Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rural Touch

"Don't trust women and don't trust the clutch"- this piece of 'advice' was written on the back of a car in a village I visited recently in north -east Romania. Even in the 21st century, it appears there are still places where people have more confidence in horse -drawn wagons than in cars.

The guy in the first picture was waiting to 'upload' me in his rudimentary horse- drawn cart and take me to the village where I was supposed to meet with an old, confined to bed member of his family, someone who ,as a young peasant lass , used to come to the small town of my childhood, to help my mother clean the house and do the laundry.

Short after the ride started, the horse raised his tail and ...released a very bad smell in our direction. I looked at the driver; he seemed cool. Well, he's probably used to it, but I was almost asphixiated.

Anyway, after a few minutes I felt better and started to enjoy the green scenery around, the vast, open spaces with or without sheep and cows, humming to myself the only line I knew from a song that mentions horse and carriage: Frank Sinatra 's " love and marriage, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage" . I was not very comfortable. I had to hold on to the man's arm with one hand , and to the bench I was sitting on ,with the other one, but neverheless I felt great. Besides, the ride was in a gentle tempo and lasted only about twenty minutes.

vast green fields

A couple of hours later, after exchanging kisses and presents with the target woman , and eating a copious meal with incredible dishes served by her daughter-in-law , I was to go back to town with the guy's niece in an even simpler cart (the third picture), as he was in a hurry to get to a wedding in an adjacent village. Well, it was me , the big adventurer, who insisted on a full cart journey, so I had to take what came along. This time it was even funnier. Me and the niece behaved like two bad schoolgirls shouting nasty words at the poor horse (I''m so ashamed!) , laughing , and leaving to God to protect us from the poor country road.

Back at the hotel, I thought about the horse. What a hard life the poor animal has, what an exploited creature, pulling people and loads in any weather. There are probably cases of malnutrition and general maltreatment too. I hope there's an association somewhere representing horse rights as there is for human rights, only something far more efficient.


  1. A thoughtful and enjoyable blog, Duta, and I enjoyed sharing your adventure and your journey into discovering your roots.

  2. Vera

    Thank you Vera for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed sharing my little rural adventure.

  3. Very interesting adventure you are on! As for the treatment of horses...when they (horses) are such and important part of your life, transportation, farm work, etc... it is in your best interest to keep them healthy. As for organizations supporting the ethical treatment of horses, I know that PETA does support a life free of cruelty for all animals worldwide...not sure how active they are in tiny Romanian villages though!

  4. Anne,
    Thanks for your informative comment. I've heard of some recent law concerning horses and riding of horse-drawn wagons so that both humans and horses would not be endangered, but I'm skeptical as to the enforcement of that law in those rural areas.

  5. The book "Black Beauty", so loved by generations of children, is an eloquent plea for better treatment for horses. But do not think they suffer when worked responsibly. Horses like to be useful and enjoy being out and about where they can look at more than their stable walls.

  6. TallTchr,
    I like what you say, about horses preferring to be outside and be useful. I think you're right on this, and it makes me feel good.

  7. I wish I could have joined you - this type of adventure is right down my alley!

  8. The Bug,
    Your comment brings a smile to my lips, and that's good. Thanks.

  9. Duta, what an adventure you had :D LOL
    I enjoyed this journey. Beautiful pictures too.
    I wish I could ride a wagon like that around town...although smelly (lol) and a bit uncomfortable, I think it would also have a way of slowing me down and soothing my soul.
    Have a Beautiful Day!

  10. TheCheecGeek,
    Thanks for liking my pictures and my uncomfortable cart journey. From your last line I guess you live a life of great intensity and you'll like a slow down. That could be achieved , I think,by making some changes like moving to a quieter place and job.
    It's not easy, but it's possible.

  11. Good job! The pictures and your story, describe rural life in Romania very well. You had the chance to visit this kind of villages that is about to disappear.
    If you are interested in a rural way of life unchanged for centuries, you should still come to Romania. Because of its late modernization, the country is one of the very few places in Europe that is a vast living museum. You will be charmed by meeting white storks on roadside nests, water wells, cows coming home by themselves, etc

  12. Rahel/Rodica,
    I'll feel sad if this kind of village will dissappear. Nevertheless, I wish these people have a better life, and this requires some form of modernization of the place and of the means of work.