Hello, September, we’ve been expecting you to paint our autumn with your incredible colour palette!
Quick, grab your backpack, there is no time to explain!
We are heading towards Zabola Estate, Mikes Castle, in the heart of breathtaking and already notorious Transylvania and we are looking not for Dracula, but for relaxation, somewhere close to the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature and mostly, clear silence. We believe this is one of our major sources of inspiration for all garments produced by iELM, being in the now, and being very attentive to everything surrounding us; sometimes, inspiration simply occurs when you are in the right place. We have found some of these amazing places and we would not want to keep them a secret for ourselves! We will absolutely share our iELM travels and insights with you.
The tiny Zăbala village, where the estate is located, lies at just 230 kilometers outside of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. Following a road carved through mountains, the drive up to the castle is spectacular and very authentic – flocks of sheep might cross the street right before your eyes, cow herds may be grazing on nearby fields, colourful traditional houses of Transylvanian heritage gather here and there, home to small communities of Hungarian origins. The story began when a Hungarian Countess from Transylvania married an honourable Indian Chowdhury.
A big gate greets all guests to the estate. From here on, fairytales are a vivid and beautiful reality, unfolding with each step taken. The immense park expands up to the hills and beyond them, into the forest, while mansions accommodating visitors are spread across the estate.
If you forgot to leave all your thoughts, concerns or problems at the entrance, worry not, this place will determine you to forget and to submerge in an oasis of recreation.
Laying on sunbeds in the kind autumn sun, facing the pond; discovering the big lake and the tiny island on it; visiting all mansions and their amazing rooms; grabbing a bike and riding it alongside the village; climbing the hill up to the forest and exploring the wooden pavilion and the sauna in the woods; walking the visible and hidden tracks; simply admiring the landscape; meeting the horses and the sheep; horse riding; breathing the very clear air of the forest; reading your favourite book on a blanket in the middle of the forest. Not a complex dream, these activities are the tangible reality inside Zabola Estate.
Dinner will be served in the Old Stables, and candlelight, delicious food and a great music selection are included on the regular menu. Drinking a hot cup of tea under one of the terrace’s arches, while listening to crickets and looking deeper into complete darkness is a must before bedtime!
A night walk down the alleys towards The Machine House, everything covered in darkness. Up the creaky stairs, on the corridor, last one on the left: The Red Room. Continue your evening with a good book read in the bathtub, cosy fire in the fireplace, and dreamy Debussy with Arabesque no. 1 and no. 2 in the background.
The Universe was kind to us during our stay in Zabola Estate, wasn’t it? With our clear, inspired minds we can now go back to dreaming and imagining, drawing and sketching, tailoring and sewing beautiful little iELM unique pieces of clothing.
Places such as Mikes Castle, not very far from the iELM manufactory (around 190 kilometers on an extremely picturesque road), which fill your soul with good energy, which feed your creative mind with fresh ideas, which increase your unconditional love for nature, which entail new discoveries and exploration of both our outer and inner worlds – should be among the first ones on our autumn activities lists.
Last sweet and delicious tip for the road back: make a stop in Ozun (Hungarian: Uzon) and buy the famous Kürtőskalács, a spit cake specific to Hungary.