The Romanians regions of Maramureş and Bukovina are top on the New York Times list of travel destinations during pandemic, a ranking made after encompassing over 2,000 suggestions of the readers.
The author of the review on the two Romanian regions, which are close to the border with Ukraine, in northern Romania, grew up in a Bessarabian Jewish family. Ivan Stoler recounted that, as he traveled in Bukovina and Maramureș, “the muddy back roads, undulating hills, farmsteads, haystacks and horse-drawn wagons showed a vanishing way of life”, with locals “selling some brass stills to make plum tuica on the side of the road”.
“Driving just outside the city of Piatra Neamt, a wrought-iron fence with a Magen David (Star of David) caught my eye. I jammed on the brakes. We walked uphill to a cemetery — no sign. The caretaker, 80 if he was a day, showed us around. Maybe 10, 15 people in town are still Jewish. It was heartwarming to see someone caring for the place. I knew I was going to ask my wife to marry me. Driving from Bukovina — known for its beech trees and painted monasteries — to Maramures, we followed a zigzag mountain path: a place of transition. We reached a lookout. I said, “This is the place.”
Ivan Stoler lives in New York with his wife and works at a manufacturing company. His family is from republic of Moldova, which once belonged to Greater Romania.
On the NYT list with places worth visiting in 2021 there are also such destinations as Medina in Marrakesh, Camino de Santiago and Cordoba, from Spain, Dakar (Senegal), St James the Less church in UK, Nanda Devi Mountain in India, the Laugavegur route in Iceland, or Beirut, Lebanon.