On the first morning, I couldn’t remember where I was when I opened my eyes. You know those nights when you are so tired after a long road, and you fall deeply asleep? This was the way that I experienced the past few days on my way to Maramureș, Romania. Even though I drove a maximum of 5 hours a day, I haven’t had a proper holiday for more than a year. As my body started to relax, it felt all the fatigue and stress it carried for so long.
I saw the sun gently entering my room through the attic window, I sensed the soft and fresh sheets covering me, and I suddenly remembered my arrival at Casa din Susani just the day before. My journey through The Historic Maramureș has just started.
Why did I choose to stay at Casa din Susani?
When I saw the first pictures of the house, it reminded me of the stories I read when I was only a child. And I became so curious to discover this place. I wanted to find out its story and see what the area had to offer, The Historic Maramureș. It is a well-known region in Romania for its well-conserved traditions, local crafts, and beautiful natural environment.
Casa din Susani is part of Eco Maramureș partners network. The area of Mara – Cosău – Creasta Cocoșului is recognized as an eco touristic destination. Through Eco Maramureș, responsible tourism is promoted in the region. At present, there are 10 eco touristic destinations in Romania. This area is famous because of its significant cultural and natural treasures. Our responsibility as travelers is to conserve this heritage of unparalleled value while discovering its secrets, step by step. And if by doing so we can also support the local community, it is even better. How can you do that? Use local services, from local guides to guesthouses or family businesses. Your actions will help the local community and preserve traditions. This was also an essential aspect to me when I decided to stay at Casa din Susani. 🙂
Casa din Susani is located 609 km away from Bucharest, in a village on the north side of the country. I didn’t feel like I wanted to spend around 10 hours on the road in one single day, so I decided to split my journey into 2 parts, stopping by Sighisoara for a few days.
It proved to be an excellent decision. I had the chance to revisit the fortress’s streets and return to some places that I used to love as a teenager.
What’s the story of the house?
As I entered Maramureș coming from Bucharest, I immediately noticed the incredible serenity of these regions. It has been almost as time slowed down, and even if it was something that I was expecting, it had a powerful effect on me. Living in the capital, it is often so much noise around me, even while in lockdown. Life had a different rhythm here, and when I got out of the car in front of this cozy little house, everything was so quiet and peaceful.
As modern people, some of us use technology daily, and we can get everything we want so fast. Almost all we might want is one click away. I know I have found myself in this scenario too many times. It has become a lot easier to buy that new dress, phone, or laptop than to try and repair an old one. Instant gratification has become our day-to-day expectation.
Maybe this way of living causes us to forget how to be patient and to preserve the values of our past generations.
Not many people decide to come back to the villages where they were born and make a living there. In Romania, most young people decide to move to bigger cities or even leave the country searching for a better life. Unfortunately, this causes many beautiful rural regions to start degrading over time. Local customs and crafts begin to fade away because there is nobody to learn and practice them anymore.
But once in a while, you come across people like the owners of Casa din Susani. This oak house is 100 years old, and they completely rehabilitated it. They brought it to Călinești village from another nearby village, piece by piece. Then they searched for skilled wooden artisans who began the rehabilitation work.
The house’s roof has been completely rebuilt, and an additional floor has been added to the original building.
Now, Casa din Susani has 4 rooms available, 3 double rooms, and one triple room. It can accommodate 9 guests.
What will you find at Casa din Susani in Maramureș, Romania?
Apart from the traditional rooms, each decorated with oak furniture, there are many other aspects that I loved about it.
I didn’t feel like I was on holiday, staying in a guesthouse. It was more like I was visiting my relatives from the countryside. Gheorghe, Mărioara, Petru, and little Sara were so happy to welcome me from the moment I arrived.
The taste of the food is so much more intense than what we experience in the capital. Most of the products are grown locally. Everything is natural. And, of course, Mărioara’s cooking skills were the cherry on the top of the cake. She cooked the most exquisite dishes that I ate in a long time.
I remember perfectly the taste of the fresh warm milk she brought to us in the morning, the freshly baked bread, the homemade butter, and the “horinca” (local alcoholic drink, you can serve before or after eating). Visiting Maramureș, Romania is an incomplete experience if you don’t try authentic local food.
The dining area is across the yard. There are places available on the wooden terrace and also inside the other building. A separate location for dining that will accommodate guests is under construction in the same yard.
This intimate and familiar ambiance makes everyone more open to socializing. It didn’t take long to connect and get to know the other guests staying in Casa din Susani.
Expect to leave having new friends after a visit to Casa din Susani.
It was a great and pleasant surprise to meet these guys from Calatorscop while staying here. We shared our love for travel and Romanian traditions. It was a real pleasure to chat with them, feel free to check up their blog. 🙂
What makes staying at Casa din Susani so unique?
Tourists that choose to stay at Casa din Susani have the opportunity to better know the local village life and crafts.
Here you will find traditional handmade belts, chokers, bags, wool socks, and other ornaments and souvenirs. You can also buy some of these products if you like them and wish for an original souvenir to remember your trip.
You can even dress up in traditional costumes from this part of the country and take a few pictures in the yard. For me, this was the perfect souvenir that I wanted to take with me back home.
Note: The white shirt I am wearing is 50 years old!
And if you wish to immerse yourself completely into the local atmosphere, you can tell the hosts, and they will arrange for you a visit through the village. You will meet the people of the local community. This was what I was looking for. I was so excited to meet Măriuca Verdeș, a young woman whose mission is to promote the traditions from Maramureș Romania, through her NGO, “Asociația Rădăcinilor Străbune” (Ancestral Roots Association).
Măriuca is very passionate about everything that has to do with the history of the place. She will tell you local legends, sing to you traditional songs, explain everything about the paintings inside and outside the churches, and the symbolism they carry through the centuries. Măriuca also accompanied me inside households to meet the local women, the artisans, and see their way of living. It was fascinating for me to get to know these beautiful people. Once again, it was a reminder that simple and modest life next to nature can bring us meaning and fulfillment.
And if you are staying at Casa din Susani with your kids, keep in mind that Măriuca also organizes workshops for children, teaching them to paint on glass or sew traditional clothes. It can be a wonderful and fun experience for them.
What will you not find at Casa din Susani?
For a good experience, every time I travel, I want to find out as much as I can about the destination to correctly set up my expectations.
Having this in my mind, here is what you will not find at Casa din Susani:
- Mass travel experience
- All-inclusive kind of travel experience. You can have breakfast included and sometimes dinner if you choose to and you communicate this with the hosts. Otherwise, you should organize your resources in such a manner to cover the meals. You’ll find inside the house 2 refrigerators to keep your food fresh if necessary.
- TV in the room – needless to say, I don’t know who wants to travel in such a place and watch TV. It is a perfect place to disconnect from day-to-day habits and an excellent opportunity to have a break from TV.
There is something to discover at Casa din Susani, no matter if you like to travel alone, with your friends or with your family. You will relax on the rocking chair and count the clouds in the sky, or you’ll find out the stories of the “willow tree” – the stick with colorful pots hanging on it.
One thing is sure, though: there is a great chance you’ll want to return to discover more.