Sunday, 30 October 2011

84 A bit of Romanian history.

The Romanians have had a hard life. They have been pushed from pillar to post by successive raids from the Austrians and the Turks to name but a few. The only stability being bought in by the likes of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the impaler) in the 1400s who is regarded as a national hero in Romania as opposed to how we tend to think of him.
The country was even used as a gift from Turkey to Austria at one time.
Then following the Russian take over after WW2 they were forced into communism. In 1965 a Communist dictator took over, Nicolae Ceausescu. He along with his wife Elena started to bring some freedom from the Russians for the first decade of their rule but after that things went a bit drastic.
He (with much imput from her indoors) decided to create some sort of master race and orderd all women not to use contraception and outlawed abortion. He also orderd all women to have 4 children, and laterly 5. This birthing explosion left the counrty as a whole with more children than it could manage and huge orphanages were set up. The children in these places were malnourished and abused. The stronger ones were groomed to become part of the secret police whilst the weaker ones were left to lie in squalor.
These children have become known as 'Ceausescu's Children'
Before all this came to fruition, the communist empire collapsed and in 1989 the Ceausescu's with it. The country revolted against him and the Army joined in on December 22nd. The Caeusescu's tried to escape ina helicopter but were captured.
They were both sent to trial for crimes against the state. The trial started on Christmas day and lasted a whole 2 hours after which they were both taken away immediately and given some good news via a few AK47 assault rifles.
The orphanges did not close down and even 12 years later they were still in operation. Romania used the excuse that it had insufficient funds to deal with them.

Caeusescu wasted a lot of the countries minimal wealth on stupid costly projects. One of which is now known as Ceausescu's Folly. It is a road, officially called the Transfagarasan Highway, and it was daubed "a spectacular monument to earth-moving megalomania". It is a road straight over a high mountain range, intended for military purposes. There are several adequate roads that go around it.
The road was built by soldiers, of which about 40 died. About 6 million kilos of explosive were used on the Nothern face. It is like a mad snake over the mountain. 

Those of you who watch "Top Gear" will have seen Clarkson & co driving unfeasably overpriced sports cars over this mountain pass.

The only good thing is that we are going over it later today......  

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