Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

The Charcoal Burner & His Wife

I met the charcoal burner and his wife while travelling in Romania. They lived a very isolated life in their caravan with modest amenities out in the countryside, burning high stacks of wood everyday to make charcoal. They were clearly quite devoted to each other, and asked me to take their picture.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

~ Spotted Cow

Curtain of green

Hanging branches and leaves

In anticipation of the spring equinox on 19 March, I’ll be posting a series of images along a “spring green” theme over the next week. I haven’t set the bar very high, so it should be achievable. Do join in if you fancy it.

I snapped this picture on a walk in the Carpathian mountains in Romania. It was hot and I was ahead of the group, and so I took shade under a tree. The curtain of hanging branches in front of me made a lovely pattern … and I took a picture while I waited for the others to catch up.

~ Spotted Cow

The charcoal burner & his wife


Outside the Romanian village of Viscri, we met a charcoal burner and his wife. They spoke little English but they were thrilled to have visitors, inviting us to cups of tea and showing us around their site.

They showed us their family photos, including their wedding pictures, and then gestured to me to take their photograph. I’ve since sent it to our guide to forward on as they didn’t have a mailing address, but I don’t know if they ever got it. I never heard back.

I didn’t know that charcoal burners still exist. I assumed that the charcoal you buy in hefty bags from the petrol station are burnt in big modern ovens. This couple’s set-up is basic, with big stacks of wood next to a smoking pyre, which glows hot under an already intensely hot sun.

May Day is a spring holiday and it also celebrates International Workers Day. This one’s to them, the charcoal burner and his wife. Tell me though, isn’t that a great story title?

~ Spotted Cow

wood stockblack fingernailsburning charcoal

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

When I stooped to say hello, the little Romanian girl leapt unto the threshold, clutching her Romanian Cheesy Wotsits, which she thought I was going to take from her.  The dog looked on nonchalantly. She lives in Viscri, which is a small (pop. 500) Saxon village in Transylvania, whose patron is the Prince of Wales – yes, him, Charlie. But I’ll have to tell you more about Viscri another time.

~ Spotted Cow

Viscri little girl


Dracula’s castle

Transylvania, the home of Count Dracula as told to us in Bram Stoker’s classic novel.  Interestingly, Stoker never visited Romania and his description of the castle came from a picture he saw in a book. So, disappointingly for me, there is no terrifyingly real connection between Dracula and Bran castle, only a fictional one.

Bran Castle itself isn’t horrifying. It is set within beautiful countryside and there is a lively market in town. The castle does have an imposing front door and several dark  stairways where you could let your imagination run wild. But there is no caped man with red eyes and fangs jumping out of wardrobes at you.

In fact, it is locally known as Queen Marie’s castle and has the air of a well-looked after listed building, replete with antique furniture, fixings and suits of armour. The castle is now a museum and their story boards tell of royal family lives in residence as well as that of Stoker and his fictional Dracula, in acknowledgement of its international fame.

Have you ever been anywhere properly terrifying?

~ Spotted Cow

Bram Stoker Dracula Bran Castle Bran Castle Bran Castle doorway