FOREST FORAGING & COAL BURNING
A missed turn in Transylvania on the way from Miklosvar to Viscri lead onto a forest track. Heading NW (or so we hoped) early spring leaves of birch & oak, plum & apple blossom lined the road as we followed a river. We passed some children collecting wild strawberries, a one–armed horse and cart driver, some campers with their beers cooling in the steam, many steep cart tracks leading into the higher forest and a coal burning camp.
These are medieval villages and many are not much changed. The Romanians are ploughing potato patches, ready for seeding by May 1st. The houses often have a brightly painted exterior and internally each has a yard, stable, barn & kitchen garden for fruit & vegetables. The villagers are forest foragers as well, collecting mushrooms, chestnuts, berries and tending hives.
Our favourite breakfast has become yoghurt with honey, bread & butter and soft boiled eggs. There is no slow food movement here, it is just slow food preserved and made in traditional ways. The coal burners set up summer camp on their yearly grounds deep in the forests, building Andy Goldsworthy-esque sculptures of stacked chopped wood in a large circle about 2m high and 15m wide with a 4m high pyramid shape in the middle. This is slow burnt for many days with hay as it slowly turns to charcoal. It is walking back in time, pre-machinery & commercialism.