moby and me: Easter Pilgrimage To Bucovina (part three)

If you missed part one of my Easter Pilgrimage To Bucovina, go here. Part three follows herein.

Last year, about this time, you [moby] did some gigs in Europe. You gonna make the same rounds again anytime soon?

Let me know when you’ll be in Madrid. Hopefully, sooner than later. I’d like a good reason to hang out there. I have some friends there that I’d like to see too.

Below, a little background music: yello, ooooh yeah:

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Easter Sunday

Sunday was a long day. I wasn’t feeling well. Taking pictures of the moon in the freezing night did something to me. Nonetheless, we visited the Romanian orthodox monasteries of Putna and Humorului as well as St. Mary’s in Cacica. We looked forward to a sumptuous feast for dinner. In the morning, Aurelian of Casa Antonio had gone to the shepherds to slaughter and quarter a lamb.

rear of st. mary's church

View of the rear of St. Mary’s church in Cacica

The feast at Casa Antonio would begin with a traditional lamb-based meatloaf. Next came a sour lamb soup thick with lamb fat and garden vegetables. Then, Aurelian brought out the big guns: a massive lamb shank that had been boiled in liters of wine. We ate greedily and made lots of whimpering sounds after we had over-filled our bellies.

We went out to do some night photography, again. And there was a light rain. Unfortunately, there was no moon in the early evening. The temperature was near freezing (5 degrees celsius) and I think I pushed my luck. Perhaps, there was too much cloud cover for a moon when we went out. Finally, I did see a moon from the window in my room about 4am.

Around 2am, I decided to go for another bowl of sour lamb soup. Aurelian wasn’t sleeping and he was glad to warm up the ciorba for us. That was a bad idea. I loaded it with sour cream and fresh, crushed garlic paste. And I ate it with bread smothered with sour cream and garlic paste. The garlic put an unstoppable fire in my belly. And not just mine.

More background music. The Chemical Brothers, Where Do I begin (below).

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Putna

First stop was the Putna monastery where Stephen III of Moldova is entombed in the Putna church. Typical of the Moldovan monasteries, Putna was built (and rebuilt) to serve as a fortress as opposed to simply serving as a contemplative sanctuary for monks or nuns. Legend has it that a famous Romanian Christian Hermit (Daniil) told Stephen III to build a monastery on the spot if Stephen wanted to defeat his enemies.

putna 2008

A view of the Putna church inside the fortified walls of the monastery

This was my third or fourth visit to Putna; it is an important stomping ground for Romanians touring historical sites in Bucovina.

Stefan Cel Mare (Stephen the Great), as he is referred to by Romanians, was a Fifteenth Century Romanian military leader slash king who is remembered for his famous battles against corrupt Turkish masters and Polish rivals. Legend has it that he won 34 out of 36 battles.

Ordinarily, I do not find the Putna monastery to be a holy place. It’s not somewhere where I feel encouraged to contemplate the divine and supernatural. As a friend of mine says, when she thinks of Putna, she just sees black. So I went to Putna with no great expectations.

I did go there, however, to speak with Stephen’s bones.

Admiring Stephan’s great sword in the small monastic museum (I’m told it’s a copy and that the real sword is in an Istanbul museum), I wondered how we (humanity) can hope to further pursue the course of Freedom when we continue to turn to violence, force, and deceit to solve human conflict.

Love, friendship and trust are more underestimated than ever. Worse, they have become objects for unrelenting contempt and cynical rejection.

Yes, swords speak louder than love, friendship and sympathy. They cut to a sort of truth in a manner of speaking. But they cut, they divide, and they do not join together as friendship does…

Likewise, bullets, bombs and terror – how much more effective they are to quiet criticism, contention, protest and disagreement.

Neither guns, bombs nor terror bring us closer to the Truth. In fact, they do not bring us together from opposite sides of an argument. They do not help us understand each other. Terror and warfare neither heals old wounds nor bridges great divides. They only fuel hatred, contempt and the excitement of unjust passions.

We must speak freely with others and they must speak freely with us- and our conversation must be free of deciet, cynicism and contempt for the good, the true and the beautiful.

Where do we begin?

More background music. Jefferson Starship, Miracles (below).

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Humorului

Strangely enough, I do not like the city of Gura Humorului though it leads to my two favorite Modolvan monsteries: Humorului and Voronet. There’s something about the roads that is messed up. Finding the right road out of town can be difficult for those coming here for the first or second time.

humorului church 2008

A view of the Humorului church inside the ruins of fortified walls

The battlements and walls of the Humorului monastery are broken ruins that can only be imagined from the traces of rock walls. Only the church and courtyard remain. However, most of the nuns are young and friendly. And their sense of piety and faith is enthusiastic- to say the least. Sometimes, they speak of miraculous things like birds cleaning the church of insects, spiders and spider webs.

humorului church wall

Byzantine style details from the exterior wall of the Humorului church

Over the years, I have collected several icons painted by one of the older sisters. She works in the Byzantine style which is characterized by a two dimensional, “flat” perspective. The money she gets from the sale of the icons is used for the support of the religious community at the Humorului monastery. And they need a lot of help – their need is best illustrated by the holes in the socks on the sandaled feet of the nuns.

I also like this monastery because of the covoare (rug) market outside the walls. I like shopping. Don’t you?

One of the problematics of Romanian tourism is that there isn’t much else to do- often, not even shopping. If you go to the Romanian seaside, for example, there is beach, beach and more beach- whatever is not washing away. And not much else to do. In fact, the restaurants are usually pretty bad and even the so-called classy hotels aren’t doing much to think up activities and events for their five star guests.

I’ve been complaining about this problem for many years. Anyway…

Back to Humorului…

On the weekends, villagers from the Bucovina countryside come to sell traditional and non-traditional, hand-woven, wool rugs. Unlike the exquisite arabesque motiffs and knotting that you find in Persian and Indian carpets, the Romanian folk rug is more primitive and durable. It is meant to be used. Variations on traditional carpet motiffs can be found such as the tree of life, but it comes out more cheerful and amusing in the Romanian folk rug.

When we arrived, some nuns were on their hands and knees, weeding around the stone pathways. I tried to take some pictures of them and the holey socks, but I couldn’t get the camera to focus, so I headed inside the church. I admit that I prayed a little too quickly in the inner sanctuary. The awaiting feast of lamb at Casa Antonio was on my mind.

I was getting hungry and there were still things to do.

In the mood for something else? Do you remember the Good Times TV Theme? Play it below.

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Here’s the lyrics:

good times, any time you meet a payment!
good times, any time you need a friend!
good times, any time you’re out from under!

not getting hassled, not getting hustled
keepin’ your head above water!
making a wave when you can!

temporary layoffs – good times!
easy credit rip-offs – good times!
scratchin’ and survivin’ – good times!
hangin’ in a chow line – good times!
ain’t we lucky we got ’em? good times!

Good Times

I wasn’t feeling well (feverish, hungry and bored) , so there was not much think or inspiration going on. On the drive back to St. Mary’s and later to Casa Antonio, I did hang out the car window and try some action shots with Mihai’s Ferrari of a camera. I don’t know how many good shots we got, but I succeeded in scaring some grannies across several villages and towns.

As we would notice in the next days, many did not return to their roadside benches (a countryside tradition) to watch life pass by – not after having us roll by with me hanging out of the window, shooting 18 frames/second of them sitting there unprepared for a photo shoot and looking in horror at the clicking camera.

Yes, what I did was playfully unkind or, um, playfully mischievous. This is something you would die to see on Top Gear! Eat your heart out, Richard Hammond. And I can’t wait to go back and do it again- once the grannies come back out of hiding. [grin]

Some of those expressions were truly priceless. But we’ll need a different car, next time. I imagine that if they see the same car, they’ll go running for cover. And I wouldn’t want them to hurt themselves as they try to move fast through chickens and things.

Jump to conclusions here.

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Stan Faryna
March 29th, 2008
Bucharest, Romania

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FEED UPON other posts about moby by Stan Faryna:

>> Austin, Democrats and Degenerates
>> Concidence and Melancholy
>> Bucharest and Chestie
>> New moby album coming out, Last Night

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About Stan Faryna

He is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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One Response to moby and me: Easter Pilgrimage To Bucovina (part three)

  1. adrianklein says:

    “Yes, swords speak louder than love, friendship and sympathy. They cut to a sort of truth in a manner of speaking. But they cut, they divide, and they do not join together as friendship does.”

    Words of wisdom.

Speak from your heart!

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