Tag Archives: Romania

Animals of Romania


I only had the chance to visit Romania once, though I do plan to go back again. My dad’s side of the family is Romanian, and I remember listening to animated Romanian conversations at my great-grandpa’s house while I played on the floor.

Romania has the highest population density of bears than anywhere else in the world. This is because the former Communist dictator, Ceausescu, made it illegal for people to hunt bears. Not because he was an animal rights activist or any reason like that, he wanted increase the bear population so that he would be more likely to get one when he himself was bear hunting. Unfortunately for him, he himself was hunted in a 1989 uprising. He was arrested and was executed on live television on Christmas day. Now, over 20 years later, the large bear population is just one reminder of his legacy. I only got to see one bear,

and it was from a very safe distance up in a telecabina (cable car). The bear is only in the first picture. I just like the second cable car picture.

There were plenty of bear warning signs, since drunk tourists (and probably locals) have been known to taunt bears with the expected results.

In a country with so many sheep, it was impossible to find yarn. I learned how to ask where I could buy yarn in Romanian, but still, no one seemed to carry it. I finally found some acrylic at a department store, but it wasn’t what I wanted, so I didn’t buy it.

I think it just must not be profitable for people to sell the wool. The meat is more profitable, and the labor for the wool is not worth it, I guess. If anyone could explain the reason for the lack of Romanian yarn and/or wool, I’d love to hear it.

It was disappointing because I like to get local yarns on my travels, and even have yarn-specific travel plans, but it was nice to see herds of sheep every day.

Stray cats are in just about every country, I think.  I didn’t see too many in Haiti, but I’ve seen them everywhere else I’ve been. Especially Puerto Rico. Here are some of the Romanian strays.

This mysterious blur was outside a place called Club Jail.

There were lots of really cool birds, but the ones that impressed me the most were the storks who built their nests on the telephone poles. I think they sit up there and gossip about the town.

One of my most favorite animals of all is the pig. These pigs and their fowl friend were at my relatives’ home, and they were definitely going to be a meal someday.

Our relatives killed a chicken for a meal during our visit, and I will admit to eating chicken soup so as not to offend them. I did find one part particularly troublesome, so I passed it off to my brother on a piece of bread. I put him on the spot by saying, “You gotta try this, it’s delicious!” as I handed it to him. I saw his jaw tighten and his eyes narrow as he snapped the bread out of my hand, but I’ve always been and always will be the little sister. Revenge is hard to come by when you’re smaller and weaker, so you have to take it when you get the chance. The following chickens are not related to this story, nor did they belong to anyone I knew or met. I saw them while walking to a chapel.

That guy seemed to be down on his luck. I imagine he had a late night at the bar after his partner kicked him out of the coop and is stumbling home to ask for forgiveness.

Here the one on the right had just left his weekly pedicure appointment and was checking out the work. His partner was oblivious to the new look.

Although there were many horses that were used for work and transportation,

There were also horses that were purely for play.

These horses had to be kept leashed, though, because people must have liked to have stolen entire herds of them.

Another animal I felt very lucky to spot since it is quite rare and endemic only to Bran Castle in Transylvania was the Che Duck. These are known to travel with squirrels and skeletons, but prefer fabric to natural settings.

And that sums up the animals that I encountered on my trip to Romania. The more I’ve traveled the more I’ve realized that there are more similarities in the world than differences. Bears, cats, birds, horses, they are everywhere. The kindness and generosity of family transcends continental borders. The beauty of land and nature is universal.


Haitian peanut butter with Romanian jam


I must admit I’m a peanut butter aficionado. So when I heard that Haiti has some amazing peanut butter, I made it a point to buy some while I was there, and bring a big jar home.

It is hand ground with chiles to make a spicy, creamy spread.

What I wasn’t expecting was for my aunt and uncle to send me some homemade jam from my aunt in Romania after their trip there last month.

There is something extra delicious about eating foods that cannot be bought where you live. Every time I take a trip somewhere out of the country, I make it a point to try things I would never be able to back home. I usually try to bring some of the food home with me to share with friends and family who did not come on the trip. (Being very careful to follow the laws about bringing things back into the country from outside the country).

Anyway, this jam is the best jam I have ever eaten. Aunt Lia’s blackberry jam was one of the highlights of my trip to Romania in ’08. (My uncles might tell you it was the ţuică, or Romanian moonshine, but I beg to differ). I wondered when I would have a chance to eat it again, and was thrilled to receive my surprise package in the mail. But this time, it included something even more delicious than the blackberry jam- honey marmalade.

The honey marmalade has just the right amount of sweetness to blend perfectly with the spicy Haitian peanut butter. It is heavenly.

It humbles me to realize that I am able to have a sandwich on bread made by my husband with homemade fillings from around the world. And it humbles me to realize that he and I are the only ones in the world who have eaten this exact sandwich. I will be heading back to Haiti in two months, and I know I’ll bring back some more peanut butter. I only hope I can get to Romania again soon!