Three wonderful village escapes

Have you had enough of traffic, horns, masses of people on the streets, smoke, concrete and city disgust? Have a break then from turmoil and stress in one of the three villages hidden among hills or mountains that we advise you to visit. In all these three places, rather than traffic, you will find carts lazily pulled by oxen or horses. Here, horns are replaced by bells, the few passerbyes encounterd on the road greet you even though it’s the first time you met, the smoke comes out only from the chimneys of the houses, and boredom is often replaced by a smile.

Viscri. The village that seems to be out of stories with generous princes coming from far away, is determined to stay authentic, although it is no longer anonymous. Mass tourism has recently appeared, but, fortunately, when the case, it lasts only a few hours, as long as it takes to visit the fortified church of the UNESCO Heritage, and then to wander the streets a bit.

Viscri, the Saxon village

Viscri, the Saxon village

If you are looking for something more than just a stroll, stay at one of the guest houses in the village. In the evening, tourists leave and the village remains undisturbed. Founded by the Transylvanian saxons, who had lived here until 20 years ago, Viscri looks exactly the same as western European villages looked like a century ago, but they cannot be longer found in Western Europe.

Neat roads – some of them paved – are united in an oblong, green “market”, along a stream. The interlinked houses, with gates resembling the ones fortresses have, are placed far away of the high road. The fortified church dominates the village from above and, viewed from the highest tower, the surrounding hills are no less than the beauty of Tuscany.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”cluj.travel tip”]Buy the local rhubarb or green nuts jams. Here, you can find them at almost half the price they have in the „bio” stores from the cities. [/stextbox]

Rimetea. A giant once played with a rock torn from Apuseni Mountains and then he threw it away a little bit further, to the Trascăului Depression. Thousands of years later, people settled in its shade and so Rîmetea appeared. Then, mineworkers began to wrest iron from the bowels of the mountains and raise houses with white faces, green eyes and embellished with false eyelashes, of petunias or flowing geraniums.

Rimetea, the Hungarian village

Rimetea, the Hungarian village

The story of Rimetea is told in the museum of the village, but the best story is the one told by the houses of Rimetea’s inhabitants , restored with such care that they received the “Europa Nostra” medal.

The central square of the village stays still for minutes untill a car or a group of tourists come along.  Most of them are Hungarians,  because Rîmetea is a Hungarian village. Also in the center of the village you can meet people who came to wash clothes in the basin water here, an ancestral custom kept unaltered.

Hostels and inns can be found everywhere, and if you stop for a shot of palinca and Jeremy Irons sits at the next table, do not look surprised – it is said that he likes to come here by motorcycle.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”cluj.travel tip”]Due to the placement of the village, under the Szekler’s Stone, in Rimetea the sun “rises” twice. First, it rises early in the morning, then it hiddens behind the ridge and it reappears after about an hour. [/stextbox]

Cârlibaba. If you come from Maramureş to Bukovina, the headache caused by the execrable road disappears all of a sudden once you enter Cârlibaba. The good news is that because of the road filled with craters, the village is not yet fed up with tourists and the landscape remained unaltered of pink or purple villas.

Cârlibaba, satul românesc

Cârlibaba, the Romanian village

If Viscri and Rimetea have solid houses, lined up along the streets,  the gentle slopes of Cârlibaba are dotted with scattered wooden houses, surrounded on all sides by rectangular plots, bounded by wooden fences. Looking from the main road, it seems like going through the middle of a chessboard, on which the houses and haystacks resemble the chessboard pieces.

There are several hostels in the area where you can stay, and locals will be happy to tell you stories of Cârlibaba. A few steps away there is Ciocăneşti, a village where houses are painted the same as the Easter eggs from Bukovina.
Tip Visit the village in early autumn, when the golden haystacks give the place a bucolic touch and tourists are almost absent.Vizitați satul la începutul toamnei, când căpițele aurite dau locului un aer bucolic, iar turiștii sunt aproape absenți.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”cluj.travel tip”]Visit the village when autumn starts, as the sun-goldened haystacks give the place a bucolic atmosphere, and the tourists are almost absent.[/stextbox]