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One of the most important pleasures of being tour guide is that you get to meet all kind of people from all over the world with so many different stories and experiences, with different knowledge and culture. I remember that in one evening, while I was enjoying a great dinner at the estate of Count Kalnoky from Miclosoara, somebody from Great Britain mentioned the name of William Blacker and his book about Romania ‘Along the Enchanted Way’.
In fact it was not the name of the author or the name of the book that caught my attention but the review made by that person. She was saying it’s a story based on real events lived by the author himself. Driven by a motto, according to which the purity of revolution can last for as much as two weeks, William Blacker sets off in a journey of the anticommunist revolutions from 1989. Although he had no intention to reach Romania, in the end he arrived in Satu Mare. After a first tough experience William Blacker will start to travel many times to Romania and eventually he will end up by living in Breb, a little forgotten village from Maramur
Despite the fact William Blacker presents Maramures in a very idyllic way, at least for my taste as Romanian, and here I would mention his astonishment for each small detail like people wearing homemade leather-boots, despite he casts a very romantic view of Maramures, I liked the book because he captured many times the essence of the rural areas of Romania which now disappears day by day. And this essence lays in the structure of the old villages, in the relations of the locals, in their traditions and religion. Few times I found out somebody who was able to describe so well the reality, the sufferings, the past and the present of the Saxon world which came to a close after an existence of more than 800 years.
‘Along the Enchanted Way’ of William Blacker describes also his own experience as a foreigner in Transylvania, his thoughts and doubts and last but not the least, his love affairs with gypsy women and all the problems caused by these relations.
To all this add his humor whether he talks about some old traditions like the slaughtering of the pig, the courting of girls or the story of the gypsy girl reading a book and then making a fire out of it.
William Blacker had lived for a long period of time in Maramures and in the Saxon area being able in this way to notice how some of the last most preserved rural areas of Europe came to a close, how the capitalist world managed to entice even this forgotten corner.
I definitely recommend this book to anybody who intends to travel around Romania. You can find different versions of it on Amazon, whether is on paperback or digital.
Should you be interested in visiting the areas described by William Blacker, than please contact me for more details.