May 28 - June 6, 2002
We discovered what many already knew: there are many beautiful things in Romania. Although its economy may not be as robust as other ex-Warsaw Pact countries, nonetheless, it is clearly a very European country with a healthy dose of German culture still apparent, very beautiful mountains, very friendly people, and only a smidgeon of the rip-off mentality that tends to concentrate around tourists.
We didn't make it to the Black Sea coast, but we got a good, 3-day introduction to Bucharest, went to Brasov, once a centre of German and vampire culture; saw Iasi and its fine old buildings; and finished off with the painted churches of Suceava.
The two strongest impressions are of brillant Christian art and of beautiful countryside.
In many of the churches major repairs are taking place to fix the neglect and distruction of the communist era.