Art & Culture

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Illustrious cultural figures)

Malaga is the birthplace of many artists that have left an indelible mark on the history, some of them are universally well known and others less known, responsible for curiosities you can find below:

Solomon ibn Gabirol, also Solomon ben Judah (Latin: Avicebron, a corruption of Ibn Gibran), was an Andalusian Hebrew poet and Jewish philosopher with a Neoplatonic bent. He was born in Málaga about 1021 and is believed to have died around 1058 in Valencia. Gabirol was one of the first teachers of Neoplatonism in Europe. His role has been compared to that of Philo. Philo had served as the intermediary between Hellenic philosophy and the Oriental world; a thousand years later Gabirol Occidentalized Greco-Arabic philosophy and restored it to Europe.

Ibn_Gabirol,_Caesarea

Pablo Picasso (baptised Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad, a series of names honouring various saints and relatives.Added to these were Ruiz and Picasso, for his father and mother, respectively, as per Spanish law. Born in the city of Málaga) is one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

guernica

Antonio Banderas was born on August 10, 1960, in Málaga, Spain. From 1982 to 1986, he acted exclusively in films directed by Pedro Almodóvar. His success as an actor in American came with his role in Philadelphia (1993). In 1994, Banderas won a role in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. In 1997, he made The Mask of  Zorro. He performed the voice of Puss in Boots in the Shrek film series, and in the 2011 spin-off film, Puss in Boots. As film director Antonio is responsible of two films: Crazy in Alabama (1999) and Summer Rain (2006). Althought his popularity comes from his work as actor, his greatest artistic successes have came through his work as producer with his company “Green Moon Productions” in 2008 releases “Before The Fall” (2008) winning a load of awards in different film festival around the world and being the 3º film in the “2008 Movie International Watch List“. The other great success comes with the animation short film “The Lady and the Reaper (La dama y la muerte)” (2009) 100% Andalusian production which was nominated to the Oscar’s Academy Awards.

Another illustrious figures are:

The philosopher María Zambrano (1904-1991) was born in Vélez-Málaga (my town) is among the most influential women writers of all times in the Hispanic World. Associated with the Generation of ’36 movement, she was an exile of the Spanish Civil War for most of her life, living in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Italy, France, and Switzerland.

Actresses as Marisol whose became a legend in the ’60s or Amparo Muñoz (born in Vélez-Málaga) she was also Miss Universe in 1974 but renounced months later (being the only person who has rejected) due to disagreements with the organization.

Antonio Molina was a great flamenco and Andalusian copla singer and occasional actor who participed in the Sam Wood‘s movie “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943). Pablo Pineda is an actor who won the Silver Shell for the best actor award in The San Sebastián International Film Festivalbut his greatest success is being the first student with Down’s syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree.

I think the best way to finish this post is with music and for that any better than Tabletom, eclectic band formed in 1976 in which mixed different musical styles as jazz, blues, reggae, rock, flamenco…, it has never had the recognition of the general public but is one of the most influential groups on the music in Spain.

 

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

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Manu Chao in Timisoara!

Another of the good things, that summer brings, are the music live… there are several music festivals and concerts almost every weekends around Romania. I went already to Electric Castle Festival in the county of Cluj the last weekend (but I’ll write about that later on, because this experience deserves a post by itself) and the last Wednesday, for example we went to Timisoara to watch Manu Chao.

emzk_source

One of the things with which I enjoy the most here in Romania is that for any event whenever we get together a lot of friends from that great family which is EVS (and not only EVS, also friends that work or study here) so people from Craiova, Cluj, Oradea, Arad, Resita… from more than ten different countries met us for the Manu Chao’s concert. And it was a really great night: after one hard day due to the heavy rain that was falling during most of the day we arrived at “Muzeul Satului Banatean” and then the rain stopped and we could enjoy with  more than two hours of show in which we didn’t stop dancing.

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After the concert we went to the backstage and then Manu Chao appeared sharing food and drinks for all of us, taking pictures, signing autographs and the most important, talking with us, he was surprised to see a big group of friends together from so different countries. We explained him about EVS, about our different projects and also we were talking about a load of topics with him, I think everybody left the concert with a great satisfaction; after the great show they made on the stage, he was really kind with all of us, despite being a world-famous star, no ceases to be a completely sociable, talkative and close person.

manu chao

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer is Here

Summer is here and, as always, it has a good side and a bad side. In the good hand we can take a walk through the cherry trees that garnish the streets of Arad full of its red berries, if the weather is really hot we can go to the Neptun Lido, besides the fortress of Arad and have fun with the different swimming pools, someones with hot springs (smell of eucalyptus) another with slides and also there are several places to eat something and, why not, take a beer for only 2 lei!

800px-Cetatea_Aradului

Another advantage that summer brings is the goods you can find in the open market a lot of fruits and vegetables very cheap (cheaper than the big supermarket chains where we are used to buy) and, definitely more tasty and healthy. Now is the best period to enjoy of the Romanian goods, it’s easier to eat better spending less money.

But not everything are advantages in this period for us, the schools and kindergarten shut down so we aren’t gonna work anymore with our children, after nine months we’ve taken a load of affection to them. We’ve tried to teach them and I think, in general, we’ve done a good job but, honestly, I think I’ve learnt more with them than they with me. Sometimes we forget the language is something else than connected words, the gestures, the looks, the expressions… children are able to remember you the worth of all of this. There are been 9 month full of emotions, hugs, dedicated drawings, smiles and tons of fun. We’ll remember them as, I’m sure, they’ll remind us.

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Castles)

In the province of Malaga there are more than a hundred of castles and fortresses although many of them were destroyed after the Christian Reconquest or are in a state of ruin. The most of them were building during the Muslim period and others were older, from the period of the Romans or Phoenicians, but they had their heyday during the Muslim period.

It is in the capital, in the city of Malaga, where we contemplate three of the best examples of fortified buildings that exist in the province: theAlcazaba”,Gibralfaro Castle” and the Coracha”. The Alcazaba is occupying the east end of the city walls on a hill 130 meters high. It is possible that originally was a Phoenician construction, but surely was Roman and later Arab. Residence of Muslim and Christian kings and rulers, was built by BadisMaksan and between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, was renovated and merged with the Gibralfaro Castle, a building that occupies much of the top of the mountain of the same name. The Coracha is the wall that connects the two buildings. For more information, click here.

alcazaba

Other major fortifications of the Malaga province are in coastal municipalities. In Fuengirola is located the Sohail Castle, built in the mid-tenth century by Abd al-Rahman III on a hill by the sea. Although it was virtually destroyed during the Christian reconquest, now fully restored and used as a concert hall. In Marbella in addition to remains of the ancient city walls, also find remains of its Moorish castle of the X century. In Estepona, ruins of the walls of the “Nicio castle (IX century) and watchtowers along its coastline asTorre Arroyo Vaquero”,Los Baños”, theGuadalmansa” or theVelerín”, among others.

fuengirola

Once inside the province, there are some municipalities that stand out in this chapter of fortified buildings: Antequera with its Alcazaba and declared a National Monument set in which highlights its Homage Tower (Torre del Homenaje) that is considered amongst the largest of al-Andalus, with the exception of the Calhaorra in Gibraltar. It is surmounted by a Catholic bell tower/chapel (Templete del Papabellotas) added in 1582.

Ronda with the old Urban Walls of XII century, and the door Almocábar” as one of the best known. Built in the thirteenth century and was modified under Charles V. It consists of three successive doors plus two side semicircular towers. These served as housing for the guard. Its name comes from the Arabic “Al-maqabir” as it is located near the old Muslim cemetery.

Teba, with its Star Castle (Hisn Atiba) The fortress, which no previous archaeological evidence relevant to the Almohad Empire period although it is estimated that it was the Romans who began construction occupies an area of ​​25,000 square meters (the biggest castle in Malaga) and has two walled enclosures. The exterior adapts to the ground, has Barbican northeast and has 18 square towers, except for a circular located northeast and another octagonal to the north. It has three doors, the front facing west, towards Ronda, and two smaller, facing north and northeast.

antequera

Another facilities very interesting are the “Hisn Canit” Castle located in Cañete La Real and the “Bentomiz castle” in Arenas. But these are only a little sample of all the fortress, castles and watchtowers that nowadays are preserved, most of them are not very impressive buildings but a lot of them have been witness the most important events in the history of the region.

 

Ne Vedem!

P.R.

 

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I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Natural Areas)

El Torcal de Antequera

The “Sierra del Torcal” (or El Torcal) is a small mountain range separating the cities of Antequera and Málaga. It is known for its unusual landforms, and is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. The area was designated a Natural Site of National Interest in July 1929, and a Natural Park Reserve of about 17 square kilometres in October 1978.

The Jurassic age limestone is about 150 million years old and was laid down in a marine corridor that extended from the Gulf of Cádiz to Alicante between the present Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. These seabeds were uplifted to an elevation of over 1300 meters during the Tertiary era, resulting in a modest mountain range of flat-lying limestone, which is rare in Andalucia. Later, a series of fractures, cracks and faults at right-angles were exploited by erosion and produced the alleys between large blocks of limestone visible today.

Like many massive limestones, the Torcal includes caves and other underground forms, some of them of historical importance like the Cueva del Toro (Cave of the Bull) with its Neolithic artifacts. Their origins are also related to the dissolution of underground limestone by rainwater.

More info: Click here

El_Torcal,_Antequera,_Andalusia,_Spain

Caves of Nerja

The Caves of Nerja (Cueva de Nerja) are a series of caverns in Maro, close to the town of Nerja (50 km to the East of Málaga). Stretching for almost 8 kilometres, the caverns are one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. Concerts are regularly held in one of the chambers, which forms a natural amphitheatre. Skeletal remains found in the caverns indicate that they were inhabited from about 25,000 BC up until the Bronze Age.

The caves were re-discovered in modern times on 12 January 1959 by five friends, who entered through a narrow sinkhole known as “La Mina”. This forms one of the two natural entrances to the cave system. A third entrance was created in 1960 to allow easy access for tourists. The cave is divided into two main parts known as Nerja I and Nerja II. Nerja I includes the Show Galleries which are open to the public, with relatively easy access via a flight of stairs and concreted pathways to allow tourists to move about in the cavern without difficulty. Nerja II, which is not open to the public, comprises the Upper Gallery discovered in 1960 and the New Gallery discovered in 1969.

In February 2012 it was announced that possibly Neanderthal cave paintings have been discovered in the Caves of Nerja. (click here).

To go to the website, click here.

nerja

Acantilados de Maro – Cerro Gordo

 

 

This is a unique stretch of near-virgin coastline in Malaga, which runs for 12km east of Nerja to La Herradura in Granada province and covers an area of 1,815 hectares, including a protected part offshore. Its dramatic rocky steep cliffs (up to 75 meters of vertical) plunge down to the sea, leaving a few sheltered bays with beaches in between, which can be accessed via staircases or tracks. Located on very edges of the Sierra Almijara, these limestone outcrops have been eroded by the sea and weather into fantastic shapes, with offshore stacks and arches and undersea caves.

 

Its popularity with visitors particularly in the summer months means that the beaches can get overcrowded. Camping on the beach, fishing in the protected waters and driving motor vehicles down to the coves and beaches in the coastal park are forbidden.  You can take a bath in amazing crystal clear waters where live endangered species as star coral. We can also find protected species such as the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and cetaceans such as the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops trucantus), fin whale (Balaenopteraa physalus).

For more information: click here

maro

 

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (Malaga’s Speech)

The Malaga’s speech is very peculiar, covers so many words and expressions that for an outsider is almost impossible to follow a conversation without interrumpting to clarify certain terms. Ancient words like “aliquindoi” or “merdellón”, terms used in a different context than usual and spanish vocabulary mutations make a peculiar native dialect.

For a lot of time, many people have been interested in collecting this terminology; the Tourist Board, for example, has published a guide of popular vocabulary of Malaga, in which collects an explanation of the particular speech of locals and a small dictionary of words and common expressions of the area.

In book format is the “diccionario del habla malaqueña” (Dictionary of Malaga’s speech), by Enrique Del Pino, published in 2006, with over 5.000 examples of how the people from Malaga express themselves and through internet blogs and pages that are interested in this topic are countless.

Here are some examples:

Aliquindoi: Comes from when the british sailors were doing tasks in the port and taught to the local workers saying “Look and Do it”. In shorts, it means to be attentive.

Burrá: It means a great deal.

Bartola: It means the potbelly of men.

Borde (literally, edge): It means an unpleasant person.

Canio: Used to refer to a friend, instead of naming him. It comes from “canijo” (scrawny) that means small but taken with an affectionate nuance.

Chiate: It means stream, usually a stream of blood.

Daleao: Comes from “ladeado” and means crooked.

Empanao: Comes from “empanado” (in breadcrumbs) and means dazed, that looks like fool.

Fatiga (literally, fatigue): It means shame, compuction. It refers to a situation in which a person feels uncomfortable.

Guarrito. It’s actually an electric drill. The origin of the word is in the drills brand “Warrington”,  by extension, began to use to name this tool.

Hocicar: It means to fall on his own face.

Haba (or “Jaba”): literally, bean. It’s used to refer to a big foot.

Illo: comes from “chiquillo” (kiddy) and it’s used to draw the attention of someone.

Jopo!: Expression used to cast someone.

Lamio: Comes from “lamido” (licked) and it means mowed to ground level, completely clean.

Majarón: Crazy, sick in the head.

Merdellón: Comes from the Fench expression “merde gens” (shitty people) used by the French people to talk about people from Malaga, It’s now used to talk about rude and tacky people.

Nove!: Comes from “no veas” (don’t see) and it used as a expression of astonishment. It can be used in all situations.

Oú!: Comes from “Jesus”, and its meaning is like “wow” or “Oh, my god”

Ñosco: it means a large stone.

Pitraco: It means apiece of meat of poor quality.

Piarda: It means don’t go to class.

Petao: It means very muscled person as well as something filled to bursting.

Repeluco: It means shiver.

Suavón: It means a person that doesn’t argue but does what he wants.

Sieso: Referred to a person without ease.

Tenis: It means gym shoes.

Ustedes: literally, it means you (in plural) in a polite way, but it’s used in a normal way.

Viae: Comes from “viaje” (trip) and it’s used to talk about a strong onslaught.

Zorruno: It means an unpleasant smell.

Zaleazo: It’s a sharp drop. comes from “zalea” (sheepskin).

And finally, the ways to order a cofee in Malaga.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

 

Categories: Art & Culture | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

I don´t like to boast, but I´m from Malaga (gastronomy)

I’d lie if I said I don´t miss my land. Sometimes we don´t appreciate the everyday things around us and we have to take distance to see things into perspective. Malaga is well known for its beaches, in fact, we have 161 km of coastline called “Coast of the Sun“, but we are also the most mountainous province of Spain; actually, 32% of the land is between 600 and 2000 meters. Thanks to this geography, you can take a sunbath in a quite beach or you can do trekking at 2000 meters above sea level with only 30 kms between a place and the other.

Regarding the gastronomy, due to the charasteristics of the zone, we have a great variety of meals. On the inside of the province you can taste meats of wild boar, goat, rabbit… and the most typical dish in the mountains is the “Plato de los montes” (dish of the mountains) made up of pork products, that tends to be loin in lard, with a couple of eggs and chips, everything served in a large platter. It can also have chorizo, morcilla and a couple of garlics in the olive oil. Other typical dishes are the snails, the roasted suckling piglet, the stuffed sirloin, roasted shoulder of baby lamb.

Obviously the gastronomy of the Costa del Sol is heavenly influenced by the popular Mediterranean diet. Fresh fish, vegetables, legumes, fruits, good olive oil and excellent wines represent the food from the Costa del Sol. After a number of foreigners settled down along the coastline during the last years, also the regional were influenced.

The most traditional in Vélez-Málaga (my town) specialties are berzas (a cabbage dish with green beans, potatoes, chickpeas, aubergine, squash and meat), ajoblanco (a cold soup), ajobacalao (codfish and garlic dish), as well as sopa de maimones (a soup made with bread and olive oil and other ingredients), gazpacho (a cold soup) and chambao (made with diced tomatoes, peppers, onions and cucumbers and a quantity of olive oil) or “ensalada cateta” (country salad). Mostachones (a pastry containing pine nuts) and tortas de aceite (olive oil cakes) are the most notable pastries. It should not be forgotten that tropical fruits (mangos, custard apple, papayas and avocadoes) are some of the main products of this municipality and the visitor is advised to sample these fruits.

One of the most typical dish is the “Pescaito frito” (fried fish): It is made by coating the fish (blue or white fish) in flour and deep fried in olive oil then sprinkled with salt as the only seasoning. It is usually served hot, freshly fried, and can be eaten as an appetizer (for example with a beer or wine), or main course. Usually, it is served with fresh lemon, which is squeezed over the fish. We have a great variety of fishes like “chanquete” (Transparent goby), salmonete (Striped red mullet), “boquerón” (European anchovy), “pijota” (hake),  “cazón” (School shark)… and seafood like “calamares” (squid), “jibia” (Cuttlefish), “pulpo” (octopus).

pescadito

But the most appreciated dish is with no doubt the “Espeto de sardinas” (sardines on a stick): So many restaurants serve freshly caught sardines, grilled in front of your eyes. Often cooked on an old fishing boat berthed in the sand and located in front of the restaurant. It is about more than novelty value or a gimmick to attract tourists. It is about tradition. As is the way the sardines are cooked and served. For so many years skewered on wooden cane sticks. But now there has been some controversy over whether or not these cane skewers are a health concern.

espeto

The best place to taste this fish dishes is without doubt the “Chiringuitos” (local bars based by the beach) are a oasis for these warm days in summer, where you also can take a local beer (like San Miguel or Victoria), or a refreshing “Tinto de verano” (summer red wine, it´s a mix of wine with gaseosa or lemon soda) or “Sangría” (It normally consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of added brandy). I have my favourite “chiringuito” where I try to spend the most part of my summer days: “El Hornillero” is sited in one of the few remaining unspoiled beaches along our coastline. Besides, is built with natural materials and surrounded by native vegetation… and all the vegetal admixtures they use for their recipes are collected by them in their own ecological orchards.

hornillero

This is only a brief summary about the gastronomy (I could write about the sugarcane honey, the “moscatel” grape and the sweet wine we make with this variety of sweet grape…) so you can imagine how many things you can discover if you come here. There are thousand of things I can tell you about: culture and art, history, curiosities and secrets, weather… but that will be another day.

 

Ne vedem

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Gastronomy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mid-Term Training (2/2)

After a Saturday very busy we woke up on Sunday to keep our trip, in this point Antonio joined us. We headed to the Brasov train station to take the train that would take us to Predeal bu,t due to the chaos in terms of platforms and trains information, we lost our train. Luckily we only had to wait for less than one hour for taking the next train. Once in our destiny we met with our mate Rita and another 8 known EVS volunteers from Baia Mare, Fagaras, Craiova… and we only were in the train station.

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After taking a cab, finally, we came to the Eden Hotel, where we were greeted by Carmen (our favourite hotel desk clerk) and where we met in the same hall with a lot of known ones, volunteers from Arad, Baia Mare, Bucarest… After this, dinner with a lot of known faces and to know the different groups in which we were gonna be divided. As in the arrival training some volunteers brought with them guitars so we started kind of party with live music. It was only the first night, therefore it was a very quiet meeting… we should to get ready for the very intense week we had ahead. The training elapsed very fast for us, We wouldn´t have minded stay some day more enjoying the hotel (we had jacuzzi in our room), the town and overall, spending more time with our training fellows, but like all good things, the training ended.

So we (Luca, Aga and me) left which was our home for the past four days to go to the capital of our hosting country, Bucharest.

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We came to Bucharest under heavy cold (-16º) and we saw the city covered by a one-meter- cloack of snow. Anyway we decided to go out and to know the city by ourselves, so we started to tour in the downtown, we headed directly to the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function: Palatul Parlamentului. After that we kept our visit for some hours around the city, visiting the most important and known places in the city like Piata Revolutiei in the heart of the 1989 revolution. Since the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Ceausescu launched his latest speech. Nearby is the Roman Ateneul (1888) and hosts major concerts and the Central University Library in a neoclassical building, with marvelous art exhibitions. Anyway we didn´t have so many time and the weather was really hard so we finish our visit walking by the city and enjoying the architecture.

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The city center is a mixture of medieval, neoclassical and modernist architectural styles and buildings ‘neo-Romanian’ dating from the early twentieth century and a collection of modern buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. Most utilitarian part of the communist era architecture dominates most southern districts. Recent contemporary structures such as skyscrapers and office buildings complete the landscape of Bucharest.
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However, despite the cold weather, we ended the evening enjoying the nightlife of the city along with other EVS volunteers (from two asociations: Asociatia Culturala Ask Me and A.C.T.O.R.) … and it was really amazing, although many people had warned us that Bucharest is the most expensive city in country, you can find places really cheap and to have fun with not much money, some of this clubs are Kulturhaus and Panic! both close to Piața Universității. After two intense days our trip came to its end, but we still had time to meet us with some volunteers from Tismana whose we met in our arrival training and they came back to their respective countries after have finished their project. After that, we walked around the city for a couple of hours before to take the train that would bring us to Arad, promising ourselves back in town when the weather is more benevolent to enjoy the city in all its splendor and to meet again with our friends (whose aren´t few).
And, in this way, it finished a very intense week in which we met people from the 5 continents, we did more than one thousand kilometres and very many priceless new experiences.
Ne Vedem
P.R.
Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mid-Term Training (1/2)

The last week we were in Predeal again for the Mid-Term Training, and it was a bittersweet feeling. On one hand we can come back to the Hotel Eden and enjoy Predeal with a lot of EVS volunteers (we were 66) from the five continents (from Africa – Tunicia, Marroco-, from Asia -Nepal-. from Oceania – New Caledonia- , from America – Perú- and the rest from Europe), almost half of them were with us in the arrival training and we had met many others volunteers in these months in Romania; the sessions were, in general, better and more interesting that in the arrival training, the nights were more quite but maybe, more intense. On the other hand, we met with a lot of volunteers who will leave Romania soon and it´s difficult to meet them again in a short time; another negative side is that this training means we already spent the half of our time as EVS volunteers.

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I started this trip with Luca and Aga, we decided to squeeze the long trip to Predeal, and we made a stop in the amazing city of Sighișoara, we spent one day in this beautiful place roaming the narrow streets of the citadel, visiting The History Museum inside the Clock Tower and we even entered the house where the famous national hero Vlad Tepes was born, now reconverted in a hotel with restaurant. It looked like a good place to rest and eat something but the prices are prohibitively expensive for our pockets so we ended up into a small pension eating the most typical Romanian dish (șarmale cu mamaliga și smântână), it was my first time. After that we went to the train station, under the snow which began to fall minutes before, towards Brașov.

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In Brașov our friends were waiting for us in “Casa De Cultura a Studentilor Brașov” where they were helping to the “Incubator107 Brașov” in a multicultural event. There we met a lot of unknown volunteers (local ones, EVS from Craiova, Baia Mare…) and other ones already known, after this meeting our friends showed us the nightlife in Brașov (we already knew the city by day) so we went in a taxi to the downtown (it was my first time I was been driven under a snowfall) and we came to a wonderful place, at least for me, Beraria Ciucas. We ate and drank something to go after to another club: For SALE PUB, a typical irish bar where between beers and peanuts where we took shelter from the bitter cold that Brașov offered us that night.

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If in our first trip to Predeal we ended up spending the night in Brașov, this time we slept in Brașov just before going to Predeal. So on Sunday  came to Predeal… but that part of the story I will tell you the coming week.

It shall continue… (click here)

Ne vedem saptimana vitioare!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Few notes about how the rule: “Don’t get into a car with a stranger” is not always a good rule

As volunteers we are not exactly rich people, but money is never an important point of reference in a volunteering life, finally we all like rice and onion for dinner and who need luxuries like a new pair of socks, you can always repair the old ones. Also that’s why the lack of financial resources never stops us from doing interesting things and enjoying our stay in a Romania as much as we can. Traveling is an important part of the experience, and for me traveling with small budget is a thing that I’m used to even in my not volunteering life, but right now it’s, let’s call it, more challenging. The simple answer to the difficult question of how to travel without money is: hitchhiking! And to be honest, hitchhiking is perfect when travelling for volunteers not only ´cause of the being for free part, this form of transport offers also other benefits.

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First of all the fact that some strangers are deciding to stop their cars and invite you inside, just after looking at your face and the piece of paper with the name of the city (and to be honest sometimes they are really ridiculously far away, or for example in the other country), for few seconds can really make you believe in humanity, or at least it makes you believe that there are some other people like you, just curious or bored or crazy enough to decide that potential benefit from inviting the stranger to their car can be bigger than potential risks. Even if we don’t have the looks of the psychopathic killers… who knows, right?

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The other positive part of it is the fact that hitchhiking abroad is probably the best existing possibility to practice languages. It’s not a mistake, not only one language, during our trips we had the possibility to have a conversations not only in Romanian or English but also in Spanish, Italian, French (even if our only reaction was: Je ne parle pas français) or Ukrainian, ´cause in the end, important part of this kind of trips is to find a way to communicate with yourbenefactor no matters how, even if a big part of your communication will be just smiles and gestures. And, at this point, we are getting to the biggest advantage of this kind of trips. When you finally find the car, and you discover the communication method with the car driver  then  you have really an amazing opportunity to get to know a lot about the country that you are in. The conversations about politics, interesting places in Romania or somewhere else,  or just about how live is in Romania are not a rare thing, in the end what else can you do when you are locked with the stranger in such a small area? (Rita’s answer will be: sleep). So even if the conversation are not always cheerful or easy I always have the feeling that at least they are honest and that this is one of the best way to really get to know something about reality in the country.

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I created this beautiful image of hitchhiking by skipping the few disadvantages like the fact that sometimes you are cold, or tired and the trip is completely unpredictable or even sometimes you are just not in the talking mood and still you need to keep the conversation going on. But really why to write about that if still the stories that we are telling later to the others are mostly the compilations of the best staff that happened. Finally we made it, we are in the place of our destination, we met some people, we got to know some things, sometimes we even got some food and we didn’t pay for that.

So … where are we going next people?

Aga

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EVS experiences in Arad

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EVS experiences in Arad