To reach Valcea county, most exactly Horezu, you will need 3 hours drive towards Pitesti, then direction Targu Jiu on long straight, fast and quiet roads.
Where we will stay is Costesti, the villa called La Trovanti, the quality is really nice for the price 18 € / night + € 3.5 / breakfast. The large house is near the forest; cows and flowers in the opposite field, the view of the mountains in the distance, we really believe to be in the Pyrenees !! The furniture is simple, the bed is double and the shower is open, we took it by sitting down. Heating, ask how to turn it on. The site is: www.cazare-horezu-pensiuni.ro. The welcome was very warm, noted the collaboration to provide all the tourist info, the lady also gave us documents and maps. A ping pong table and a bike room are also available in the living room.
The city that we are interested by, Horezu, is very close, you only have to cross the bridge of the Bistrita river. There are several restaurants, one we choose is at the other end of the city and offers quality products from the market and unbeatable prices. The service is also very fast.
Horezu is known for its ceramics, you will see besides the shops on both sides of the main road, and especially the house in the form of pot, it is called Ceramica Pietraru. You can see the creative workshop, as well as creations (ask before for schedules), and especially an impressive amount of ceramics of all kinds, with more traditional costumes and carved wood pieces.
Then Horezu monastery, to get there, follow the signs, you will see all the monuments in the region are very well marked. Just remember, when you cross a bridge over a short water is that you have chosen the road to the right, to the left is the next destination after Romanii de Sus.
The monastery is a UNESCO heritage site, and it deserves it. We are not too fond of the religious places, but this one has something special, people here had to understand that the simple lives, if preferred, can be wonderful. The monastery was founded in 1690 by Prince of Wallachia, Constantin Brancoveanu. It is possible to sleep there, with guest rooms in the first chamber, as well as public toilets. Residents also sell natural products made by themselves (jam, syrup, honey ..). We went out at right, which led us to the orchard of the monastery, the fruits there are exceptional, blackberries, apples, plums … They breathe life.
Then we head to Romanii de Sus, you now know where to turn, pass this village following the sign indicating a monastery “Sfantana Manastrire”, at the exit you will come across many Roma, but still keep up. The road turns into a big ascent to the mountain tops, for our part we cross the forest that seems haunted because of the fog that hides our way. The route is available despite a few holes, but mostly it will take time, so be patient; 30 min for over 16 km. We prefer to go down not to return during the night, it is better to start early out.
The next day we head to Manastirea Bistrita without visiting it, because the one that interests us is upper, Manastirea Arnota. To do this, follow the small sign pointing to the right when you get to the first monastery in the direction of the heights and stone mine. You will see great things until you get up there, after only 6 or 7 min. There is space to park in front of the monastery. Skip the first wall to find yourself in a very modern enclosure with a small church in the center where quite old frescoes are painted. We can hear on a microphone a man telling a moral story. But most impressive is the view from the promontory outside the monastery. From there, we take a peaceful look on one side where mountains have been slowly devoured by eat-cliffs, the valley and its peoples, which once again offers the chance to contemplate this beautiful country.
Then we go down, return to Horezu, and directly take the direction to Maldaresti following the Cule panel, semi-fortified houses of former Romanian nobles. First we visit Cula Grecea , unaccompanied, however, we have to pay a small fee, and if we want to take pictures (but hey, nobody is watching you). Inside, clothing and furniture really beautiful! This house is the oldest in Romania, dating from 1517 !!
The second, Cula Duca is also Muzeul Judetean “Aurelian Sacerdoteanu”. It is from 1827 and that belonged to the family Maldarescu. Here you will be guided through every room, but in Romanian. There is also a small church that we can not visit, Biserica Sfantul Nicolae.
We follow then Bistrita Monastery. But not to visit, as we have seen enough religious places, it’s only because you can get behind, going by car (do not believe the signs, you have space to park there) Cave Polovragi. A tour is given by a lady who knows how to captivate crowds and give energy and interest in this cave, you can drink in what looks like a small puddle of very rich in iron and good water to clot blood. The visit will last a total of 30 minutes. Continuing on the path that goes to the cave, it was discovered that one can go through the forest to a possible city, so a large off road ahead!!
Finally, direction Comuna Baia de Fier to go to the cave Pestera Muierilor. The cave is 800 meters long and really beautiful. The guide shows us bear skeletons or natural sculptures made of stalactites. Small problem, it is sometimes necessary to bend over to walk and this can really be disturbing for people who cannot make on their backs and legs. We leave the cave on the other side of the mountain and you will need to reach your car along the highway.
Finally, we went to Trovant’s Museum where it is said that the stones move and eat sand. It’s actually a geological alchemy.