zondag 15 februari 2015

Lady Dorothy Kennard -- 15 februari 1916

• Lady Dorothy Katherine Barclay Kennard verbleef in de jaren 1915-1917 in Roemenië en schreef over die periode een dagboek.

February 1916. — When the snow fell really deep and the surface of it froze, we packed an outfit for winter sport and entrained for the mountains. Sinaia is the obvious resort on these occasions, in the same fashion as it offers for the summer a respite from the dog days. The hotels stand open in winter, as does the casino in ordinary years. But this time the war had closed those treacherous doors.

The hotels are primitive for a country which inclines instinctively towards display of luxury. One cannot even obtain a comfortable bath. But Roumania borders enough upon Eastern countries to catch rays from their winter sunshine, and it is no hardship to spend long days out of doors. Bobsleighs and skis multiplied with marvellous rapidity, and those amongst us who ignored the possibilities of both were invited to go "footing" for miles over the snow. Blue-misted valleys and ravines where mountain water flowed made switchbacks for pointed hills of fir trees, and one recalled obscure parts of Switzerland, immortalised in guide-books. Villas sprouted everywhere, built in painted wood on the Swiss cottage system, and one was hard put to it to remember that one was in the Balkans.

Little of import occurred here, but I myself, who am a maniac for scenery, carried away a mind-picture of the view from Santa Anna mountain, where we enjoyed a moonlit dinner eaten off rugs spread on the snow, and danced to music made by villagers in a wooden hut built to shelter travellers overnighted on the peak. As far as the war was concerned we remained passive spectators only, and that at an immense distance. But from Ploesti came the news that the year was to be a record one for petrol output. The Roumanians themselves are only just beginning to understand how rich they can so easily become; how should outsiders guess it! It appears that on the Austrian frontiers live stock has been surreptitiously sold in large quantities to the enemy. But one can hardly call this treachery; the prices offered were stupendous and the traffickers were peasants. Still, the tale is not a pretty one in view of the very stringent military laws recently passed, and I am glad to say that the offenders were duly punished.

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