Until I met Anca Batiu (46 years old) I have never been to Soars. Never heard of it, to be honest, until I found her house on a reservation website. It’s a small Romanian village of about 500 inhabitants situated between Sibiu and Brasov, approximately 80 kilometers to each town. But when I got there I felt like going back to my childhood again – green, silence, almost sunset, astonishing views, old, traditional houses, people who say Hi to you although they don’t know you. A peace coming from another time. A blessed place. Like Anca’s house, actually. In her grandmother’s house, arranged with all the comfort of the modern age, Anca is a warm, welcoming host for tourists all over the world. Who choose to spend another kind of vacation, in a place where the time simply stops.
It’s Andrada’s House after her daughter’s name, but the house is old, family inheritance, and the story is beautiful. Just like Anca, who is much more than a host. Staying with her it’s like having a chat with an old friend, about the place, the history, the legends, people, experiences, a lot of soul and a bit of magic.
It’s like coming back to the serenity of childhood age.
The house is old, but the touristic story begins in 1998, when a Belgian association tried to support old Romanian villages. A school manager built back then a touristic network in Soars, meaning foreign tourists hosted in the houses of the locals. “We got the first tourists in year 2000, in the rooms where we stayed, without private bathroom, with the shower in our yard”, Anca remembers, laughing. But they were so excited – because everything was authentic, the place, the food, people, the traditions, things they weren’t used to.
Every year, step by step, they tried to arrange the place, to make it more comfortable for the tourists, but keeping the tradition all over. A kitchen was built outside, in the beautiful yard, then private bathrooms for each of the three rooms were made. In the old barn, a wonderful place to eat was arranged – but not only, you can just stay here in the evenings to spend quality time with your friends.
Rooms themselves are a story, with old, painted furniture, handmade sewn blankets and carpets, table clothes made by Anca’s granny, wooden nightstands like wheelbarrows made by her husband. Old pottery vases, lavender, good books and a lot of flowers complete the picture. No TV in any room – a blessing nowadays, and a veranda where you can spend a whole day on a confortable couch, reading a good book, without realizing what the time is.
I could live a whole life in a place like this, to be honest.
Tourists from all over the world
After the beginning, with the tourists hosted in the rooms where they stayed, the place appeared in an international guide – the traveller with a backpack – and tourists from France, Spain, Italy or Luxembourg got to the magic place from Soars.
Then, after a contract with a cycling agency, tourists who travelled by bicycle started coming here – they still do. From Italy, Spain, Israel, Ukraine to Canada or Australia, people of different nationalities, all over the world, got here.
On the veranda, Anca and her friends started doing “evening sittings”, the Romanian “sezatori”, trying to carry on an ancient tradition where women from village gathered to work and talk together. Through their association, “Ia calatoare”, they promote all the time the local traditions, habits, the traditional costumes.
An experience, not just a place to stay
Anca arranged the house with a friend, all by themselves, with love, careful to every detail. “Many tourists ask us who the designer was, and we are laughing, it was just us, me and Vio, my fried”, she says.
Anca has another profession, but Andrada’s house is “her place”, there’ s no place where she feels better. “I tried to do a modern that does not “hit you”. I don’t even know if it’s a business or a hobby, because we invest all the time”, she says.
Andrada’s House is an experience for her, also, getting in touch with different people, from all over the world, talking to them, learning a lot. “We realize how universal we are, it’s that kind of tourism where you don’t just get a key to your room, we share a lot of stories. We had a family who woke up their 12 years old daughter in the night, to see the sky, they lived in Paris and she had never seen the stars. We had a man who followed the historical route from Bucharest to Istambul.
Our clients come here in search for something else, they say the place has “something”, you charge yourself with good energy. We have keys to room’s doors, but nobody uses them, people just trust us. We share our summer holiday with special people, in granny’s house”, Anca says.
Andrada’s House has three rooms, two double and one triple, each of them with private bathroom. You can find out more about the place on their Facebook Page, HERE
Do you know a very special place? A place where things are made with love, from heart, with good skills, respect and lot of care? A place with a story and with a heart beyond it? Tell me about it and let’s tell the others its beautiful story. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.