In fine weather, it’s an agreeable walk through the woods from Văratec monastery to Agapia; the 7km trail takes about an hour and a half, starting by house no. 219, back down the road from Văratec Convent. It’s also possible to walk along the road connecting the two convents (from Văratec, walk about 1km back towards the main road, then turn left; from Agapia take the asphalt road across the bridge at the end of the nunnery village). Picnic tables are provided, but camping is not allowed. Another beech-tree-lined trail from Văratec, marked by blue dots, leads west to Sihla hermitage (2hr), built into the cliffs near the cave of St Teodora, and hidden by strange outcrops. A back road turns off the main road from Târgu Neamţ to the Ceahlău massif, 2km west of the turn-off for Neamţ monastery, and passes the Sihastria and Secu hermitages en route to Sihla – an easy 10km hike. The Sihastria hermitage was founded in 1655 and subsequently built over with a new stone church in 1734; the Secu hermitage dates from 1602 and has Renaissance-style paintings inside as well as the grave of Bishop Varlaam, who in 1634 printed Canzania (“Romania’s teaching book”), the first book written in Romanian.