Impressions of Romania ~ Including Transylvania, Bucovina & Maramures

Tour Intro

Romania - Why would you visit Romania? It offers amazing landscape, people and cultural photographic opportunities. The country has the largest number of self-sufficient farmers in all of Europe. Many still practice farming like they did centuries ago, keeping their traditions alive. It will make you feel like you are stepping back in time. Romania’s history is as rich as any other European country, with wonderful medieval towns, fortifications, and churches, all of which are not being overrun by tourists. This is a special time of year in Romania where the countryside is alive with autumn color, and the farmers are active harvesting their crops – it is truly a spectacular time to be here.

Experience a range of incredible photographic locations and experiment with a variety of photography techniques on this 10-day tour where you will travel in a small group, stay in well-chosen quality accommodation and be guided and assisted by a local Romanian tour guide and photographer.

 

Tour Highlights

  • Limited to twelve tour participants, internal flight is included.
  • Travel with TWO photography instructors and a local Romanian tour guide.
  • Photograph fall color of the Carpathian Mountain landscape and villages.
  • Bucovina self-sustaining farms, local farmers, and traditional art & craft workers provide excellent opportunity for portrait photography.
  • Diverse architecture from Bucharest Palace of Parliament, Unesco World Heritage fortified churches of Transylvania, and medieval citadel of Sighisoara.
  • Discover the warmth and charm of Maramures with its wooden churches and preserved villages.

 

Tour Itinerary

October 20: Home

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

Your journey begins with your overnight flight to the capital city of Bucharest, Romania. (OTP). (meals on plane)

October 21: Bucharest
Bucovina Fall Fliage

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

Welcome to Romania! You are in for a treat of great people photography, charming medieval fortifications, and wonderful nature during the fall colors and captivating legends. This first day is a day to rest and get over jet lag. We suggest landing prior to 4PM as there will be an introductory meeting (time to be announced), followed by a welcome dinner. There will also be an introductory photo walk of this charming city, with your first shoot of the Palace of Parliament during sunset and blue hour. Overnight Europa Hotel (D)

October 22-23: Maramures Region
Market Day

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning or a photography walk with your photo leaders in the quaint neighborhood of your hotel. There is an internal group flight later today (approximately 1PM) from Bucharest to Cluj, this is included in the cost of the tour, and will maximize your time of photography in the Northern Regions of Maramures and Bucovina.

Here most people still work on subsistence farms, have a few chickens, a cow or two, raise a pig, which they slaughter for Christmas, mow and pile hay by hand and transport it by horse cart, make their own brandy and dress in traditional clothes when they go to church and on special occasions. It is a region we advise visiting now as it is rapidly changing and the old and traditional is replaced by the modern and comfortable, the contrast is already striking which makes it the more interesting. Still, probably the best word to describe it is “bucolic” and you will have almost two days to see this for yourself.

A good way to start the next day is to get to know the locals and their culture by visiting and photographing at a market. Then continue to the intriguing Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, where the funeral crosses are painted lively with poems about the life of the deceased, some of them quite funny so it will be a very insightful experience. You will also meet the only craftsman who makes these crosses and see him at work. Visits such as this throughout your tour will offer great opportunities for environmental portraits. The region is also home to the best museum dedicated to Communism located in a former prison, during mid-day you will visit and learn more about the impact communism had on the country and even how it still influences the culture more than 25 years after the regime has changed. (B, D both days) Overnight Casa Traditiilor, Maramures Region

October 24-25: Bucovina Region
Horse Cart

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

Climb a hillside this morning for sunrise photography of a beautiful wooden monastery, the grounds surrounding it, and visit a historical church, which are very typical of this region, one of which dates back to 1364. From Maramures cross the mountains to another traditional region of Romania: Bucovina. As we travel through the countryside we will have a few stops in traditional villages to photograph the traditional architecture but also locals working in the field or traveling by horse and cart. Check into your lovely home for the next two evenings, overlooking the village of Vama, and the beautiful mountains as a backdrop.

Begin another day with a highlight, a true wonder of Romania, the painted monastery of Sucevita, an UNESCO site. Sucevita monastery impresses with its setting, a valley with mountains and deciduous forest as a backdrop, which makes for great compositions even when it is raining. The day will surely provide interesting encounters with locals as the road takes you through the countryside. One planned stop will be at an egg-painting workshop, a craft specific to this region. Meet a true artist and see her at work dressed in traditional clothes.  Overnight Bucovina Lodge (B, D both days)

October 26-27: Sighisoara, Transylvania Region
Church Steeple

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

There will be photo stops on your way to visit a local winery producing excellent white and red wines. It should still be harvest time, therefore the farmers may still be in the vineyard picking grapes, for some interesting photographs. In the evening you will be in the medieval citadel of Sighisoara, a great place for blue hour photography in Romania as it has nicely lit narrow cobbled streets, imposing defensive towers, and fascinating historic buildings and squares.

Transylvania will uncover more of its beauty and charm by visiting one of the most beautiful fortified churches, an UNESCO World Heritage site. In reality they are true fortresses and this is how locals call them as they’ve been built to shelter them from attacks throughout the last 700 years. The fortification in Viscri is famous for its white color and it is one of the favorites of HRH Prince Charles of Wales who visits the village almost yearly. You will also have one of the most interesting people encounters with the local blacksmith belonging to the Roma minority. He will show us how he makes horse shoes and nails, a true fire and iron show which is very challenging to be captured on camera but if you get it right the pictures will be outstanding. Viscri itself is an attraction as it is a well-preserved quaint medieval village so having a walk around it will bring you back in time some 200 years. Given the right conditions there may be another organized blue hour photography session this evening. Overnight Sighisoara, Transylvania region (B, L both days)

October 28: Sibiu, Transylvania Region
Sibiu

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

If the weather cooperates the group will rise very early so you can catch the sunrise in one of the best locations in Romania: above a valley in which the imposing Biertan fortified church sits above the town. After breakfast, you will be welcomed in to a Romanian Gypsy family home, where you will learn, see, and photograph what it takes to make beautiful household items out of copper. Photograph the family as they go about their daily lives. Continue on the road to Sibiu where you will look for farmers working the fields, and photograph their hard work with traditional farm equipment, and iconic haystacks of the region. Be prepared to learn something new, meet some intriguing people and hone your skills on taking some great people pictures. Overnight Casa Luxemburg (B, L)

October 29: Bran, Transylvania Region
Bran Caste Vendor

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

Your next adventure will begin as you depart for Bran castle, which is usually associated with Dracula. Take pictures outside with a mountain backdrop, it’s a wonderful time of year with deciduous forests, glowing with warm yellow, brown, and red hues, which will make your pictures truly wonderful. The countryside around Bran is really wonderful; spend the rest of the day exploring it and trying to create compositions with the towering nearby mountains, picturesque chalets, and farmers working the fields, haystacks, and sheep. Conclude the day with a sunset shoot at about 4000-foot altitude, capturing the surrounding area during the warm and spectacular dusk light. Overnight Inn at Balaban (B, D)

October 30: Bucharest
Sibiu Orthodox Church

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

There will be another early morning sunrise photography session on foot from our lovely accommodations. Leave Bran after a late breakfast, and continue back towards Bucharest, with photo ops along the way. Enjoy a wonderful lunch either in the picturesque City of Brasov or at another winery outside Bucharest. Return to the city where you will have time on your own to wander, relax and re-pack for your flight home tomorrow. Dinner is on your own at the hotel or any of the restaurants in the local neighborhood. Europa Hotel (B, L)

October 31: Bucharest - Home
Haystacks Maramures

Photo By: Jed Manwaring

Photo Location: Romania

If your flight schedule allows there will be time for photography this morning. Everyone will be transferred to the airport at the appropriate time for flights. (B)

Photo Leader

Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring
read more
Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring

You have the advantage of having two photo intructors on this trip with the expertise of Jed Manwaring and Brenda Tharp, and the tour size still remains at 12 participants. Brenda is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. The travel bug bit when she was young, reading the pages of National Geographic and Life magazines. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways. Topics of discussion on each trip are tailored to the groups' needs, yet typically include: how to photograph people/strangers, paying attention to the light, using elements of design in a scene to help create more impact, creating visual depth, and storytelling with your images. Additional discussions often include processing and workflow, which Brenda often covers while on the bus on longer drives, or in the hotel lobby. There or in the field, she is always available for technical or visual help, offering tips and suggestions to help you to refine their own vision of the place.

Jed Manwaring specializes in travel and outdoor photography. His photographs have appeared in a variety of magazines including Alaska Airlines, International Wildlife Conservation, Navigator, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, PC Photo, Sierra, Sunset, Via, and Wilderness Society magazines. His images have also been used in books, calendars and cards, most recently in Golden Gate National Parks: A Photographic Journey and Guardians of the Gate. He has worked in a variety of challenging situations, including running the Colorado River in a dory, sea kayaking in Costa Rica, llama trekking, and exploring in Italy, Mexico, Hawaii, and throughout the west. Jed’s passion for photography and teaching make him an amazing instructor and leader. You can view Jed's photo tours at www.brendatharp.com.

Welcome back to you! Chris and I just returned from our own extension to Venice you planned for us.  Wonderful!!!
Attached is my evaluation of the tour with Brenda and Jed!
Loved every minute…! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the planning…and to Brenda and Jed for the expert  execution of the plan!

The tour was perfect, I would highly recommend it. Both Brenda and Jed were knowledgeable about each location, and knew the very best places for photo shoots. They were not rigid, in fact, they were flexible and were able to 'read' the interests of the participants very well and make any changes to our schedule to fit the desires of the individual wishes. So well done.... so difficult to do. I would travel anywhere with Brenda & Jed.
 

Gretchen Taylor

Photo Leader

Brenda Tharp
read more
Brenda Tharp

Brenda is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. The travel bug bit when she was young, reading the pages of National Geographic and Life magazines. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways. Topics of discussion on each trip are tailored to the groups' needs, yet typically include: how to photograph people/strangers, paying attention to the light, using elements of design in a scene to help create more impact, creating visual depth, and storytelling with your images. Additional discussions often include processing and workflow, which Brenda often covers while on the bus on longer drives, or in the hotel lobby. There or in the field, she is always available for technical or visual help, offering tips and suggestions to help you to refine their own vision of the place.

I really enjoyed Brenda's style of talking as we were on the bus. Very informative without being too formal. Lots of chances to learn as we took photos as well - in early morning or in evening. Got some great tips from Jed as I was photographing on various occasions. Very responsive to our questions with NO judgement about our skill levels. I have told many people that this was the best or one of the two best trips I have ever been on. The leaders great, group jelled fabulously and for me, traveling with all photographers was amazing.

 

Nancy Hauserman

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 6-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

What was the highlight of your trip? Brenda - she was great. Efficient, knowledgeable, friendly, continually involved with all of us.

R. Pool

Many thanks and kudos to you for your photo tips and sharing your "secret" places: to Jacque for organizing and putting the trip together so professionally: to Ursula and Laura for being such wonderful guides. Their expertise made everything so much more interesting and enlightening. I really feel like I came away with more than beautiful photographs, but with some new friends as well.

R. Tinsley

Additional Notes

This tour is outdoor oriented and there will be a moderate amount of walking involved. The highest altitude 5000’, you should be prepared to walk for extended period of time at this altitude. Some of the paths are off-track and we recommend waterproof walking shoes. There may be a limited amount of uphill walking. If clients have health issues they should tell us in advance so we can plan activities for them with an easier level of walking. Romania is a very safe country, and you will find the people very welcoming. The days will be long in the field, with photo discussions and lectures in the evening when given time.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

We have chosen all locations with the most important thing in mind – getting to the right location at the right time. Clients literally just walk out of your lodge and start taking photos. Due to the regions included in the itinerary the lodges outside of Bucharest do NOT have elevators. Each participant will need to be prepared to handle his or her own luggage, and camera gear. They will range from 3* to a 4 in Bucharest. 

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