Arguments for “VisitFactories” Travels Part 3

There is another meaningful story I want to tell, that of the birth of VisitFactories. More than 25 years have passed since the events in Part 2. During this time I worked as an engineer, leaving my town Resita only for travel, even if we all here powerlessly, but not impassibly, assisted how its once famous industry became history.  Many of the younger ones, as my partner Andreea, and Danny, her husband, had to leave in order to be able to fulfill their dreams.

As it often happened to collaborate with Danny’s father, an elder colleague and friend of mine, we talked a lot about what should happen but doesn’t happen and what can we do to change something. We both agreed that the most important thing is to restore the trust in ourselves, our hopes, through a  mobilizing project, a plan.  So I remembered how my father showed me, a 5 years old boy, how a project can make the impossible become possible. I realized over time that the situations are perfectly similar and so began our project.

First I asked my friends Andreea and Danny just their help for an IT solution, but step by step, learning more details about our new project, they saw how well it can fit their own tastes, dreams and travel experiences they had in USA, and we completed it creatively. At this point we understood together, that there are a lot of universal values to discover in the so called “industrial tourism”, exceeding its apparently narrow adresability. The best argument are Andreea and Danny themselves.

Arguments for “VisitFactories” Travels Part 2

In Part 1 of these series I told you about my childhood years. Now I want to remember a few stories that took place during my years as a student in college. I had a very special teacher (at that time he was about 70) teaching about hydro power plants. The lessons were usually lasting 2 hours. As he didn’t leave the classroom during the breaks, he liked to talk with us, especially to tell stories about various things, both personal and professional ones too. There was a favorite subject: his travels – he couldn’t stop telling and I was among those who could never stop listening. Often it happened that his stories filled the whole second class hour and only another teacher who followed in that classroom could stop us.

Some of his travel stories were about his car – a Wartburg (an east German, 2 stroke engine car making an awesome noise and leaving a cloud of smoke; at that time, in 1985 – 1986, it was over 20 years old), about several sculptors – he liked Mestrovic, about his study excursion in Italy in the end of the 1930s, in Rome, Florence and Venice,  and about some visits he paid to some  famous hydro power stations worldwide.

It was then when I got a lot of arguments that  Fontana di Trevi in Rome, the Pieta of Michelangelo, or the hydro power stations from Itaipu (Brazil), from the Volga river (Russia), from the Danube’s Iron Gates and from Breazova (a  small unknown station, but among the first built in Europe, at only 20 km from my home), are each, in their own way, sublime. It was short after his story I visited that power station near my town. I remembered every word, every indication of my teacher, and so it really was: about how to drive on the bad forest way,  about where and how to turn and park the car, about the Ganz Mavag original generator and many others.

Arguments for “VisitFactories” Travels Part 1

The first and most important question behind our approach is  why are we motivated by  a factory tour,  by discovering how some of our most important goods are made, by a helicopter ride, a submarine dive, by trying ourselves a race car or by a railway steam locomotive’s magnitude and a vintage limousine’s elegance?  Why are we impressed by a certain city, bridge, building or work of art? And last but not least, what are we bringing special with our approach?

Since I can’t talk for others, or just expose some theories, I’d better tell  my own stories. I was born in Resita the oldest and most important industrial town of Romania and my parents were both engineers. My mother taught in a technical college, my father designed hydraulic turbines and  later he became chief engineer in a mechanic enterprise, so I took “factory tours” from my very early childhood.


The Grebla Power Station (in Resita, 1904, the oldest in Romania)