The unadulterated shape in our spring collection of thrills
Birthplace of the notable sculptor Constantin Brancusi, northern Oltenia raises its people as fine craftsmen, creators of unadulterated shapes, devoted to the magnificence of the mountains guarding their homeland.
In Romania, we genuinely believe that we get the best of our country when paying a visit to Bucovina and Northern Moldavia. It is a magical place no matter the season, but in winter time join us for quite an epic journey to the north. The road is long, but good even when it snows and with an early start, you’ll reach the first stop in merely a couple of hours after noon.
Varatec Monastery is neither geographically nor historically part of Bucovina, but strongly linked to it by Orthodox heritage. In Romania, the monasteries are no usual convents, but quaint communities resembling old time villages, idyllically set on hilltops among wood sanctuaries. At Varatec, the nuns live in small farms and are more than happy to welcome you in one of their 150 years old houses.
Don’t take too long admiring the cozy low-ceiled rooms as the nuns prepare the fresh lunch. It is very likely to arrive during the fast before the Christmas celebration, but don’t worry, fasting meals at the monastery are indeed finger-licking and entirely homemade, even the bread.
After lunch, you might like to take a good nap or visit the scenic surroundings including the monastery, the laic village of Varatec and the forest nearby. Return to the house for dinner – if it’s on Saturday fish meals are allowed, then you ought to try the fish borsch.
Around noon get back on the road and keep west near the foothills until you reach the lovable village of Hobita. The place where Master Brancusi was born and which influenced his entire existence: from the geometric patterns of the region, the old tradition of woodcarving to the simple ways of living. We can’t spoil such a moment and tell you more about Brancusi’s old cottage nor about Hobita, when the most appropriate thing to do is to let you fully enjoy the experience without having any prior mindset.
Later on you’re most welcome in the nearby village of Pestisani to have lunch with one of the local families, then continue your journey this time to the north. It’s up to you whether you’d like to take the road across the mountains or through the green valley of the River Jiu. Right before night fall you shall arrive to Cheile Butii, a natural gorge dug in Retezat Mountains, and relish on a fresh grilled trout at a rustic lodge.
Relax for the evening at a guesthouse located exactly at the bottom of Retezat Mountains and physically and mentally prepare for the following day.
Thereafter make your pick either getting some fully appreciated rest at Lake Bucura or continue your climb with the ranger to the Peleaga Peak. The latter shall be highly worth it as in a couple of hours you’ll experience all four seasons, cross a glacier and the most sensational snowy ridge with a chance to spot chamois and marmots. You should get your hopes high as the best part is reaching the peak itself. At 2,509 m (8,232 ft) in the perfect sunny day, with scattered clouds beneath you and the view of half the county… Enjoy every bit of yourself; you’re on top of the world. We’d actually toast together a glass of champagne if it weren’t for the heavy bottle to carry in the backpack.
Find your way back to the lake to taste some mied (Romanian fiery water mixed with honey) to warm your heart and muscles. Soon after, continue your descend to the car and relax on the way to the guesthouse where a generously tasteful dinner awaits you.