November 25, 2019

Belgium - Tongeren - Dacia Felix Exhibition

Recently I had the privilege of visiting an exhibition like now other, an exhibition that connects my home country, Romania with my now-living-in country Belgium/Luxembourg. Its name is "Dacia Felix" and it is organised within the Europalia Festival manifestations at the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren, Belgium, an hour and a half drive from Luxembourg.

As I've written once more about Europalia when we went to visit the Brâncuși Exhibition in Brussels,  an art festival in essence, Europalia celebrates every two years a country's cultural heritage. Established in 1969 in Brussels, the festival has events in all the neighbouring countries from October to January. The festival expenses are shared between Belgium and the invited country, and in 2019-2020 that is Romania.
When in 106 AD the Romans managed to annex to their empire the new province, Dacia, they found there a well established civilisation, different from the barbaric tribes they found in Britania, for example. Barbaric in the sense the Romans used it, is any populations that lives outside the Roman Empire. So, as you can see Dacia is not a reliable and well known, cheap car, it is the Province that existed in the territory that is now Romania, before the Romans conquered it.

The emperor that managed to conquer Dacia after two very destructive wars was Trajan and upon his return to Rome he build a column and a museum, in existence today, to celebrate his victory. Because he did that we now have a lot of information about the Dacians and some of those information were used in documenting this exhibition.

I think it is a mammoth exhibition with hundreds of small objects collected from multiple museums in Romania and transported safely to Belgium. The exhibition is well documented, presenting the stages of Dacian habitation of the territory as well as the migratory stages that passed through the territory, the Celts, the Scythians, the Greeks and finally the Romans. The audio guide explanations are well thought off and there are even simplified explanations for children. All in all a round event, worth visiting.

The exhibition will be opened until April, 26th of 2020 and the price ticket is 10 euros.
As we learned in school, Decebal the Dacian king and Trajan the Roman emperor were the founding fathers of Romania. It is said that after conquering Dacia, Trajan went to Rome and partied for three days displaying the spoils of war, among other huge quantities of gold, Dacians gold. Inside the museum he build to commemorate the occasion he placed two similar busts of Decebal and his own in similar size. The historians who documented this exhibition say he did that to prove how hard was his victory and that he conquered a well established people and not some scattered tribes. 
I have a personal history with these bracelets. A total of 13 gold bracelets were recuperated by the Romanian government from several diggers that found the bracelets around the Sarmisegetusa Regia, the former capital of Dacia in the time of Decebal. After a very long and intricate investigation all the 13 bracelets were recuperated and some of them were exhibited at the National History Museum in Bucharest, Romania. In that time I was a radio journalist in Bucharest and I've followed the story about the bracelets and even went to the opening of the exhibition. They are special because they prove the Dacians were gold smiths, the previous recuperated Dacian bracelets were made of silver and had the same design. It is believed that the gold ones belonged the the rich and upper class citizens of Dacia and the silver to the poor. They are also the prove that a well established civilisation inhabited the lands before the Romans came and conquered it. 
This is a ritualistic mask and the person wearing it meant to impress his adversaries. Its intricate design bears a lot of symbols we recognise today. I recommend you see it from all angles when you go and visit the exhibition and it is a must to take an audio-guide (it is free) and listen to all the explanations.  
Another ritualistic object, it is made of silver with gold inlay and some parts as the eyes and the horns did not survived. What I found interesting on the horn (it is a goblet) is that on it you can see women drinking from it, maybe a goddess?  
Another object that has a special meaning to me. It is an object made to support the outfit of the women, similar to a brooch. It was discovered in Bulgaria, as the Dacian territory stretched over the Danube, but similar pieces were discovered in what we today call, Romania. It represents a deity and the birds on her shoulders and a symbol of unity. It is important to me, because I've used an image of the piece in my conference promoting the Romanian Blouse. You can clearly see that the blouse had the similar shape and ornaments as a contemporary IA. So to see the piece up close and take my own pictures of it, is, believe me, an grand occasion. 

Of course the exhibition has many more objects, some more interesting than the ones I've chose to show you. You can only discover them if you visit. I hope you liked reading this post as much as I liked putting it together and as usual we can continue chatting on Instagram, find me @mademoiselle.ralu

November 4, 2019

Luxembourg - Anne's Kitchen Cooking Classes at Auchan

As part of the Kachen Blog Awards (I promise I will write more about that) I had the opportunity to cook alongside Anne Faber a Luxembourgish food addict, as she describes herself. She was the first contact I had with Luxembourg when I stumbled upon her cooking book at one of the book shops in town. The only book I could actually read at that time, the only one in English.

I've read the recipe book (I know you don't read it, you follow it in creating delicious food, but have you met me?) and even tried the Bouneschlupp with her twist so for a while in my cook book shelf at home there was Nigella and Anne. I have to point out that her book, Home sweet home My Luxembourg is more than just a book with recipes. It is also a guide of Luxembourg of some sorts, so every time I would see a place from her pictures I became more familiar with my new home.

Fast forward a couple of years when Instagram made it to Luxembourg and I've started following her, and marvelled at her delicious culinary travels, gabbled up her stories, saved her pictures as future inspiration. Safe to say I knew her cooking style and wanted to take part in her cooking classes. The day came mediated by the team of Kachen Blog Awards and I was the first one to sign up.
So on a sunny Saturday evening we went to the cooking classes at Auchan in Cloche d'Or. We had to make five dishes and I have to say that I made 80% of them alone. As you already know, my husband cooks in our house.
Here he is helping Anne in mixing the dough for sausage muffins.
As the title suggest, we made finger food with a twist, Smoked Trout Pancake Rolls, Sausage Muffins, Vietnamese Summer Rolls, Truffle Hummus, Sausage Rolls and Marmalade Fizz.
Out of all I liked more the Truffle Hummus on bread and the dip of the Vietnamese Summer Rolls which are made in a similar way to the Romanian sarmale, just that on the Romanian recipe the ingredients are cooked in the cabbage roll. 

After we cooked, we got to share the food and it was delicious, we talked and got to know each other and left the workshop with a doggy bag (which I shamelessly eaten myself saving nothing for Luna) and a goody bag. It was a relaxed Saturday spent in the middle of busy Auchan Cloche d'Or.
So thank you so much for this opportunity, Kachen Blog Awards Team, Auchan Cloche d'Or and Anne's Kitchen. I actually suggest following those handles on social media as you will find more about Anne's Workshops and about the Blog Awards.
I hope you liked reading this post as much as I liked putting it together and as usual we can continue chatting on Instagram, find me @mademoiselle.ralu