Pottering about Baia Sprie

If you visit Maramureş, it’s definitely worth making a stop at the wonderful little town of Baia Sprie, just 10 km from Baia Mare. For two reasons: the potter and the Blue Lake.

The Potter

Daniel Leş, ‘the slave of the earth’, was born into a family of potters and painters in 1972. Now, he has his own workshop in Baia Sprie, at Casa Olarului (The Potter’s House), which is also a pension, run by Daniel’s wife Daniela. ‘Clay. Craft. Soul.’ is his motto: the craft of pottery he describes as ‘that act of enlivening the earth with a gesture of “imitatio dei”; a form of expression by which the artist reflects his inner universe’.

Daniel also offers pottery workshops for children. But whether you get your hands dirty or not – your stay at Casa Olarului will be memorable for sure. You will also get fed well – every breakfast and dinner I have had there has been excellent. On a side note: Daniel also features as Jesus in the annual Easter procession in various places around Romania.

The Blue Lake

From Casa Olarului, it is just a 30-minute walk up through the woods to Lacul Albastru, the Blue Lake. It is a collapsed copper mine and is a great little lake if you want to go for a swim. It doesn’t look blue all the time though – it changes colour. It was pretty green on the day I visited it. There are three routes up to the lake; I recommend going up by the yellow circle trail and coming down by the red cross trail. All trails start from the main road.

In short, Baia Sprie is a great place to spend one or two leisurely days. From here, you can easily explore other places in Maramureş – Sapanta (the Merry Cemetery) or Bârsana (a beautiful monastery) for example. So if you want to submerge yourself in the Maramureş countryside, you now know where to go!

How to get there:

Take the no. 8 bus from Baia Mare to Baia Sprie. Casa Olarului is a short walk from the main road, at Strada Luncii, nr.1.

 

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