Maramures, a testament to rural Romania

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Maramures is known as one of the most pristine and beautiful areas from Romania. Scattered villages, majestic mountains, simple and beautiful people, hospitality and joyful music. In my first day in the region, I took a road trip to see the famous UNESCO churches from the area. I was simply mesmerized and cut down to silence by the beauty of the places I’ve seen. It was the land of peacefulness and magic. I lost my words and remained silent in front of the nature’s wanders.

Maramures is known as one of the most pristine and beautiful areas from Romania. Scattered villages, majestic mountains, simple and beautiful people, hospitality and joyful music. In my first day in the region, I took a road trip to see the famous UNESCO churches from the area. I was simply mesmerized and cut down to silence by the beauty of the places I’ve seen. It was the land of peacefulness and magic. I lost my words and remained silent in front of the nature’s wanders.

Last night I had spent a beautiful evening at my friend’s house, which is somewhere close to the city of Baia Mare. Romanian hospitality is well known, and when you are also among friends and special people, you can only feel awesome. Also, being the festive season, it is as well the perfect time to eat amazing food and drink palinca (if you don’t know what is that check it out) and wine. This is the sunset from my friend’s terrace. I fell in love with the place….

Sunset in Maramures: 1 Jan 2017
Sunset in Maramures: 1 Jan 2017

It was the perfect end of the day for the beginning of 2017

The wooden wanders from Maramures

Today we took the car and drove around. The plan was to see few UNESCO heritage churches from the area. The churches of Maramures are very famous both for their wooden and gothic architecture, but also because they date from the XVII or XVIII century.

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Wooden church from Surdesti, Maramures

The churches continue to be in the center of the village life, as people continue to be close to their religion and spiritual beliefs. They also are a place for recollection, should you need that.

Don’t expect to see them all in one day, because they are scattered through the valleys and mountains. But you can find on this link 3 routes for 3 different days. A very useful thing, especially if you do not have any local to guide you around.

the wooden church from Plopis, Maramures
the wooden church from Plopis, Maramures

There is no need to reinvent the wheel and reproduce here the history of these churches. Also, you will read about their beauty anywhere (the fact that are UNESCO heritage is a clear indication). But what I can add is that I saw many beautiful places all over the world, but I find this unique and beautiful by its purity, special by its heritage, majestic by its pride and moral values.

Beauty comes from within

I had the feeling today that there is something that makes this place beautiful which goes beyond the landscape.

We drove pass Baia Sprie and then moved towards Surdesti. The side roads were still icy and dangerous, therefore we left the car on the main road and took a walk through the countryside alleys. And it was absolutely gorgeous. It was not only the view, but also the atmosphere that the place emanated: the silence of the village, the simplicity of the houses, the smell of burning wood…

Surdesti, Maramures

First we stopped in Surdesti. The only sign that the village was lived was the smoke coming from the chimneys and the few dogs that barked as we passed. The rest of the landscape was just like in the novels I was reading when I was young.

Between the frozen trees....
Between the frozen trees….

Everything looked untouched and pristine. As you look in the horizon, you could see only white hills and the clearest blue sky you can imagine. Here and there haystacks covered in snow were smiling in the sun and next to them, a cart or a tractor resting . I could not speak for a while. In this place, I felt somehow closer to sky and my heart jumped for joy.

The few pictures I took will explain why I felt like this.

the road to the church from Surdesti
the road to the church from Surdesti
The entrance to the church of Surdesti, UNESCO heritage
The entrance to the church of Surdesti, UNESCO heritage
the courtyard of a house in Plopis, Maramures
the courtyard of a house in Plopis, Maramures
Plopis, Maramures
Plopis, Maramures
in the land of snow and magic: Plopis, Maramures
in the land of snow and magic: Plopis, Maramures

Romanian roads: expect the unexpected

After seeing the majestic churches of Surdesti and Plopis, our route was cut short. This is the trick about traveling in Romania: you always have to remain flexible (especially in winter time). At Cavnic, a city with a famous ski slope, we entered in a traffic jam and finally the road has been blocked by the police.

Therefore, we made a u-turn and went back to Baia Sprie and then drove towards the mountain of Gutai. The road is absolutely stunning, going up the mountain and then down on the other side, but also quite scary if you are not used to that.

This is how the road looks on google maps. And this is the norm when we speak about the roads in this region. 🙂

The road over the Gutai mountain
The road over the Gutai mountain

Full belly, happy person

Close to the village of Mara, we stopped and ate at the famous Guesthouse Alex.

The place is famous for fresh fish (they have their own trout farm), but I also enjoyed to the fullest the atmosphere inside. Locals from the area and from far away come here to eat; it is not only a stop for tourists. I must admit I could not eat the fish, but my friends’ plates looked amazing.

picture taken, of course, in another season :)
Pensiunea Alex: picture taken, of course, in another season  🙂 (and the only one not belonging to me)

The place and the surroundings are neat and well maintained. The staff is dressed in traditional costumes from the area and on the walls you can find carpets or Romanian traditional garments. A place where it’s worth taking a break from the difficult road….

Lesson of the day:

I have seen this written on a grave stone. In this area, people engrave sayings and wisdom words on tombs I found it simple and full of truth:

“We should live our lives as it is destined. Because it was given to us without asking for it and it is taken from us without being consulted.”

What is next for me:

As of tomorrow, I start an adventure on my own. I rented a car and plan to drive around the region by myself for the next days. The plan is the plan, but we will see how it goes. Some snow is about to fall and also it seems like in this trip nothing went according to the initial plan. But what is important is that I enjoy to the fullest being back home, I take the time to breath and put myself together.

In the meantime, I upload in real time more videos and pictures on my Facebook and Instagram account

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Fully equipped for winter. Plopis, Maramures

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