Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Monday, November 30, 2015

Vatra Dornei, 2nd time, RO

Vatra Dornei, 2nd time, RO

Panic Attack! Almost! Carol could not find her keys to open the Givi Saddle Bags. She has 2 sets of keys, but the 2nd set was locked inside the top box, which could not be opened if you don’t have a key. Now what? We looked all over the room, walked the path we took last night, etc. Nothing! We had to vacate the Hotel Room; it was already a bit late. What do we do? We checked every pocket, every nook and possibility, no keys! Naturally, feelings of frustration ran high. All the thinking did not help, we could not think of anything else but to crack the cases open by force and then tie them closed again with duct tape. We had the liner bags in the room; they had to go inside those cases. There was no way I could carry them on my bike. And……we are so far away from any ‘civilization’ up here in Romania, that finding a dealer who might be able to help is not in the cards. So, with a heavy heart, we decided, yes, let’s move out and get going. We will have to break into the cases and then deal with the rest later. We did all this after breakfast, we did not have our riding gear on, so first thing is to get totally dressed. Boots, pants and finally jackets and……..stuck inside Carol’s arm sleeve in the riding jacket were the keys to the side cases. Not in a pocket (which she had already checked) but stuck inside her jacket sleeve. Phew, that was close! First thing we did after we opened the cases on Carol’s bike was to put the spare keys into MY bike. It seems more logical to have your riding partner carry spares of your stuff. Not sure if this is best but that is what we did from then on.

We are back in the hunt for more monasteries. There are a total of 8 Monasteries on the UNESCO register, but we decided that 4 would be enough. All of them are more or less within the area we are in. Since we saw 2 yesterday, we thought we could see 2 today and then ride back to Vatra Dornei, since we declared this our hub for this part of the trip.

 OK, off we go, the first route leads to Humor (that is not a laughing matter, it’s the name of the town). We followed the Route Carol had worked out but in the end we needed the GPS to find the exact spot of the Monastery. A bit out of town, along a rural road, with a few houses around, sits Humor Monastery today. I am glad we did not see this Monastery as our first Monastery. The perimeter of the outer wall is filled with schlock merchants. Selling ‘Romanian’ tchotchkes probably made in China. It was horrible. There was hardly room to park. The parking was not secure. Carol and I tried to find a more secluded spot to park the bikes, but there wasn’t any. By riding ‘around’ this Humor Monastery we came to realize, we don’t need this. This is really too much ‘touristy’ crap. So, we set the GPS to omit this Humor (less) place and moved on. 

The next church is the one in Voronet, known for the intense blue color “Voronet Blue”, it is the most famous of the Romanian Churches. This Monastery was not in operation for 200 plus years (1775 to 1998). After the reopening in 1998, major renovation has occurred and now this is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in all of Romania. I did not know any of this when we rode up to it. There were guarded parking lots, but when we rode onto one, nobody even looked at us. The ‘guards’ were busy dealing with the 3 busloads of people who had arrived with us. It was a bee hive of activity. From the parking lot it was a 30 minute walk uphill to the actual Monastery. Left and right of this ‘walk’ were vendors selling religious mementos, Romanian flags, peasant shirts and dresses and various toys for the kids. Schlock! 

I could not believe it, religion is a business. I am not a friend of religion in the first place, but this was over the top. Never mind the inherent idea of a peaceful spot to regenerate ones unity with the Universe. I am not going up that walk! I am not going to be part of this silly procession towards the monastery that was “re-instituted” for the benefit of milking international tourists. I am not going to walk the gauntlet of merchants just to see one more of the walled places. I cannot even call it a monastery; really, because I am convinced it was set up just for the business end of the tourist trade. There is really nothing ‘holy’ about this place. I guess you can tell that I was raving a bit, and seething at the commercialism. 

I said nothing to Carol, though. I just looked at her, while we were sitting on our bikes in the parking lot. She looked at me. Then she said: “No way am I going to go up there. This is insanity!” I am glad we agreed. So now what do we do?  Where do we go from here? A bit down the road, on the way away from the ‘Monastery’ we stopped in a driveway and I set the GPS towards Vatra Dornei, we decided we were just following the roads the machine would tell us to take.  And we were not disappointed. I cannot really tell you the name of the road, or the number but it was a doozy; winding, bumpy, potholed, and dangerous sometimes.
Why Did They Keep This Monument In The Middle Of The Forest?

Rubble, Gone !

Yes, They Have Electric Here, Way Inside Nothing
After some time we came across a large area with ripped down buildings. A huge section, in the middle of the forest with totally abandoned, what looked to me, Government buildings, housing or barracks. I would say 90% of the very large complex was torn down (or bombed?) but, in the center of it all stood a monument; a very modern type of a monument in a way. We stopped, looked around but it felt eerie. It felt as we were not supposed to be there, not supposed to have taken that road, even the pictures. Yet we saw no barriers or signage. The road we were on continued right through this facility and then, almost the equal distance on the other side, we came back to a more traveled road. Again we saw horse drawn carts, again we saw people. This bad road we were on, might have been a road established during CeauČ™escu’s era. And the buildings?  If only walls could talk.
I tried to look up where exactly we had been once I got to the hotel in Vatra Dornei, the Belvedere, but could not find any explanation. When I asked people they just looked at me, but said nothing. 


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