0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258


Our holidays in Maramures
support local communities and
crafts through local
tourism initiatives


DATES


16 - 25 May 2006
29 May - 7 June 2006
4 - 13 September 2006
25 September - 4 October 2006
10 Days /9 Nights



HIGHLIGHTS



BUCOVINA
Painted Monasteries:
Voronet, Moldovita
MARAMURES
Sacel Pottery
Traditional Villages and Crafts
in the
Iza, Cosau & Mara Valleys
(incl. Slatioara, Hoteni, Valeni, Breb,
Harnicesti, Desesti,Budesti
Poienile Izei, Sat Sugatag)
Bârsana Monastery
Surdesti, Plopis, Rogoz
Baia Mare
BUCHAREST


Visit Caroline Juler's
excellent website
for detailed information:
www.mamaliga.co.uk


FLIGHTS


Recommended Flight Schedule

British Airways
Heathrow 09:45 – Bucharest 15:00; Bucharest 15:50 - Heathrow 17:15

Times are local and are subject to change;
2 hour time difference - UK & Romania
Alternative quality airlines include
Swiss, Austrian, Lufthansa or KLM
Regional departures on request



NORTHERN ROMANIA 2006
Hidden Villages & Heavenly Places

Join Caroline Juler, author of Blue Guide Romania, and her charismatic friend, local ethnographer, Georgeta Iuga,
on an expedition to the heart of northern Romania. This will not be a frantic dash around the well-known tourist sites,
rather a gentle journey through the villages of Maramures and the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.

REFER TO RELEVANT SECTIONS FOR CURRENT PROGRAMMES

...

Maramures - Land that Time Forgot MARAMURES

Bucovina - the Painted Monasetries BUCOVINA

Gllery of Maramures
GALLERY



Flights to Bulgaria FLIGHTS

BEYOND THE FOREST CAR HIRE


CONTACT US CONTACT US



0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258

Surdesti, Maramures
Our special journey of exploration commences in Bucharest from where we take the night sleeper to the Bucovina, the remote north-eastern corner of Romania, best known for its 'Painted Monasteries. After a day and a half exploring this region, we will embark on the only long road journey of the tour, about 120 miles through the wooded foothills of the Carpathians, and up and over the Prislop Pass to our friends in the village of Slatioara. Here in the heart of the Maramures, you will be surrounded by one of the few truly ancient rural cultures still surviving in Europe. Life for the Moroseni is hard and they have few of the trappings of ‘Western civilisation’, but they are rich in many other ways. The foundations of their society are their churches, their work on the land and their families. From Slatioara we move a few miles to the village of Hoteni to stay with Ioan and Georgeta Pop, internationally known folk singers. While we are in the Maramures we will explore the countryside together, and introduce you to crafts people such as carpenters, potters and weavers, whose skills have been handed down to them through many generations. We will also visit a dynamic village monastery and some of the amazingly picturesque wooden installations that have survived in the same form for centuries. On two days we will journey into the Carpathians on foot accompanied by horse-drawn carts to carry our coats, lunch and weary bodies if necessary. The beauty of these journeys is that we never know whom we will meet. On another day we will visit the market town of Sighetu Marmatiei to see the open air village museum. There will be plenty of opportunities to buy local crafts.

NOTE: In Slatioara there are no guesthouses, and we will be staying with our friends in the village. The welcome will be breath-taking but the facilities are basic by our standards. There will be only one flushing lavatory per house; this is a source of pride for your hosts but it may not be in a convenient place for you and is certainly not en suite. You will sometimes be sleeping on folding sofabeds in interconnecting rooms. This will be an authentic experience of Romanian village life!

Each of our tours is 10 days long, including overnight train journeys. We are limiting numbers to a maximum of ten travellers excluding our guides.

TOUR ITINERARY
DAY ONE
We recommend the convenient direct British Airways flight to Bucharest which arrives mid-sfternoon. You will be collected from the airport and will spend a relaxing afternoon and early evening sight-seeing in the city centre. Other flights are available and there is an option to commence the tour in Bucharest or spend extra nights in the city.

After our supper at the Hotel Capitol we catch an overnight train to Suceava in north-east Romania. The train leaves at 22:00 and we will be travelling in two-berth couchettes. The distance to Suceava is about 290 miles. Caroline Juler will either travel out with the group from Heathrow, or meet the travellers at Bucharest airport.

DAY TWO
We arrive at Suceava station at around 7am and have breakfast at the Hotel Continental. Mrs Iuga, our expert guide, will meet us there. After time to recover from the overnight journey we’ll visit the Ethnographic Museum and head off by minibus to Bucovina. We will have lunch at a restaurant in Voronet, a village which nestles in the Carpathian foothills, and visit the Orthodox monastery (actually a nunnery). Voronet monastery has one of the finest of all the ‘painted’ churches of Bucovina. The building was completed in record time during the summer of 1488. It was erected for one of Moldavia’s all-time heroes, Prince Stephen the Great. Voronet is a gem of sturdy, rural architecture and the original, interior frescoes, recently cleaned, are superb. But the most eye-catching thing about the church is the brilliant outer frescoes which envelop the building. From Voronet we make the short journey to Moldovita village and Vila Crizantema, a chalet-style hotel close to another of the painted monastery churches. We are staying in Vila Crizantema on our second night. We’ll spend the rest of the afternoon in the village, allowing anyone who wants to catch up on their sleep to do so in peace. Supper will be in the guesthouse.
In the Bucovina
DAY THREE
After breakfast, we visit Moldovita monastery. This charming foundation sits snugly within in a high, walled enclosure and the church is surrounded by a pretty garden. Moldovita too is managed by nuns. It was constructed in the 1530s for Petru Rares, Stephen the Great’s illegitimate son. During his two separate reigns, he built and restored many fine monuments but his life was one of hectic political intrigue and after trying unsuccessfully to regain his country’s longed-for independence, Petru died an Ottoman vassal. Knowing something of Petru’s circumstances – he was caught in a power struggle between the Habsburgs, the Hungarians, the Poles and the Turks, whose sultan at the time was Suleiman the Magnificent – gives the paintings he commissioned an added poignancy. Though devout and Christian, they had a thinly-veiled political agenda aimed at encouraging the Moldavians to help their prince defend his realm.

We leave Moldovita at around 11.30 am and make our way west into Maramures, stopping for lunch beforehand at a restaurant on the Mestecanis Pass. If the weather is good, we’ll stop again to enjoy the panoramic views on top of the Prislop Pass and on our way to our next night’s resting place at Slatioara, visit a 300-year old pottery in the village of Sacel. Our estimated arrival time in Slatioara is 7.30 pm. We are staying there for three nights. Our accommodation will be in people’s homes rather than guesthouses. As mentioned in our leaflet, the welcome will be warm and enthusiastic but standards are basic, with a single flushing lavatory per household and no en suite bathrooms. Bedrooms are interconnecting and the beds are the pull-out sofabeds. Depending on our numbers, we will be living with the Diertic family and one other family nearby.
Sucevita Monastery, Bucovina
The Last Judgement, Voronet Monastery

DAY FOUR
After breakfast in Slatioara we will drive to neighbouring villages in the Iza Valley, and visit the newly-built wooden monastery of Bârsana, actually an Orthodox Christian nunnery run by an Abbess, where the nuns will provide lunch for us. Then we’ll go to see the superb 18th century wooden church, one of several we’ll see on our expedition. The churches show the amazing inventiveness of Maramureseani carpenters. We’ll also visit Teodor Bârsan’s woodworking shop. Afterwards we return to Slatioara for our evening meal. You’ll have plenty of time to rest and walk around in what is a very friendly, largely unspoilt village where most people grow their own food.

DAY FIVE
After breakfast this morning we’ll set off on the first of our country walks. Carts will meet us at the Diertics’ house; they’ll be there to carry any hand-luggage that you want and for you to ride in as well. Please bring strong shoes or hiking boots and waterproofs. The walk will take about two hours and a picnic lunch will be provided. In Poienile Izei we’ll visit the beautiful early 17th century timber church whose 200-year-old murals give an amusing insight into the social mores of their day. The bus will meet us in Poienile Izei to take us back to Slatioara.

Visions of Hell, Frescoes in the church at Poienile Izei, Maramures
DAY SIX
On Sunday 21st May the Orthodox Romanians celebrate the feast of St. Constantine and his mother, Helena. After packing our luggage, we’ll have a chance to see the festivities in Slatioara (tour for appropriate dates only), and after lunch at the Diertics’ house, we head off for another walk in the Carpathians. We’ll have another picnic lunch en route. Today’s destination is Valeni, which has a small new monastery church. The walk will take two to three hours. Before meeting us in Valeni, the minibus will carry the rest of our luggage to the Pops’ guesthouse in the village of Hoteni in the Mara Valley. This is where we’re spending the next two nights. Ioan and Georgeta Pop are internationally known folk singers and we can expect some superb entertainment. They have several houses on their property, one is a traditional wooden farmhouse, the others more modern but all have been designed with visitors in mind.
Maramures Landscape
DAY SEVEN
We’ll have breakfast in Hoteni and walk to nearby Breb (approx. five miles away). Breb lies in another idyllic, rural setting with a church to match. From Breb we’ll head south into the mountains to see Taul Morarenilor (853 metres), a lake that has been created by the formation of a natural dam. Carnivorous plants flourish there. After lunch at the Pops’ house we will drive to other villages in the Mara Valley, including Desesti where UNESCO funds have helped to restore the wooden church, to Harnicesti and Sat Sugatag – the distance to Desesti from Hoteni is approx. 10 miles. In the afternoon we return to Hoteni for our second night in the village.
Threshing in Maramures (photo: Colin Shaw)
DAY EIGHT
After breakfast and packing in Hoteni, we drive three or four miles east into Valea Cosaului to explore the villages there, see some of the fascinating mechanical wooden installations that have made Maramures famous and meet craftspeople including hatmakers and carpenters. We will have lunch in Budesti. The coach will bring us the 20 miles over the spectacular Cavnic Pass to Surdesti. From the top, you can see the mountains racing away like waves into Ukraine. Pensiunea Amethyst in Surdesti is a chalet-style guesthouse, smaller and more homely than Crizantema. It is set back from the road in a rural landscape with pretty views of the surrounding orchards, meadows and mountains. We’ll go to see the 18th century timber church in Surdesti which has an amazingly tall spire and was surely built to outdo all the others. We’ll then continue a couple of miles down the road to Plopis, where, in the early 1990s, the villagers raised an even taller one. Later we’ll visit Georgeta Iuga’s own wooden house in Surdesti for supper, a surprise and a party.


Oxen Cart in the lower Coasu Valley, Maramures
DAY NINE
We have breakfast at the Amethyst, after which the coach will drive us and our luggage south-east to the Lapus Valley, another lovely and less well-visited part of Maramures. In Rogoz, there is a fascinating 18th century wooden church with horse-head symbols giving visual proof of the marriage of pre-Christian and Christian beliefs in this area. We’ll visit a woodcarver and have lunch at his workshop. We then drive to Baia Mare, the county town, and round off our last full day by visiting the mineralogical museum or the crafts centre in a medieval cellar, which is another Mrs. Iuga’s recent initiatives to support and promote the work of local craftspeople. We’ll have dinner at the central Mara Hotel before catching the sleeper train to Bucharest which leaves at around 10pm. This overnight journey covers a distance of 400-miles. Once again, we’ll be travelling in two-berth couchettes.


DAY TEN
After being met by the driver and loading our luggage on the bus, we’ll have a leisurely breakfast at the Hotel Capitol, and visit either the National Gallery or the Peasant Museum both of which are in the city centre. Our final lunch as a group will be in the attractive Parc Herastrau restaurant before the minibus carries us to the airport for our flight home.
Sunrise in the Maramures

YOUR HOLIDAY PRICE INCLUDES
  • Return Flights from United Kingdom to Bucharest
  • Airport Taxes and Passenger Facility Charges
  • Travel throughout by air-conditioned coach or minibus
  • Accommodation as outlined in the itinerary
  • Breakfast and two meals per day
  • All transport in Romania as outlined in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to museums and churches
  • Professional English-speaking Tour Guides (Caroline Juler and Georgeta Iuga)

    Flight inclusive packages are based on normal availability for British Airways scheduled departures from London to Bucharest
    Discounts of up to £ 30.00 may be available on selected departures for indirect flights with other airlines
    Regional departures and alternative airlines may be available on request
    Flight tickets are issued on receipt of your deposit to secure your price. They are fixed dated and non-refundable.
    Travel Insurance is highly recommended
    Additional nights can be added in Bucharest, or your holiday may be extended to include other regions of Romania

    Additional Notes:
    Conditions in some of the accommodation we are providing is basic: there are no en suite bathrooms, there is only one flushing lavatory per household, the beds are pull-out sofabeds and the rooms are interconnecting. The horse-drawn carts which will be accompanying us on days five and six of the tours are traditional wooden farm carts designed to carry farm produce and animals. They have not been specially adapted for passengers. The seats may not be fixed in place and the carts offer no protection against the weather.

    Some museums, art galleries and monasteries charge for permission to take photographs; the price is around £1.20 and is not included in the entrance fees.
    As a professional guiding organisation, we reserve the right to make alterations to the activities described within the advertised tour. In cases where we decide to substitute one or more visits or activities for others, we will only make such changes if the advertised visit or activity cannot be carried out on the pre-arranged day, if we feel that the change will enhance our customers’ enjoyment of their overall experience, or if the weather is too bad to walk in the open air. In cases such as these, when last minute decisions must be made, we reserve the right not to inform our customers beforehand.
    It may not be possible for Caroline Juler to accompany all the groups from Heathrow
    to Bucharest airport since some of our tours are run back to back.



    These holidays are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority.
    Our ATOL number is ATOL 3319.
    ATOL protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.




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is a Division of BCD Meetings & Incentives



1 Atkinson Court, Fell Foot, Newby Bridge, Cumbria, United Kingdom LA12 8NW
Tel. +44 (0)1539 531258 or UK local rate: 0845 3000 247; Email. travel@beyondtheforest.com

ATOL 3319 - IATA 91267691


The air holidays and flights shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL nrmber is ATOL 3319.
ATOL protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.
Click on the ATOL logo if you want to know more.




© Copyright TransylvaniaUncovered 2006 - the Romania Travel Specialists