Time always flies by when you travel. It goes even quicker when you need to solve a problem. The broken shock absorber on our car was fixed, but it was almost the end of a day and we needed to find a good wild camping spot to stay overnight.
We ended up in a nice looking place near the Moldovan-Romanian boarder. Our “hotel” was in the middle of sunflower fields. It was almost perfect – the only way between perfection were the withered sunflowers.
We got up early the next morning, what was definitely a good decision. Crossing two boarders took us about 2 hours again. Due to Moldova’s low prices of cigarettes and alcohol, people try to smuggle them across boarders into Romania. That is why the border control is strict and firm.
As soon as we were in Romania, we could not help noticing the big difference with Moldova. The roads were well maintained, there were picnic areas everywhere, lots of grocery stores, more cars, more people… We were once again convinced, that before traveling to Romania, we had no clue about it. Romania was better than we ever hoped for.
Romania is not interesting just because its nature, but as well for its culture and history. Our plan for today was to explore the famous Bucovina painted monasteries from 15th and 16th century. Majority of them are under UNESCO heritage protection and if you came to Romania without your own car, they will be a little bit of a challenge to reach. Your best choice is taxi or a rented car or maybe a guided tour. Most of the Bucovina painted monasteries are not connected with local transportation.
Due to bad weather (it was pouring) we managed to see only two of the painted monasteries – Humor and Voronet. As soon as we put our eyes on them, we were blown away. They had frescos all over them and they could not got a better name. The frescos show images from the Bible and the lives of the most important Orthodox saints. Some of the frescos are preserved better than others, but nevertheless, they are definitely worth your time. After all, they are one of a kind attraction in Europe.
To enter the area of Bucovina painted monasteries you have to pay a small entrance fee. Note that video or photography is extra. If you are visiting these painted monasteries by your own vehicle, there is parking fee as well.
Bucovina painted monasteries are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania and that is why there are many stands with souvenirs in the vicinity of them. We were thrilled to see some real, traditional Romanian souvenirs here, instead of more and more popular Chinese crap and kitsch, which is hard to avoid nowadays.
After spending time admiring these painted monasteries it was time to move further towards Viseu de Sus. We were driving threw a hilly part of Romania, which gave us some of the most beautiful and picturesque views over the rural countryside of Maramures. Unfortunately the beauty also had a down side – there were lots of shanty towns, made out of plastic and wood. How ironic – some of the most beautiful places on Earth are often the poorest areas too.
Once again the day was too short for all of our plans and we had to find a place to stay. Due to cold and rainy weather we decided to stay one night in a family run pension Kristal. The pension was simple, but clean and we even had a private bathroom. Comparing to wild camping this was luxury.
- Painted monastery Humor: 5 LEI/pp (1,12 EUR), 10 LEI (2,25 EUR) photography or video, 3 LEI (0,67 EUR) parking
- Painted monastery Vermot: 5 LEI/pp (1,12 EUR), 10 LEI (2,25 EUR)photography or video, 2 LEI (0,45 EUR) parking. To enter tha painted monastery you need long trousers and shoulders covered – clothes provided by the entrance door.
- Pension Kristal: 26 EUR/night including free Wi-Fi and breakfast.
- Lunch in a local restaurant in Humorului town (3,50 EUR – 250 grams of grilled meat)
- Painted monastery Humor: N47°35.655′ / E025°51.366′
- Pension Kristal: N47°37.721 / E024°29.527