Tuesday, 21 June
The ancient city of Brasov is now besieged by hideous factories and modern quarters. We stared down upon it with horror from a high vantage point, a sharp contrast to the overflowing beauty and charm of the old city. The neighborhood around the famous Black Church is extraordinary. Vaguely Austrian despite having never been part of Austria. Private mansions in flaky, colorful roughcasts of mauve, almond green, aquamarine, and pale yellow in various states of abandon but of sumptuous stucco. Hordes of tourists filled the Grand Square of the Conseil. We fled and found the delicious Gott restaurant which served a delectable menu. Darius left for the bathroom, and returned running. “I was too scared, I couldn’t stay.” We went together, through to the underground rooms and corridors, a haunted gallery full of repulsive vibrations. We are all scared, we had to hold hands to go to the bathroom.
We continued making our way through the charming old city, surrounded by wooded mountains, with medieval buildings rising everywhere. It was also full of ghosts, even the 1920’s gynecological clinic was giving off troubling vibrations.
We stayed late at the Black Church. The exterior is austerely protestant, the interior however is serene and grandiose, with sumptuous pink columns that decorate the choir and rise to the vaulted ceiling. Cheerful plaster and dozens of magnificent carpets produced by the city merchants hang from the walls of the sanctuary, a sign of thanks for having sold so many of them to the Muslims.
Leaving Brasov, we turned right through a sleepy village in the middle of which rises the fortified Church of Harman. White plaster ramparts with a sort of tunnel through which one arrives at an irregular courtyard, vaguely oval shaped, with wonderful dwellings. Against the ramparts and in the middle stands old fashioned church, dented and full of atmosphere. I sat for a while on the hard backless bench made of a single tree trunk cut in two. I stared at the frescos of the Tower Chapel. I felt well while the boys climbed to the summit of the tall clock tower. There was nobody around. It was a rare moment of delight.