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Meet the Romanian carpenter who turned heads at the White House

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Eva zu Beck tries her hand at carpentry in Romania.
Eva zu Beck tries her hand at carpentry in Romania.   -   Copyright  Euronews Travel
By Max Thurlow

Welcome to our latest video series, Rerouted: The Balkans, which sees social media influencer and YouTuber Eva zu Beck discover the cultures, customs and traditions of Eastern Europe. Eva takes us off-the-beaten-track on a road trip through Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania.

We meet the wonderful Balkan people bringing a modern twist to ancient traditions and travel through pristine, untouched landscapes.

You might not have planned to visit these countries before but one thing’s for sure - they’re about to become top of your travel bucket list.

On Eva’s next stop on her road trip she meets Toader Barsan, one of the last traditional carpenters in Romania.

Toader lives in Maramures in northern Romania, a fascinating area that feels like stepping back in time. The county has preserved a way of life that most of the EU left decades ago.

Toader turns everyday items into intricate wooden sculptures - from a baby’s crib to giant wooden gates that are the pride of many homes in this area.

While his skill has brought him international fame, even visiting the White House, Toader loves his hometown.

“I was in America, in Washington. They tried to convince me to stay there, pay me lots,” says Toader. “No, I didn’t accept. There is no country in this world like Romania.”

Using just an axe, saw, hammer and chisel, Eva watches in amazement as Toader turns a branch of a tree into a beautiful serving spoon.

She also attempts to add some pressure by timing his sculpting. How long do you think it takes Toader to craft a kitchen utensil with basic tools?

Watch the video above to find out.

Previous episodes of Rerouted: The Balkans

What is Kukeri? Explore the amazing Bulgarian tradition that scares bad spirits away

Bagpiping in Bulgaria and how to make the most of a trip to the mountainous Smolyan region

This is the world's most expensive cheese and you won't believe what it's made from

Welcome to the family vineyard that survived two world wars

What is horinca? Learning to make the drink that doubles up as money