I had read most of the tour guides about Romania and each time I was intrigued by their pictures shown on the front cover. The Lonely Planet book guide has a picture of Biertan, a beautiful former Saxon village located not far away from Sighisoara. The Rough Guides maybe was not so inspired and displays the Russian Church from Bucharest; after all, when you try to sell a book about a country you should try to promote it with the most distinctive flavor of it or the Russian Church is far away from this. The Insight Guide book boasts on its front cover one of the most famous landmarks of Romania: the Bran castle also known by the foreigners as Dracula Castle. And the list remains open for many other book guides about Romania.
As a Romanian tour guide and photographer I asked myself which picture I would use for a cover of a Romanian guide book. Instantly I looked through my pictures and after one hour I was still confused. A landscape? Romania boasts the impressive Carpathian arch with beautiful mountains, valleys, glacial lakes and green pines. An image of a medieval citadel, like Sighisoara, Sibiu or Brasov? Or maybe a picture of the vivid and tumultuous city of Bucharest? What about the rural side of Romania, so well preserved in many parts of the country? A horse-drawn cart passing by a traditional haystack would be perfect and would express so well the rural life from Romania. I thought this would be a perfect image. But not quite. Because I realized it would be impossible to capture the flavor of a country in one picture. So I need two of them; one for the front and another one for the back. But which ones?
In the spring of 2012 I had the chance of finding these two pictures. The first one I had in my mind for about 2 years but because I was extremely picky it was very hard to find the image. It is a road sign, a simple sign saying “No carts”. I wanted it to be located in the country side, to be clean and new, to be photographed on a sunny day with a blue sky and some fluffy clouds. Finally after months of searching I discovered it in Bucovina. Maybe it would have been better to catch a horse-drawn cart passing by the sign but I didn’t have enough time to wait for it. Maybe next time.
The next picture, the one for the front page should illustrate the beauty of the locals, of the Romanians and their traditions. Some time ago I’ve been asked what I like most about Romania. I said I like the mountains and the women. ‘Yes, but tell me just one’ my traveler asked me again. Then I answered I like the beautiful women on top of the Carpathian Mountains. Of course, I know and I’ve seen how beautiful the women can be in other countries, especially in the eastern Europe but when I saw a beautiful tall young blonde, slim, with long legs, smooth skin and big round eyes I new this is my cover. And not just because she was beautiful but on top of all these qualities she was dressed in the traditional costume of Maramures, one of the most beautiful all over Romania. Her scarf wrapped around her face was accentuating even more her beauty. Right away I pulled over my car and told her, almost ordering her, being afraid not to loose my image for the cover, to stop. And I was right. She is the perfect cover, a beautiful Romanian woman wearing with pride a traditional costume. Now all I need is to write my guide book
by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide