Winter of 2005 in Romania. Very cold, but not much snow, in fact less than expected. I was travelling on business, to some destination in the heart of Transylvania, W. of Romania. The train had to negotiate the narrow passes in order to cross the wild Carpathian mountains. Not an easy route, because the tracks are skimming the forests on each side of the railcar, the precipices are very often frightening to look at. A really interesting experience, to tell you the truth. Small train stations, some very old, like 80 yrs old or more. The railroad is quite all right, cars as well, but the train runs slower than usual, up in the mountains. The engine (or engines, for sometimes the train needs two, depending on the weather and the steepness of the climb) and cars are not state of the art, but they are comfortable and one can feel the safety is well taken into consideration.
The tracks are unbelievably turning and twisting, in a series of almost u-bends, for most of the journey. That is why it takes quite a long time to travel this portion of the railroad. At times, you can photograph the engine or the last carriage, that’s how bendy the road is. There are no tunnels, so the tracks are laid right on the top of the ridges, going down in the ravines and hollows, rising up again on the side of the mountains. It feels like one is in a montagne-russe sort of thing, what with the sudden twists and turns of the tracks. And everywhere a nature that is decidedly sleeping, with no sign of activity whatsoever. Everything stands still, all is quiet. The mountain is asleep too, but do not let this fool you; the weather can change without warning, I was told. A sunny day can turn in a sudden blizzard, so word to the wise: do not go climbing mountains here, unless you are prepared and know well what you’re doing.
As you are approaching the stations, small and somewhat far in-between, the tracks sometimes take you near the local inhabited places. You can see these (mostly rural) communities hunched down in the snow, the smoke rising from their chimneys, a sign that the people have retired in their homes to winter it out. Sometimes the tracks are just clipping the outskirts of small towns, and you can get a glimpse into how they look like, but only just. Wild nature everywhere, with the odd derelict building here and there, signs that this country is recovering from a painful period in its history.
Kodak Retina 1a performed admirably, although I had to pass a photo or two, when in the crisp air outside; the bellows are not exactly ecstatic to be unfolded at temperatures well below zero. The film was Konica Monochrome VX400, the only one available in my bag at the time, and a good job it did, considering.
These are scanned prints. Some of them pictures were shot through the thick glass of the car window, which distorted (more or less) the images. It can easily be noticed in many of the frames.
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