Haibun #11

A green Romanian summer, this will be an abiding memory of 2018. Today I travelled to a part of the ‘county’ (județ) of Iași, about 30km from the city of Iași where we are staying at the moment, to which I had never been.


Passing out of the city, past long abandoned giant glowering steelworks and block after block of concrete apartments, heading south towards the adjacent ‘county’ of Vaslui, we eventually turn towards the village of Hadîmbu and a surprise: woods on either side of the narrow winding road, generally good but needing to navigate around the occasional deep hole, appear that we are passing through my childhood playgrounds in England, sunlight filtering through a luscious canopy to illuminate a verdant carpet below.

At the end of July we expect a brown Romania, country people complaining about the destruction of crops due to lack of rain, on which they depend not only to live now but, bottled or dried, to sustain them through the winter. Not so in 2018.

Reaching the end of the woods another surprise, we begin to climb. There are no mountains in Iași but some inclines now are steep. Eventually the landscape opens up to be a tapestry of a multitude of greens sprinkled with white and poppy red, not flowers but the walls and rooves of distant mostly traditional houses glistening in the sun. Behind, the horizon is well above eye level but, amazingly, still green.

View from near the top of the climb to the monastery, a green tapestry

We reach our destination, at something above 1,000 metres.

Monăsteria Hadîmbu

A monastery, Monăsteria Hadîmbu, dating back to the time of Stephen the Great (1433-1504), though with a new church near to the old, accommodation not only for the residents but for visitors (without charge) and a variety of animals including deer and a llama.The residents live from what they produce at the monastery.

A priest hands me a simple cross to wear around the neck and waves away the proffered bank notes – 3RON, about 60p.

climbing to heaven

a steep emerald staircase

zoo in paradise