Traditions & Legends of Romania
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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

June 3 - 14, 2017 • 12 Days
$2990 based on double occupancy
from Bucharest, Romania • Airfare additional
Single Supplement $670

with The Maramures and
The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

Day By Day Itinerary

June 3 Arrive Bucharest
Saturday

Welcome to Romania! A group transfer will be provided. Check in to our well-located hotel and stroll around the Lipscani area. Enjoy a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant. (D)

*****Continental Hotel

June 4 Bucharest - Sinaia
Sunday Brasov

We start the morning with a visit to the Parliament House, the megalomaniacal project of the communist dictator Ceausescu. Leaving Bucharest, we head towards Ploiesti; its history and today’s activity are related to refineries and the petroleum industry.

Enjoy lunch in Sinaia, followed by a visit Peles Castle – a royal palace built as a summer residence for the first king of Romania, Carol I. The castle was constructed between 1875 and 1883 in a German Renaissance style. We arrive in Brasov for overnight accommodation in the center. Brasov (Kronstadt) was originally a Saxon fortress and still exudes echoes of Krakow. Take a gentle walk from our hotel in the Council Square to admire the beautiful Black Church, Europe’s most eastern Gothic church and one of the most beautiful in Romania. (B-L-D)

***** Aro-Palace Hotel

June 5 Bran - Viscri
Monday Sighisoara

We drive 19 miles southwest of Brasov to visit the famous Bran castle, built in 1377. In 1920 the castle became the summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. The castle is strangely linked to Count Dracula even though it is doubtful that Vlad the Impaler ever spent the night here. Leave Wallachia and continue our drive to Viscri, located in a remote hidden valley in the heart of Transylvania. Here, an English-Romanian foundation called Mihai Eminescu Trust has restored part of the church and at least 50 facades in the beautifully preserved village. The white fortified church that gives the village its Saxon name, Deutschweisskirch, is UNESCO-designated. The town of Viscri was visited several times by HRH Prince Charles of Wales, who also owns a house here. Enjoy a private lunch with a family in the village. We head to the fascinating medieval town of Sighisoara for an overnight accommodation right in the old center. (B-L)

*** Casa Wagner

June 6 Sighisoara - Biertan
Tuesday Richis - Malancrav

Sighisoara is considered to be the most beautiful and complete medieval architectural ensemble in Romania and the most beautiful inhabited citadel throughout Europe. The medieval citadel is perched on a hillock and is fortified with a 14th century wall. We make an excursion 18 miles west to Biertan, where we find the largest Saxon defensive fortress. With its three surrounding walls, Biertan is considered to be among the most fantastic structure of the Saxon heritage in Transylvania. The fortified church is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Not far from Biertan, hidden in the valley, we find Richis and its beautiful Gothic church, unique in Romania for its stone carvings and the “green men.” Decrypt the secrets of the church with the Saxon gentleman who opens it for you, Mr. Schass. We make one more stop in Malancrav to admire the 15th century frescoes of the church, the widest frescoes which remain in a Lutheran church. Outside the church lies the very well restored Apafi Manor. Lunch in Malancrav in a restored Saxon house. Return to Sighisoara for overnight accommodation. (B-L)

*** Casa Wagner

June 7 Bicaz Gorge
Wednesday Targu Neamt
Gura Humorului
Bukovina

Today is a long and tough, but beautiful drive. We leave Transylvania and the central part of the Romania and head northward. Cross the impressive Bicaz Gorge where we will stop to have a walk and admire the high limestone rocks and see some crafts, sold by artisans beneath the rocks. We are now in Szekely Land, but soon we pass into Moldavia. Picnic lunch in beautiful surroundings.

Stop on the way close to Targu Neamt at a private museum made by a local couple of artisans who rescued old traditional objects from the village. They used to carve in wood and make traditional masks. In this part of the world, on New Year’s Eve, many devil masks are worn to ward off spirits. Also many dances are performed. The children of the village will present to us a show, which is traditional for the Moldavian New Year (the goat dance & the bear dance).

Continue to Gura Humorului in Bukovina, for overnight accommodation and dinner at our hotel. (B-L-D)

**** Hilde’s Residence

June 8 Vorentz - Sucevita
Thursday Moldovita

Bucovina, or the land of the birch tree, is famous for its extraordinary Painted Monasteries (UNESCO World Heritage site) at Moldovita, Sucevita, Arbore, Humor and Vorentz. In all five the interior and the exterior walls have been adorned with traditional Orthodox frescoes painted in Byzantine style, which makes them unique from other Orthodox churches.

We start our visit with Vorentz, the Sistine Chapel of the East, followed by Sucevita, noted as the green one, which was last painted and thus the best preserved. Lunch is in Sucevita with a local family, who will prepare traditional Bucovina food for us. Continuing on a winding road, we head towards Moldovita, the Yellow Church, which also holds The Golden Apple prize. We visit a famous artist, who decorates the eggs in a traditional way in Bukovina - with local symbols and natural colors. (B-L-D)

**** Hilde’s Residence

June 9 Maramures
Friday Poienile Izei
Barsana - Hoteni

Crossing the Carpathians via Prislop Pass, we head towards Maramures, where we will spend two beautiful and unforgettable days. Maramures is a lovely region in the far north of Romania. It is surrounded by mountains with picturesque meadows and valleys. The most widely known are the Mara, Iza and Cosau Valleys. The region is famous for its 17th and 18th century spindly wooden churches, the beautiful hand carved wooden gates and the traditions kept alive through the centuries. Visit Poienile Izei Church, listed on UNESCO heritage for its spectacular interior frescoes. Depicted here and well presented are the tortures of hell. The people in the village are very proud of Price Charles’ visit in 2006, when he came especially to admire the church. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a wonderful setting overlooking the church and the village. In Barsana we visit a new wooden monastery, just to compare a new monastic settlement with the old ones. Also, in the same village we visit a wooden sculptor, famous for making traditional gates all over Maramures. He is very proud to have been a part of the 1999 Smithsonian Festival in Washington, and he will show you his pictures from the U.S. capital and welcome you to his private small museum.

For two days we stay overnight in Hoteni with village families. Mr. and Mrs. Pop are folk musicians of the area, very well-traveled all over the world with their group who perform theater plays. Enjoy their food, the magnificent views from the garden and their compelling personalities. (B-L-D)

Popica’s Guesthouse

June 10 Desesti - Sapanta
Saturday Sighetul Maramatiei
Cosau Valley - Sirbi

Visit Desesti Church, also UNESCO listed. The interior paintings were restored in 1999, and vivid colors now cover the wooden walls.

This area borders Ukraine, so we will drive along the frontier to Sapanta to pay a visit to the famous Merry Cemetery, so called because all the gravestones have been hand-painted by local artists to depict the lives of those who have passed away. Have lunch in Sighetul Maramatiei, at a traditional restaurant. Sighetul Maramatiei is known as the birthplace of Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986. It is also known for its terrifying communist prison, today a Memorial museum. In the afternoon, we drive along the beautiful Cosau Valley with its picturesque villages to Sirbi, a village where almost every household has its own carved wooden gate. Along the riverside there are several water-powered installations, all made of wood: valtori (villages’ simple washing machines) for washing clothes and blankets, and water mills operating all day long. There is an ancient tradition that in the villages along Cosau Valley, men wear a little straw pillbox hat beginning at a remarkably young age. We can visit an artisan who makes these small funny hats. (B-L-D)

Popica’s Guesthouse

June 11 Maramures - Rogoz
Sunday Cluj-Napoca - Sibiu

Crossing the mountains via Rotunda Pass (3543 ft. altitude) we visit today our last wooden UNESCO heritage church in Rogoz. This church survived the last Tartar invasion in 1717 and today boasts stunning interior paintings and 500-year-old icons. The priest will be delighted to give us a full explanation about the wooden symbols of the church as well as the significance of the religious paintings. Partake in a picnic lunch at Rogoz on the 300-year-old church table. Drive to Cluj-Napoca to enjoy an Ursus beer (or soft drink) on one of the terraces in the main square. Romanian Ursus beer is made here in Cluj-Napoca. The name Cluj comes from Castrum Clus, first used in the 12th century as the name of the citadel surrounding the city. Clus means “closed” in Latin and refers to the hills that surround the city. Note the Renaissance style architecture is in perfect harmony with Roman ruins as well as new buildings. Continue driving south to Sibiu. Dinner is at a traditional restaurant. (B-L-D)

***Imparatul Romanilor Hotel

June 12 Sibiu - Sibiel - Sibiu
Monday

After the long drive yesterday, we have a more relaxing day today, visiting the surroundings of Sibiu and the town itself. In the mountain foothills we visit the Glass Icons Museum in Sibiel (the largest one in Europe), and then we enjoy lunch with a family in the village. There is time to explore Sibiu in the afternoon, the first town in Romania that in 2007 bore the title European Capital of Culture together with its twin town in western Europe, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Sibiu has gathered together nearly 200 acres of old architecture; it is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in southeastern Europe. Tonight dinner is on your own. (B-L)

***Imparatul Romanilor Hotel

June 13 Olt Valley
Tuesday Hurez Monastery
Curtea de Arges
Bucharest

We drive south along Olt Valley to Bucharest, again passing the Carpathians. Small detours will be made to visit Hurez Monastery and Curtea de Arges. Hurez Monastery was built by Prince Brancoveanu in the 17th century, while Curtea de Arges is the place where the kings of Romania are buried. Have lunch with the nuns in Hurez monastery. Continue to the capital city. Bucharest’s first documentary attestation dates back to 1459 (only six years after the tragedy of Christianity- the fall of Constantinople), when a princely residence and military citadel were established under the chancellery of Prince Vlad Tepes. The oldest settlement in Bucharest is the Old Princely Court (Curtea Veche), built by Vlad the Impaler as the official residence of the Walachian princes. You can still see its ruins today. Overnight accommodation is in Bucharest at the same hotel as the first night. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant with live folk music. (B-L-D)

*****Continental Hotel

June 14 Depart Bucharest
Wednesday

Bid farewell to Romania and your new friends. A group transfer will be provided to the airport. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

© 2016 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

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Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

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wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.SeriousTraveler.com