Exploring Onesti, a small pearl of Romania
January 1, 1970
by Delia Racheru
You might not go to Onesti on purpose as it’s a very small town in Romania and might seem a boring place for some, but you might change your mind if you end up there passing by or after reading through these following lines.
Onesti with a population of approximately 40.000 is a city in Bacau County, founded in 1458 situated in the Trotus Depression. It is set at an altitude of 175 m almost entirely surrounded by forests and hills. This small city is crossed by three rivers: Casin, Oituz and Trotus.
The first thing you’d probably know about this place is that is the birthplace of Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympics in 1976 in Montreal. You can actually visit the gym where she used to train and you’ll also find a small memorial right next to the gym building. Just 10 min walk from the legendary gymnast’s memorial you can find the Liberty Park- a perfect place for a nice stroll. Liberty Park is the largest park in Onesti and a great place to enjoy the green paths, flowers and a splendid lake covered with water lilies. Just next to the lake you can see a bridge crossing the Trotus river which leads to Perchiu hill with a big cross on top of its peak. The cross is lit beautifully and you can admire it from different angles in the city by night. Locals use to climb on top of the hill for picnics and a good outdoor time. So if you’d like a nice morning climb you can cross the bridge in the park and go towards the hill.
MEET THE LOCALS
People here are very excited to meet foreigners and eager to share their knowledge about the surrounding areas and even their food and wine. They are most definitely the best people to suggest you hidden beautiful places to go to and if they have a car they will probably take you for a ride to some close by touristic spots, or for some natural pieces of heaven somewhere in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness.
FOR ALL SEASONS
If you are there during summertime there are many beautiful place in which to go sunbathing and swimming in the river. Right next to Nadia Comaneci memorial there is also an outdoor swimming pool. A very common activity in these parts is going fishing and I’m sure that if you spend some days there and meet some locals they will invite you for some fishing time at some point. If you happen to be here during winter, it’ll be a completely different experience but equally beautiful. Winters here are very harsh so make sure you’ve got a few layers and a warm coat. You’d most probably enjoy the deep beautiful snow covering all the city, frozen rivers and sleighing in places you’d never think of. This one’s for the very young playful souls: if you hang out with the locals they’d make you build high walls made of snow and join one of the two teams and start a looooong snowball fight (or that was long time ago; people tend to stay home on their computers these days, but I’m sure a few of them still go out and play).
If you’re staying here for a few days and have a kitchen that you can use then go straight to the city market situated by the river Casin. You can buy organic, fresh fruit and vegetables there instead of purchasing them from a supermarket. If you’re not used to this Romanian, eastern European kind of markets then it will be quite an experience to see this place and meet the the peasants who trade there. For ready food and social times you could go to Cafeneaua Literara where they serve amazing pizza, drinks and where they sometimes organise cultural events. I also recommend La Michelle Restaurant which serves yummy food and has a nice terrace on the hill located right next to the Library. There is also a Pub called Butoaie, a really good place to have some beer and chill and that is located next to the Liberty Park.
MAKE SOME ART
If you’re spending a few days in the city, then you might want to get involved into some artistic activities at theAtelierul de Pictura (The Painting Studio) on Republicii Street. I am mentioning this place because it is more of a creative-social hub actually and the artist who runs that place would be happy to share some time with visitors and do a painting session, a music jam or chat over a glass of wine (he does have a lot of stories to share and would never bore you). You can also get a tattoo there by the same talented artist who made my first ever tattoo. And even better, if you’re lucky to catch more people there and get along well you can experience a full body massage made by three pairs of hands at the same time. (yes! It is amazing). I have received it myself and it was the best thing that happened to me in the past few months.
WHAT TO GO AND SEE NEAR ONESTI
If you’re spending a few days here it is worth checking out some of these places too, which are very easy to get to and in a very short time:
- Borzesti Church – situated in Borzesti Village, right next to Onesti, a monument of Stefan the Great, it has a dark interesting story behind. Go there and find out all about it.
- Targ Ocna and Salina- only 15km away from Onesti. There are buses to get there but also a very common way of transport between villages and towns would be hitchhiking. Salina is a salt mine and not only that is a healthy and beautiful place to be in, but it is also entertaining, with places to eat, play tennis, basketball, karting and there is also a small Church inside. Must see if you are in Onesti.
- Slanic Moldova- another 15 km from Tg Ocna. A touristic mountain area with beautiful landscapes and great restaurants.
Want some adventure? Try the zip-line and enjoy the nature at Parc Aventura Bacau. It is located 45 km from Onesti and you can get there by bus or hitchhiking.
Enjoy the journey and be gone for a bit !