We hired Ciprian (Chip) to give us a guided tour of the painted monasteries in Bucovina and the wooden churches of Maramures. Ciprian picked us up from our pensiune and treated us to breakfast at his favorite cafe in Suceava (the name escapes me, but it was pretty good) and talked to us to get a better feel for what we wanted to see. He clearly listened and we departed for the tour.
We saw 3/4 monasteries and Ciprian gave an absolutely perfect culture and history lesson at each monastery. He took the time to go into detail describing the icons and the symbolism behind them and was clearly exceptionally knowledgeable. After that, he gave the history of the particular monastery and any other significant facts about it and answered any questions me might have.
We are fortunate that we hired Ciprian, because we had the fortune of visiting on the day of Christ’s resurrection so every monastery was in use. Ciprian made sure to let us know the proper customs and courtesies at each monastery and was able to talk to the priests to make sure we could actually see the insides of the churches and see some services. Really interesting.
In between the monasteries, Ciprian drove us through the countryside making sure to stop at shops that are unique to the area. Particularly interesting to my wife and I, was the black pottery of the region.
After the monasteries, Ciprian arranged a fantastic homestay (Casa Muntean) for us in nearby Maramures as well as a guide to take us to the wooden churches the next day, the Merry Cemetery in Satul Mare, and then take us to Sighisoara.
I highly recommend hiring Ciprian if you want to see the sights in the North of Romania. It’s difficult to drive there and even more difficult to access the sights if you’re not familiar with the area. The trip is long from Transylvania (8 hours by bus from Brasov) to get there, but absolutely worth it.
Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the Ciprian’s service and professionalism. It was a joy traveling with him and we really appreciated his passion and love for Bucovina. I recommend him without any reservation. There’s no better way to see the North than with Ciprian!