So, enough of my righteous indignation at that scum Bush and his mates from the Southern Fascist Convention inflicting four more years of their bigotry and hate on the world. If you want to read something good (and don't mind a bit of swearing), I recommend the rant at www.fuckthesouth.com
It snowed here last night, which reminds me of my need to continue with my Contexts series. So here it is ..part III
Contexts Pt III: Csikszereda
Csikszereda lies in the "Ciuc Depression", which is a geographical feature in the Carpathians, rather than a psychological condition medicated with Prozac. Essentially it means we are quite high up, 600-800 metres to be vague, and yet surrounded by hills. It's quite a climb to get out of this area in any direction, and from there onwards usually a descent. One consequence of this is that Csikszereda is widely considered to be the coldest town in Romania (although I have also heard the same claim about Gheorgheni, another town about 60km north of us). Today it is a relatively mild 3 degrees C, but I'm assuming last night's snowfall has heralded the onset of winter, and five months of freezing my butt off. Still, I spent the last six winters in Vermont and it doesn't sound like it will be that different. One advantage of the depression is that there isn't much wind, so even though I've been warned to expect occasional temperature dips to -35, there at least be any of that vicious wind that really rubs it in. (I should point out that -35 is a very unusual event, and what I really have to look forward to are a couple of weeks of -15. This is no worse than Vermont, and possibly better).
What else is interesting about the area? Well it's full of springs. Every town it seems has a tap in the middle of it from which you can draw mineral water for free. None of your fancy evian or perrier here, you just fill your bottles and go on with your life. This ready access to good water probably explains why one of Romania's most famous beers "Ciuc" comes from here too. (Ciuc, like most Romanian companies has been recently bought. In this case by Heineken).
It's also notable for being the centre of the remaining Hungarian community. Csikszereda is the county town of Harghita County, which along with Covasna county are the majority Hungarian communities left in Romania. As a result of which the Romanian media presents them as being the root of all evil in the country. The population of Csikszereda is 90% Hungarian, and the next closest town, Szekelyudvarhely (Odorhui Secuiesc in Romanian) is 98% Hungarian. Other towns round here are similar in ethnic makeup. The rest of Transylvania is now predominantly Romanian.
So, it's cold, has good beer, is mostly Hungarian, and errm, well that's it mostly. There really isn't much else to say about it. It's nice though. Beautiful scenery, mountains, forests, lakes, the whole works.