The Romania hit list.

Romania through the lens of Betuel Hreniuc. More here.

The countdown to our Romania trip has officially begun. In less than two weeks, Patrick, the munchkins, myself, and my beautiful mother will be flying to Romania to introduce Pat and the kids to various and sundry family members and the land of my birth. The ongoing hit list project begins….


  1. A puppet show at Clubul Taranului followed by a visit to the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant. At the top of my list, this one.
  2. The Alternative Bookstore, the place to find revolutionary pamphlets and local anarchisms.
  3. The Geology Museum with munchkins. More.
  4. The beautiful Cismigiu Gardens.
  5. A stroll through Lipscani with a stop in the Glassblower’s Courtyard.
  6. Take Patrick to Laptaria lui Enache.
  7. Vasile Grigore Museum because I grew up with his original paintings on the walls around me.
  8. Explore Romanian cinema at the National Center of Cinematography.
  9. Rozalb de Mura for inspirations.
  10. The National Museum of Art.
  11. 115 Digital Art Gallery.
  12. To see something showy at La Scena.
  13. Ride on the Bucharest metro and take photos of grafitti.
  14. Bum around Herestrau Park with the kids for an afternoon and swing by the Arc de Triomphe while we’re in the area.
  15. Once upon a time, Caru cu Bere was the place for Romanian intellectuals and students to meet, drink, eat, and debate. I wonder what it has become…
  16. Stavropoleos Monastery and Church for the wooden icons, intimate mystery, and beauty of Romanian Orthodoxy.
  17. The Museum of Jewish History to learn details about the history of Romania’s Jews.
  18. The Bucharest History & Art Museum for local history and a tour of the Sutu palace.
  19. The George Enescu Museum for a tribute to this incredible violinist who was also just happened to be the teacher of Yehudi Menuhin.
  20. The Natural History Museum so Max and Micah can marvel over some Romanian dinosaurs of the natural (as opposed to the unnatural and communist prototype0 world.


  1. Casa de Piatra de la Heresti.
  2. Bran. Bien sur.
  3. Saint Anne’s Lake.
  4. The Putna Monastery.
  5. Orheiul Vechi, the old cave monasteries dug by monks in the 13th century.
  6. Sapinta, the “merry cemetery” in Maramures.
  7. The Salt Mines of Turda which go back to the 11th century.
  8. The awesome Castle of Deva.
  9. Hike around or road trip Tara Motilor.
  10. Visit Golubac’s fortress, where George is said to have killed the dragon.
  11. Brincovenesti Castle.
  12. Curtea De Arges, home to the legend of Manole.
  13. Hike Mount Timpa for a view of Brasov.
  14. Hike the Seven Ladders Canyon near Brasov.
  15. Try to spot the famous Carpathian stag around Mount Omu or in the vicinity of Bran. If you spot him, take a photo and sell it to the Japanese tourists as they clamber off their buses.
  16. While near Omu, visit Zalmoxis’ cave at Ialomicioara.
  17. Sample Romanian wines and wander around the family vineyards in Focsani.
  18. Visit my namesake’s grave near Focsani.
  19. Retezat Mountain National Park, considered by Greenpeace the last intact forest landscape in Europe.
  20. Learn about the fiercely conservative, religious Csango groups who live in the towns of Ghimes and Frumoasa.
  21. Olt Valley.
  22. Visit the fishing village of Sfintu Gheorghe and enjoy the floating disco-bar, camping in the wild, or a boat trip to Lacu Rosu.
  23. Befriend the Dacian god, Zalmoxis, by leaving offerings at his abode, the Polovragi cave.
  24. Bran Castle, of course.
  25. The Eye of the Noisy.
  26. The ASTRA Museum near Sibiu.
  27. Dealul Cetatii in or near Deva for a little Dacian history.
  28. Sarmisegetuza Regia for a little more Dacian history.
  29. Calnic Castle and cultural center near Sibiu.
  30. The Museum of Comparative Art in Sangearz-Bai, created by Romanian artist Maxim Dumitras and home to many, many pieces of Romanian art.
  31. The amazing Corvin Castle in Hunedoara. Also known as the Hunyad Castle.
  32. Wander around the monastery at Lupsa.
  33. Cuibul Visurilor, the Nest of Dreams, with over 3,000 objects about rural life in the villages.


  1. A Bucharest Monopoly game because it is funny and valid on so many levels.
  2. Learn how to make tuica from one of the old men sitting on the benches in Cismigiu.
  3. Ask the first 50 Romanians you see a simple question– “Leonard Cohen? Love him or hate him?”. I have my theories.
  4. Traditional fabrics.
  5. Metro tickets and collage materials.
  6. Handspun yarn.
  7. Old books.
  8. Stones, rocks, and pebbles from various castles and ruins.
  9. Vintage Romanian hemp.
  10. A prayer rope from a monk.

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