From end of December 2016 until mid-January 2017, I travelled solo in Romania for about three weeks, mainly in the region called Maramures. Why solo and why Romania?! This you can see in another post. And what a trip that was! I have discovered so many things about my country, my heritage, but most of all about myself. This is a visual summary of what I have done in those days.
I fell in love with Breb on a frosty January day. Located in the heart of Maramures and hidden between hills and valleys, the village embodies the image of true Romania: uncomplicated, delicate, profound. The sight of untouched snow and the strong scent of burning wood took me instantly back in time. For few hours I have been in a tale, one with beautiful nature, hard-working and kind people, people that respect their past, their ancient traditions and live humbly…
I am now one week into my visit in Maramures and I continue travelling solo. Apart from the long walks I am taking daily in the snow, I am also visiting sites and villages. I am every day on the move, talking with locals and discovering the customs and traditions in the area. In my days of traveling, I figured out some tips that anyone interested to visit Maramures (and Romania) might find useful. These will help you make the best out of your trip in Maramureș. Some are more general for Romania, some are specific for Maramures.
My guess is that a trip to a cemetery is not a priority on your to-do-list. But what if it would be a…. Merry Cemetery? Here, instead of mourning black, you will find a festival of colours. The crosses are not just the symbol of death, they are telling the story of life. It is the cemetery that celebrates life and humour more than anything else: the Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Maramures (Cimitirul Vesel)
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.
As I took off from a foggy airport at an indecently early hour, my heart started bouncing up and down. I rested my head on the window and watched the sunrise from above the sky, while the plane was speeding towards its destination. Home, finally, back home!!! And then another thought hit me: my wanderlust seems to have been slowly replaced by what I decided to call “homelust”. It is not quite about the same as being homesick, it is just a beautiful desire to be back home. Or as we say in Romanian: “un dor de casă”.
More than one week passed since the elections in Romania. The dust is slowly settling on the story, first emotional reactions disappeared and, hey, Christmas is just around the corner. In the meantime, we also have a proposal for the prim-minister position. However, I remain a bit stuck and would really like to go back on the elections day (11 December 2016). I will make the long story short and will mention just one number, nothing else: 39, 49%. This is how many Romanians decided to express their vote. The only question that still haunts me after the elections day is: how? How did we get here?! Why don’t we give a damn anymore?!
I might leave far away from my country; I might travel once in a while to the other side of the world. And there are times when months pass before I step foot in my homeland. But the further I go, the more I adore it; the more cultures I see, the more I feel Romania in my heart. And wherever I will end up, whatever I am or whatever I will become, I know one thing for sure: I will always be Romanian; I will always be honored and proud of my origins and of my nation.