I am sitting in
the sun on the wooden balcony of a guest house in Western Romania, watching a small boy of seven or
eight, switch in hand, expertly guide a flock of sheep and lambs down the valley. In front of me is a blackthorn in full blossom and beyond
stretches the silhouette of the misty, blue Carpathians. A raven in calling overhead and on the balcony railing
beside me a chiffchaff sings, totally unafraid. At the end of the meadow below lies a tiny
chapel. We shall have a Taize service there
This is Casa
Delureni, which was built in 2008 to provide sheltered employment for young Romanians who had been abandoned
in state institutions during Ceaucescu’s time.
Our meals of delicious locally sourced food are served by the unfailingly cheerful Cristina. “You’re welcome!”, she says every time we thank her and
grins from ear to ear.
The guest house is
comfortable and attractively furnished. One could easily spend time relaxing here, but there is much to
enjoy in the surrounding area - monasteries and markets, wonderful valleys with rushing streams bordered by
an abundance of wild flowers and 15,000-year-old bear caves to be explored.
We had lunch at a
farm where the young people live and work, providing food both for themselves and for the guest house and
drove one day high into the mountains to visit the doctor who runs one of the children’s hospitals. A
highlight of the trip was watching a nest being built in the guest house grounds by a pair of golden
The easiest way to
travel there is to fly to Budapest and order a taxi to take you over the
Hungarian border to the guest house. You will
have a memorable week.