It was simply amazing - it was everything we expected and so much more. We've been on the road all day today (Astra Museum and Rasinari). Sinca Noua, first of all, is just gorgeous. We've been in small villages before, but always on some bus or train route, never so remote and peaceful. But the very best thing about the stay was the Ittus. They took us in like family, or close friends, and were so excited to show us everything on the farm and in/around the village. We worked on the farm, toured the village churches and hung out the first day, and then we did the whole church service thing on the second day. We'd never been to an Orthodox service, and so even though it lasted a while we thought it was one of the best things, if not the very best thing, we've done in Romania so far. We want to go back, and then take our kids when we eventually have them - that's how great it was. It was the most beautiful place we've been so far.
For us, this afternoon was a complete discovery, we had never seen before how to collect honey, we had never milked goats, and the village, with the surrounding forest and the flowery meadows was beautiful, and very relaxing. We loved the place. (speaking about the village Poienita, from Arges County)
My experience with Village Life was more than unique, it was educational. I eat meat, but I never had the chance to actually see the animal I was going to have for dinner. Now, I could get involved in the process of cooking everything, from its natural state into a delicious meal; we pulled the celery root out of the ground, we milked the cow to have a cup of milk, etc. I felt privileged to only begin to understand the amount of work behind the food that we often take for granted... Not to mention that everything was natural and completely organic :)
I was born and raised in the city; most nature I can have in a weekday is when I go for a stroll in the park; my food is provided by global supermarket chains; when I want to wind down I go to the movies or to a coffee shop.
The Romanian village is a place where nature meets spirit, where you can have joyful silence. It's the best place to rediscover the "natural" in the world, in all forms, shapes, colors, tastes and scents. A place I got reminded of when the Village Life crew took me there. I look forward to going back with other friends, so they too can experience the "normality" and serenity of the romanian traditional village.
I think it's not the Parisian or Art Noveau buildings, mountains or seaside that make Romania truly distinct. It's the traditions and values of the countryside, which are often the most inaccessible; they're not in Lonely Planet, they don't have a website, they don't have regular buses and trains. The shyest ones are often the most unspoiled, but you also won't get there without an in and a sense of adventure.
What made my visit to the village of Poienița special was the chance to see and begin to understand that way of life by participating in it: cooking a rooster that was roaming around just minutes earlier, milking the cows and feeding the pigs, chatting about the "glory days" of Communism over hot țuica with the old man, and the joy of sharing it all with friends.
A short incursion back to my childhood, with my grandma and grandpa, the greenery and freshness of the village, the cold spring water, the smell of baked apples, the steam of boiled "țuica" with cinnamon, and the fresh milk. Only that the child was now an adult and saw a typical countryside day in a new light
Rebecca and Marieke, New Zealand
We are having an amazing time. Gene (our Romanian host/mum) has been amazing and we've been doing many traditional activities which is exactly what we wanted. Lots of fruit off the trees and fresh pickles/preserves etc. Our Romanian is getting awesome! We had loads of fun milking goats and the honey was unreal. We thought the carriage ride would be like what you might see in the city, little did we know it was like 4 wheel drive version of carriage riding, it was well fun.
We loved our experience, everything was better than expected. The food, the ambience, the country, the houses, the people (!). There were so many "first times" for us - feeding pigs, horse carriages, milking goats, watching alcohol being distilled from prunes etc. Geni, our host, was unreal, she was incredibly on to it.
Josie and Kate, Australia
The village host was very friendly and went the extra mile to orientate us with the town (church, council office etc). The family were also very accommodating and the food was delicious; a real highligh was also the horse ride to the bee and goat farm. It was very useful having a translator there(Lavinia), it made a difference in communication. It was also nice that it was school holidays so the 2 children where home as well. I imagine that outside of school holidays it would only be the mum at home which would have probably been a different experience. We really just walked away with great memories. Thanks again for organizing it all so quickly at the last minute.
Freddie and Paddy, UK
We had an amazing time in the village that we stayed in. It was really easy to get to the village and Mr Popescu was waiting for us when we got there and he was extremely welcoming. He also stayed with us while we had dinner at the house, which was good for initial introduction and to translate to the family where we had come from, what we were doing and what we do in our lives. Although our hosts didn't speak English, it was absolutely fine.. Jenny was lovely and like a mother while we stayed. Her husband was obviously glad to have two men around to drink 'Tuica' with.
For Paddy and I, the food was one of the best parts of the stay! Jenny cooked stews, meat, bbq - we ate so much, was really good. The wine and the 'Tuica' was great with it. We both enjoyed picking the grapes and to see how the wine was made... Paddy and I were hooked on them! The day at the farm was a really interesting experience. The horse and cart was fun and milking the goats was quite funny, although their 5 year old daughter was showing us up. The family were really welcoming and so generous with their honey, cheese, polenta, apples etc. We ate like pigs the whole time. It was definitely worth a visit. The village and surrounding villages were lovely.
I think the fact that it was a chance to get out of the crazy cities and actually live with a family in rural Romania, is what we really enjoyed. It was amazing to experience traditional Romania, I'd definitely recommend it to anyone!