Posted by: Naomi Baltuck | August 20, 2015

Jiggity Jog

The summer days flew by in a blur.

One of our family’s favorite ways to connect is to share a travel adventure.

We stopped over in England to raise a glass with Cousin Nancy at The Eagle and Child, a favorite hangout of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Then on to Romania


…and Slovakia.

It was like stepping back in time.

In some places horse-drawn carts and hay wagons were almost as common as automobiles.

Travelers shared the road, no matter what their mode of conveyance.

During haying time in Romania…

…everyone seemed to be out working in the fields with their wooden rakes and hayforks.

Grandma and Grandpa too. 

While shepherds watched over their sheep, as they have done since time out of mind.

We visited beautiful villages…

…and cities.

We saw the ancient painted churches of Bucovina, designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We tried some new things…

…met some new friends…

…and made memories which we shall enjoy for the rest of our lives.

It’s thrilling to go out into the world, but just as wonderful to come home again.

We found a treasure or two on our travels, but the best souvenirs…

…are always the new friendships, insights, and perspectives we carry home with us.

All words and images c2015 Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Connected.


  1. Beautiful. I love sharing your family’s adventures and visions. Tell Eli he looks very handsome in a beard!

    • Hi Scilla,

      Thanks for stopping by–it is always so good to hear from you! YOur message to Eli made me smile–I will pass it on. I like the beard too, although he might have shaved by now, as he started his new teaching job in Mexico last week.

  2. Sounds and looks fabulous. Lucky you to be able to travel still with your kids.

    • Dear Lisa,
      Thanks so much for the visit. I know how fortunate I am to be able to travel with my adult kids, and I value each trip all the more, knowing that it could the the last one before they get caught up in all their grownup-type commitments, like jobs and families, etc. Lately we have to be contortionists to make all our schedules intersect long enough to steal away for a couple of weeks, but it’s always worth the effort. We are choosing destinations that incorporate the kids’ plans and make it easier to get together–Bea was in Romania and Istanbul to do research for a project on Yiddish folk music in the area. Or letting them choose destinations that interest them enough to travel with their parents, which is the only way Thom and I would have made it to the Amazon!

  3. What fun! Thanks for taking me along with your photos. ❤ Quiet here, but with songs for Labor Day . . .

    • Dear Mary,
      Thanks so much for coming along. And thank you for including the link to Labor Day songs. We grew up listening to Woody Guthrie and the Weavers–there are some familiar songs on that list!

  4. Hay stacks and horns and food and family can’t be beat. Wonderful adventure.

    • Hi Carol, it was a good summer–I can’t believe it’s almost over! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a kind word.

  5. Naomi! Thank you again for sharing a bit of the world, and your world. You so open my horizons. Your words, ideas and photos are gifts. Thank you ~ Mary

    • HI Mary,
      Thank you for your kind encouragement, as always! I hope you are well!

  6. And that is how memories are made!

    • I love it! (And I know that you are one who knows, because I have loved sharing in your family’s adventures!)

  7. Delightful! How lucky your two offspring are to have been born into an adventure-loving family.

    • HI Cathryn,
      SO good to hear from you. Thom and I feel just as fortunate to have such good travelers in the family! It’s a win-win-win-win situation. I hope you are well. I enjoyed tripping through your blog this afternoon–you do such good work enlightening and lifting the spirits of your readers!

  8. Beautiful quote, Naomi…It’s thrilling to go out into the world, but just as wonderful to come home again.

    Well said, and so true! Good to see your face. 🙂

    • Thank you, Britt! Nice to be back, and in touch again.

  9. Great to look over your shoulder as you take your lovely family holiday photos, Naomi.Good to see a different part of the world where life goes a little slower.
    And to come home – safe, sound, happy.

    • I love that image, Meg, and am happy to have you ‘looking over my shoulder’! Looking forward to next month, when we can snap our shots and make our observations shoulder to shoulder.
      It was good to see a corner of the world where life’s pace is slower, but even the shepherds had their cell phones. It’s going to change soon, and I’m glad I got the chance to see it now. It was sweet to see a family all loaded onto a cart, coming home from working in the fields, and park the horse, so they could all run into the mini-mart for an ice cream to go!

  10. It’s been too long since I had the opportunity to read another of your travel picture journals. Fantastic pictures make me salivate. Wish I’d known and would have hidden in your suitcase. <4
    Sounds you've had a wonderful summer. Where has it gone so fast this year. 😀

    • Dear Tess, Thanks for always making me smile. I’ve been lying low myself lately, just working on other things. But I’ve missed you! Hoping you get your computer sorted out, and blog about your adventures. I’d love to see a portrait of you and your four sisters!

  11. I was in Romania for the first time this summer. It’s the first time because I know I’ll go back. I love the agriculture culture there, and the food. Nice photos. The ferry boat ride looks like Puget Sound.

    • Hi Kay,
      It was our first trip over there too. What drew you to Romania? My sister’s friend has a place in Rod, about half an hour from Sibiu, and she has spoken of it for several years, and then my daughter wrote a project and received a grant to do some research in Bucharest. She did her research there, and then we all took off to see more of Romania.
      You are right about the ferry boat–we are just up the hill from the sound, and when I see the ferry boats on Puget Sound, I know I am home.

      • I went to Transylvania for a Horror Writers Workshop and toured Bucharest, Bran, and Brasov. We stayed at an inn on a working farm with a super bakery that has a shop in Bran. I lived in Port Angeles about 25 years next to the rain forest and beaches. Puget Sound is beautiful. I’m looking for a grant to go back to Romania. I love the people and culture there.

      • What a great experience. We spent more time in Sibiu, but spent a couple days in Brashov, hiked up the mountain to the big white letter sign, and passed through Bran, but spent more time visiting the painted monasteries of Bucovina and the wooden churches of Maramures. I don’t know if I’ll go back to Romania–there are so many places I haven’t been to yet–but it certainly stands out in my mind. I hope you get that grant!
        I sometimes attend The Forest Storytelling Festival in Port Angeles. It’s a nice little town.

      • I’ve been the that storytelling fesitval. I told stories when I worked at marine labs in PA and PT and in the national park. I need to find opportunities to keep telling, not just writing.

      • There is a lot of storytelling going on the Northwest, and I could put you in touch with storytellers if you let me know what community you’d like to be telling in. I wonder if you know my cousin Bryan Aptekar, who was a ranger in Olympic National Park some time ago.

      • I don’t remember Bryan. I worked at Lake Crescent in the 1990s. I am in Adams and Valley Counties in Idaho, and Boise is about 3 hours away as are Lewiston & Moscow/Pullman. I do some storytelling with my artist in residence for children’s theater in Adams & Valley Counties. It would be nice to have a good audience outside the schools if you can hook me up. Thanks! I’m also in Port Angles several times a year still.

      • Look up the Forest Festival, and it would put you in touch with The Story People of Port Angeles. They sometimes have performances and workshops, and occasionally sponsor house concerts. I don’t know much about the storytelling community in Idaho, but it would be worth looking into. I would be excited to be so close to the Tetons, which is one of our favorite places to visit.

  12. Sounds like a fabulous trip Naomi. Makes me want to go to eastern Europe even more! It’s been on the list for a while now.

    • Hi Alison,

      It’s really surprisingly easy to get around. Go soon because, according to my sister and her friend who has property there, Romania is changing fast as it opens up to tourism and the rest of the world.

      Thanks for the visit, and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  13. Beautiful travel photographs, how nice of you all, to come together all family. Thank you dear Naomi, have a nice day, love, nia

    • Dear Nia,
      Thank you for stopping by. I am so lucky that we are able to still travel as a family–I hardly care where we go, if we can go together.
      You too have a lovely day, Nia.

  14. What a fabulous time, Naomi! Your pictures are awesome and I love the painted churches of Bucovina 😀

  15. Dear Dianne,
    Thanks for the visit. The churches of Bucovina were great–amazing examples of visual storytelling! It sounds like you might have been there–what else did you enjoy?

  16. fab pictures and fab post thank you for sharing so gad you are still here xxxxxxxx

    • Thank you, Kizzy! I have been up to my ears with travel and entertaining guests, etc. but I am still here. Glad you are too! Thanks for the visit, as it is always good to hear from you. I hope your summer is going well.

  17. I enjoyed the way your pictures took us on a tour of your adventures. You are a gifted photographer. It was like reading a picture book. Thank you for letting me enjoy your travels.

    • Dear Gloria,
      Thanks so much for the visit, and thank you for your very kind response. I am looking forward to seeing you soon, and I know you will take us along on your travels–or Coyote’s– through your magical stories.

  18. I love how you don’t just visit a place, you become one with it by experience. So much beauty in the architecture, the dinnerware, and the scenery you share with us.

    • Dear Patti,
      You are so sweet. I’m just so happy that you want to come along. Thank you for your constant encouragement.

  19. Naomi you guys sure know lots more about Europe than I ever will and I’ve been here very many years. And you make sure to properly see and appreciate all that you come across. Lovely post as always.

    • Dear Roy, You are so kind! You know more about Jersey than probably anyone alive! I hope you are well–it’s so good to hear from you.

  20. I love those mixed modes of transport, from the horse and cart to the modern van. It all looks so peaceful and unhurried. Imagine a van-driver being patient around a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of London or New York. So wonderful, Naomi, for you and your family to have had the chance to experience places with such a different pace of life.

    • I treasure it more than I can say, Sarah. Each trip I expect will be the last, as the kids grow older with adult commitments to school, work, friends, etc. and it gets harder to plan each trip around those commitments, but well worth it. We have to keep upping the destination-ante, and the kids are definitely keep us on our toes. There was a time when we hesitated to go to Eastern Europe, but with one kid pushing and the other pulling, it was very easy! Now I don’t know why we would ever have given it a second thought. Especially now that the kids are grown and Eli is better traveled than his parents, and is very helpful in planning process, we are much more open to going to the places the kids want to see. Thank you so much for the visit, and your thoughtful comment.

      • I think that Eastern Europe is far more open to having visitors these days, isn’t it? And it’s very good for their economies to have people coming there and spending some money, as there is still a lot of poverty there. Not that I’ve visited any European countries. In fact I’ve hardly travelled at all. Only in my imagination. Your kids are so lucky to have two parents who love to adventure.

      • Hi Sarah,
        Eastern Europe is opening up, and it is also one of the best bargains for travelers on a budget. I couldn’t believe how far we could stretch a dollar there.
        We are so lucky that the kids love to travel too. And it’s never too late. England is a great jumping off point for exploring the continent, and you don’t have to go far to see a very different place. That just amazes me about Europe!

  21. What a great summer you had, Naomi. Beautiful photos – I love the one of the haystacks in Romania. We’ve been traveling across Serbia seeing haystacks but I would love to know how they construct them. Did you see any being erected? ~Terri

    • Thank you for the visit. We saw people piling hay on hay, as in the Grandma and Grandpa shot, but the other kind of haystack was already in place when we saw them. My guess is that an upright pole acted as an anchor, and held the stack in place, and the sticks that look like spider legs support that pole from the outside.

  22. Your post pushed all my travel buttons, Naomi. Romania has been on my mind as I’ve been reading so much about it in the travel news. I would love to go someday, but for now, I am happy to enjoy it through your eyes.
    Take care!

    • Hi Elisa,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I hope you do get there, but I am so glad that you could come along on a virtual visit. It is always good to hear from you.

  23. Brilliant post, Naomi. Love the photos, as always.

  24. Thank you, Jean!

  25. Ooo-eee-ah!. Love all the images, but especially the dance pic.

    • Thanks, Richard! It was great to stumble upon that!

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