We thought we were going to spend the afternoon at Histria, a Roman settlement to the north of Constantza, but as sometimes happens, others had a different idea.
To begin with, we were resistant to the idea of spending the first part of the afternoon in the “Ethnographic Museum” but as soon as we saw what treasures were inside, we changed our minds pretty quickly.
The front hall had a collection of these icons from Transylvania, painted on glass. Here’s St George and the dragon.
Mark had gone on ahead, aware of the short time we had to see everything, and came back to report that I needed to look upstairs. But I needed a photo permit and the queue to buy one was enormous. My face must have told the story, for the lady waved me on upstairs, suggesting I buy it on the way out.
The folk costumes were wonderful and each one so very different from the last. I suspect that, with enough time, one might be able to identify more or less every hand embroidery technique somewhere in that room, each identifying a particular region of Romania.
The blackwork panels on the sleeves of this costume were remarkable
How’s this for a piece of white embroidery? Exquisitely worked, the sleeves were stitched to match this front panel.
Some cutwork here, again, matching sleeves and front panel.
These panels appeared to be in fine wool tent stitch, applied to a light wool crepe shirt.
You get the picture? I’m aware that we have fifteen minutes and simply rush around trying to see and record as much as I can, in notebook and with my camera. I realise too late that I didn’t note what came from where, so can only say “Romania”.
It was time to go, to drive for an hour into the countryside towards Histria. Every inch of earth was cultivated – we drove through just one village with simple cottages each one surrounded by a garden full of produce. No room for ornamental gardens here. Many cottages had a well in the garden too and though there was the occasional satellite dish on a roof, only a few homes had a TV aerial. The roads were poor with huge potholes and only a few cars passed us by once we were out of the main urban sprawl.
Histria was a little disappointing. Talked about as the “Romanian Pompeii” it’s hard to make the comparison for there is very little to see here. We followed our guide and tried to imagine what she spoke about, but really, it was a step too far for us in most cases.
We did enjoy seeing the nest of storks though!
After just an hour, we were pleased to leave the heat of the afternoon sunshine and return to the coach to drive back to Constantza. Another fun and interesting day to talk over this evening – this is such a fascinating trip.