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Treasures of Romania: Enchanting Castles and Painted Monasteries

Program Number: 19208RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/22/2013 - 10/2/2013; 5/31/2015 - 6/10/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/7/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/28/2015;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Romania
Price starting at: $2,550.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 26; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Romania is one of Europe’s most dynamically changing nations — a hauntingly beautiful land set apart by the Carpathian Mountains, great plains, deep forests, ancient cities and villages with architecture of many periods. Three major ethnic groups and half a dozen religions blend influences of East and West. Delving into this intriguing society, explore the capital, Bucharest; Moldavia’s painted monasteries; the Saxon area with its preserved medieval cities; and Transylvania’s remarkable landscapes.




Highlights

• Explore the Castle of Dracula in Bran, learn the true story behind the myths and discover the secrets of the castle’s underground passageways.
• Join an expert in the famous painted monasteries of Gura Humorului, including the World Heritage sites of Voronet, Moldovita, Humor and Sucevita monasteries.
• Taste Romanian foods and the famous wines of the Aiud wine region as you lunch with a local family in Rimetea.



Activity Particulars

Hilly terrain, cobblestone streets, standing at museums, unavoidable stairs.



This program has been designed to be taken back to back with "Treasures of Bulgaria: Ancient Ruins, Roses and Revival" (#19207), and participants encouraged to register for both.




Date Specific Information

9-22-2013, 5-31-2015, 9-27-2015, 10-18-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Bucharest, 2 nights; coach to Brasov, 2 nights; coach to Gura Humorului, 2 nights; coach to Cluj-Napoca, 3 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Bucharest
2 nights

In the city formerly known as the “Paris of the East,” take a field trip to learn about Bucharest’s intriguing landmarks: Victory Avenue, Revolution Square, Parliament (the second largest building in the world), the Hill of Patriarchy (the center of the Romanian Orthodox Church), and the historic center of the city including the archaeological remains of the court of Vlad the Impaler. Then enjoy a lecture on the history of Romania with a local expert.



Coach to Brasov
2 nights

En route to Brasov, stop in Sinaia to explore Peles Castle — the summer residence of the Royal Family. One of the most notable medieval towns in Transylvania, Brasov is extremely well preserved with the largest Gothic cathedral in the region. Enjoy an expert-led walk through the historic center of the city, still largely surrounded by medieval stone walls.



Coach to Gura Humorului
2 nights

Enjoy an all day field trip to the famous painted monasteries of Gura Humorului, including the World Heritage sites of Voronet, Moldovita, Humor and Sucevita monasteries.



Coach to Cluj-Napoca
3 nights
Departures

Return to Transylvania, to Cluj-Napoca — the educational and cultural center of the region. Journey by bus and on foot to see Cluj’s magnificent landmarks. Discuss sociology and Romania today, and meet local students to hear their views of Romania. In Rimetea, learn why this stunning, historic village was awarded the Europa Nostra Medal in 1999.




Romania

Medieval castles and fortresses mingle with traditional villages and modern life, from Romania’s capital city of Bucharest to the infamous region of Transylvania. This strong spirit of preservation extends to the country’s natural wonders as well — its care for the Danube River Basin and pristine forests makes Romania the third-most biodiverse location in the world.



Accommodations
Bucharest: Three-star hotel in beautiful park on shore of Lake Herastrau. Brasov: Hotel in heart of city between old fortified city and business quarter. Gura Humorului: Four-star hotel near painted monasteries. Cluj-Napoca: Unique, refurbished hotel with 30 unique rooms.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Herastrau
  Bucharest, Romania 2 nights
   Hotel Ambient
  Brasov, Romania 2 nights
   Best Western Bucovina
  Gura Humorului, Romania 2 nights
   Hanul Fullton Hotel
  Cluj-Napoca, Romania 3 nights
 Hotel Herastrau
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: This newly constructed three-star hotel is ideally located in the northern residential area of Bucharest in a magnificent and peaceful setting. It is situated in the middle of the most beautiful park of the capital city on the shore of Lake Herastrau. The hotel is a few minutes from the city center and only 10 minutes from Otopeni International Airport.
  Contact info: Soseaua Nordului 7-9
Bucharest,  014101 Romania
phone: +40 21 232-9666
web: www.herastrau.ro
  Room amenities: Each room has air conditioning, minibar, satellite TV, radio, and free wireless Internet access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, summer terraces, day bar, disco, billiards, table tennis, flood-lit tennis courts, free wireless Internet throughout the hotel, computer in lobby with Internet access, sauna, massage, and a fitness center.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Ambient
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Ambient is located in the very heart of Brasov, the second largest town in Romania. With its distinct architecture, the newly built hotel offers a marvelous view of the entire city from its glass elevator. It is at the border between the old fortified city and the business quarter, and is within walking distance to the main square.
  Contact info: Str. Iuliu Maniu Nr. 27 A Brasov
Brasov,  500085 Romania
phone: +40 268 471747
web: www.hotelambient.ro/en
  Room amenities: Each room has a hair dryer, minibar, telephone, television, radio, Internet access, and balcony.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge, Internet cafe, ATM machine, and safe.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Bucovina
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The newly built Best Western Bucovina gives you the opportunity to explore nearby painted monasteries while enjoying a spectacular landscape.
  Contact info: Piata Republicii Nr. 18
Gura Humorului,  725300 Romania
phone: +40 230 207000
web: www.bestwesternhotels.ro
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, alarm clock, and a minibar.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar and terrace, fitness center with sauna, Jacuzzi and massage parlor, and Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hanul Fullton Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hanul Fullton Hotel is located in downtown Cluj-Napoca. Once an old hotel, it has been refurbished to combine the best of tradition and modernity with its art nouveaux furniture, gothic cellars and up-to-date amenities. It is within walking distance of all major sites.
  Contact info: Str. Decebal Nr 22-24
Cluj-Napoca,  400023 Romania
phone: +40 264 484748
web: www.hanulfullton.ro
  Room amenities: Each room has a cable television, telephone, air conditioning, free wireless Internet access, and hair dryers available at reception.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers air conditioning, laundry services, a safe and free wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Bucharest, Romania. 6:00 PM in the hotel restaurant. You will be staying at Hotel Herastrau that night.
  End of Program:
Cluj-Napoca, Romania. After farewell dinner the night before departure. You will be staying at Hanul Fullton Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Bus and trains are available to the region from various locations. More information can be found at www.romaniatourism.com
To Start of Program
  Location:  Bucharest
  Nearest city or town:  N/A
  Nearest highway: E60, E70, and Highway 114
  Nearest airport:  Otopeni International Airport
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. There is a desk at arrivals where you can order your taxi. It will cost approx. 15 Euro per person.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Cluj-Napoca
  Nearest city or town:  N/A
  Nearest highway: Route 1
  Nearest airport:  Cluj-Napoca Airport
  Transportation from site: Take a taxi from the hotel to the airport. This will cost approx. 15 Euro.
Elevation Note: About 3000 feet at Tihuta Pass

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Sunday, September 22)
   
 In Transit: Depart US on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrival in Bucharest
(Monday, September 23)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive in Bucharest, Romania's capital and home to the 15th century Wallachian Prince. Settle in at hotel, followed by an orientation.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Herastrau
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Bucharest Sightseeing
(Tuesday, September 24)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Guided sightseeing in Bucharest including the Parliament (the second largest building in the world that was designed to be the office of the former dictator), the Hill of Patriarchy (the center of the Romanian Orthodox Church), and the historic center of the city including the archaeological remains of the court of Vlad the Impaler.
 Lunch: Lunch at a downtown restaurant.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Open Air Village Museum.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Herastrau
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Peles Castle / Transfer to Brasov
(Wednesday, September 25)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Travel to Transylvania to our next destination, Brasov. We stop in Sinaia and enjoy a guided excursion through Peles Castle - summer residence of the Royal Family. The castle was built according to Western-European fashion by using the best possible materials: Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows, Cordoba leather wall coverings, Meissen and Sevres porcelain.
 Lunch: Lunch in Sinaia.
 Afternoon: Arrival in Brasov, a nicely preserved Saxon (German) city with the largest Gothic cathedral in the region. Its former German community is the birth place of Transylvanian Protestantism.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ambient
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Bran, Castle of Dracula
(Thursday, September 26)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture: "History of Romania." Enjoy a walk in the historic center of Brasov. Brasov is one of the most picturesque historic cities of Romania. Established by Saxon (German) settlers at a strategic crossroad of trade routes in the 12th century, it was the gate of the Hungarian kingdom towards the southeast. Surrounded by high mountains one can always enjoy the clean air and the nice streets, squares, towers and churches. One of the highlights is the Black Church, the largest Gothic structure of Eastern Europe.
 Lunch: Lunch in the historic center.
 Afternoon: A bus excursion to Bran, known as the Castle of Dracula. The castle was originally built in the 14th century by the citizens of Brasov to protect their trade routes. Later it was owned by Hungarian kings, and the Romanian royal family. We will get acquainted with the myths of Dracula.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Ambient
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Transfer to Gura Humorului / Bicaz Gorge / Lacu Rosu
(Friday, September 27)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Travel from Brasov (Transylvania) to Gura Humorului (Moldova). Cross the magnificent Bicaz Gorge and stop at Lacu Rosu (Killer Lake) along the way.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel in Gura Humorului.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Bucovina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Monasteries
(Saturday, September 28)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: All day excursion to the famous painted monasteries including those listed as World Heritage sites. Learn about the history and architecture of the monasteries and study the iconography and specific meaning of the wall paintings. The morning includes excursions at Voronet and Moldovita Monasteries. As we cross a picturesque mountain en route to Sucevita, admire great views and observe Ukrainian farms.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Sucevita Monastery and religious museum. Continue to a famous black pottery workshop in Marginea and observe how the pots are made. Then conclude the day with a visit to the Humor Monastery.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Bucovina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Transfer to Cluj-Napoca / Bistrita and the Dracula Castle Restaurant
(Sunday, September 29)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Return to Transylvania, to Cluj-Napoca - the educational and cultural center of the region. Stop at Dracula Castle Restaurant, Hanul Tihuta, to enjoy a panoramic view.
 Lunch: Lunch in Bistrita.
 Afternoon: Guided excursion in the historic center of Bistrita, a formal Saxon town. Arrive in Cluj-Napoca.
 Dinner: Hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hanul Fullton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Cluj / Meeting local students
(Monday, September 30)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: A guided excursion in Cluj. We will travel by bus and by foot to see Cluj’s magnificent landmarks. Explore the old and new city centers, the birth house of King Mathias, St. Michael Cathedral, Banffy Palace, and the famous Wolf Street, where we will view former palaces, a great heraldry collection, and one of the bastions of the walled city.
 Lunch: Hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Lecture on sociology, Romania today.
 Dinner: We enjoy a dinner arranged by the Teodidactos Foundation, during which you can meet local students and discuss any questions you might have.
 Evening: Meet local students and discuss any questions you might have.
   
Accommodations: Hanul Fullton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Rimetea
(Tuesday, October 1)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: All day excursion to Rimetea, a historic village awarded the Europa Nostra Medal in 1999. We first visit the five hundred year-old Salt Mine at Turda. Continue to Rimetea, a village with a stunning natural and architectural heritage. We visit the local museum to learn about folk traditions, local costumes, embroidery, and the local iron mining and manufacturing.
 Lunch: Lunch with a local family in Rimetea, where we eat local meals and taste the famous wines of the Aiud wine region.
 Afternoon: Travel back to Cluj.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner with traditional food.
   
Accommodations: Hanul Fullton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Departure
(Wednesday, October 2)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Departures for the airport.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Bucharest Herastrau Park
Herestrau Park is the largest park in Bucharest. It is located directly opposite the hotel and includes a beautiful lake, quiet pathways, and a variety of trees. There is a waterfall as well as restaurants by the shore. Among other leisure activities, the lake provides opportunities for rowing.
  The Parliament Building
The Parliament Building is the most famous building in Romania measuring 84 meters high and occupying 12 floors. The building is the second largest administrative building in the world and is located in an excellent area for sightseeing among baroque buildings and cobblestone streets. For additional information, visit www.cdep.ro
  Cluj-Napoca Shopping in Cluj-Napoca
You will have time to explore and shop in the culturally diverse and industrious city of Cluj-Napoca.
  Brasov Shopping in Brasov
You will have time to explore and shop in the second largest city of Romania.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


All Rivers Run to the Sea


Author: Elie Wiesel


Description: Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel recounts his remarkable life, from his childhood in Romania to the horrors of Auschwitz, his days as a young writer in post-war France and New York and his many pilgrimages to Israel.



Balkan Ghosts, A Journey through History


Author: Robert D. Kaplan


Description: Kaplan interweaves the history, art and culture of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece with his travels in this portrait of the region.



Between the Woods and the Water


Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor


Description: Fermor continues with youthful adventures in Hungary and Romania, culminating with his arrival at the Iron Gates on the Danube.



Bradt Guide Central and Eastern European Wildlife


Author: Gerard Gorman


Description: An illustrated guide to the plants, mammals, birds and other wildlife of the region.



Bury Me Standing


Author: Isabel Fonseca


Description: This marvelous portrait of the Roma, also known as the Gypsies, offers insight into their music, foods, religions and folk traditions, and also examines their influential but complex relationship with Eastern Europe.



Culture Smart! Romania


Author: Debbie Stowe


Description: A concise and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.



Dracula


Author: Bram Stoker


Description: The vampire novel that started it all, based on the legend of "Vlad the Impaler." The gothic shocker is set within the dank castles and misty forests of Transylvania, and the foggy streets and staid country houses of Victorian England.



In Search of Dracula


Author: Raymond McNally


Description: This history of Vlad Tepes (AKA Vlad the Impaler), the Romanian warrior prince upon whom Bram Stoker based his infamous blood-drinking count, draws on oral histories and archaeological evidence and also examines Dracula’s many incarnations in film and literature.



Language and Travel Guide to Romania


Author: Rosemary Rennon


Description: This personal, comprehensive guide includes the history and culture of Romania, language essentials and practical travel information.



Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of the Balkans


Author: Dennis Hupchick


Description: The changing borders and complex history of the Balkans, clearly and concisely shown through 50 double-page maps and accompanying essays, organized chronologically.



Romania Moldova Map


Author: Freytag & Berndt


Description: This handy fold-up map at a scale of 1:500,000 includes a multilanguage legend and city plans.



Romania, An Illustrated History


Author: Nicolae Klepper


Description: An illustrated primer on Romania's eventful history, from the bronze age to the period of the Dacians before and during Roman rule, the principalities from the 14th century until 1821 and modern times.



Rough Guide Romania


Author: Rough Guide


Description: An informative, up-to-date guide, combining general information on the country with practical travel details.



Taste of Romania: Its Cookery and Glimpses of Its History, Folklore, Art, Literature, and Poetry


Author: Nicolae Klepper


Description: A cookbook and celebration of Romanian culture, featuring 150 authentic dishes and tidbits on cultural traditions, as well as poems and literary excerpts.



The Balkans, A Short History


Author: Mark Mazower


Description: A brief, provocative survey of the complex and often contentious history of the Balkans. With eloquence and insight, Mazower addresses the issues of geography, nationalism and modern nation-building in the region.



The Historian, A Novel


Author: Elizabeth Kostova


Description: In this wildly popular historical thriller, Kostova traces a 16-year-old woman's harrowing journey across Europe to find the notorious 15th-century prince of Wallachia, Vlad Dracul, completing her father's research in the medieval monasteries and dusty libraries from Istanbul and Budapest to Romania.



Transylvania


Author: Brownen Riley


Description: Riley lovingly explores the mountain villages, history and people of this land steeped in myth and tradition in this superb book, featuring 150 haunting photographs by Dan Dinescu.



Transylvania and Beyond


Author: Dervla Murphy


Description: Murphy spent eight months among the people of Transylvania, soaking up their stories and their thoughts on life in modern Romania.





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