After Christmas, ten of us (six adults and four kids) loaded up in three cars and drove to Maramures, the north-western corner of Romania, near the border with Ukraine. The area is beautiful, with rolling hills and absolutely gorgeous lighting, guaranteed to make your photos glow – a photographer’s Paradise (if you don’t believe me, check out Adrian Petrisor’s photos).
On the way, we stopped to visit Turda Salt Mine. This out-of-this-world looking underground dwelling has been a mine used since Roman times but was officially built in the 18th century. It is now a popular tourist destination for those with respiratory troubles and healthy travelers alike, featuring self-service row-boat rides, a Ferris wheel, ball courts, and more.
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We had a healthy and hearty lunch at the nearby restaurant called Sarea-n-bucate (Salt in Food). It featured traditional food but it wasn’t the best I’ve had.
In Ieud, Maramures, we stayed at Pensiunea Ilea, a local bed and breakfast ran by Liviu and Maria Ilea, who were absolutely lovely. The food was spectacular and locally grown. I actually enjoyed drinking milk again – the real thing, with cream on top and all!
Breakfast and dinner were included with our stay. I absolutely loved the wooden serving trays – rustic and fun. Dinners were more like a family gathering than just a sit-and-eat affair. We enjoyed our hosts’ company and learned more about the local culture and history from them, especially since they were both teachers. Liviu also played in a renowned folk music band, called Fratii Petreusi. I took a photo if his only copy of the CD Marg pe Iza, zin pa Mara.
I don’t usually like rose wine. However, I really liked Liliac (Bat); Maybe I’m biased since I’m from Transylvania ;-). It was nice a crisp and not the usual too sweet taste. I could see that going very well in the summer months or with fish. I wish I could have brought some back with me. The red wine was Cadarca and it was a very nice not too heavy, not too light red that goes well by itself or with lighter meats and cheese, of course.