A new concept of tourism has been flourishing lately in Romania. It entails valorizing the old architecture of villages, of houses built by those who lived in them, houses that have life and spirit as opposed to the cold and impersonal rooms of luxury hotels. This is going on in more and more parts of the country and it has been attracting many visitors from abroad who want to experience a piece of authentic Romanian life.
A person who runs such a bed & breakfast is Daniel Leş, who bought five old houses in the village of Baia Sprie, Maramureş County, and restored them to look as they might have looked two centuries ago. He considers his customers to be his guests: he dines with them and tells them stories about the houses, while they all warm themselves next to the fire place. The beauty of living in those parts is to be able to make your own food, to make your own fire in the fire place and to hear the sound of the dry leaves as you walk through your garden. He believes that simple things like these can make people happy.
Another person who decided to leave the hustle and bustle of city life (and not just any city, in fact, but London) for the Romanian country life is Duncan Ridgley. Duncan and his wife moved to Breb, Maramureş County, and they bought two small houses which they turned into bed & breakfasts. They were both fascinated by the Romanian countryside: the misty mornings, the women picking and carrying apples – in fact, they consider Romania to be a land of fairy tales.
But Transylvania is not the only place that has such wonders. A village of only five 200-year-old houses exists in Suceava County. The houses have been bought and restored by a businessman from Bucharest and are now under the administration of Viorica Macovei, who welcomes all of her guests with bread and salt, according to the local custom. She knows each and every one of the houses, as her own family lived in one of them, raised children and had simple and happy lives there. She narrates how foreign tourists enjoy staying there and how she is moved to tears by their compliments. She grows animals (pigs, cows, horses, chicken and trout) and vegetables, so that everything she cooks and serves to the guests is fresh and healthy.