May 24, 2015
Breakfast was at 8:30 am again today—bread and honey and jam again, but today we got eggs instead of cheese. The eggs come from the hens who live in the barn next to our little house. After breakfast we walked along the road to the Sucevița Monastery, the last of the UNESCO painted monasteries on our list.
As it was Sunday there was a church service in progress, which we could hear via loudspeakers. So instead of going inside, we walked around the church looking at the painted exterior and also stood and listened to the nuns singing inside. The sun was shining, making it a lovely setting. After a while we left the monastery and walked around to the back, from where we could walk up the hill to get a view looking down over the monastery. The climb was steep but short through long grass (no vipers here) with a variety of wild flowers and there were indeed good views from the top.
Back at Casa Felicia we got the car and headed over to Rădăuți, to visit the Ethnographic Museum. It didn’t take long to drive there but finding the museum proved more difficult. We ended up parking the car and walking around the streets to find it. We knew the address of the museum so we eventually found it, despite its sign not being very prominent. The museum showcased pottery and clothing from the surrounding areas, as well as agricultural tools and implements. All of the signs were in Romanian but despite that we were able to figure out most of the signage except the technical terms. (What’s “turnip” in Romanian?) The regional clothing styles were very beautiful and Rosemary was quite interested in the embroidery techniques.
After that we sat in the park across the street and ate our lunch, along with a colony of rooks. The time was only 1:30 pm, so we decided that we would visit one more site, the monastery at Putna. It’s not one of the UNESCO painted monasteries but it seemed like it might be worth a visit. The road to Putna followed the railway, but its tracks were overgrown with grass and even some small trees. We guessed it had stopped running a few years ago. To the north we could see a string of villages along a road on the other side of the Ukrainian border.
The Putna monastery was indeed not painted on the outside, but it was very beautiful in its own right. The paintings were all in the porch and in the interior and they were in very good condition. Inside was the grave of Stefan cel Mare, one of the great leaders in Romanian history, along with the graves of several Moldavian church leaders of his time. The whole complex was very large compared to the other monasteries we’d visited, and unlike the others it had monks rather than nuns living there. It also had a very serious defensive wall, which would have been important in Stefan’s day.
Back in Sucevița we bought some ice creams before returning to our little house, where we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and reading. Dinner tonight was soup with cèpes (boletus mushrooms) followed by ragout of beef with green beans and then crème caramel pastry. As usual everything was very tasty. This was our last night in Bucovina; tomorrow we would be off to the Maramureș region.