Chapter 12: Humor Me, We're Almost Done

Well, a monastery is a pretty solemn place, so in need of a good laugh, we next headed to Manastirea Humorului--Humor Monastery. It didn't really live up to its name, though. There was a noticeable lack of jolly Friar Tuck-like monks there. It's the smallest of the painted monasteries, and was built in 1530. Guess people were more easily amused in those days.

Humor Monastery


Humor is also different from the other painted monasteries in that it is surrounded by a wooden stockade, rather than the usual stone wall. The frescoes there are in fairly bad shape, and there was a restoration crew at work while we were there.

The church near the monastery

Not a particularly happy day at Humorului:
a funeral procession takes the body of a local man to the church.

Three Humourous women

Another well house

The Humorous contryside

Our third and final monastery of the day was Sucevita, which, appropriately, was also the last of the painted monasteries to be built, in 1584. It's also the largest and most imposing, surrounded by a formidable stone wall.


Later on, we stopped for gas at a station not too far from the border of the Ukraine. We couldn't help but notice that the gas station owner was wearing a gun on his hip. He explained that they have a problem in that area with Ukrainian bandits coming across the border on raids. We were somewhat relived to be back on our way.

By nine PM or so, we finally rolled into Vatra Dornei, a spa town that had been trendy in Hapsburg times, but has since fallen somewhat into decay. Radu hadn't bothered to reserve a hotel there, on the theory that there were enough hotels in town, and it wouldn't be a problem to find one. Wrong. Turns out the place is still pretty popular.

But lodging in Romania is rarely that much of a problem. A lot of people supplement their meager incomes by renting out rooms for the night to travelers. All you really have to do to get a room is to stand in a public place, looking like a tourist without a hotel. It wasn't long before we were approached by a guy who hustled business for some neighbors of his, an older retired couple with a good-sized house. We went to check it out, and it turned out to be a very pleasant place, a well-kept house with big rooms. After a very late dinner, Pam and Dave & Kathy and I spent the night there, while Radu and Didina got rooms in another house a short distance away.


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