of fountains and pools in the center of town. 

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This photo should have been included with the architecture email.  Rick and Mary have noticed changes, (especially here in Romania) where things have been spiffed up especially in tourist areas.  It’s a trade-off though.  If the EU gives money for local development, it also has lured many 20 and 30 year olds to better paying jobs outside their countries into other parts of the EU. 

“Ruse is the biggest Bulgarian town on the Danube River through which during the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century penetrated the European values, ideas and trends in architecture.  In 2007 well preserved buildings from that epoch were included in the European Heritage Sign Initiative.”

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A lovely neighborhood street with trees and a café just near the Danube.  At the end this young boy was entertaining himself with a “street puzzle.”                                                                         

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An interesting billboard near Lipnik Boulevard.

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Balloon man was wearing  a harlequin costume rather than a clown suit.

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A ceramic boot planter outside a shoe shop.

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Randal shows his appreciation to a street performer.

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It was only after we bought and opened the bottle that we realized it said Tonic.  We’d wanted soda water.  But it’s diet Tonic so I drink it and actually quite like it.  Good thing as we bought, and lugged back, 6 big bottles. 

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A blow up slide in the park with many of the stone women sculptures

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Pedal cars

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“Model of a vase in the park in Rousse. Each season different flowers are planted in it to make it look nice and colourful. “

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Cups of hot corn off the cob with different sauces.  I had a cup with garlic sauce in Vidin.

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Luben Karavelov; the statue with the book.

“Lyuben Stoychev Karavelov (Bulgarian: Любен Стойчев Каравелов) (c. 1834 – 21 January 1879) was a Bulgarian writer and an important figure of the Bulgarian National Revival…… Karavelov died in 1879, soon after the liberation of Bulgaria, in Rousse…….

     At his first newspaper Svoboda (Freedom) in Bucharest (1869–1873), we worked and became friends with poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev who devoted a poem to him. In 1870, Karavelov was elected chairman of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee, where he worked with Vasil Levski, the leader of the Internal Revolutionary Organization; he shared Levski’s ideas of a democratic republic as the goal of the national revolution. Karavelov admired the political systems of Switzerland (which he believed was the model for the ethnically diverse Balkans) and the United States; he praised the American public education system, as well as the emancipated (in his opinion) status of American women.

     Karavelov’s works include the short novels Old Time Bulgarians (Bulgarian: „Българи от старо време“; Bulgari ot staro vreme, and Mommy’s Boy (Bulgarian: „Мамино детенце“; Mamino detentse), considered among the first original Bulgarian novels. His younger brother Petko was a prominent figure in Bulgaria’s political life in the late 19th century.”  Wikipedia

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What on earth?

When I downloaded my photos there was a whole series of these, most not so clear.  I finally realized that Randal had taken photos of my shadow hanging the laundry on the front of the boat. 

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Port Tomas, Constanta, Bulgaria

Salut,

  Just now we’re listening to some really bad rap music to celebrate Navy day and the religious holiday for Mary’s Assumption.  There were big doing which I’ll probably get to writing about sometime in October at the rate I’m getting these emails out.  It takes me forever to find the few bits of info I do find.  So I keep looking and get frustrated and shut down the computer which gets me no place at all.  So as I said previously, more photos and few, if any words.

As we walked around Ruse I noticed lots and lots of statues of women.  Wish I knew why. 

Ru

DoraMac

http://www.bulgarian-monuments.com/browse/%D0%A0/Rusenska  had the tiny bit of info but really no explanation why so many statues of women around Ruse.

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I took a photo of this stone woman but looking at my photo on the computer I noticed something odd about her clothing.  Not sure if this is intentional.

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Tonka Obretenova

Born 1812

assumed Rousse, Bulgaria

Died 27 March 1893(1893-03-27)

Rousse, Bulgaria

Spouse(s) Tiho Obretenov

Tonka Obretenova (Bulgarian: Тонка Обретенова), known as baba Tonka (баба Тонка), was a female Bulgarian revolutionary, born in 1812, probably in Rousse.

Her parents, Toncho Postavchiyata (Тончо Поставчията) and Minka Toncheva (Минка Тончева), were from the village of Cherven. She married Tiho Obretenov — a famous tailor and tradesman in Rousse. They had seven children (five sons and two daughters) all of whom participated in the Bulgarian revolutionary movement.[1] Obretenova herself lent major support to the revolutionary committee - she was famous for sheltering a number of revolutionary leaders.[2] The Rousse Revolutionary Committee, the most important one in the interior of Bulgaria, was established by her son Nikola Obretenov, in her house. Baba Tonka buried Stefan Karadzha, and managed to preserve his skull.

Her sons Angel, Petar, Nikola, and Georgi (Ангел, Петър, Никола и Георги) took part in different detachments and were killed, or sent into long exile. Her younger daughter, Anastasiya (Анастасия; also called: Siya, Сия) married Zahari Stoyanov — a revolutionary, writer and publicist.

Baba Tonka Cove in Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Tonka Obretenova.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonka_Obretenova

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Woman with a hoe but no info

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Sculpture of a woman on her knees

The sculpture is in the park in Rousse. It was made in May 2006.

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Same park but no info

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Fountain in the park in Rousse

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Except for the child at the far left, I think they’re all girls.

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Monument of the heroes that died in the battle against fascism ; the sculpture is a woman

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Not a sculpture; but a lovely book shop clerk, very fluent in English and where they sold English language books.

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Port Tomas, Constanta, Romania

Salut

So Sad about Robbin Williams.  In 2005 we were in San Francisco for a family wedding.  One night an old college buddy of my sister’s took us to a sushi restaurant.  At one point I heard a voice behind me and I knew instantly who it was.  Robin Williams had come in for his take out Sushi and beer.  I had my camera and he graciously posed.  He was shorter and better looking in person but so very willing to smile for me and my photo. 

   I have been having a heck of time doing these emails lately.  It’s hard to find info to go with my photos.  And today my outlook email won’t send so luckily we have a free wifi that Rick’s super antennae found so I can attempt to send this.  We’ve met some lovely people here in Port Tomas which has a lovely old “Old Town.”  We’ll be here about a week putting up the mast and getting things ship shape. 

Hope these photos are worth 1,000 words because I really don’t have much else.  I loved Vidin and I’m really liking Port Tomas.  Ruse, even with its Lipnik connections was only Okay.  Had there been a walking tour I’m sure I’d feel differently to have learned more.  So it goes. 

Ru

Ruse Architecture

http://paintingz.wordpress.com/ruse/  discusses the history/architecture of Ruse

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The path from the road to the Ruse Yacht Club

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The white building had a very basic toilet, a roomy but basic shower and a washing machine. 

Usually Randal and I shower and do laundry on the boat, but there was a water problem so we couldn’t refil our half empty tank so we showered and did laundry in the Yacht Club building. 

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Our friends Ernst and Erika on our left and the boat Celestine on our right.  We’d been in Novi Sad with both boats and with Celestine in Belgrade and again here in Ruse.  Celestine had two Jack Russel type dogs you barked hello but that was about it.  They weren’t yappy at all. 

The main street of the city is Aleksandrovska, it is an architectural ensemble of buildings in Neo-Baroque, Neo-Rococo and other architectural styles.

http://bgtourinfo.net/ruse.html talks about the architecture with some photos.

Some of these photos are the town center and some further away on our way to Lipnik Boulevard. 

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More “modern” Ruse

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Soviet style buildings

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Mixed

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A lovely crumbling old building in the park.

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Ruth and Randal




Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.