We were traveling East, though the mountains of Northern Romania. This (and the occasional cascade of sheep across the highway) was our view:
Normally I’d have micromanaged every stop on our itinerary, but we were in the unusual position of taking a private tour—something I’d sorted out at the last minute so we could visit the famous painted monasteries in the time our schedule allowed. Our guide Florin, a kind man and safe driver, is oddly shy for a professional guide and his tour consisted of driving for a while in silence, and then pulling over to indicate we’d reached a site.
As we entered into the Bucovina region, we noticed houses painted with lovely geometric designs.
Florin stopped the car in front of one of these pretty decorated buildings and announced “The painted egg museum.”
The awkwardly named International Museum of The Decorated Eggs is full of these well-crafted beauties. It’s a place I never would have planned to visit on my own, and yet our stop here increased my already robust admiration of Romanian cultural traditions.
The museum had a work station where you could try out the resist technique used in the egg’s creation. Basically, you dye the eggs a base color and then paint on a wax resist, then over-paint the egg again. Once you’ve added all the colors you want, you remove the wax to reveal the original layer.
Some of the egg designs reminded me of the embroidered clothes we saw in the Maramureș region of Romania.
Ah—a tiny Byzantine style portrait!
HOB and I had friends about to be married back at home, and bought these two painted eggs from the museum for them as a wedding present—rather an appropriate gift, since our friends are what’s known as nesters. Getting these eggs back to Chicago unbroken inside our backpacks was an act of unsung skill and heroism.
How we got to International Museum of The Decorated Eggs: Florin from Casa Muntean drove us.
Where we slept: Hotel Residenz. Price: €31.50 for a double. Recommended: yes.