Travel to Northern Romania – Episode 488

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Travel to Northern Romania - Amateur Traveler Episode 488

transcript

Hear about travel to Northern Romania as the Amateur Traveler talks to Ralph Velasco of photoenrichment.com about the region that he visited leading a recent photo tour.

We talk about the regions of Maramureş and Bukovina, north of Transylvania. “This area is like taking a step back in time. People are still living in ways that are very interesting.

Ralph and his group flew to the city of Cluj and then drove to the rolling hills and agricultural lands around Budesti. “It is a beautiful part of Romania if not the world. The time of year that we were there which was September was the second harvest of the hay fields.”

“The area has a number of wooden churches. About 8 of them are UNESCO World Heritage sites. They are from about the 1640s. They were built out of wood because at the time they were not allowed to build (orthodox) churches out of stone (by the catholic Austro-Hungarian authorities). Many have been restored. They are very tall. The churches themselves are very small. You go inside and there are hand painted frescos and just beautiful interiors.”

“Another reason to visit is the people working the land. There’s not a lot of mechanical tractors so it’s hand work, people with scythes.” Ralph and the group watched the farmers creating their haystacks just as they have done for generations. Little children and older adults all take part.

They visited Sighetu Marmatiei on the border with Ukraine including a wonderful market. They saw no other tourists. There is a museum in a former prison that describes Romania’s communist past.

In nearby Sapanta there is a cemetery with colorful headstones that tell you about the person’s life and even often depict how they died.

They visited an area known for their mushrooms which are harvested in the woods by some of the Gypsy (Romani) people. They visited a gypsy camp.

Ralph also visited monasteries in the Bukovina area from the 1500s. The monasteries are covered with frescos both inside and out.


right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

photoenrichment.com – Ralph’s Photography
Romania Wiki
History of Romania
Culture of Romania
Maramures
Kluj
Budesti
Breb
Sighetu Marmatiei
Sapanta
Palinka
Bucovina
UNESCO – Wooden Churches of Maramureş
Romani people

Community

Hi there Chris.

I found your podcast a couple months ago, and I’ve been listening to all Australia-related episodes, as I’m planning a month-long trip to the Land Down Under next summer. And I’m writing just to let you know that it’s been quite helpful for my travel planning. Also, some episodes make me wish I had more time to get to visit places like Canberra and the Coral Coast…

I’ve also listened some episodes about Brazil – that’s where I’m from, and it’s always fun to see my country under a foreigner’s perspective. Hope one day you can make a trip to Brazil and get to know some beautiful places of our big country!

Thanks for the best travel podcast I’ve ever listened to! I’ll keep listening to the new episodes and hoping to get to know a lot more of the world!

Paulo

Travel to Northern Romania - Amateur Traveler Episode 488

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.



2 Responses to “Travel to Northern Romania – Episode 488”

John Belyea

Says:

Chris,

I thought that Ralph did a fabulous job describing the incredibly beautiful Maramureş region in Northern Romania. Our family visited the area in 2009 and we too were struck by the lack of mechanization and dependence on manual labor and farm animals for all aspects of agricultural production. We saw multi-generational families working in the fields with homemade scythes and wooden rakes with horse drawn wagons being used to transport almost everything.

The wooden churches were special and we particularly enjoyed the vivid frescoes in the church at Desesti which were painted in the late 1790s.

A couple of things that we enjoyed that were not mentioned include the elaborately carved wooden doors and gates you find in many of the villages and trees adorned with with pots and pans indicating that there is a daughter available for marriage (still true today!).

We stayed in a small B&B run by Ioan Pop in the village of Hoteni. Also known as Popicu, Ioan is a national cultural treasure who is one of the best known folk musicians in the country. Not only will you be served hearty local fare (and potent, homemade pălincă) while staying there but you’ll also be treated to impromptu performances. Hoteni is a perfect spot to base your explorations of the region from.

Independent travel is the way to go when in Maramures. You’ll need a car and nerves of steel navigating roads that can have extraordinary sized potholes and you’ll be challenged by very aggressive drivers.

Keep up the great work.

John Belyea

chris2x

Says:

I got an email from John:

Chris,
I thought that Ralph did a fabulous job describing the incredibly beautiful Maramureş region in Northern Romania. Our family visited the area in 2009 and we too were struck by the lack of mechanization and dependence on manual labor and farm animals for all aspects of agricultural production. We saw multi-generational families working in the fields with homemade scythes and wooden rakes with horse drawn wagons being used to transport almost everything.
The wooden churches were special and we particularly enjoyed the vivid frescoes in the church at Desesti which were painted in the late 1790s.
A couple of things that we enjoyed that were not mentioned include the elaborately carved wooden doors and gates you find in many of the villages and trees adorned with with pots and pans indicating that there is a daughter available for marriage (still true today!).
We stayed in a small B&B run by Ioan Pop in the village of Hoteni. Also known as Popicu, Ioan is a national cultural treasure who is one of the best known folk musicians in the country. Not only will you be served hearty local fare (and potent, homemade pălincă) while staying there but you’ll also be treated to impromptu performances. Hoteni is a perfect spot to base your explorations of the region from.
Independent travel is the way to go when in Maramures. You’ll need a car and nerves of steel navigating roads that can have extraordinary sized potholes and you’ll be challenged by very aggressive drivers.

Keep up the great work.

John

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