Bucharest, Sibiu, Cluj, Sighetu Marmatiei,
Piatra Neamt, Brasov
Folk Dancing, Folk Festivals, Folk Music, Folk Art, History,
Culture, Folk Shopping, Adventure !
When: June 30-July 12, 2018
Led by: Lee Otterholt
SEE A WHOLE RANGE OF ROMANIANS!
★ Wallachia-Bucharest–old and new Romanians
★ Transylvania–Germans and Hungarians
★ Maramures–the old customs and unique dances
★ For dancers, non-dancers, and anyone with a love of travel and culture.
★ Moldova–14th century monasteries and old traditions
★ Meet with local folk dance groups !
★ Castles, palaces, historic sites, and museums !
★ Breathtaking scenery from mountains to sea !
★ Visit villages, meet crafts people, dance with traditional village groups!
★ Price includes round trip air, city tours, transfers, hotels, three meals daily, our own private air-conditioned tour bus, all entrance and performance fees.
Price: Land Only: $3395
I can’t wait to go! Reserve my place with my $200 deposit per person. See registration form and information below. Or register through PayPal (no PayPal account necessary)
Jim Gold Tour of Romania 2017: Learning a Romanian folk dance in Bucharest
Day 1: June 30, Saturday:
Departure from USA to Bucharest on airline of your choice.
Day 2: July 1 Sunday: BUCHAREST
Arrival in Bucharest. Meet our guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Check-in. 19:00 pick up for the welcome dinner with folk show at Hanu’ lui Manuc Restaurant, a traditional one. Overnight in Capital Plaza Hotel 4*/Bucharest – http://www.capitalplaza.ro/lang-en/ (D)
Day 3: July 2, Monday: BUCHAREST
Half day sightseeing tour of Bucharest to familiarize yourself with the five-century-old capital of Romania. Stopover at the Revolution Square and Constitution Square, in front of the Palace of Parliament, Ceausescu’s huge dream, now reality due to the enormous sacrifices of the Romanian people, the second largest building in the world, being surpassed only by the Pentagon building in Washington. Visit the Metropolitan Church (Patriarchal Church), Synagogue/Coral Temple, and the Village and Folk Art Museum – the largest in Europe, containing over 110 houses and old wooden churches and 11,000 objects of folk art, transported from all over the country. Drive by the Romanian Athenaeum, the former Royal Palace, the Town Hall, the Opera House, the Cotroceni Palace, the Military Academy, the University Square and the Arch of Triumph, which gives the city a taste of Paris. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon meeting with Romanian folk choreographer and dancers. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Bucharest at the same hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 4: July 3, Tuesday: BUCHAREST – CURTEA DE ARGES – SIBIU
Morning departure to Curtea de Arges, Wallachia’s former capital city, for a visit to Curtea de Arges Monastery, built between 1512-1515. Master Manole’s Church is one of the outstanding churches in Romania, famous for its architecture, where, according to the legend, Master Manole, the builder, entombed his wife in the stone walls. A short drive from here will take you to the Vidraru Dam, an impressive construction on the Arges River. Pass by Poienari Castle, the real castle of Vlad Tepes, built around the 13th century, a real challenge for the visitors, being situated on a cliff of a canyon. In order to reach the castle and enjoy the amazing scenery, the visitors need to climb about 1480 steps. Lunch en route. Travel north through the beautiful Olt River Valley into Transylvania, translated from Latin as the “Land across the forest” with stop over for visiting Cozia Monastery, the oldest one in Romania, being built at the end of the 14th century. Afternoon arrival in Sibiu, European Cultural Capital in 2007. Dinner and accommodation Sibiu at Forum Continental Hotel 4*/ https://continental-forum-sibiu.continentalhotels.ro/en/ . (B, L, D)
Day 5: July 4, Wednesday: SIBIU – SIBIEL – SIBIU
Walking tour of the old part of Sibiu (mediaeval Sibiu), with its narrow streets; pass across Liars bridge, visit the Evangelic Cathedral, the Council Tower and the Catholic Church, beautiful art monuments and discover this citadel built by Saxons, where history, art and folklore blend to tourists’ delight. A visit in Sibiu will not be complete without a glimpse at least of the Open Air ASTRA Museum of Folkloric Traditional Civilization situated in the Dumbrava Forest; marvel at the unique old houses with genuine furniture and handmade rugs, clothes wooden craft objects in exquisite colours made by skilled artisans. A short drive from here will take you to Sibiel village for visiting the Museum of icons painted on glass; in this area, enjoy the flavours of the area’s traditional cuisine at lunch. After lunch return to Sibiu for enjoying the dance lessons with members of one of the top ensemble in Romania (2 h). Dinner and overnight Continental Forum Hotel 4*/Sibiu. (B, L, D)
Day 6: July 5, Thursday: SIBIU – ALBA IULIA – TURDA – CLUJ-NAPOC
An hour drive will take you to Alba Iulia, known in ancient times as Apulum, one of the oldest settlements of Romania and the largest commercial center during the Roman Empire. Later it became an impressive Habsburg citadel called Alba Carolina. Have a tour of the newly restored ancient citadel, visit the Catholic Cathedral and the Orthodox Cathedral of Reunification. Continue north to Turda for visiting the amazing and huge salt mine, 209 m underground, situated on the 22nd place of the world’s top spectacular tourist destinations. Restored as a museum and center for halo therapy, it has a futuristic feeling being more like a “playground’ with bowling, mini golf, table tennis, basketball hoops, boat rowing facilities. Traditional lunch en route. Late afternoon arrival to the hotel in Cluj-Napoca. Walking tour of the center of this beautiful city, including visits to the Orthodox Cathedral and to the St. Michael Catholic Church. Dinner at a local restaurant in Cluj-Napoca. Overnight at Capitolina City Chic Hotel 3*/Cluj-Napoca – http://www.hotel-capitolina.ro/en/pagina/home.html (B, L, D)
Day 7: July 6, Friday: CLUJ – SIGHETU MARMATIEI – SAPANTA – BARSANA – BOTIZA– BAIA MARE
Departure for the Maramures area, land of almost one hundred beautiful wooden churches and extremely artful carved porches, where authentic rural culture and life with important touches preserved from the Dacian ancestors may be experienced. There are eight Wooden Churches of Maramureş listed by UNESCO. Visit Elie Wiesel Museum in Sighetu Marmatiei. Drive further north to Sapanta village, where the local spirituality, mostly people beliefs are more obvious. Since ancestors considered that death it’s just a new beginning, they had a special way of honouring the deceased in the unique Merry Cemetery. Here, blue wooden crosses feature carved scenes and humorous lyrics that describe the personality, both good and bad sides, of those who passed away. A stop here would not be complete without visiting the Sapanta-Peri Church the tallest wooden church in the world, 78 m high. Lunch with folk music (“ceterasi”) at a local house with a tasty menu from Maramures. You have the chance to learn a few steps of a folk dance in the area. Continue your journey through remote villages of the Maramures area with a couple of stops for visiting representative art expressions of the local craftsmen, including the impressive Barsana Monastery Complex, an important cultural and religious centre. Late afternoon arrive in Baia Mare city for dinner and overnight at Carpati Hotel 4* – https://www.hotelcarpati.ro/en/ (B, L, D)
Day 8: July 7, Saturday: BAIA MARE — TIHUTA PASS – CAMPULUNG MOLDOVENESC –
This morning cross an invisible threshold to Bukovina, land of the outdoor painted monasteries mostly included in the UNESCO World Heritage, a realm where religious beliefs, tradition and old history are mostly expressed. Stop over in Tihuta pass, the actual area of Bram Stoker’s Borgo pass, the place of Count’s Dracula presumed castle. An hour drive will take you to Campulung Moldovenesc remote town for visiting the interesting Wood Art Museum and for a lunch with a new taste and of course with the specific menu of the area. Continue on to the heart of Bucovina for a last visit of the day, Voronet Monastery, surnamed “the jewel of Bucovina”, famous for its unique shade of blue. Dinner and overnight at Best Western Bucovina Hotel 4*/Gura Humorului –https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-gura-humorului/best-western-bucovina-club-de-munte/propertyCode.77552.html (B, L, D)
Day 9: July 8, Sunday: GURA HUMORULUI – MARGINEA – SUCEVITA – GURA HUMORULUI
Today, after an early morning departure, enjoy the gentle hills, the luxurious nature wrapped in a warm light, of this blessed territory. Bucovina presents itself like an art album, with time and space dimensions discovered by getting acquainted with the exquisite frescoes painted on the monasteries, with the impressive walls of the citadels, with the vivid colours from the enchanting popular costumes. Monasteries Dragomirna, by far the tallest and narrowest medieval church in northern Moldavia, giving the impression of a ship, renowed for its beautiful architecture, unique proportions and detailed carvings in stone, Sucevita, “a Poem in Green and Light”, Moldovita which received the Order “Pomme d’Or” (Golden Apple), Humor, one of the best preserved monuments of its kind, are a must on your visiting list. While touring the monasteries you may want to stop in Marginea village famous for its black pottery, unique in the world, being a ceramic centre since the 16th century. The tasty Moldavian cuisine will be experience during all your meals in the area but today’s lunch might be on the top. Late afternoon return to your yesterday’s accommodation place just in time for your folk dance lesson. Dinner with folk show and overnight in Gura Humorului at the same hotel like the previous night.(B,L,D)
Day 10: July 9, Monday: GURA HUMORULUI —AGAPIA – PIATRA NEAMT – BICAZ GORGES – LACU ROSU (Red Lake) – SIGHISOARA
We head south. Stop over for visiting the picturesque Agapia Monastery, the name meaning “Christian love”, painted by our greatest painter Nicolae Grigorescu whose painted saints are extremely special by choosing living models. Cross the Eastern Carpathians through the impressive Bicaz Gorges. Short stop in Lacu Rosu (Red Lake) to admire the landscape and find out the story of the crimson waters. Enjoy lunch with a special treat of fresh trout and then continue on to Sighisoara, for dinner and overnight at Double Tree by Hilton Cavaler Hotel 4* -http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/romania/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-sighisoara-cavaler-TGMSCDI/index.html , located at the bottom of the hill where the Sighisoara medieval citadel is situated. (B, L, D)
Day 11: July 10, Tuesday: SIGHISOARA – BRAN – POIANA BRASOV
Walking tour of Sighisoara, the most beautiful and best preserved, still inhabited, medieval citadel in the central and South Eastern Europe, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a peek to the the most sought place here, Vlad Dracul House, the very place where prince Vlad Tepes, the Impaler, was born; it has been turned into a museum-like restaurant full of old flavours and artifacts. Stop in front of the Clock Tower in the small square where artisans and painters usually present their work, climb the covered wooden staircase to the Church on the Hill, wander through the town’s narrow streets with beautiful original architecture, pass by the Antler House, the Venetian House, original towers and secluded squares; you will feel that, due to the quiet, peaceful atmosphere, time seems to stand still here, trapped in the Middle Ages. A couple of hours drive, travelling through Transylvania, will bring you to Bran – Moeciu area for lunch at a restaurant on the top of a mountain, overlooking impressive landscapes. It takes only a short drive to Bran Castle, widely known as Dracula’s Castle, after Bram Stoker’s famous novel inspired by these places and our harsh ruler, Vlad the Impaler. It was built at the beginning of the 13th century by Knight Dietrich of the Teutonic Order, having a strategic mission being at the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. In the XX century, the Castle became a royal residence. Now it is open for visitors eager to broaden their history knowledge and thirsty of fabulous legends. Enjoy a traditional dinner with folk music, with a tasty Romanian menu, at a native restaurant famous in Romania, and not only, called “the Outlaws’ Hut”. Overnight in Brasov.
Day 12: July 11, Wednesday: POIANA BRASOV – BRASOV – SINAIA – BUCHAREST
After a healthy breakfast at the hotel, you will find out that the main city of the area, Brasov, nested in the Central Carpathians, is situated at the meeting point of the three Romanian regions: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. Walking tour of the old part of this beautiful medieval town, with attractive Saxon architecture, including the Council Square, the famous Black Church, the largest Gothic Church between Vienna and Istanbul and the extremely pleasant cobbled streets and alleys packed with boutiques, cafes, shops, cafeterias and feel the special romantic medieval atmosphere harmoniously blend with modern life. Continue south, crossing the beautiful Southern Carpathian Mountains, through Prahova Valley, and stop-over in Sinaia mountain resort, well-known as the “Pearl of the Carpathians”. Situated on the outskirts of this resort city, amidst lovely sculpture gardens and fountains, surrounded by mountains, Peles Royal Castle is an exquisitely detailed landmark, a masterpiece of German New-Renaissance architecture. Rivaling the castle itself is the beautiful natural setting in which it stands. Once the summer residence of Romania’s kings, this spectacular castle, built at the end of the 19th century, is now one of Romania’s most beautiful museums, displaying priceless collections of weaponry, hand woven silk rugs and furniture, ceramics and sculptures. Lunch en route. A couple of hours drive will have you back to Bucharest, just in time for check in and your last folk dance lesson of the tour. Farewell dinner with show at a unique restaurant in Bucharest. Overnight at Capital Plaza Hotel 4*/Bucharest. (B, L, D)
Day 13, July 12, Thursday:
Breakfast at hotel, Departure to airport for flight back home.
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About Lee Otterholt:
Lee Otterholt, born in the USA of Norwegian-American parents, has lived and worked most of his life in Norway as a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer. He founded the Center for International Folk Dance in Oslo; he was also professor of dance folklore at the Norwegian National College of Ballet, and University College of Oslo. Lee established folk dance and performing groups in Norway, taught at festivals and workshops throughout Europe, United States, and East Asia, and is the author of folk dance and instructional manuals used in Norwegian schools. Lee was one of the choreographers for the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
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Total balance due May 1, 2018
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