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The painted Monastries
Pros: beautiful countryside, painted monasteries, impressive paintings
Cons: none

Bukovina, Romania

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 09:23

So, a couple of entries ago, I mentioned about a rabid Japanese/Englishman and his love for the painted monasteries of Romania. And as we wanted to see these, we jumped on a train and headed over towards the border of Romania and Ukraine as this is where you find these babies.

The Train Ride

We bought first class tickets as they were not much more than second class, but a\realistically, there was not much difference. Sure, there were only 6 seats instead of 8 and our could recline, but the toilets fucking stank, all the same !!!!!

Getting away from that, it was comfortable, but long. As we went, we started to climb into the mountains. The countryside was beautiful. It was very similar to Switzerland, even the houses had a Swiss touch. Eventually though, all good things come to an end, and we arrived in a little place called Gura Humorului. A one horse town, but as usual, we were nabbed again by the little old lady and lead away to look at a room and to meet her daughter, who could speak English. The room was ok, so we took it, and started planning as we had some walking to do to see four of these monasteries


From our guest house, it is around 6 Kilometres to the monastery. We decided to walk it after being told that there was no public transport. After about a K, a guy picked us up and drove us there. He would not take any money, so we did not force him. After entering a huge wall to get in, so we could pay, there it was. It was big and painted. 3/4's of it was in good condition with stories of Adam and Eve and Genesis, but not being religious, I just thought that they were pretty !!!!! There were more inside, but they were being restored at the time, so we could not see much.

Once done, we had the walk back.

We started and thought that some good soul pick us up. It did not happen. The 6 K's went by pretty fast. We walked the 1.5 K's into town, then started on the next 6 to the next monastery. We walked, a guy with his horse and trailer rode beside us. We left him. He made his horse go faster so that it would get in front. We caught him and passed him. This went on for a while before the horse could take no more. We won the race !!!


Once paid, we went in. Once again, it was only around 3/4's complete. The wind and rain had attacked this one like the other one. The paintings were good though. It showed some siege from Constantinople and a painting of the last judgement. We went inside and we were allowed to take photos without a flash. So I started shooting away, enjoying myself. I put my camera up to take a shot, so did a girl, I shot, no flash. She shot, her flash went off. The nun looked over. As I was unshaven, looking like my usual messy self, obviously, I was to blame. She said no flash. I told her I did not use one. Once again she said no flash, so I told her again, and she told me and I told her. We were going around in circles. Finally, the girl said that it was her flash that went off. The nun said no flash to her, bit no apology to me. Personally, I hope she goes to hell !!!!! As we left, we ran into a couple of Americans who talked us into getting a cab back for all of 0.60 cents. So we did, and that was the end of our first day


Up first thing as we had to get a train to a town, then another train to this monastery. We did this, and walked up to go in. We entered through these huge walls. Some people say that this is the best part of this monastery. They were good, I must admit they were impressive. The paintings were similar to the last one. They had a defense of Constantinople and some more of the Last Judgement. The paintings were good though, and as usual, only 3 out of the 4 walls had paintings on them. There was a museum which had an old famous throne belonging to an old King. Not much more though.

Our next mission was to get to the next monastery. As there is no transport to it, we decided to hitch. Lucy had never hitched before, so it was time that she did. This was not ht usual hitching though. This was the stand on the side of the road and wave them down like an Italian whore. Maybe it was the hair on my face with the ponytail, but ten minutes later, we were off !!!!! The drive over the mountains was amazing. The countryside was beautiful and still looking very Swiss. THe guys were going to Sucevita, but when they heard we were going to the monastery, they insisted that they drive us there


Once again, these walls surrounding the monastery were huge. After paying and going in, this monastery was the biggest of the lot. It had stories about some Virtous Ladder, which is about the 30 steps from Hell to Paradise. There were stories of the Old Testament and the New Testament. They were all really impressive. There was a picture showing S.T George slaying the Dragon. I understood that one. There was a load more inside, but we were not allowed to shoot. The museum here was pretty boring though.

We finished up and thought that if it was that easy to hitch, we should do it again. We waited, and after nearly 45 minutes, we had a lift. This guy, told us his life story in a mixture of German and English before he dropped us off at the train station. We arrived in time for the train otherwise it would have been a 3 hour wait. When the train arrived to meet the next connection, we were told that the next connection would arrive in two hours. We walked up to the top of the road, stuck our hands out, waved like a whore, and within minutes, we were in a car heading back to our little guesthouse.

That was the story of the paintings. The foaming Japanese/Englishman was right. If in Romania, visit these. You will not be disappointed