The Romanian Road Less Travelled

One of the most challenging blogs I’ve wanted to share with you from our world trip so far is this one.

Romania has stolen my heart, and I am simply in love with the diversity, beauty, and splendor that unfolded before me, over these past weeks.  I have about 200 photographs I could load up here, so this has been torture to pick only a few to share.

Romania – the mix of old and new, rich and poor, young and old, city and country, snow-covered mountains, and pretty green plains; and more – has made the photo selection the hardest ever.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – snow covered trees

So when we started our mini road trip from Viscri to the north of Romania we first stopped at Corund. this is the home of Romanian pottery. Shops line the street. I believe you can also visit workshops but we were time-strapped that day. Here Explorason selected three Birthday gifts for me.  The pottery is gorgeous, but take a good look at the edges where the cream glaze is, chips so easily.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Corund hand-painted pottery

We visited the Praid Salt Mine. To access this you buy a bus ticket in the street, and it departs around the corner. It is confusing.  You then go down a tunnel in the old bus and when you enter the mine, it really is a giant entertainment area – with free wifi.  There is play equipment, people having picnics, restaurants, and even a bar, and a cinema.  It is a healthy place for people with skin and breathing problems, and it did assist me.  I felt clearer to breathe when we emerged to the surface again. However, it is a real let down if you think you are seeing a salt mine as we did – you are not. The cathedral was the only thing I wanted to see and it as closed for renovation.  It was a weekday and it was deader than a dodo.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Praid Salt Mine

And then around an area called Ghiorghieni, the landscape and houses changed.  I could have caused a 4 car pile-up and have my biggest regret not taking more photographs on this road.  Look at this fantastic old building.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – lovely wooden old buildings

The ornate gutter and metal work are very detailed. I saw much more interesting carved wood homes, and fancy ironwork, but again, I couldn’t stop. I am tempted to go back, Just to drive this road, armed with my camera.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – ornate gutters and roof edging

Then there was a myriad of frozen water cascade as we drove along, but nowhere to stop.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – frozen water

And then of course in the North of Romania in the Suceava region, there are the painted Monasteries. This one is Voronet.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Voronet

Horses and carts share the roads with cars – Explorason took this great pic as he drove out onto the road.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – horse, and cart

There are sheep farmers with their sheepskin coats in the center of Romania.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – sheep farmers

There are painted houses and churches that I loved.  And there are the Gypsies.  I love this photo for the color combination. For the fact the church is one color, the Gypsy is another, and the snow is white.

I have been criticised for taking photos of the Gypsies in Romania, but against the white, they show color, and their Indian heritage is still carried through.

However, the stories that have given Romania a bad wrap are not true. Romania is safe. It is an eclectic mix here in Romania, but as I said, there are rich and poor, and this goes for the Gypsies also. Some build massive houses of which I also took many a photo of. Interestingly, some also build the massive houses, and animals only live in them!


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – colorful Gypsies and painted churches

There are Gypsies that share the Saxon style homes also. Happy people who spoke to us and helped us on our way.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – friendly Gypsies

In the north, we also visited another Salt Mine and it was very different from Praid. Here at Cacica Mine, we saw cathedrals, a ballroom, a sports field, a playground, an artificial lake, and a working mine – all in the one area. We even saw miners hand picking the entrance to a new mine area.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Cacica Salt Mine

This ornate old wooden house complete with the traditional covered well is on the road to the Cacica mine in that very town. In fact – we drove through towns and saw women actually drawing water from the street wells, and children drinking from the clean water taps that flowed to the troughs for the animals.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Wooden house and water well at Cacica

Ice crosses on the side of the road, or in front of churches and monasteries were seen several times by us too.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – we saw quite a few crosses of ice

Painted ceilings and walls both internally and internally decorated the churches and monasteries. These also dripped with gold candle lights. Some even had Ostrich Eggs as part of the light decorations.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – painted ceilings, frescoes and gold candelabras

We went to a small town where black glazed pottery was being made, and we stood in the workshop as the men threw pot after pot on the wheel at Marginea.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Marginea – black pottery

One day I drove through the northern mountains around Parcul Naţional Munţii Rodnei, and I have no idea about the town, but all the houses were ornately painted.  I think it might be called Ciocăneşti.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – decorated houses

The snow was 1-2 meters thick on the sides of the road and as we passed a twisty turn, there was a monastery or church right no the mountaintop.


We often armed ourselves with goodies to pass out if we asked and locals agreed for us to take a photograph.  Look at these two adorable women – virtually dressed to match.  Life might be a heck of a lot simpler for them, but they look so happy!


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – happy locals

And then towards Sighetu Marmaţiei, you have wooden monasteries.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – wooden monasteries

Just out of this town we met a lovely old lady who had a sign up saying her house was a Museum.

In fact, she sold antique cloth and rugs.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – antique runs and cloths

She was one of the happiest souls we met.  We loved her pot tree outside the kitchen where she dries her pots. If there is a white spot on the top, there is a woman who is available for marriage in the home.


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – pot trees

And as we left Romania the Merry Cemetery was Explorason’s favorite.  On one side was carved and painted their profession, and the other side what they liked to do. Many are so sad. (The link was supplied by my new Romanian friends Lucian – thanks).


Exploramum and Explorason – Romania – Merry Cemetery.

So as we farewell to Romania, we hope we have inspired you to visit.  And if you visit we encourage you to contact Beyond Dracula for all your tourism needs, or Hotel of Ice for a unique experience.  

If you want to go and stay at the Hotel of Ice, please leave a message and I have HUGE Discount codes I can offer you if you want to book not available elsewhere for this season.

Romania – you stole my heart.

I hope I get to return one day.

I have never visited a country quite like you!

Questions and Comments

  •  What do you make of my visit to Romania?
  • Are you a family that travels permanently?
  • What inspired your decision?
  • How has the experience been?
  • Do share your comments with us below.

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