“We heard about Spain from the TV, and now we’re in the capital!” – meeting the Romanian homeless of Madrid

While grand residential projects help regenerate the outer centre of the Spanish capital’s district of Delicias, Romanian beggars build shanty-huts in the dirt – a short report written with Vlad Odobescu for The Black Sea Delicias. In English this means ‘Delights’. A district in outer central Madrid. A warm Wednesday. Huge new apartment complexes of brick […]

Moldova’s search for Moldova: views on a country divided

A short travel note published in The Black Sea and Moldova.org Chisinau is dark. In the subterranean walkways, lights are scarce, burnt out, flashing or dim. People walk in darkness. There are few lamps on the street. In the playgrounds in the evening, children sway on the swings and climb on plastic castles. They can’t see each other. Parents […]

The hole in Bucharest that’s become a nature reserve

A failure in Romania’s brutal architectural planning of the 1980s has transformed a massive hole in Bucharest into an anarchic expanse of natural and urban coexistence. A feature published in UK online magazine City Metric. Pictures copyright Helmut Ignat The communists wanted a reservoir. The capitalists wanted a casino. The city got something else entirely. “No one […]

Myth and industry

At the entrance to the Republic of Moldova’s second-largest city Balti, huge Soviet mosaics celebrate a paradise for the proletariat and peasants. A travel blog published on The Black Sea and Moldova.org.   Giant mosaics decorate residential blocks constructed in the Soviet era in the industrial city of Balti in north Moldova. These images combine traditional folklore with Socialist realism to promote hope in an industrial […]

Exploring the disgusting bins of Bucharest’s historic centre

Bucharest’s pedestrianised old centre is filled with concrete tubes stuck to the ground and covered in pebble-dash. It is unclear what is the purpose of this urban furniture in the Romanian capital’s buzzing hub of beer, pizza and prostitution. But the public reacts to their presence by chucking trash inside them.     The tubes […]

Riding a relic of brotherhood – Braving the Bucharest-Chisinau Sleeper

Bugs! Depravity! Bodily fluids! Experiencing romance and nightmare on the overnight train linking Romania and Moldova – a travel blog published in The Black Sea The means of transport to Moldova from the west are limited. There are expensive flights and overcrowded buses, but for those looking for a retro-chic experience of real travel, there […]