Joyful Spring in a wide, green space. Summer as the season of hay, fresh fruits and vegetables, picked from your own garden, but also the time of working in the household. Autumn of harvested fruits, the most beautiful colors, in the same time preparating for the winter. The last season comes with rest, retreat and peace, but also with plans for the holidays.
We found the right place for all seasons, moments, days. A simple corner of nature, beautiful inside and out. It offered us a very nice feeling, as we stepped on its doorstep, stopped us from our pace and somehow calmed down everything that was too much around us.
The restored neo-Romanian style
In Costești, near Râmnicu-Vâlcea, a village inhabited for millennia according to archaeological evidence (about 10,000 years), we discovered the Hanul Vatra, an original construction, in the beautiful neo-Romanian style, restored just as it was built in the last century. The initial role of the location was that of Costești Baths Establishment, the village being rich in thermal waters, desired as a resort during the reign of King Carol II.
We suddenly got closer to the place, hearing the story of the restoration. Each similar story gives us hope and a smile. The reconstructed places are certainly more beautiful, unique, carrying with them so many lives and imprints.
Hanul Vatra is not only about restoration but also about return, as we like to hear and discover every time: Otilia and Dan, lawyer and architect, returned from Germany, on the road between their lands, Banat and Tulcea, in the grandparents’ yard next to the former Bath Establishment. The story actually started here. Today, Hanul Vatra is a beautiful old house adapted to modern life, with simple details, candles and wood, a porch for each guest room, with the river flowing quietly right next to the place.
We admire from the porch of our room the village life waking up early every morning. The strong air, the silence, the slow pace of everything. The day begins in the beautiful courtyard, wide and open, bordered by a river that makes its way between one bank and another. On the other part, the property continues with a small forest, paths with kids running after all the animals. It’s quiet but at the same time joy and trembling.
Special details, “beautifully aging” materials, handmade ceramics, stone, solid oak
We discover inside the construction that hosts us for a weekend special details, materials “that age beautifully”, handmade ceramics, stone, solid oak. A delight.
We make room on two sunbeds which we move next to the water. We admire the surrounding beauty, the vast space, which you cannot comprehend at a glance, the sky in unseen colors, until the tempting smell of dinner forces us to move to the restaurant terrace for what is to come. It’s like we’re home.
The taste of well-made food, with experience and love for the guests, simple but at the same time rich meals, old tastes. The menu at Hanul Vatra is fixed, but it surprises nicely by following the old recipes and of course by the authentic taste. Traditional food lovers will feel good here. The fresh trout was delicious, as was the home-cooked cabbage with polenta. But the menu should not be revealed, but enjoyed personally.
A Complete experience in Oltenia de sub Munte
This beautiful part of Oltenia is rich in nature through mountains, caves, gorges, monasteries, but also through traditions and crafts. You must see culele from Maldărești, very close to Hanul Vatra (10 km), fortified constructions made for defense. Even closer you can find the Bistrița gorges, the narrowest in the country, and on the mountain route from Căpățânii Mountains you can admire wonderful landscapes, of course, for mountain and adventure lovers.
This part of the country is also rich in many monasteries: Hurezi Monastery, listed on the UNESCO Heritage, Arnota Monastery, Bistrița, Dintr-un Lemn Monastery that offered us strong emotions hearing its story and living the experience of spending a few moments here, Govora Monastery and in the opposite direction, Polovragi. In Pietreni village there is also Mănăstirea 44 Izvoare which offers a spectacular view over the whole area. At the same time, in the village of Costești there are two small churches, dating from the 1600s, true testimonies of the time, less known and crossed.
Caves lovers can see Muierii Cave and the Bat Cave, but also the Trovanţilor Museum, just 2 km from Vatra.
Hanul Vatra pleasantly surprised us, first of all by the simplicity of the well-done things. That natural order of space and time, that purpose of everything, details, crafting. At the same time, the story of returning and rebuilding the place got our attention, keeping so many valuable details: materials, colors, the style, the porch, columns and arches. Wonderful outdoor and green space, always accompanied by the flowing river, the good air, the trees that form a hiding place just right for the little ones. Hanul Varean offers an experience in beautiful Oltenie de sub Munte and more than that, it has a different story in every season.
Costești village, Vâlcea County, Oltenia de sub Munte
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