From Bulgaria I cross the toll bridge over the Danube to a new country, Romania! A large country with a varied landscape and hospitable inhabitants.
First monastery in Romania
Just across the border at the Orthodox monastery in Maglavit I can spend the night in the parking lot. When I ask if I can take a look inside the church, the key is immediately collected, great! Leo and I walk to the sacred tree near the monastery, where shepherd Petrache Lupu is said to have seen God.
Sailing on the Danube
This was my first monastery in Romania and there will be many more on this trip, but first we will sail on the Danube!
From the town of Orsova we sail in more than 3 hours past the Mraconia monastery (main photo), the rock sculpture of Decebalus and to the Iron Gates Gorge, beautiful! The weather is nice and it’s wonderful to be on the water.
Retezat National Park
In Retezat National Park I am at a campsite in the middle of nature. It’s cooler here and fantastic weather for walking! In the afternoon we walk on the Via Transilvanica route to the next village.
When I return, I receive homemade raspberry jam from the campsite owner and great walking tips for the next day.
I choose a walk at Gura Apelor Lake, an amazing large lake of approximately 8 km long surrounded by forests and mountains.
Churches, monasteries and castles
There are many churches, monasteries and castles to visit in Romania. I visit some special ones!
Such as the small Densus church made entirely of stone and with original paintings from 1400.
Corvin Castle is a gigantic castle. Leo is not allowed inside, so we opt for the adjacent torture museum. A bizarre museum including torture sounds.
The authentic Maramures region is located in the north of Romania. In the small villages there is often only one road and everything happens along that road; houses, shops, church and cemetery, people, cars, street dogs. You can just stop on the road if you have to be somewhere. So there’s plenty to see, drive slowly and enjoy.
Maramures offers much more, see also the italic headings below.
Unesco churches Surdesti en Plopis
The Surdesti (Unesco) church is a Roman Catholic church made entirely of wood and incredibly beautiful on the inside! There is a beautifully decorated area for the men and a sober women’s area. The paintings are still unique and have not been restored. The wooden link chain in the chandelier is made from one piece of wood, wow that’s a lot of work!
The Plopis (Unesco) church a little further on is also made entirely of wood and almost the same, but this is a Roman Orthodox church.
Back in time, Breb
I drive on to Breb, a traditional village in Maramures known for its magnificent wood carvings. Doors, fences, entrance gates made entirely of processed wood. There are also many brightly colored tiled houses.
Today is Sunday and the people in Breb go to church in traditional costumes. A farmer drives past with a horse and carriage and for a moment I feel back in time. In the small village I camp on a campsite with a Dutch owner.
Cheerful cemetery in Sapanta
Sapanta is known for the church with the special and cheerful cemetery. Each grave has a blue wooden cross with an image and (funny) text about the deceased. It is busy in Sapanta, there is a fair and because of the national holiday weekend, many locals are wearing traditional costumes again, beautiful to see!
This large monastery complex contains one of the largest wooden churches in Romania.
It is a interesting peaceful place and a popular destination among pilgrims. Please take a look at this video!
After all these wooden churches we go into nature for a while.
Via a scenic route from Borsa I drive through a green rolling landscape. A long winding road takes me through Bucovina Valley, stunning!
Monasteries Voronet en Sucevita
Voronet Monastery is a small monastery with unique paintings. Not far from Voronet is the Sucevita monastery, also an amazing monastery and busy with many tourists. Now I’m a bit tired of monasteries, time for something different!
The Ukrainian border
I drive to the remote village of Horodnic de Jos near the Ukrainian border where I can camp on the grassland with a farmer. Leo plays with the house dog. After a long walk between the fields and avoiding a flock of sheep with an sheepdog, we can relax.
I am offered warm Gogosi’s (kind of donuts) from the grandmother of the house, what a sweetheart! There is peace and tranquility here, absurd that a terrible war is going on a few kilometers away in Ukraine.
We are now close to Moldova. Another new country for me and the last in the Balkan series. Would you like to read the continuation of my journey? Please click on this link! https://www.marianaroundtheworld.com/en/europe/pure-moldova/
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