Haystacks and hitching..

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of Romania  ,
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On our first night in Romania we stayed in the town of Satu Mare where a big festival was being held to celebrate 100years of Electrolux (yes - the makers of fridges & vacuum cleaners!!). A strange reason for a festival but it was good fun with lots of Romanian folk singers on a big stage and lots of food and beer. The next day we headed into the Maramaures area, getting a few Romanian lessons off a girl on the bus along the way. This area of Romania is very traditional with lots of horse & carts, haystacks in the fields and wandering cows on the roads. All the locals wear traditional dress and its like being transported back to Medeival times every other person is carrying a pitchfork or a huge scythe (a la the grim reaper!) The people seem to have very little money and thats probably because they spend it all on their churches and monasteries which are really beautiful. The wooden monastery at Barsana is in a fantastic setting surrounded by rolling hills and forests (this is where all the bears and wolves hide - we never saw any!). To get around this area you either take the one daily bus or do what we did - hitch a few miles at a time and then walk off the side roads to visit the attractions. The old wooden church at Ieud was built back in 1364 and was both beautiful and really overgrown. At the next stop, Moisei we had a bit of a disaster - our digital camera broke and although we are hoping we don't lose any pictures we won't be able to take any more until we get it fixed or replaced.....damn!!! The next town Borsa was a bit bigger but still had a lovely river flowing through it - our hotel was still being built though and so come the morning we had no water!!! From there we hitched a lift with Ad & Dinica, a Dutch couple with a campervan who kindly gave us a lift nearly 250kilometres into the region of Bucovina - they even made us lunch by the river along the way! Meeting nice people like these is one of the best parts of travelling... In Bucovina we stayed at Sucevita where they have an amazing Monastery with the outside walls painted with scenes from the Old Testament. A community of nuns still live and work in the Monastery which sets the atmosphere when you see them blessing pieces of wood to be used in restoration or drawing water up from a well. We also visited the Monastery at Voronet which is also painted but in an original blue colour which has apparently been copied the world over... By now we had definitely seen enough religious buildings so we took the daily bus heading South towards the Transylvania region and Dracula country which will be our next stop.
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