I could not help but think this morning, while in the train on my way to the office, that I was actually going to work on May 1st. What a tragedy! 🙂
For those of you who do not know, in some countries (among which Romania) Labour`s Day is celebrated on May 1st and this day is a public holiday.
In Romania, there is a long time tradition that people go to the seaside on May 1st and stay for a few days after. This marks the opening of the beach season and Summer feels just one step away. I used to be one of these people, so it really has been a tough day for me today! 🙂
The traffic on the highway leading to the Black Sea (which is called “The Highway of Sun”) becomes hectic from the very early hours of the morning, when people start heading towards the resorts or villages bordering the sea shore.
Despite the chaos on the roads, there is a general atmosphere of celebration, happiness and freedom, which can be felt at its best once you arrive at the beach. The first encounter (of the year) with the sea is a magic moment for every Romanian, regardless the age and regardless the weather. I call this the Romanian Dream, as it is something you are longing for and dearly anticipating for months in advance when living in Romania.
Talking about the weather, in most cases when I spent May 1st on the beach, it was warm enough to enjoy the sun, sometimes even in a swimsuit, just like in warm Summer months. However, the Black Sea remains rather cold in May, but everybody who makes it to the beach will try to get his/her feet in the water for a bit, regardless its temperature.
To better understand why I consider the 1st of May to be sort of a Romanian (Summer) Dream, imagine there are people coming to the sea on this occasion from all over the country. Sometimes this means from as far as Oradea (just an example!), a city situated 800 km away. They come by car or even by train, so many hours are spent on the road, just to be at the sea for two or three days and then go all the way back home .
The best atmosphere is however at night, when everybody is on the beach, listening to music from the many bars and clubs along the sea shore, drinking, dancing and lighting camp fires. It really is a nice vibe if you focus on the positive aspects. The only negative aspects I can think of would be: too many drunk people and too crowded everywhere. 🙂
There are many resorts at the Black Sea where you can go to spend May 1st, but I`ve always had a preference for the ones laying in the South, close to the border with Bulgaria: Mangalia, 2Mai, Vama Veche, which are in fact towns (Mangalia) or villages (2Mai and Vama Veche). This makes them more authentic, but nonetheless just as crowded (touristic) as any other resort.
To soothe my nostalgia, which has reached very high levels today, here are some photos taken on May 1st, along the years, at the Black Sea!
Sunrise on the Highway of Sun, as we head towards the sea:
Break on the way to the Black Sea:
Entering Vama Veche:
On the beach in Vama Veche:
Lilac on a table at “Papa la Soni” – a restaurant in Vama Veche:
Souvenirs from Vama Veche:
Lunch in Vama Veche: polenta, fish and garlic:
May 1st in Vama Veche:
Eating papanasi in Vama Veche (a personal favourite!):
Road in 2 Mai, the neighbouring village of Vama Veche:
On the beach in Vama Veche on May 1st:
Road at the end of Vama Veche (as going towards the border with Bulgaria):
Girls in the sea in Vama Veche:
Children playing on the beach in 2 Mai:
Camp fire-to-be in Vama Veche:
Evening in Vama Veche:
The Black Sea, moments before the night`s fall, in Vama Veche:
Humans and the sea, Vama Veche:
Beach at Gura Portitei:
Camp fire on the beach in Vama Veche (photo taken today, May 1st 2014, by Adriana of Luxury Chocolate):