Bistrita & Maramures region – Romania

Well here I am in Bistrita after spending Friday morning in prison.

The Sighetu Marmatiei prison museum that is. A chilling and graphic account of the Sovietisation of Romania after WWII until 1989. They really tried to remove all traces of Romanian life, be it religion, education, society or just individuals they took a dislike to. I had been recommended to visit the museum by a number of people who have befriended me along the way. It was very well worth it. Including the modern art sculpture and touching memorial to all the victims who died there.

It really puts into focus how wonderful these days here have been. Life still going as it did before WWII. As I stated before, the true spirit of Romania lives in this region and will continue to despite or because of what life throws at it.

Then it was back out into the rural idyll that it the Maramures region for 1 and 1/2 days. I can not stress enough how wonderful it is. The relaxed friendly attitude of the locals who always greet you whatever they are doing. The villages themselves are something else. All wooden houses and 17th century (and older) churches, twisted with age, the sound of rural life, super autumnal colours of the landscape and of course harvest time. That can only mean one thing. More apples just given to me by complete strangers to eat right now or put in my bag for later.

Good fortune, good luck continues to follow me. Hitched lifts arrive when I want them, things that I need to buy just happen to be in the shop I am in at that time. Buses appear when I just get to the bus stop and depart just as quickly. Likewise when I need to walk no lifts appear at all and I can enjoy the tranquility of just me and an open road, until the next horse and cart turns up of course.

The food remains excellent. Spicy tripe soup with lashings of butter floating on top were the order of the day last night. That would balance the 5 hour walk through the countryside, oh yes and a beer or two2 as well.

I am sad to leave such a special place. Maramures will live with me for a long long time. As you may have already concluded from these emails.

However, who knows what is in store for me next week?

First up is Bistrita and the location where Bram Stoker made Jonathan Harker spend the eve of St Georges day in “Dracula” as you all know of course.

Yep its Dracula land. Not to be confused with Vlad the impaler, he used to live in these parts as well.