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     Tzigania Project offering this Rare and Unique.........

       Experiencing a sociological – anthropological - environmental – and herbalist
 perspective to the extremely marginalized (to the edges of the forest), 
impoverished (poorest of the poor), archaic (19th century living) - Gypsy communities


                    - The Forest Gyspies... Khashtalo -Romantic Lonliness

                         Foragers of the Forest

The Forest Gypsies (Khashtalo) are found living between the stream (their water source) and forest (their gardens). While Europeans cultivated the valleys the marginalized Roma harvested the forests where they scavenged their daily meal and income

The sad - lonely Forest Gypsies - known in Roma society as "Khashtalo" - linger at the very bottom of Roma hierarchy.
They are the outsiders - the outcastes. They stand alone, rejected by their Romanian neighbors because they are "gypsies" and at the same time by  their Roma brethren for having lost the Roma langauge and culture -
as the Roma proverb attests:  
“who is ashamed of his language – is ashamed of his mother”

These are the Khashtale - the Untouchables of Roma society.

             Forest Gypsy Decor                    

 Visiting the Forest Gypsies of Hetea is a virtual journey back in time... It’s a horse and wagon community, where automobiles do not come,  Where water is hauled out of a single well shared by all and their daily meal comes from the blessings of Mother Nature. While Europeans cultivated the valleys, the Gypsies freely gather their needs from the backyard forests. The wild, dark and mysterious forests act as their gardens. They gather mushrooms, berries and wild greens that are sold or bartered in the village and city markets.  

 

Forest Gypsy Architecture     Collecting wood      Mushrooms

 Their archaic culture is a combination of antiquated Romanian traditions and marginalize life of the forest.

  

Koka gypsy bread

Tzigania Project and the Forest Gypsies of Hetea invite YOU into the community of outcaste to meet the families and break bread (the Khashtalo bread" Koka" ). Learn about the life directly from the source (the people) and experience this rare view inside the community where outsiders don't come .  

Collecting Mushrooms:  the hidden-away Khashtalo have been harvesting the forest for centiries. Like forest gnomes they know the dark, mysterious forest like the back of their hands... 
Learn mushroom collecting from the people who survive scavanging the forest for a 1000 years  

 More Reading on the origins and culture: Khashtalo - the Outcastes

                 Forest Health Benefits (interesting article) -  Forest Bathing
 

Tzigania Project offer various choices designed to meet the budget and interest of everyone

"universal affordability is our mission" 

Our Various Options 


HostelMushroom Collection
with the Experts
Community / Family
Visit
Breaking Bread
Meal Options
   
Gypsy Folk Music The Trades:
Workshop program in development



MUSHROOM COLLECTING with the EXPERTS

Day Out With the Forest Gypsies (Khashtale wagon ride)

Time Duration 2-3 hours

A unique authentic experiece of a day with the Forest Gypsies (a slice of real life - Khashtalo style) … Wagon ride with Forest Gypsy family Vasile and Donna into the forest collecting mushroom (and other eatable / sellable forest produce). Sense the serenity of the sacred forest that is both beautiful, pristine and frightfully dangerous (the Forest Gypsies back yard)… 
Forest Health Benefits (interesting article) - 
 Forest Bathing
Learn the art of the forest harvest from the true experts.  (- Option: the program offers optional "Shatra" break where we make Gypsy camp - Gypsy fire and BBQ picnic with the family in the holistic forest.-)  Then it's to the Khashtalo village.  See the life: architecture, style and decor, occupations, severe poverty (reality) from inside. Visit to Vasile and Donna's house for some freshly made "koka" (Gypsy bread) and taste of some of our freshly picked mushrooms made by the Gypsies in Gypsy style... 
Mmmmmm –so good....

Visiting Khshtalo of Hetea is more than just mushrooms. Learn first hand the styles and customes of these severely marginalized people
the history  and that social break that caused their sad and lonely untouchable status.....

Visit includes humble guide ChuckTodaro offering objective insight to Khashtale and Roma culture...



Number PersonsHostel GuestsDay Visit Guests
170 Lei 100 Lei 
2120 Lei
 (60 per-person)
150 Lei
 (75 per-person)
3150 Lei
 (50 per-person)
200 Lei
 (66 per-person)
4190 Lei
 (48 per-person)
250 Lei
 (63 per person)



Additional option

making the most of your time

  • "Shatra" option (Gypsy camp) BBQ / Picnic in Forest (a meal with the family).....We take a pause during the hunt for a Gypsy fire and BBQ / picnic in the forest clearing... Make a meal of it...This option requires only food purchase. Approximately 50 lei .
  • music performance by the unique Gypsy folk music (CD in the making)
  • Visit to the schoolhouse assist in our goals to stimulate education in the community nearly 100% illiterate or semi-illiterate
  • The trades : broom-making / basket-making (learning workshop in development)
  • HOSTEL STAY - click here for more info
  • MEAL OPTIONS - click here for more info





Budgeted Family / Community Visit With the Forest Gypsies (Khashtale) inlcudes wagon ride

Time Duration 1-2 hours

Day begins with a wagon ride along the long lonely road to the community... ride into the community... See the life: architecture, style and decor, occupations, severe poverty (reality) from inside.  Then to the hillside home of host family Vasile and Donna for a sit down chat and the making of some freshly made "koka" (Gypsy bread) and  (if a available) taste of some freshly picked mushrooms made by the Gypsies in Gypsy style...  Mmmmmm – so good....


Include your humble guide ChuckTodaro offering objective insight to Khashtale and Roma culture...




Number PersonsHostel GuestsDay-Visit Guests
50 Lei 80 Lei 
80 Lei
 (40 per-person)
100 Lei
 (50 per-person)
105 Lei
 (35 per-person)
140 Lei
 (47 per-person)
140 Lei
 (35 per-person)
170 Lei
 (43 per-person)



Family / Community Visit Additional Option

"making the most of your time"

  • "Khashtalo Meal with Family"  Extend your stay and expereince and let's eat Khashtalo cuisine.... This option includes only additional 15 lei per person + food and drink cost
  • Music Performance by the unique Gypsy folk music (CD in the making)
  • Visit to the schoolhouse assist in our goals to stimulate education in the community nearly 100% illiterate or semi-illiterate
  • The trades : broom-making / basket-making (learning workshop in development)
  • HOSTEL STAY - click here for more info
  • MEAL OPTIONS - click here for more info



Contact us with ANY questions
tziganiatours@tzigania.com
Phone (May-Nov):
(+40) 758 55 66 70





Gypsy magic mushroomGypsy houseGypsy and medicinal flowersMaking Gypsy bread
Gypsy FireGypsy forest greencoca breadHetea Flower Mushroomfresh mushrooms and gypsy bread
Mushrooms in a basketHetea womenFlower MushrooHetea by Wagon







Our Location and Directions
Location: Village Valcele county Covasna.
25 km east of Brasov
 (Brasov – villages SanPetru – Bod - Araci – Valcele – Sf Gheorghe (11 km west of city Sf Gheorghe) 
By BUS departing from BRASOV
 
Bus to Valcele departs at bus station at Brasov “gara de north” (main train station). Bus departs Mon-Fri: 7:30 AM / 4 PM / 7:30 PM. Sat and Sun: 7:30 / 4 PM  (40 minutes – 6 lei). Step down at Valcele (last stop).

   Continue along the main road in the direction of the bus, pass the village center, then up the hill, pass a church on your left, followed by communal well (on left). About 20 meters after the well is a small bridge. Take the left hand turn just before the bridge and follow the stream… We are the 1st house on the right. Cross at the iron bridge

BUS from BRASOV via SF. GHEORGHE

  At Brasov “gara de north” (main train station): On left hand side facing the train station is a single bus stop to Sf. Gheorghe. Bus departs every half hour.. (30 minutes:  10 lei)

  Bus from Sf, Gheorghe to Valcele departs 1 PM and 4 PM. Bus can be met at the main bus terminal (near train station) and city center bus stop (in front of park. In front of row of flower shops)