I didn't know what to expect before going to Romania. I had to look it up on a map and on Wikipedia to get an understanding of where I was going. A lot of people were curious why I'd go there, too. It really was a decision to go see some friends - sometimes I have to cross the globe to see my friends! I decided to go on a creative retreat that a friend was putting on. It was to be a week of photography, knitting, exploring and relaxing.
I started the week with a stop in Bucharest. My friend Candiss was traveling through Europe, so I was lucky to have her meet me there for a few days. We wandered around what is somewhat of a depressing city visually, with it's communist era greyness, but the Airbnb we stayed in was great, with the best view of Bucharest I saw (see above). It was cute and comfy, without a hint of what the country was like a few decades ago. I have a feeling that the exterior does not show what's on the interior in Bucharest.
We ate at a fantastic restaurant (apart from people hanging up their coats on the wall directly behind me) called Lacrimi si Sfinti, which had one of the best charcuterie plates I've ever had. The Romanian wine they served was delicious as well. I recommend this place if you are ever in Bucharest.
Uber is operating in Bucharest, so you can easily get around that way. We went to a flea/antique market a bit outside of the city center, and found a boutique that supports Romani (gypsy) artisan communities. Similar to the run down communist sheen on the city's architecture, the antique market had a similar vibe, with its Soviet era clocks for sale, and the overall mood of the people, but I was able to haggle in Spanish over some silverware and picked up a few artisan made pieces at Meşteshukar ButiQ.
After a few days in Bucharest, I flew to Cluj-Napoca, where I met up with my retreat-mates to make the 4 hour drive from the airport to the area of Bucavina.
The next 5 days included a lunch with shepherds, a visit to local weavers, where I left with yarn and a rug, a stop at a tannery where they had sheepskins and wolfskins! We went to visit potters, an antiques dealer, and stopped at a beautiful monastery. All the while, we were taking photos, knitting, making a mixed media mobile, and eating delicious Romanian food. Our retreat was jam-packed!
This retreat was put on by Natasha Seidel of Taking a Moment in Time, and she'll be having this retreat again in Bucavina next year. I highly recommend it! The geography and beauty of the region is gorgeous, and the food delicious. It's a place I may not have otherwise gone to on my own, so this retreat was a great excuse to explore and see the beauty of Romania.