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POIENILE IZEI ......Remote didn't describe this little farming village. It didn't take long to get several of the photos that I had so wanted to capture. And, the people were so friendly!

Soon upon arrival was a private touring of the old wooden church. The paintings were especially interesting. In Hell, you could see how some people suffered. It looked like devils enjoyed using farm equipment on sinners. And, if you wanted the ultimate suffering experience, there were paintings on how to impale a sinner. There were four groups depicted that were certain for Hell. They were Turks, Arabs, Gypsies, and not Americans but Jews. I guess there was not a lot of acceptance of those different back in 1604.

Maramures, more than almost any place I'd ever seen in Europe, held a strong belief in traditional ways. On Sunday, people dressed up in their best and promenaded to church. And, their Sunday best, included colorful skirts, white blouses, and bright scarves. But, their most beautiful tradition was their woodwork. Many villages as well as homes had elaborately carved gateways (poarta) where size did matter. Size of your poarta indicated family wealth and status in the community.


The duty of guide in Poienile Izei fell on the shoulders of 14 year old Pertu Dunku, the member of the family at the guesthouse who spoke the most English. Part of his tour was to his 73 year old grandmother's farm. Grandmother lived up the side of the mountain in a two room cabin that was eighty years old. She was definitely a creative woman. The house was filled with her embroidery work. In the main room, walls and ceiling both were stenciled. She did what she could to make her humble abode warm and charming. And, she certainly succeeded. Ever the gracious hostess, Grandma served some of her home brew. It was the local favorite brew called "horinca". The region was famous for it and it seemed that most households made their own. Grandma had over 100 liters in her second room. I didn't see the barrels on the first visit to the room because of the embroidery. Out in the barn she showed where there were huge barrels for distillation. So much work for something that tasted so awful!


Grandma's Home
Copyright 2009 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.