It’s not often that you get a Romanian connection in Australian television advertising, but here’s one. German grocery retailer Aldi has produced an advert about the “Perfect Aussie Christmas”. It’s supposed to be set in a (fictitious) Scandinavian town called Julbacken, but the real life location in the advert is Biertan in Transylvania, Romania. According to some reports, the centre of the nearby town of Mediaș was used in filming too. However, the most scenic bits, in which you can see the historic fortified Saxon church (pictured above), are definitely set in Biertan. And yes, you can hear Romanian in the advert too.
The ad looks at the sort of things an Australian might do over Christmas (where it is bloody hot at the time of the year) and transposes them to Europe (where it is bloody cold). Hence there is a surf lifesaving team dressed in “budgie smugglers” * – the swimwear much favoured by our Prime Minister (and Bernardo too, I might add, when he does his swimming). And there are demonstrations of cricket games and impersonations of hopping kangaroos.
Oh, and if you are wondering what the “Duni” wooden shack is, that is a “dunny” – an outdoor toilet. For some reason, in early Australian housing, the dunnies were set up in isolation away from the rest of the house, usually right at the bottom of the back yard. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night must have been laborious, and scary for the kids.
Here is the advert in which Romania is looking good …
Unfortunately I did not get to see Biertan on my visit to Romania last year. The language course I did there included a cultural outing from Sibiu to Sighișoara (the other famous Saxon citadels in the region) but not Biertan, even though it is only about 10km off the main road. I believe Biertan is now included in the itinerary. I will do it next time!
* The Urban Dictionary says budgie smugglers is ‘Australian slang term for men’s tight-fitting Speedo-style swimwear. The ‘lump in the front’ apparently resembles a budgie when it is stuffed down the front of someone’s shorts.’
Going from Biertan to Sydney, Australia, here is a fun look at budgie smugglers … and you can see why Australia is such a popular destination for Europeans at Christmas time – the beach and surf looks fantastic. I’ll smuggle my budgie this summer.